Returning to Anchorage was quite a letdown. I was anxious to have my wife and son with me, so I set about to prepare to bring them over. I got a job working in the office at an acupuncture clinic, owned by my friend David Cosgrave, and rented a room in a house where another friend was living. I had nearly maxed out all my credit cards and in addition had gotten quite far behind on child support, so I began chiseling away at the mountain of debt I had accumulated. In the meantime, I applied for a visa for Cindy. I stayed busy at work, building an office management system to track patient visits and automate the process of billing insurance. I created intake forms and business cards, and designed a new sign to go out front. I enjoyed the challenge of streamlining his business, and before long had things operating smoothly.
Child support arrears had continued to grow and now snowballed out of control. The back payments combined with interest along with current obligations added monthly. It became obvious that I could not get caught up on the salary of working a regular job, so I started considering other options. I had a certain knack for simplifying complex designs and coming up with new approaches for otherwise difficult processes and I had some ideas that I thought could have certain value, so I decided to get serious about getting something off the ground. One particular idea that I had first started considering as a teenage boy, was for a new kind of internal combustion engine. I had wondered if it would be possible to make compression with a rotating piston, in contrast to the standard reciprocation style, not being aware of other similar approaches. Over the course of the coming year, I would work out the details and build the scale model in my spare time.
Meanwhile I awaited word on the visa application, and was eager for the process to go quickly. However, again, things would not go as planned. First, I was notified that due to extremely high volume of applications, the expected time frame for visa approvals had been significantly extended. It seemed a minor setback and there was nothing I could do but wait. However, when that time frame came and went, I still had not gotten a response. I contacted the Department of Immigration hoping to get an update but my application was nowhere to be found. When they finally located my application, it had turned up in a large stack of papers on someone’s desk where any difficult cases ended up for special attention. As it turned out, a new law had gone into effect excluding people with certain criminal history the right to qualify to have their wives brought in from other countries.
It seemed now that my last option was to get the engine into production, then money would no longer be an issue, and I would once again be able to travel freely. I thought that the hard part of designing the engine was complete and that the merit of the design would make finding a company to manufacture it relatively easy. After some consideration, I contacted Lycoming Engines, an American company specializing in aircraft engines. I told them of my design and asked them to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that I could show them my engine. They flatly refused, instead insisting that I sign a waiver of liability before they would take a look. Making no progress with them, I contacted Briggs & Stratton, with the same response, then contacted Ford Motor Company. Each response was identical; it seemed that they had the same legal team.
Some years later, a company called LiquidPiston successfully designed an engine with the same geometrical configuration, however theirs was a four stroke, whereas mine was a two stroke. They positioned their intake and exhaust ports internally, through the piston, whereas I had positioned mine externally, through the engine block. Aside from this, their design was identical to mine.
Nothing was going right; every door was locked up tight. It appeared that the very hand of God was against me. Two years had passed since I returned to the USA, I had managed to get my credit cards taken care of, but the child support was out of reach. I had tried everything that I knew to do, and now I could not see a path to success. I was desperate for direction and began praying earnestly to God, asking him “What am I supposed to do?” I had grown up attending church. My mother had instilled in me a faith in God since before I could remember, and I never had any doubt weather God existed, I had simply accepted it as a fact. But now I was desperate for him.
I received a call from a friend who invited me to attend a special service in a church in a nearby town; he said there was a prophet visiting and would be speaking the next several nights. Being a little skeptical, I agreed, and he came and picked me up. The man began to speak, explaining that he could see angels and that they were telling him what to say. It was obvious from the start that this man was either a prophet or a liar; I was curious to see which. As the service went on, I began to pray, “God, if you want, you can speak to me through this man”. Pointing at me, the man said, “You in the blue shirt, stand up.” I stood up. “The direction you seek is in the book of James, the book of James is prophesied over you.”, he said. “There is an apostolic anointing on you, and it has been there for some time.” “Your voice will be heard with what you are doing,” he went on. With many more words he spoke to me, everything he said seemed so to the point and accurate, with the exception of the apostolic anointing, I kept thinking that I am too sinful of a man for it to be true. Nevertheless, I opened my Bible to the book of James and began to read it again and again. The message of James seemed to be a call to action, saying that faith without action is dead, and the theme seemed to be that the poor of the world are those called to the kingdom. I was looking for direction and God began to show me his path for my life, and little did I know how exciting a ride it would be.
Sitting at work, my mind began to wander. An interesting question came to mind: “How does gravity work?” Although I had never given it any thought, I was now quite curious. I began researching online, and started reading any information that I could find. There were plenty of opinions about gravity, but one thing was certain, the scientific community had no idea how it worked. We could measure its force and observe its effect all around us, but its inner workings were a mystery. I began to pray, “God, you can show me how it works if you wish.” I continued to search. Finding that the force of gravity moved at the speed of light, so that when a planetary body came into sight, its gravitational effect would coincide with its sighting. Seeing the correlation between gravity and light, I expanded my research to include light. Recognizing that sound traveled in waves as light, I expanded my search again. Soon including electricity and finally atomic structure. Suddenly, after weeks of research, all the pieces came together, and the simplicity of it all became plain and clear. The scientific consensus was that mass pulled at mass, but in fact the opposite was true. The earth is not pulling us down, the force is from above, we are being pushed. In fact, the energy is all around us, pressing from every side, but when two objects come into proximity, they shield each other creating a shadow between them. It is this lack of energy between them that creates an attraction.
As all this information became clear, and all the facts aligned in my head, it was as though there was a great rearrangement of knowledge suddenly, like my brain was being shuffled as a deck of cards, and with it I experienced a flash of events before my eyes, one after the other. I saw so many events from my childhood and early years of life where I narrowly escaped injury or death. It was then that I realized that the hand of God had been upon me and he had kept me safe even though I did not even know he was there. I became aware of his presence all around me, as Gravity, he was ever present and always active. I lay back in my bed, considering all that had just taken place. I touched my sternum, which had always been crooked, cleaving to the right side of my rib cage. I thought to myself, “God can even straighten the crooked things.” Immediately, I felt the bone move under my fingertips; it was instantly straightened. God had made himself known to me, and I was in awe of him. My hope was restored. God had a plan for my life, and having tried everything else I knew to reunite my family, I had nothing to lose. I continued to ask God for direction, echoing the prayer, “God, what am I supposed to do?.”
I began to take the words of Jesus seriously. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, what you will eat or what you will put on. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” He had promised to take care of me and I was determined to trust him. With that promise in mind, I put notice in at my job and emptied my bank account, sending the money to Cindy in China. Having no money, the effects began to immediately become clear. First having no money for gas, I parked my car. Then, not having money for rent, I had to consider what I would do. Jesus’s promise had included food and clothing, but there was no promise for gas or rent. I began eating at the local soup kitchen and started trying to sell my stuff. Nothing was selling, so finally I started giving everything away, including my car. Having no job or housing gave me a sense of freedom, and so I made arrangements to visit my father in my hometown of Soldotna, not far from Anchorage.
Everything was set and I would leave Friday morning, everything I owned now fitting in one large trash bag. Thursday night I got word, my father had died in his sleep. So, Friday morning I went as planned, but not to spend time with my father, instead to dig his grave. I had a sense of peace about my father’s passing, giving the timing of my visit. I felt as though God in his foreknowledge had allowed me the freedom to come without a need to rush back. After the funeral, I decided to take some time and hitchhike the surrounding areas before heading back to Anchorage.
I had no money, and only the remainders of a meal eaten with family, I would be dependent on the promise of Jesus to feed me. By the second night, I was out of food and the next morning I found myself hungry and out of energy. I was walking with my thumb out, finding it difficult to lift my feet with each step. I had not any luck getting a ride and began to pray. I simply told God that I needed strength, either from food or from him directly. Looking up, a car stopped and offered me a ride. Immediately he handed me a Butterfinger candy bar, which I received with thanksgiving. He then told me he had a job up the road, and if I would help with some raking, he would feed me lunch. When I agreed, he immediately handed me two pieces of chicken. After working, he fed me lunch, then driving me further up the road, he dropped me off, handing me a sandwich and a cookie. This was the start of seeing God’s provision and since that time I have walked in the blessings of food and clothing, and the freedom to travel without preparation. By the time I reached Anchorage, I had discarded everything from my bag, and now I was traveling light, only the clothes on my back and some few items in my pockets. This became a standard for me; I had gained a freedom, leaving my burdens behind.