Copyright 2023, Santa Max Experience, LLC.
Recommitment at 12
A Christian Psychologist was visiting Hong Kong on a lecture tour, Dr. Clyde Narramore, and my dad took me to hear his lecture. Dad was very clever about it, and told me he was going to hear this psychologist from America tomorrow, and no kids were allowed. Then he said, “If you want to come with me, you will miss a day of school, and you must be very still and quiet.” That’s all I needed to hear, “kids were not allowed” and “I’d miss school,” heck yeah, I wanted to go! What I didn’t know at the time was that this had already been set up. I was “predestined” to go, it only appeared to me I had made a “free choice”.
After the lecture, dad and I made our way to the front to meet Dr. Narramore, and to my surprise, he invited us to lunch. Dad quickly had an excuse of a prior engagement. “In that case,” Dr. Narramore replied, “Why don’t you go do your meeting, and your son and I will be having lunch at (nearby) restaurant. You come and join us as soon as you can.” To my delight, dad agreed.
As lunch progressed Dr. Narramore probed me with questions about my life as a MK in Hong Kong. He was never shocked by what I said, listened intently appropriately asking follow-up questions. He never judged or reprimanded me. I felt I had found a friend indeed, and I opened up and told him everything; about my gang affiliation, school fights, and all the violence I had become involved with. When my dad arrived about an hour later, Dr. Narramore looked at him and asked in a scolding tone, “Do you love your child?” and before dad could answer he asked it again, not waiting for a response, he then followed it with “This child does NOT go back to school tomorrow, he has nothing in his locker or desk he needs, yesterday was his last day there! You must get him out of this environment NOW! Because if you don’t, he will in the near future, die in a Chinese jail!” Thankfully, my disciplinarian father took heed, listened and followed his advice and I was soon on my way to Morrison Academy, a Christian boarding school in Taichung, Taiwan. That is where my life permanently changed and healing took place.Taichung, located in the middle part of Taiwan, was as different as night from day from the city life I had existed in while in Hong Kong. I discovered it was ok to be an American, these Chinese loved Americans and America. Sunday church attendance was mandatory, but my walls were strong and fortified against any sermon. During the year a basketball team came to visit our school and play against the staff and teachers. They played a style similar to the Harlem Globetrotters. They were so entertaining and I laughed and laughed at their antics. My guard was down and at halftime one of the players spoke. He was funny! I don’t remember when it wasn’t funny or when it got serious. I don’t know how the message evolved, but that day, during halftime, I said “Yes!” to God. My attitude and heart changed instantly. That night, for the first time since leaving the States, I actually longed to be with my parents, tell them how sorry I was and that I loved them. I wanted to return and pour love into the very street gang members I use to fight.
When that semester ended, I returned to Hong Kong, and became a missionary in my own right. I now had a love for the poor, the refugees, the boat people on their junks and sampans, the Hakkai farmers with their traditional black attire, the outcast and even worked with the heroin addicts in the infamous Walled City of Kowloon. When I returned to the States in October of ‘69, many of the addicts came to see me off. As we said our goodbyes one of them referred to me as a “chicken egg”. I wasn’t too impressed with this nickname and asked him how I got such a name. He smiled, placed his dry wrinkled hand on my face and in broken English said; “likey egg, you white outside, (then placing his hand over his heart,) you heart…yellow. You love ah Chinese people. You Chinese!” and with tear filled eyes, said, “no forget us in big Amewica.” And I never have!