William Enoch here. I am a former Member of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. (WTBTS). I share my testimony that, with Father’s Grace, I have hope of salvation apart from the WTBTS. I have hope of salvation apart from organized religion.
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I recognize Jesus as Mediator to Father, not the WTBTS or Earthly Pastors.
I’d like to share my Testimony of how religion, Family differences, Peers, physical events, environment, circumstances, lusts and Satan were overcome when I was drawn by Father to Jesus Christ, Who awakened me.
Religion is not the answer. Being drawn to Jesus is the answer for me. Religion was the on and off focus of my physical life from 1965 until 2005.
“Little ‘Ole Sister Minor”, starting in the mid 1960s, was the catalyst who helped define what religion can do to a family. “Sister Minor” was a member of the WTBS, also known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Had Mama known what curse this mild-mannered, white-haired lady would unwittingly bestow upon our family, I believe Mama would have emphatically slammed the door on this recruiter for the WTBTS.
I, William Edward Enoch, Senior, born November 29, 1960, in Cuero, Texas, USA, am the youngest of seven Children born to Leonard Royal and Elsie Lee Enoch. As of today, October 6, 2012, My Siblings are members of the WTBTS.
I’m Earthly Father of Aspen Renee’ Enoch, William Edward Enoch, Jr. and Azsa Christene Elsie Enoch and Step Father to Erica Nicole Mercer. These Four are my Angles. My Children and I are, as of today, October 6, 2012, separated by three strongholds in the physical world: 1. My not standing up for what was right, by committing adultery against Their Mother, which led to divorce. 2. My not standing up for what was right by my not spending quality time with my Children when I relocated to Their city after the divorce. 3. My status as a “disfellowshipped” and so-called “apostate” former member of my Children’s current religious organization, requires my Children have no contact with me.
I’ve asked Father to take these strongholds and work them out for the benefit of my Children and I. His Grace is sufficient for me.
I am married to Father’s Gift to me, Beverly Troupe Enoch. We are in agreement in Spiritual matters and this adds to our joy. Together, we are growing in our relationship with Father. Our years together, beginning in 2001, figure into my testimony as well.
May my testimony impact Souls to accept being drawn by Father to Jesus, or relate to my life in the following words. May my testimony encourage the Body of Christ to know a personal relationship with Jesus and Father is possible, apart from the WTBTS and religion. Thanks for making time to consider my testimony:
While living at the Leonard Enoch Homestead in Cuero, Texas, all seven Children and both Parents, Leonard and Elsie Enoch, became involved with the WTBTS from 1965 through 1974. Mama was baptized around 1965 and became a member of the WTBTS after studying the Bible and WTBTS publications with Sister Minor. Some of my Siblings were also baptized during the 1960s. I, the youngest Enoch, became baptized in December of 1973 at a San Antonio, Texas Circuit Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I trusted myself to be sincere in becoming baptized, but, in the back of my mind, I had a fascination to beat my Sister, Lynette, to the baptism pool. Lynette later was baptized at an International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1974 in Houston, Texas, along with a few of her Friends.
My Earthly Father, Leonard Royal Enoch, started studying the WBTS publication “The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life” AKA, “The Truth Book”, with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who traveled from Victoria, Texas every Friday. After a series of 28 mile commutes, the Jehovah’s Witness, by the last name of Mack, was turned away by me, after promptings by Daddy of “tell him I’m not here”. Daddy eventually became impressed with “Brother Mack”‘s persistence in making the 28 mile trek week after week that Daddy finally gave in and made himself available to this Bible Student.
Daddy was the final member of my immediate Family to join the WTBTS. The entire Leonard Enoch Family was now committed Members of the WTBTS.
My major issues from the time of my baptism at age 13 through high school simply involved peer pressure. Peer pressure, in my mind, of how others would feel about my not saluting the flag, not being involved in extracurricular activities at school, knocking on the schoolmates doors while going preaching and why I was not dating. My own major issues dealt with being labeled “Jehovah Boy” and fending off questions about why I was not having sex. Little did anyone know, I was having sex in my mind.
My relationship with the “Organization” during public school years consisted of me appearing to be holy, but my mind was opposite. I was in a constant state of sinning, shame and begging Father for forgiveness. A total hypocrite. I’d prepare and present talks by assignment within the Kingdom Halls (Church Buildings). My palms starting sweating sometime during middle school and have continued through this week. My palms could start sweating again at any time.
My life experience, from graduation from high school in 1979 until 1981, revolved around the WTBTS. I was totally convinced without any doubt the WTBTS had the “Truth”, as the organization was referred to by its members.
It was in 1981 that I first smoked marijuana. I was introduced to it by the “bad boy” of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Cuero. He has since passed away, so, I won’t mention his name for this lawbreaking incident. May he rest in peace. Smoking of marijuana was a turning point in my life. It was the point of no return as I understood that phrase. It was this period during which I coined the phrase “If I’m gonna do bad, then I may as well not half step, but go all the way in my badness.” I was out of control then. I was clubbing, publicly drunk, New Wave and anything goes. Just plain wild. The Elders of the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses put me on “Private Reproof”, then “Public Reproof” because of my “conduct unbecoming of a Christian”. It got worse. I hosted wild parties and was reported on by a Ministerial Servant of the Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Fritz lived in the same trailer park as I. Management soon asked me to move out of the trailer park for being too loud and wild. I ended up living in an apartment on “the hill” section of Cuero, Texas. There, I learned whoredom. Through all this, I was not disfellowshipped.
Things in Cuero, Texas had gotten out of hand for me, so I moved to Hallettsville, Texas for life on the family farm. Daddy and Mama co-signed on a small travel trailer for me, but I didn’t stay long in it. Soon I was traveling to visit my cousin John in Victoria, Texas. Surrounding town dwellers affectionately referred to Victoria as “The City”. We didn’t know any better. The City. Only seventy thousand people lived there. It was the oasis for the thirsty. Thirsty for anything better than the small town boredom of Hallettsville, Cuero, Yoakum, Thomaston, Nursery, Goliad, Refugio, Port Lavaca, Ganado and the rest.
While staying with my cousin and his mother, I simply became more and more reckless. For example, John and I were racing down a Victoria street. He was driving his mother’s Ford Mustang. I was driving my Chevy Chevette. John was leading by at least a full car length during our race. I rationalized, “this is a four-way stop coming up. Everybody’s got to stop, so why should I stop.” The fallacy with this immature reasoning exposed me to a player in this drama entering from my right, who, only made a rolling stop. The resultant smack of the crash flung my unseatbelted body into the Chevette’s passenger seat. Pinballing off the Honda in mid intersection sent my car diagonally into the curb at my eleven o’clock. The convenient bump of the curb jostled me back into the driver’s seat with three seconds to spare in which I applied my break before nosing up mere inches from a utility pole.
Within two weeks I was staying in Austin, Texas with my sister Lynette, living a very similar chaotic lifestyle. My cousin John followed me to Austin within weeks of my arrival there.
Austin, Texas was “The City” which revealed my perceived calling. I met a “ride or die chick” named Rachel. A club scene from 10pm until 4am followed up by ever-present “house parties”. A kick back 12 pm – 9 pm job to accommodate this lifestyle with lunch scheduled, by me, from 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm weekdays, to catch the 3:30 pm showing of “Thundercats” cartoon on TV. Enough wine, beer, marijuana, mushrooms, acid, mandrex, codeine, crank and cocaine to satisfy me. I really thought I found my calling. My mottos were, “when I’m doing bad, I may as well go all the way” and “too much is never enough”.
The truth was, I was doing too much pre-marital sex, consuming too many illegal substances and living a life of debauchery. After my “ride or die chick” wanted more excesses than I could afford, she turned to a more financially fit running mate. I turned to failed suicides. Two. Cutting a blood vessel in my wrist, then, later consuming twenty-two sleeping pills. After surviving these futile attempts to take my life, I joined the United States Navy on a whim.
Arriving at Naval Boot Camp in Great Lakes Illinois on December 23, 1986 was something completely unexpected for me. Being from South Central Texas, the snowy greeting, as I landed in Chicago O’Hare Airport, automatically intrigued me.
Paying attention to detail and following instructions was the theme at boot camp. Recognizing this fact meant playing along with the “game” there.
Memories in boot camp include appointment as 7th Squad Leader, being Captain of Scullery One, our company as Runner Up to “Color Company” winner and “Tiny Puddles” or the puddles of sweat our Company Commander prophesied for us as punishment.
The punishment was earned because I pre-directed my squad to stomp our left boots while performing the Flying Breakdown marching maneuver. The Flying Breakdown marching maneuver is designed to streamline an entire company mass to fit through narrow spaces, while on the move, or on the fly.
We “embarrassed” our Company Commander in front of his superior officer after our Company Commander coaxed our RPOC into the maneuver by suggesting, “RPOC! I bet you can’t do a Flying Breakdown coming off this grinder!” The grinder is a huge parking lot-like space where companies massed up, assembled. RPOC, short for Recruit Petty Officer Chief, obliged and initiated the maneuver with the deep and thunderous commands, “Companyyy! Aten, Hut! Companyyy! Forward, march! Company, halt!” The company mass was in line with the grinder’s exit at this point. RPOC barked off another couple commands, “Companyyy! Left, face!” Then, “I need two Road Guards!” The two diminutive Road Guards scurried out of ranks to near the street. RPOC sang out in a defining rhythm now. “Companyyy! Forward, march! Second Platoon to the rear, march! ‘STOMP!’ By the right flank, march! ‘STOMP!’ By the right flank, march!’ STOMP!'”. Perfect synchronization to position the Second Platoon, which is the right half of the massed up company, squarely behind the First Platoon, which is the left half. We were aligned and exiting the grinder. We never missed a beat. We were proudly on the move. We broke the Company mass down while on the “fly”.
RPOC’s last barking command, before our fun was cut short, was, “Road Guards! Post!” The ever ready Road Guards sprang into the street as our protectors. One posted up on each side of the now streamlined dual platoons passing between them. Each Road Guard posting in the Position Rest position. Feet spread, hands behind the lower back, “red lights” to oncoming vehicular traffic.
RPOC performed his assignment flawlessly. Two Road Guards performed their assignment with pride. Our Company performed its assignment like a well-oiled machine. However, Seventh Squad, my squad, “showboated”. We stomped our left boots in an emphatic statement to hear the echo coming off the adjacent buildings.
Our Company Commander rushed into the street yelling, RPOOOOOC! Halt your companyyyyy! Halt your companyyyyyy!”
After the Flying Breakdown maneuver, we were halted in mid-street by Our Company Commander’s frantic command. His next words were chillingly calm though: “Showboating huh?” Methodically swaggering around the entire company, our Company Commander laid out his set of instructions, “When you all get to the barracks, put the bunks back, to the walls.” Then, after slowly continuing his saunter and looking each recruit up and down, under the watchful eye of his superior officer, our Company Commander finally finished up by uttering his prophecy: “When I get there. (The barracks) I will. I will. I will. Start to see tiny puddles. Tiny puddles of sweat. On the floor.”
I took responsibility for the showboating boot stomps, but we all were instructed into the Company Commander’s patented “Twisted Sister” leg configuration. After some time had elapsed, my legs cramped up in this position and I finally blurted out to the Company Commander: “Sir! Thank your Sir for conditioning my mind, body and soul Sir! Sir! Seaman Recruit Enoch requests permission to recover, Sir!” “Why is that Seaman Recruit Enoch?!” “Sir! My legs are cramping, Sir!” Permission was granted for the entire company.
Further memories of the boot camp chapter of my life also include, “Hell Week”, which was a week of special assignments. I remember the fellow recruit, who was “Captain of Scullery One”, a huge dishwashing operation, being sent to “Deep Sink”. This place was a real dungeon of noisy pots and pans; a place all recruits dreaded to end up. This recruit named me “Captain of Scullery One” just before he was sentenced to Deep Sink for his not keeping up with the pace of incoming meal trays. I remember crying to the Mess Hall Petty Officer about not able to keep up with the meal tray washing because I didn’t have enough men. I remember the Petty Officer’s command, “get back in there and handle your business!” I remember the sweet difference in the scene when I was finally supplied more men. I even had time to train a recruit how to mop the scullery floor without walking over his work.
I remember how our pant legs somewhat stiffened from the frozen dishwater on our dungarees while marching back to our barracks after dishwashing duty on a sub-freezing night.
I remember earning the wearing of the “white belt” and the leg spats, something I had worn dyed black in the 1985 Austin, Texas “Club Iguana” scene. “Club Iguana” was the New Wave elusive club that patrons followed to different venues each night of the week except Saturdays. The Saturday night club scene consisted of the clubs “OZ”, “Cave Club” and “Planet Nine”.
I remember, upon graduating boot camp, my Company Commander handing me orders to a naval school for Ship Store Keeper. I originally went into the Navy with no orders. He meritoriously advanced me from Seaman Recruit to Seaman Apprentice. He awarded me, as I was told, the best orders in the Navy: A big ship based out of Almeda Ship Yard, the oiler and replinisher, AOR Kansas City. A calm ocean, the Pacific. Supplying highly appreciative Sailors everything they needed to remain at sea. Everyting from food and Barber’s razors to fuel and ship parts. Everything.
My orders were good, maybe too good. I ended up losing my orders over an alcohol related incident after graduation from Store Keeper School in Meridian, Mississippi in 1987. The class ran out of beer. We all chipped in for another keg. The Petty Officer in charge told us no more alcohol. He said, “for so few people to consume so much alcohol in so little time, does not make sense. No. I will not buy more alcohol.”
A couple of other graduates and I caused a scene and two of us were eventually scheduled to face a Captain’s Mast. I went downhill fast. I went Unauthorized Absence by traveling to Los Angeles, California.
By the time I arrived back in Meridian, I faced three charges at Captain’s Mast. This first Captain’s Mast for me was conducted, not at the Naval Technical Training Command where I was stationed, but at Naval Air Station Meridian (NAS Meridian). The NAS Meridian Captain knocked me back a pay grade and awarded me thirty days time in restriction. I broke restriction on numerous occasions and had to face an Executive Officer’s Mast. Same story after that.
I finally had to face another Captain’s Mast. This time, the Presiding Officer at the Mast was Commander O’Malley, the female NTTC Meridian Base Commander I said disrespectful things about during the drunken graduation day incident. I brought thirteen charges with me to this final Mast. Commander O’Malley told me she would initiate proceedings to discharge me from the United States Navy that day. I received a fine and forty-five days in restrictive quarters. While I awaited discharge I was held in restrictive quarters. It was within these quarters where I penned the following rap song:
“When I wake up in da moning I eat at da galley; It’s just about as bad as eatin’ *** O’Malley. See, she takes ya money, Homeboy, she wastes yo time; I’d rather be a Boatswain’s Mate out tendin’ moorin’ lines.
Ya see ma ship came in, but, I didn’t float; she took away my orders, made me miss ma boat. She said fotey-five days should set you right. I said three days bread and water cause I lost my appetite. She said no, you’re hosed, just give me a bl*w. I said den tho dat fotey-five and fotey-five mo.
She said you aint got much, but, da way it looks, ya just got logged in ma history books; cause in all da years of my career, I’ve never seen a case like dis one here. You’re his-tor-y in my Nav-y, cause you rocked my base wit your sto-ry.
I said ‘yo maam wit all due respect, you a d***, dat’s right, but you aint a man yet. She said that’s enough, I’m kickin’ you out. I said yes maam, hot **** and did my About.” (About Face maneuver involves placing the toe of the right shoe behind the left heel, then, with the left shoe toe slightly elevated, the person spins the entire body clockwise in a 180 degree turn. When complete, both heels almost touch each other and the shoe toes point away from each other at 45 degree angles.)
Upon discharge in May of 1987, I moved back in with Mama and Daddy out on the farm on the outskirts of Hallettsville, Texas. I was twenty-six years old. Too old and too wild to be living with devout Jehovah’s Witness parents. It wasn’t long before I moved into a place of my own, in town. It wasn’t too long before shattered windows, equally wild guests and a police search of my home which landed me in jail, made me realize I had outgrown tiny Hallettsville.
After eight hours on a scooter on the winter day of December 31, 1987, I made my way back to party central, Austin, Texas just before midnight. It took eight hours at an average speed of 30 mph and following the scooter’s owner’s manual recommendation for frequent stops to allow the scooter’s engine to cool. This time, I brought more than during my first stay in Austin. I now brought experience.
I headed straight for the club scene district, believing I would run into my cousin John. I didn’t run into John that first night or the next several nights. I ended up parking my scooter at Salvation Army the first night back in Austin and became another of Austin’s homeless.
It was rock bottom for me. I needed work and a better place to stay than Sally’s, the homeless’ term for Salvation Army. I found both in a men’s shelter called “Bunk Haus”. On one of my first nights there I met Virgil. Virgil was Bunk Haus’s “P T Barnum” of Marijuana sales. He also had a tremendous work ethic. His hustle was simple: “Never make a blank of a day to make money.” Virgil would sell weed, chase a garbage truck as his day job, sell bunk (fake) drugs on Sixth Street at night, “pop corn” (scam) at churches and the whole time, he’d live life as large as could be while being homeless. Virgil became my mentor in hustling, surviving, living large and in surviving a life on the streets. Virgil did what was right, according to the street, no matter who said what. I respected this about him. I was more of a snake in the grass at the time.
Virgil, Ricky and I moved out of the Bunk Haus and into the Kensington Apartments on Manor Road in Austin in the Summer of 1988. During the time period of Summer of 1988 through the Summer of 1990, I would be jailed more times than at any other times in my life combined. My most common criminal charge was POCS (Possession Of Controlled Substance). I was never convicted of this crime because I only handled bunk (fake drugs). When caught with the bunk, I’d be held up to seventy-two hours until Texas Department of Public Safety lab tested what I was found with. Upon release, I was back doing the same thing. Virgil and our crew were so prevalent in the arena of “bunk” that Austin Police Department coined a phrase for us: “Bunk Artists”. Then, instead of arresting us any longer, Sargent Dahlstrom and crew would joke, “how’s business”. We’d respond something like, “still educating these college kids that nothing they find on these streets is real”. Eventually, Austin Police Department made it illegal to sell fake drugs. The charge was called “Delivery of a Simulated Controlled Substance.” I was never charged with DOSCS.
Virgil eventually crossed a line he and I set for each other concerning crack cocaine. While still staying at the Bunk Haus, we signed a pact stating we would never do crack. I found out Virgil had been doing crack in an empty apartment at the Kensington and I moved out of the Kensington and into a Victorian era rooming house in the Hyde Park section of Austin.
While living in Hyde Park, I felt compelled to “make a comeback” into the WTBTS. I also reconnected with a former girlfriend named Teresa. Teresa and I married on April 7th, 1990. Instantly, I was a husband, step-father and wannabe Jehovah’s Witness.
Teresa, Erica and I eventually moved out of Hyde Park and into the Dove Springs section of Austin. There we seem to thrive in family, new business and religion. It wasn’t long before I started on the road of adultery, alcohol, excessive marijuana abuse and family neglect that I would let ruin the William E. Enoch, Sr. Family.
Our business, named Pave-Tech Interlocking Paving, a brick paver installation service, was good enough to start buying a house, vehicles and a much, much better standard of living than Sally’s, Bunk Haus or Kensington. But, business felt old after four years and I thought I needed to do something less physical.
I was hired by Pavestone Company in February of 1996. While working there, my goal was to sell as many company products as possible. To accomplish this goal, I would produce and host Lunch and Learn Workshops to teach contractors how to efficiently install company products. Then, I would sell the contractors the right products for each project. 1996 was also a low point in my life: Mama passed away a week before my youngest child, Azsa, was born.
While working for Pavestone Company, I started something that I had never done before while married. I actually held a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex for more than one day. Before this turning point, I had sex with prostitutes. I finally reached the point of having an actual affair.
Even though my daughter, Aspen, and son Will, saw this mistress, I continued on my course of family ruin. I continued the deception, primo (crack mixed with marijuana) smoking, hanging with new “friends” instead of my family and general overall immature and irresponsible behavior.
Everything came to a head when Teresa discovered some of these unsavory things I was involved in. She pleaded with me to move the family away from the Austin environment, even to Houston, Texas. My response was “no, this is who I am and this is who I will always be.” Teresa contacted the elders of the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses to try to reason with me. I proudly told them the same. “This is who I am and this is who I will always be”. I was soon disfellowshipped from the WTBTS.
The final straw came in the marriage when I admitted to Teresa that I had been cheating since day one of our marriage.
I moved out of our family home and into a rooming house, where I promptly got involved in a sexual assault charge. I was exonerated by a video which I asked a neighbor to film of myself and the accuser engaged in consensual sexual acts. Teresa unwittingly viewed the video while rummaging through my luggage I left in my van which I parked at our family home. It was Teresa who told Austin Police Department about the video. My van was parked at our family home because I was kicked out of the rooming house for being to noisy. I was briefly living out of my van.
Teresa filed for divorce in 2001. That same year I made attempts to reconcile with the WTBTS, but without sincerity.
In June of 2001, I met Beverly LaTrease Troupe. I was dropping off a co-worker and he and I had been smoking weed (marijuana). From a distance of about three blocks, I saw the woman, who turned out to be Beverly, walking. I thought she was naked, but as I approached, her brown clothing and brown skin proved me to be wrong. That day started my pursuit of getting to know Beverly.
Beverly and I did not hit it off by any means at the start. I attempted to force her out of my apartment during her first visit there and she responded, “if you don’t take your hands off me I’m gonna bite you”.
Beverly and I eventually married. Our marriage lasted just one year. Contributing to the demise of our relationship was my neglect of her by choosing “friends” and marijuana first and her second. Beverly responded by confiding in “male friends”. I attempted adultery once during this marriage. The sexual act was initiated, but, not completed. I did commit adultery within my heart though.
I asked Beverly if this is the way it’s gonna be, the male friends. Beverly assured me she would always have male friends. What bothered me about this is that Beverly knew these men desired her, yet she stayed in their presence.
Upon receiving confirmation from Beverly that she would always have male friends, I wrote Beverly a letter of divorce. When I found the letter torn up and in the dumpster, I formally filed for divorce, after just one year of marriage. After the divorce, Beverly and I remained amicable in our relationship.
In April of 2004, I stole a TV and electronic game from the storage room of the apartment complex where I worked and lived. Management told me to move out of the apartment complex after collecting the items. I packed a duffel bag and took a bus to Houston, Texas to be closer to my Children.
It was in Houston, Texas, where I first learned what love is. This is really where my testimony begins.
From a Houston, Texas Metro Transit bus stop, I was directed to a men’s dormitory named Krash Kabin. This handy facility was located in Fifth Ward section of Houston, at the corner of Elysian and Collingsworth. Here, I prayed over and over to feel better. When I finished praying and, if I still felt bad, I prayed again.
I rode Metro Transit from Krash Kabin to downtown Houston Public Library to search for jobs on the computers there. I reflected on Houston companies I was familiar with when I worked for Pavestone Company in Austin, Texas. I googled Moreno and Associates, a hardscape installation company. After obtaining this company’s phone number, I called Oscar Moreno. Oscar wasn’t hiring, but he told me I could come in for a visit.
After catching one bus and a transfer to another, I showed up at Moreno and Associates located on Ashford Point Drive in Alief section of Houston on a May morning in 2004. Oscar Moreno welcomed me into his office and introduced me to his superintendent, Anna. It was Anna who stepped into the conversation later and laid it on the line: “We don’t need you. The only reason we’re gonna give you a chance is because you’re like family. You’re in the paver business. You’ll need to be here every day at six in the morning though. The first day you’re not here by six, then, you no longer work for us.”
After the interview, Anna gave me a ride to downtown Houston, handed me an unasked for $20 bill and told me to “pay it forward”.
Sitting on my bunk back at Krash Kabin, I contemplated the challenge before me. Get to work by six in the morning or no job. I called Metro Transit to verify the early morning bus schedule. No good. Two buses from Fifth Ward, northeast of downtown Houston, Texas, to Alief, far southwest Houston, would put me at the Moreno and Associates office at 6:39 am. Reflecting on Anna’s deadline of 6 am, I couldn’t afford to be late.
After reading the “No Refunds” sign at the Krash Kabin office window, I tested the heart of the attendant in an attempt to get some of my $45 back which I paid in advance for a week’s rent. That wasn’t happening with “Conehead”, as he was known by the residents. The next decision would change my life.
I savored the last worth of my prematurely paid and non-refundable rent money by showering, watching TV and sitting on my bunk. Just after 9pm, I had gathered all my worldly possessions back into my duffel bag, said goodbye to Krash Kabin staff, and stepped onto Bus #1 heading downtown.
My next bus was #25 Richmond/Mission Bend. I came to learn that I would depend much upon this particular bus route.
I set foot off Metro Transit directly in front of Moreno and Associates just before midnight. I dropped the duffel bag beside the office, then, scouted my new domain. I walked North, East, South and West. I eyed a bridge overpass under construction, the Westpark Tollway. This bridge overpassed Synott Rd. After walking back to Moreno and Associates office for my duffel bag, I returned to the bridge. Upon arrival, I favorited the east side of the bridge, third beam from the south and settled in.
This was a totally new experience to me. Just myself, in a huge city, under a bridge. This is where Father got my attention. That first night under the bridge, I prayed for protection. I looked from under that bridge to the south and west. All so unfamiliar. I actually felt somewhat scared, excited, then more scared. I prayed again for protection. Then things started to click in my mind. Do I even have faith that Father would answer my prayer? Then I prayed for help with my faith.
I awakened early, long before six am. So, I grabbed my duffel bag, walked the two blocks to the office and finished my sleep on the door step of Moreno and Associates. I was determined not to be late and lose this opportunity.
Over the next several nights under that bridge, I detoxed and reflected on my situation. I believed that Father answered my prayer for protection that first night. I then reasoned, why would He even hear the prayer of an adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, law-breaker, weed smoker and deceiver. I reckoned that my discipline could’ve been more harsh. I reasoned that God was actually disciplining me according to who I am. He set me down, under a bridge and allowed me to get to know Him. Now that is love. This is when I first began to learn what love is. I meditated on Father’s example of perfect love. I began to repent of my past wicked deeds and just thanked Him over and over.
While living under the bridge, I used a marker to scrawl the words of the following poem:
“When I wake up in the morning my day starts with prayer; thanking Jehovah God for filling my lungs with air. Thanking Jehovah God for His protection through the night; thanking Jehovah God for keeping my Children in His sight.”
There was a Bible in my duffel bag. I tore it in half, put the first half back into the bag and read the second half starting with the book of Matthew. I carried half the Bible in my back pants pocket when I wasn’t reading it. I am continuously reading the Bible every day.
I currently don’t pray for help with my faith, as I have learned, Father will certainly allow my faith to be strengthened through various tests. I simply thank Him in Jesus’ Name for supplying all my needs. He is all I need.
I was determined to hold onto the job at Moreno and Associates. After cashing my first pay check, I walked into the office of the apartments located across the street from my place of employment and adjacent to “The Bridge”. A relative, who knew my family in Hallettsville, Texas, was on staff at the apartments. Between Father’s Grace, an apartment move in special and my relative pulling some strings, I was approved to move in there.
Now I had a start to stability. I had priorities to work through: walk across the street to work five days a week, visit with my children, pay my child support and get back into the WTBTS. I also found a way to lose my job at Moreno and Associates. One Monday, I did miss Ana’s deadline. I had spent the weekend in Austin, Texas and thought I would try living there again. Within one week though, I returned to Houston.
During the four months I lived at the Houston apartment, only two visitors entered my apartment. Charles Ayonye was the name of the one who turned out to be a good friend. Charles was a devout Catholic who attended the Catholic Church across the street from the apartment and across a huge vacant lot west of Moreno and Associates. Charles would also occasionally attend a different church, the House of Power and Praise, about a 15 minute walk to the west of my apartment. HOPP was loated on Hwy. 6 in far west Houston.
Charles was the friend who introduced me to the pastors of House of Power and Praise. It was Charles, who one day, recognized the wide wildness in my eyes and gibberish talk of my making him my power of attorney, as a sign of my needing spiritual help. Charles walked me over to the House of Power and Praise that afternoon to meet with a pastor. I cried to the pastor, “I refuse to go back to serving Satan”. He told me an election was taking place. I had no clue he was talking about my choice in who to worship. I really thought he was talking about some upcoming political election.
Not long after speaking the words, “I refuse to go back to serving Satan”, I lost my mind. I thought Armageddon had arrived. I thought I had to be in a Kingdom Hall. I rushed onto a Kingdom Hall platform and threw myself on stage and sobbed, “take me back, take me back”. I was marching all over the area thinking I was starting the great war of the last days. Once, I was denied access into a Kingdom Hall by three Jehovah’s Witness men, an Elder and two Ministerial Servants. My battle cry was “Jesus Jehovah” and I repeated that cry until the three backed me up to the street and threatened to call the police. I left the property feeling I let Jesus down by not staying until the police arrived. I also felt like I missed out on the rapture. (Please note, the rapture doctrine is not taught by WTBTS and I never believed in it. Due to my psychosis, I don’t know why I even thought of the rapture or why I thought I missed it.)
On September 1st, 2004, the apartment manager locked me out of my apartment for non-payment. I walked the streets and lost touch with reality. I honestly didn’t know if I was walking dead or alive. I thought Armageddon had come and gone and the resurrected people needed my body. I was lost. I tried to cast my spirit into birds just to fly away and give up my body to a newly resurrected person. (This thought of casting my spirit into birds and giving up my body to a newly resurrected person is not teaching of WTBTS. These troublesome thoughts were a product of my psychosis at the time.)
Eventually, I entered Buffalo Bayou under the Dairy Ashford Street bridge to give up my body to any of the resurrected ones who may have needed it. Then I could release my spirit. While under the waters, I looked up and said, “Father, help me please”. By Father’s Grace, I came up from the waters and entered a park which I thought was “paradise”.
I thought it strange to see a police officer in paradise, so, I asked him if he was a real cop. The officer and I engaged in conversation and he asked me about my family. I told him Mama was dead. He asked me what would I say if he told me Mama is alive. Those words were enough to confirmed to me that I was in paradise and Mama had been resurrected. I was uncontrollably happy and could hardly be contained by the officer who was pulling my shirt to hold me back.
I ended up at Harris County Hospital District in the Medical Center section of Houston, across the street from the Zoo in Herman Park. The nurse on duty told me I could not leave the hospital until I urinated. She asked me if I wanted a bed pan or a catheter. To this day, I do not know why I asked for a catheter.
Upon hearing my answer, the officer from the park, who called the ambulance to bring me to the hospital, signed off on a clipboard, gave me a mysterious thumbs up and left the area. I was immediately admitted into psyche ward.
It was years later when I reviewed my psyche ward discharge paperwork, with a healed mind, that I realized the length of my stay in psyche ward was seven days. The whole time I was a patient there, I thought the date was September first.
Charles Ayonye set up a place for me to stay upon my discharge from psyche ward. He would reply, “thank God”, whenever I thanked him for things he did for me. Thanking Father has become the center of my communication with Him to this day.
I resumed Bible reading after my discharge and started to realize I didn’t need to be a member of WTBTS to have a close personal relationship with Father. I began to accept that my repentance to Father was what counted. I began to accept that Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins of people like me. I believed I needed Jesus’ Blood the most.
After a couple of weeks in that September of being hosted in a home in Alief section of Houston, I carried my duffel bag back to Krash Kabin in Fifth Ward section of Houston. While there, I was able to pick up work at temporary services until I landed a job as Pool Cleaner.
Beverly still lived in Austin. She and I would email each other and sometimes talk by phone. I visited Beverly around December 25, 2004 and a reconciliation appeared possible. Then, on December 31st, Beverly arrived in Houston to stay. That same day, I located a rooming house near Avenue C and Wayside Street. The rooming house’s condition left much to be desired. Beverly and I prayed to be out of there within two months.
On March 3rd, 2005, Beverly and I leased an apartment in the Galleria section of Houston. We soon began a Church Home search on some Sundays. We discerned what appeared to us to be a “fakeness” present wherever we attended. None of these religious organizations met our hopes. We continued to read the Bible on our own and prayed for understanding. We prayed a lot together. We tried to apply what we were learning as much as we could.
Eventually, Beverly and I agreed since neither of us had relationships with the opposite sex during the span of our divorce from each other, and the divorce filing was not based on grounds of adultery, we could still be husband and wife. We made our commitment to each other official with a marriage covenant on June 16, 2007.
Tests continued to creep in both our lives. I had lived a non-toxic lifestyle from May of 2004 until I found some marijuana in the apartment parking lot in 2009. I smoked it and began a spiral back to binge smoking on a regular basis. My theory was, since I didn’t want to smoke anymore, then, each time I did smoke, I needed to smoke all the marijuana completely to leave none for another day.
Beverly observed my smoking technique and the way I’d smoke non-stop. On one particular day I wasn’t aware she was watching me. She told me just then, “I’ve been watching you and I finally figured out what you are. You are a junkie.” I was speechless. I couldn’t even say that’s what I used to be, when I was still bingeing on marijuana smoke.
Somewhere along the way I began to feel an intoxication that made me feel dirty in the presence of Father when I smoked marijuana. Also, breaking Cesar’s law made me feel hypocritical in setting a bad example for Beverly. By the Grace of Father and my choice, I am currently experiencing a smoke free season.
I have come to realize that Father is all I need. He handles my needs and His Grace is sufficient for me. Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit are my life and Beverly is Second to These. Beverly is my Number One on this physical planet however.
I have come to realize because of Father’s Grace I have hope of salvation apart from the WTBTS and organized religion.
Nobody can come to Father other than through Jesus. Nobody can come to Jesus unless Father draws them. Father drew me to Jesus, not the WTBTS, an Earthly Pastor or organized religion. Father is all I need.
My goal is to continue living as Father is all I need, reading, understanding and applying Bible principles in my life, being an encourager to Beverly, promoting the reading of the Bible and sharing my testimony with anyone who will listen.
Thanks for making time to learn of Father’s Grace for me through my testimony. To Father be the Glory, Praise and Thankfulness. Thanks be to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.