FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK CHAPTER 9 AN INVITATION TO OPENNESS page 194

Published November 3, 2019

FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK
CHAPTER 9
AN INVITATION TO OPENNESS page 194

During the summer of 1968, almost everything I did was golden.
The kitchen ran smoothly and the mission staff looked to me for
direction. My contributions allowed Martin Brett and Brother John-
son time to work on other projects. These projects included counting
mission donations and evangelizing. My ministry reflected my role
in the mission as the chief cook, organist, preacher, and teacher.

I was thankful for the changes that occurred in my life. Two years
earlier, I was an angry, frustrated, selfish, deceitful, seventeen-year-
old Marine Corps recruit. I wanted to return to the marines, accept
my punishment, and (if possible) complete my enlistment. However,
my pride demanded that everything occur on my schedule.

That was my world when Brother McCue entered it. I noticed
him in the audience for two consecutive nights when I preached.
McCue was a large, white man with a bald head and deep-set, penetrating
eyes. With his erect posture and almost placid facial expression,
he appeared out of place among the usual bent and broken men
in line for soup. I fought my fear of making eye contact with him,
because it occurred to me that he might be a government agent
searching for fugitives like me.

My preaching became more spiritual and less biblical. I was
inspired (without notes) to illuminate a Bible verse in metaphysical
terms in order to illustrate the point. My new understanding flowed
like a wellspring from within me. The bleary-eyed, blank faces—
who came to life only when we sang the old, familiar hymns—chal-
lenged me to impart a nugget of truth. My goal was to help them
want to make real changes in their lives.

My fears relaxed when a bald stranger appeared with Brother
Johnson the following evening. He came forward during the “altar
call” and appeared to be considering a resident position at the mis
sion. Sure enough, he spent the night and took a seat at the morning
devotions. Newcomers weren’t required to speak. Consequently, he
remained silent, as a few of us spoke or read a Bible passage. I was
slightly relieved to see him. I didn’t believe that a fugitive-hunting
government agent would go so far as to join a skid-row mission to
catch a suspected fugitive!

Hear The Author Show interview with William L. Ingram about writing FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK: