(c) By The Family of Love, March, 1978, C.P. 748,00100 Rome, Italia.
1. (MARIA: DID YOU EVER HEAR OF THE TIME DAD DIED AND SAT UP HALFWAY OUT OF HIS BODY and half way in his body and Dr. Koger came?) I've told that story so many times! You know‚ I didn't realise we never put that in a Letter. Well, I really should tell the background of the story and why it happened.
2. DR. KOGER WAS A VERY PROMINENT MAN, A MIAMI PHYSICIAN, very wealthy as well. He had a gorgeous home in Coral Gables and I think he was very much in love with my mother, certainly a great admirer of hers at least. She won him to the Lord and he became Chairman of the Board of her big church.
3. HE'S THE ONE I'VE TOLD YOU ABOUT SO MANY TIMES HOW AFTER HE GOT SAVED HE VIRTUALLY ABANDONED MEDICINE, although he was a graduate M.D., and he went to naturopathy and more healthful diet‚ herbs and stuff like that. That's who I learned so much from along that line. He was a great health fiend and an authority on all kinds of herbs and natural health foods and so on.
4. AFTER HE GOT SAVED, INSTEAD OF WRITING PRESCRIPTIONS FOR MEDICINES, HE WOULD WRITE SCRIPTURE VERSES on the prescription blanks. He knew good and well the medicines weren't going to do them any good anyway.
5. SO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH THREATENED TO FIRE HIM and take away his credentials. They said he was not practicing proper medicine. Some of his patients complained, can you imagine, because instead of giving them a prescription he gave them a Scripture verse!
6. HE SAID, "WELL‚ THE MEDICINE WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD and this verse will do you a lot more good!" So they had him up before the Health Board and were going to retire him. But when he came for the hearing, the foyer and the steps and the lobby of the courthouse were packed with thousand of people protesting his being fired!
7. THEY GAVE UP THE WHOLE CASE BECAUSE THE PEOPLE LOVED HIM SO MUCH. The people really loved him‚ especially the poor. He had his private practice amongst the rich in Miami Beach and the Islands and environs, but he devoted part of his time to practicing right down in coloured town with poor people, which he did for free.
8. HE WAS ABOUT AS NEAR TO BEING A SAINT AS ANY PERSON I THINK I EVER KNEW: What I'd call a real saint‚ a very good man, always unselfish, sacrificial, thinking of others, always witnessing, always winning souls.
9. HE'D HARDLY EVER COME TO SEE US ANY DAY THAT HE HADN'T ALREADY WITNESSED TO SOMEBODY or won a soul to the Lord, personal evangelism. This was before that sort of thing was even very well known, or very well pushed by the churches.—Personal evangelism was almost unheard of‚ that's what you paid the preacher for! So anyway, he was a great man, a wonderful man‚ he just served others all the time and just burned himself out for love.
10. THE FUNNY THING ABOUT DR. KOGER, HE DIDN'T HAVE TO BE IN HEAVEN TO BE ALL DRESSED IN WHITE—HE ALWAYS WAS!—Everything! Never wore a hat, but he always wore a white Palm Beach suit, white stockings, white shoes, white shirt—the only colour he had was this flowery tropical tie, he always wore these beautiful ties. Immaculate dresser, handsome‚ black wavy hair and the most gorgeous black mustache, really a fine-looking fellow as well as a fine fellow, and I really loved him.
11. AFTER MY FATHER LEFT MY MOTHER AND WENT TO CALIFORNIA TO LIVE WITH HIS SISTER, HE WAS PRACTICALLY A FATHER TO ME‚ and a good father. I was a young teenager, 9th grade, and he was very good in his handling of a difficult young teenager. I wasn't too difficult I guess.
12. ANYWAY‚ SOMETIMES HE DIDN'T THINK I TREATED MY MOTHER LIKE I SHOULD‚ because he was so respectful of her, and I would argue or disagree with her. And the worst thing he would do—
13. HE NEVER LAID A FINGER ON ME, BUT HE WOULD JUST CRY, and oh me, that would break my heart! If I'd say something sharp to my mother or do something wrong, I'd look over at him and there would be the tears. He was so tenderhearted!
14. I THINK MY MOTHER REALLY LOVED HIM TOO. But of course they weren't as free in those days as we are today, although he used to come see her everyday. He used to give her massages every night.
15. SO THEN WE LEFT MIAMI TO GO TO CALIFORNIA so I could continue my education. I don't know what for, but people seemed to think you needed an education in those days and Miami didn't have much to offer then.
16. AND HE DIED OF A BROKEN HEART ABOUT A YEAR AFTER WE LEFT—that's what my uncle said anyway. He had coronary thrombosis, and died of a heart attack. I'm giving you the whole background.—Why he was so important and why he was so dear to us and why he should be the one who came for me.
17. SO I FINISHED MY HIGH SCHOOL AND THEN TRAVELLED WITH MY MOTHER for several years in evangelistic work, got married, and started having children. When the third one was coming, my mother said, "No more evangelistic work for you! You can't haul a whole bunch of little kids around on the road!"
18. SO I WENT BACK TO COLLEGE, AND SOON GOT MY FIRST LITTLE MISSIONARY PASTORATE out in the middle of the Arizona desert and built that church from which they threw me out. Then I went to schoolteaching for about 3 years and finally we got into the Soul Clinic with Fred Jordan.
19. BY THIS TIME EVE HAD GOTTEN THE KIDS ORGANISED AND SINGING and playing their little ukuleles and all. They were really performing and were quite a hit on the streets and in restaurants or wherever they went.
20. MY MOTHER WAS JUST ASTONISHED, after she'd thrown us out for having so many kids! But now she saw what an attraction they would be in some of her meetings. So she promptly invited us to join her for her next meeting in New Kensington‚ Pennsylvania.
21. AT THE END OF THE MEETING IN OCTOBER‚ 1953, I WAS PRAYING WHETHER WE SHOULD GO WITH MOTHER TO MIAMI. She said, "Come on, we'll take a month off, a vacation, and we'll have a meeting in December. We'll take a month off down there and renew old friends."
22. IT SOUNDED GOOD. I always loved Miami and the beach and swimming, and the kids were crazy about it and were raring and ready to go. But I always wanted to make sure I was in the Lord's will. So I had been praying for the Lord's will and went to sleep.
23. IT WAS THE CLOSING NIGHT OF THE MEETING AND NOW WE REALLY HAD TO MAKE OUR DECISION, whether we were going to go with my mother for another meeting in Florida or not. And going back to church for just this one meeting got me so sick of the churches that I really didn't feel like it!—And to go to Miami‚ that's one of the hardest fields in the whole world!
24. BUT THAT NIGHT, DURING THE NIGHT‚ I HAD THIS DREAM. I realise now that I apparently was getting revelations then but I didn't really understand it. But I had this dream and I knew it was from the Lord.
25. THE LORD SHOWED ME THAT WE SHOULD GO WITH MY MOTHER and hold the meeting, but then He wanted me to establish a Soul Clinic Missionary School there, to send missionaries to the Caribbean and the Latin American countries from there. It just all unfolded beautifully!
26. MIAMI WAS AN IDEAL PLACE FOR A MISSIONARY BASE FOR THE CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA. It was the gateway to Latin America. The Lord showed me that it would be the ideal place to have a Soul Clinic School to train missionaries. It was a beautiful dream, just like a picture!
27. BUT THEN I WOKE UP AND GOT TO THINKING ABOUT IT. If you're really in tune with the Lord and you love the Lord and you're filled with the Spirit, and you're really seeking His will‚ usually your first reaction is the right one. God speaks first, then He lets the Devil talk to you to test your faith. And the minute I woke I got to thinking:
28. "LORD, THAT'S A GREAT IDEA! SOMEBODY REALLY OUGHT TO DO THAT, BUT YOU'VE GOT THE WRONG GUY! I don't know a thing about running a Soul Clinic School. I taught school but I never had the responsibility of promoting anything like that!
29. "IT TAKES MONEY‚ YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE BUILDINGS and you've got to have advertising. You've got to have a radio or TV show like Fred Jordan, or something, you know!" Jordan had the only Soul Clinic School there was then. So I said:
30. "LORD, TO GET THAT JOB DONE YOU OUGHT TO GET SOME REAL FLASHY KIND OF ENTERTAINMENT PERSONALITY. You need somebody like that to go down there and push it and promote it and maybe get the churches to support it!"—Which shows you how far behind the times I was then! When we finally went at it with nobody but God behind us and strictly by faith, the Lord never failed us. But I said,
31. "LORD, I DON'T KNOW A THING ABOUT THAT, I'M NOT THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB! I'm too shy and timid and I don't think I could ever run anything that big. Lord, I'm living in this 18-foot trailer, a family of six with four kids, how in the world could I ever have a school?
32. "WHERE AM I GOING TO GET THAT MUCH FAITH for enough money to run a school that would cost probably several thousand dollars a month? I'm doing well now if I make $100 a month or even get just my food!"
33. THE LORD TRIED TO ENCOURAGE ME, BUT I SAID, "NO, NO‚ I'LL TELL YOU WHAT I'LL DO LORD, I'LL WRITE FRED JORDAN to send his right hand man down there, he's just the man for the job. It's a great idea, I'll sell Fred on the idea‚ and I'll get them to do it. Fred can do it, he's got money, he can finance it, he can support it‚ and can promote it and he can advertise it and he can go down and rent the buildings and he can send the students and they can do the job.
34. "NOT ME, LORD, NOT ME! I KNOW MIAMI‚ I know what a tough town that is! I love it, it's a beautiful wonderful climate, my favourite place to live, I love the beaches and swimming" (I even loved the Jews in those days!), "but I don't want to get involved in that kind of thing down there.
35. "NO LORD, YOU GET SOMEBODY ELSE, NOT ME! I don't mind going down with my Mother for a meeting but I'm not going to try any big project like that, I am not the man for the job!" It was like that old Negro poem:
"De Lawd had a job fo' me
But I had so much to do
I said, 'You get somebody else,
Or wait till I get through!'
I don' know how de Lawd come out,
But He seemed to get along
But I felt kinda sneakin' like
'Cause I knowed I'd done Him wrong.
One day I needed de Lawd‚
And I needed Him right away!
But 'way down in my accusin' heart
I could hear Him say:
'I'm sorry‚ Boy, I's got too much to do!
You get somebody else
Or wait till I gets through!'
Now when de Lawd has a job fo' me
Ah never tries to shirk,
Ah lays down what I has on hand
An' I does de good Lawd's work!"
36. SO I ROLLED OVER AFTER I SAID NO TO GOD AND WENT TO SLEEP. Now I really don't know whether I dreamed it or whether it actually happened, but it was just as real to me as you sitting right there right this minute! I think maybe it really happened!
37. THE NEXT THING I KNEW I WAS SITTING UP IN BED, BUT MY BODY WAS LYING IN THE BED behind me! I was sitting half in it and half out of it, and my first feeling was "Ah‚ this is great! I feel light as a feather, I never felt so good! I don't feel heavy anymore!" I felt like I could just give a little shove and I'd just float right off! At first I felt great, then all of a sudden I thought!:
38. "IF I'M DEAD, THAT MEANS NOW I'VE GOT TO GO FACE THE LORD, AND I JUST SAID NO TO THE LORD!" And I mean that really scared me, thinking about facing the Lord, having just refused to do what He told me to do!
39. THAT ROOM WAS ONLY ABOUT 8 FEET LONG and I was sleeping in the corner of the room on a couch that you folded down to make a bed at night.
40. AND JUST THAT MINUTE IN THE OTHER CORNER OF THE ROOM STOOD DR. KOGER!—Just as plain as day! He still had his white suit on, not a white robe, and he looked just like he always looked, exactly! He was standing there in the room just as plain as day‚ just as plain as I can see you right now!
41. DR. KOGER LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE HE DID WHEN HE WAS IN HIS PRIME in the early days in Miami when I was a kid, when he was his most magnificent. He looked in his 40s, in his prime, not as I knew him at the time of his death when he had grown old and was in his 70s.Oh, he was handsome, so handsome!
42. AND HE WAS LOOKING AT ME WITH THAT LOOK, AND I JUST KNEW HE WAS GOING TO START TO CRY, like he was ashamed of me! He never had to say a word, he never said one word, but
43. I KNEW HAD COME TO GET ME! And he was taking me where I figured I was going to have to face the Lord and give an account of things! And right after saying no to the Lord I was really scared. He loved me‚ but I knew he was ashamed of me. He'd come for me to take me, but he was ashamed to!
44. AND I'LL TELL YOU‚ I THINK I NEVER FELT SO CHEAP IN MY WHOLE LIFE! I never felt so little and so mean and so horrible to think that I'd refused the Lord and now I had died and I had to go face the Lord!
45. IT WAS BAD ENOUGH TO FACE DR. KOGER, to me he was just like the next thing to God Himself, and to see him with that kind of reproachful sad expression on his face‚ like I'd really failed God. I never said words out loud but I was thinking‚
46. "OH MY GOD, LORD, I'M SORRY! LORD, IF ONLY THERE WAS SOME WAY I COULD GET BACK! If only I had another chance!"—Right away, just like that, I woke up instantly and I was lying in the bed just like I'd gone to sleep! I said, "Okay Lord, I'm on my way!"—And we left for Miami the next day!
47. OF ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE I KNEW‚ DR. KOGER WAS THE NEAREST AND DEAREST and closest relative, you might say, of anybody I knew, and that's who came for me! God couldn't have chosen anybody I knew better or loved more or would have felt more at ease with. Oh, one thing I forgot to tell you!:
48. AT FIRST I WAS SO SCARED‚ I thought, "Oh my God I'm dead and I've got to go face the Lord after telling Him no!"
49. THEN I SAW DR.KOGER!, My first feeling was, "Oh thank God, what a relief! Dr. Koger's come for me‚ so at least I know I'm headed for the right place!"
50. BUT WHEN I SAW THE EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE I thought, "Oh my! I think I'd almost rather go to Hell, I really do, than to have to go face the Lord now!"
51. I WAS SO ASHAMED! I understand now what that Scripture means: "And some shall awake to shame everlasting contempt!" (Dan.12:2.)
52. I'LL TELL YOU, I WOULD HAVE BEEN CERTAINLY ASHAMED AND FELT DESERVING CONTEMPT if I'd had to go face whoever the judge was right then‚ to give an account of myself right after I'd just said a flat no to the Lord! "No, I will not do it, it's too hard a job, I don't think I could do it."
53. WE TOOK OFF FOR MIAMI THE NEXT DAY!—Just living and travelling by faith and trusting the Lord. I think I left with $30 in my pocket, but by the time we got to Miami we had $300!
54. AND WE HAD OUR SCHOOL, THANK YOU LORD! We built it up to where we had a staff of ten, and forty students. And we sent 38 missionaries to seven different countries and helped all kinds of other missionaries coming through there, some of whose works are still going! Everything the Lord had showed me in that dream that night came true‚ the whole thing!
55. THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST SUPERNATURAL MIRACULOUS AMAZING SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES I EVER HAD! I DIED! So there it is! That's what happened and that's what Dr. Koger had to do with it. Dr. Koger practically scared me into it! The first time I ever met a real ghost‚ a genuine spook!—PTL!
56. HAVE YOU EVER MET A REAL GHOST? It's quite an experience! Tell us about it and we'll tell you more, God willing. God bless you!—Love,—Dad.