There are other stories I heard from Dad but I’ll relate those at another time. For now I want to skip to when Dad was 19, still living at home and turning his paycheck over to his dad. Grandpa had told Dad that if he ever ran away from home, the next time he saw him he would kill him so it was with a bit of fear that while they were then living in Winston-Salem, NC Dad “ran away from home” back to his hometown of Greenville, SC. I want to treat this time and subject with sensitivity but growing up in the South in the early ‘30s and Dad’s escape into the world of movies and Hollywood, he would tell people that he ran away from home to follow his dream to be a “Black-Face comedian” so he got good at telling jokes, singing and playing a ukulele at parties. The other preoccupation at 19 was looking for pretty girls so it was as he heard that at the Greenville Tremont Avenue Church of God there were pretty girls attending youth services he found himself one night that changed forever the trajectory of his life. God had set an appointment for him which Dad kept and that night instead of finding a pretty girl to date he began the greatest relationship of his life, he knelt at a sinner’s altar and rose a saint saved by Grace!
Soon after that as he stayed with an uncle out in the country, praying out behind the barn one day God called him to ministry. He tried to tell the Lord he was ill prepared with only a 4th grade education but finally as the calling was so pressing he said yes. Then the Lord said He wanted him to go to India to share the Gospel with those that had not heard and again he tried to beg off but relented when the Lord assured him that He would go with him, be with him all the way. (At some point he learned that his mother had felt a call to India but he didn’t share much more than that.)