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Dear Family, This letter has taken approximately a month to write and is being sent to my family. Included I the mailing is the members of the family I was born into, the members of the family I married into, the family members who have joined and continue to join this ever extending family through birth and marriage, and includes those of you have been grafted into our family by loving invitation. I want to express how much I love each and every one of you and my love for all of you has continued to grow year after year. For many years our periodic family get-togethers with Juanita’s parents, brothers, and sisters and all of the children were held at our home. When we met on Christmas and Easter Juanita and I usually shared something we felt the Lord had placed on our hearts. Over the years a sharing time has become a family tradition where we simply share our hearts with each other as a family, including sharing whatever the Lord has placed on our hearts. This tradition which has contributed to building and strengthening the unique closeness we all experience and enjoy as a family. I believe sharing what the Lord has placed on our hearts has also strengthened us as a family spiritually. However, there have been many times I have wanted to share things with family members (both on Juanita’s side and mine) that I felt the Lord had placed on my heart but avoided doing so for various reasons: primarily being the fear of being misunderstood; another being that I didn’t feel the timing was convenient or appropriate; or at the time I felt my life was not reflecting the life of Jesus as it should have and I did not feel qualified to share those things on my heart. As result, afterwards I often felt ashamed that I hadn’t been obedient to what I felt the Lord had impressed me to share or do. This has been especially true with our children. As our children grew up and had children of their own, most of them have moved a distance from us and as such I have had increasingly less influence in their lives, and particularly in the lives of my grandchildren. This has concerned me greatly. Time passes so quickly along with the opportunity of having any significant influence or impact on those you love. Since the wonderful surprise party my beloved wife planned for me for my sixtieth birthday and which most of you shared with me, I have spent some time thinking about all the missed opportunities of sharing what I felt the Lord had placed on my heart to share with family and friends. As I reflected over years and years of missed opportunities my heart was broken before the Lord. I want so much to have an impact in the lives of my children, my grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren we may never have the opportunity to meet. I want them not only to know the fun grandpa they love to play with and who is funny and makes them laugh, but I want them to know how much the Lord has impacted my life and the many ways He has revealed His love to me over and over again. I want the Lord to have an even greater impact in their lives and for them to also experience His indescribable love for them. I want so much to share with them things the Lord has taught and revealed to me over the years. As well, I want to share these things with others in my family. I wept before the Lord and shared my frustration and inadequacy with Him and He brought to memory the letter writing ministry I had in my early Christian years to the college age group in the church I was attending. As a group

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we would all be together during the summer months. We were very close as a group and loved each other deeply. However, during the winter months many had to return to distant college campuses to continue their studies. The Lord led me to write periodic letters that would continue to unite us as a group and keep the ones at campus up to date with what was going on with the group at home. I also shared with them what I felt the Lord had placed on my heart for them and us as a group. When the Lord brought that to my remembrance I began to see that over the years remaining to me I could write letters to my family and friends to share what was on my heart. Not only could these letters share my heart with present family members, but the letters as a whole would establish a spiritual heritage to my children and their descendents that would share my heart for years after I’ve passed from this world into the life to come. I’ve discussed this with Juanita and a couple of our closet friends. We believe it is guidance from the Lord and would be a beautiful means of fulfilling what has been on my heart for many years. So I am beginning the journey with this letter. It has been sent to you because I love you and desire for you to participate in the things I will be sharing. This is the first in hopefully what will become a series of letters. Before continuing, I want to say that I realize that in a large family, individually we are each in a different position of relationship with the Lord. Some of us may not know Him or even believe He exists. Some of us may believe in Him, but do not really know Him personally. Some of us know Him, but from a distance as we may not be walking with Him in a deepening daily relationship or we may not know how to hear His voice or gain direction from the Holy Spirit. Some of us know Him, are close to Him, and are walking daily with Him in an ever deepening relationship under the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit. Writing to such diversity is going to be difficult. Some of you may place these letters into the trash without ever reading them. However my prayer is that you will not toss these letters away; that you will read them or at least store them to be read at some point in the future. Some of the things I write may seem confusing to you now, but may make sense to you at some point in the future. I understand that some of the things I share may disturb and even anger some of you, but please realize that every word is written with love and much prayer. Some of you may disagree with some of what I share and that is okay. My hope is that even though you may not agree with a portion of what is written, that some of what I share will be of great benefit to you. What I share is from an understanding gained over 30 years of reading, studying and searching through God’s Word, the Bible, accompanied with much prayer for the Lord to provide me with revelation and understanding. If what I share contradicts with what you have learned or believe, my request to you is that you carefully read the verses I reference with the understanding that everything God has revealed in the Bible was written specifically for our instruction: to provide and increase our understanding of our Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit; to provide and understanding of God’s ways; to reveal His promises to us and the conditions to the fulfillment of each promise; and that every word was written through the direct inspiration of God through His Holy Spirit; and that God has very carefully maintained the integrity of what was written over thousands of years so that He can speak to us through His Word even today. I have developed an ever increasing love for and trust in God’s Word. It does not matter how many times I read it, it is always fresh and new, and

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the Lord continues to share His thoughts to me ever more deeply as I continue to spend more and more time in His Word and in prayer. A few month’s ago, I was talking with a young lady friend of Dan, my son, and was sharing with her the evening I was saved and how I first came in contact and relationship with the Lord. Afterwards Dan said to me, “Dad, I never heard that before.” That surprised me. I’ve shared so many things with my children, but I was amazed that I had not shared how I was saved, or at least not in a way that he could remember. As such, in this letter I would like to share with you the most important event in my life. That event was the result of the Lord working in my life and preparing me for that evening in ways I was totally unaware of at the time. So to adequately share the evening of my salvation, I will need to go back through portions of my life history, as best as I can remember it. When I was a boy I there was a bookshelf my parents had in my bedroom. I would sit in my bedroom alone and look through the books that attracted my attention. One in particular was a book published by the Seventh Day Adventists that was full of questions and answers about the Bible. I would pull it out occasionally and pick a subject and read the questions and the answers. Reading through that book was my earliest recollections of a curiosity about the things of God. My mother encouraged me to attend our family church, which was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints located nearby where we lived. I did and I became very interested in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I don’t remember how much I actually read in those days, but I would carry them to school with me, which I guess was a way of identifying myself as a believer in God. I remember being disappointed in some of the other boys that attended church classes with me who also went to elementary school with me. On Sunday we would learn about loving God and sharing love and kindness with others. However, on Monday through Friday at school some of the very ones who sat in church with me would ridicule and make fun of me for carrying the Book of Mormon and the Bible to school. This was not only disappointing but it was also very discouraging and difficult for me to understand. Years passed and as often happens, when I grew older and entered my teenage years my priorities began to change along with my overall attitude towards authority. I don’t remember the details but my poor attitude lead to a day when the bishop in the church and I shared a few disagreeable words over finances, in particular, my giving (tithing) or lack of it. I used the incident as an excuse to break off church relationships and I no longer continued going to church there. Over the following months and years I occasionally attended a few protestant and catholic churches with friends and girl friends, but what the ministers had to say didn’t have much impact on me. In each church it appeared to me that they all placed a very high priority on our giving them our money. This reinforced my overall poor attitude towards churches and made it easy for me to discount the importance of going to church or pursuing anything concerning God. I began to hang out with the wrong friends, and my attitude towards any authority continued to get worse. I started drinking and began to do things I knew my parents would not approve of. This obviously led to my getting into increasing trouble with my parents. I stole coins out of my father’s rare coin collection, which made him very

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unhappy. He also caught me stealing fishing gear from a local store. My father and mother later separated and divorced. I started sneaking out my window at night to spend time with my friends doing things I shouldn’t have. I copied my mother’s car key and later wrecked her car when I took it out joy-riding with my friends while she was on a trip with Slim, my step-father. I didn’t even have a license to drive yet. In frustration my mother asked my father to move me in with him and Barbara, my step-mother. He agreed to his later regret. While in their home, I stole money from my step-mother and, in doing so, broke a piggy bank that was very precious to her. Eventually I got into trouble with the law. At that point, my father strongly encouraged me to join the service, and I joined the Marine Corps. My timing on going into the Marine Corps was very good. My best friend moved from drinking into drugs and drug dealing. He later became addicted to heroin. I am certain that I would have followed the same path. My lousy attitude towards authority was substantially readjusted during my time in boot camp, but gradually returned to its full potential after I graduated. While in the Marine Corps I met Sally who I later married and who delivered my daughter Denise and my son Chris. My attitude, immaturity, lack of responsibility, and unfaithfulness to her eventually ruined the marriage and we separated to be later divorced. I didn’t even help her support the two children we brought into the world until years later after the evening I encountered the Lord and He began to turn me around and make significant changes in my life. During my last two years in the Marine Corps in Hawaii I became very interested in pursuing a career as an entertainer and a song writer. I started singing and playing guitar in some of the local service clubs and bars in Waikiki. I continued my career in Hawaii for another year after I left the Marine Corps and for an additional year after I returned to California. During those years I progressed from singing folk music into country western music and finally into rock music. During my three years in Hawaii I spent a lot of time with my best friend, Mick. It was mainly his influence that originally got me started in playing guitar and singing folk music. Being an excellent guitarist I learned a lot of things from him on the guitar. I can still remember his smile, his encouraging words, and how well he played his 12 string guitar. We did a lot of other things together, including getting involved with a very strange religious organization. I later left the organization because I sensed something was seriously wrong with it. Mick was devoted to the organization and my leaving put a such a strain on our relationship that we no longer spent much time together. However, a few months before I left Hawaii Mick approached me at one of the places I was singing at and told me that I was correct in leaving the organization. He later discovered some of the things that I was sensing when I left and he finally got out too. He said however that he had finally discovered the real truth and he began to share with me that he had found the Lord Jesus Christ and how much the Lord had changed his life. He told me that my life could change as well. However, I was not interested and I told him that I liked my life just as it was and that I didn’t need or want to change it. However, he continued to share Jesus with me whenever we got together and I continued to back away. One night he came to a bar in Waikiki that I was singing at. He sat surrounded by drunks through the remainder of the set until my break when he began to share Jesus with me again. In frustration I became angry and I told him that if I heard one more word from

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him about Jesus, our friendship was at an end. It didn’t faze him. He said he understood, but asked if before he left if he could simply say a prayer for me. Again frustrated, I told him to go ahead. I don’t remember much about the prayer except that he asked the Lord to watch over me and to reveal Himself to me when I was ready. That was the last time Mick ever came to see me. I never saw or spoke to him again before I left the islands a few months later. After I returned to California, I started up a band in Fairfield. I was again experiencing success, and for several months we did fairly well for ourselves. However things began to change. The band that I had formed told me that they wanted me to leave. Disheartened I left and went down to spend some time with my sister Bonnie in Hollywood. She was well established there in the entertainment world. She introduced me to Bobby Sherman (a popular singer and actor at the time). After hearing that I was a singer and a song writer, he asked me to write a couple of songs for him. I did write a couple of songs but nothing ever happened with them. Bobby, a married man, was much more interested in my sister than my songs. When he started making his moves on her, Bonnie broke off the relationship, and he didn’t show any further interest in the songs. Later Bonnie introduced me to a band that was soon to go on tour with Elvis Presley and the Supremes and they needed a base player. We jammed together for a while and they liked me but I decided I wasn’t really good enough to join the band. While I was in Hollywood Bonnie took me to several parties. I won’t go describe the parties in this letter but there I met many wealthy and successful people. They had achieved the highest levels of success and yet I could see they were empty and miserable. As I watched and talked to them I thought about Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix, both famous entertainers at the time, who at the peak of their popularity died as result of their drug additions. I also remembered Hank Williams, a country western super star, who at the peak of his career died from excessive drinking. I looked at the dead eyes of the famous people around me at the party. I watched them as they were drinking and popping drugs and participating in pleasurable activities and the thought came to my mind that all the success experienced by those around me and by the famous entertainers who died during the peak of their careers had not resulted in the achievement of happiness through their fame or their wealth. With all they had experienced in live they were still not satisfied and were in fact so unhappy that they sought to alleviate themselves from reality through the use of alcohol and drugs to the extent that some of them had died from overdose. (Elvis also later followed down the same path). I began to sense that the path I had chosen as a career and my pursuit of fame was not a wise choice and would not achieve the expectations I had for success. Disillusioned I returned back to the Bay Area. I decided to go back into country music and join a band to make a living. I no longer had the desire to shoot for wealth and fame. I had always found it easy to find opportunities singing and playing guitar wherever I went. However, something had changed and things started going down hill very quickly. I couldn’t find a band I could join and none of the clubs wanted a single singer at that time. What money I had soon dwindled to nothing and I started living out of my car. I began to hock my musical equipment to provide money for gas and food. As a last resort I finally even hocked my guitar. The final straw occurred when my car broke down and was impounded with everything remaining that I owned. I had no money so I couldn’t

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pay off the impound, which was increasing daily. I lost the remainder of what I owned. Reality hit me when I found myself on the street. My popularity had diminished to the point where my friends looked disappointed when I came to their door and I was too ashamed to go to my parents for help. I found myself begging for quarters on the street and staring through restaurant windows at the food people left on their plates, longing to eat the remainders. My appearance was so bad that the thought of going to a job interview was out of the question. My situation got so desperate I attempted to go back into the Marine Corps in fear of starving to death. I was willing to reenter at two pay grades lower than when I was discharged. However, the clerk who had typed up my discharge papers typed in an erroneous discharge code on the document that needed to be corrected before they could accept me back in. When I asked how long that would take, they said it would take Washington DC about six months. Obviously that was not acceptable. Later a friend brought me a newspaper with an ad by the National Guard. I called to explain my situation and they said they would accept me in. They didn’t care about the discharge code and they would reinstate my old rank as sergeant. The timing was perfect. It just so happened that during the following two weeks they were conducting their annual two weeks of maneuvers in the field so I had the opportunity to get full pay as a sergeant for two weeks. The two weeks were later extended to three because I volunteered to stay on afterwards with the crew responsible for cleaning up after the maneuvers. It so happened as well that during the maneuvers that I was fortunate enough to meet another sergeant who, after hearing about my situation, invited me to stay at his home until I found a job and got back on my feet. I gladly accepted his offer. He and his wife fed me and gave me a bed to sleep in and his wife graciously drove me from Livermore around to different job interviews. I finally got a job at an electronics company in Concord. I used the money I had made in the National Guard to purchase a car and to get my musical equipment out of hock. Later, I moved out of the home in Livermore into a basement of a home in Concord for $20 a month. While I was there I purchased a book I saw in a book store called “20 reasons why the earth could not survive another 20 years”. While reading the book I became depressed. My father had always expressed the importance of getting a job where I could earn a good retirement, but I after reading the book I could see no future in pursuing that since I didn’t think humanity would be around long enough for me to retire. It was apparent to me that the best course of action to take was to simply enjoy life as much as I could for as long as I had it. From my trip to Hollywood I understood that wealth and fame or even success wasn’t the answer. The obvious course of action was to simply pursue as much happiness and pleasure as possible and to do whatever I loved to do the most, which was music. Since I had my equipment back, I could go back into the entertainment world. I met a friend at work with a similar background as an entertainer. We talked a lot during breaks and sometimes played guitars and sang together outside on the grass during lunch breaks as others listened. Topless bars were a big thing in those days and we discussed plans on how we could put together a show that could capitalize on the popularity of the topless bars. We settled on the idea of writing suggestive and lewd songs and of using various custom designed puppets in the show as that could participate in telling even more lewd and suggestive jokes. We had it all planned out and set the time for us to leave the

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company after three more months of collecting paychecks to would help cover our living expenses until we paved our way into the clubs. During that time I spent a considerable time at various nightclubs during the evening with my friends. I used to do my laundry at a local Laundromat. Next door was a Seven-Eleven that I would go into to pass the time looking at magazines while I waited for the laundry to finish. One day, I saw a paperback book there that caught my attention. On the cover it had a picture of Earth with a crack through the middle of it. I picked it up to read the description to find the book discussed prophecies detailed in the Bible which included those describing how the present world would come to an end. After reading the “20 reasons why” book I thought it would be interesting to see what this book had to say, and to see if there were any similarities between the two. I purchased it but I was so busy at the clubs in the evening I never got around to reading it. One night it rained and I woke up to find the basement in which I was living in was flooded. According to the family that owned the home it had never flooded before. I had to move quickly and the only place I found that I could afford was a studio apartment above a furniture store in Martinez. It was a nice apartment. It was small but much nicer than living in a basement. The living room converted into a bedroom at night by lowering a bed down out of the wall. In addition to the living room there was a kitchen and a bathroom. My friends used to come regularly to the basement where I was living but the studio apartment was far enough out of the way that they did not drive out there, so I had to drive into town to the clubs we frequented to see them. However that also soon changed. My wife Sally called to explain that Chris, our son, had been acting up. It had reached the point that she asked me if I would mind taking him for a while to see what I could do with him. This surprised me. I had never seen Chris act up in the way she was describing, but I told her I would take him for a while and work with him. I set up babysitting arrangements during the day time while I worked and afterwards I picked him up to go back to the studio apartment. Chris never displayed the behavioral problems Sally had shared with me over the phone. In fact, he was model child as far as I could see. I couldn’t figure out why he was there and what I was supposed to fix. I loved having him there with me, however things got fairly boring at night. The TV was in the living room. In order to get him to sleep, I had to turn off the TV along with the lights in the living room, which would be converted into the bedroom. All there was to do was to sit in the kitchen and listen to the radio turned down low. After a few days of total boredom I suddenly remembered the book I previously purchased with the cover that had the picture of the cracked Earth. I searched around and found it in a drawer. I returned to the kitchen and began to read it. It was very interesting and explained how prophecy after prophecy in the Bible had been fulfilled to the letter and also described prophecies that were yet to be fulfilled in the future. Some of those prophecies so described modern times it was uncanny. The last chapter explained the plan of salvation as revealed in the Bible. When I finished reading, I thought back to the times I sat in various churches. I couldn’t remember ever hearing any of the things explained in this book. I was certain that if the Bible actually taught these things, they would have certainly been important enough that

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someone would have taught them during a service or bible class. Since I couldn’t recall them ever being discussed in church I concluded that the author of the book must be exaggerating or distorting the biblical verses he was quoting or he was taking verses out of context with the other verses in which they were written. The Bible simply couldn’t contain what this book claimed or I would have certainly heard of it before then. I decided to purchase a Bible and check the verses out for myself. I bought one the next day and began to look up the verses in the Bible referenced in the book. I was amazed to find that the author had not been exaggerating. The Bible verses contained exactly what the author said it did and what the author wrote was in context with the verses. I was suddenly overwhelmed with an urgency to find out what else the Bible had written in it that I didn’t know about. I began to read through the gospels and I was amazed at the teachings of Jesus that I knew nothing about. One night while my son was sleeping and I was in the kitchen reading, I sensed a presence there with me. I cannot describe how I knew, but I knew it was the Lord Jesus. Within a few short moments I received an entire flash back of my life. I could see how He had used the experiences in my life to direct me and provide an understanding of some things to me, such as during my time in Hollywood when I discovered that what appeared to be important in this world often lead to dead ends, even to death itself. He showed me how He had saved my life from destruction several times, how I avoided the drugs and heroin that overcame my best friend after I went into the Marine Corps. He had brought Mick into my life so that after he was saved he would share with me Jesus and pray over me when I rejected Him. Tonight was the result of Mick’s prayers. He had directed me all through the tough times, when I lost my musical career, lost my car and found myself living on the streets. He had set up the circumstances preventing me from returning to the Marine Corps through the error made on my discharge papers years earlier. He caused my friend to notice the ad in the newspaper that lead me into the National Guard at the perfect time of the year where I was able to collect three weeks of pay during maneuvers, as well as meeting the Sergeant who helping me get back on my feet, moving me into his home afterwards and whose wife helped me get the job I was now working at. He had orchestrated the events that presently placed me in that studio apartment, including flooding the basement I was living in, having Chris act up so that Sally would call me to take him for a while to work with him. My son’s presence there placed me in the kitchen bored enough so that I would remember and read the book that the Lord had lead me unknowingly to purchase a few months earlier in the 7-11 store, which then lead me to purchase the Bible I was now reading. Everything in my life was orchestrated to bring me to this exact moment in time there in the kitchen. Now the questions laid were laid before me. Now knowing all this, what would I choose? Would I now give Him control over my life to direct and change as He chooses? Would I now accept Him as my Savior and Lord? Would I now devote the remainder of my life to His service and to living by the principles revealed in His Word? I thought back to the things I told my friend Mick a few years earlier when he talked to me about the Lord. I thought about the plans my friend and I were present making to put together a lewd and filthy show that we would use to provide entertainment in the world of topless bars. I thought of my life as a whole and I just could see nothing that would make Jesus want me. Why would He want to save a man like me who had spurned Him, who was so proud that no

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one could talk to me about Jesus without rejection? What would make Him orchestrate my life so carefully just to bring me to this point in time? As I was struggling with these thoughts His love suddenly poured into me with such intensity that I broke down in tears before Him. I can’t remember exactly what I told Him but it was something like this: “Lord, I cannot understand a love so great that would work out everything in my life to bring me to this evening before You. I don’t understand how You can love me and forgive me when you know what kind of man I am, what kind of life I’ve lived, and after all the things I have done and said to others who tried to talk to me about You. What else can I do except yield myself to You? How can I not accept such an incredible offer of forgiveness? Lord, I grab hold of your forgiveness. I give my life to you and receive You now as my Lord and Savior. Take my life, change it and make it what You want it to be.” That day began a love relationship with the Lord that has lasted over 30 years. I would like to say that I have never let Him down and that my life was perfect from that day on, but I can’t. I have had my ups and downs, and sometimes I have walked at a distance from Him. However, He always led me back to Himself. He always forgave me and embraced me and welcomed me home. He’s walked with me through very difficult times and given me much needed guidance. He’s provided me the wisdom become a very successful manager. He brought Juanita into my life, who has become my perfect soulmate. He’s provided me wisdom as a husband and wisdom as a father at times when I had no clue what to do. It has been over 30 years since that very special day and I love Him more today than I did at the beginning. I have passed through two thirds of my life my desire is that my final years will count even more for Him and for His Kingdom. I pray that these letters will help you to either find Him, come to know Him more deeply, and to experience His incredible love which I have come to cherish so greatly. I am sorry that this letter ran a little longer than I had intended. I will try to make the others shorter. However, I share this letter with you with love. With warmest regards, Rich (your dad, grandpa, son, brother, uncle, or friend)

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Letter 1 - My Life - Part 1 - Road to Salvation  

This is the first of a series of letters written to my children, grandchildren, family and friends. It explains the purpose for the series o...

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