One day, shortly after undertaking the work in
Duarte, I received a phone call from Larry Burr, a representative of
World Vision, to meet with him at lunch. I knew World Vision was a
Christian organization that had started orphan work in Korea, but
little more than that. It seemed that Bob Pierce, World Vision’s
founder and president, also conducted evangelistic crusades like
those of Billy Graham, but only in the Far East. Such a crusade was
being planned for the whole month of May in Tokyo. World Vision was
seeking 100 Christian professionals who would spend one week in
Tokyo, relating to their counterparts in Japan, and who would also
underwrite 1/100th of the cost of the campaign. Would I be one of
these? Here I had just returned from our Pacific trip, had no leave
available from my company, and was still trying to catch up
financially from the cost of our trip. How could I possibly do it?
Recognizing that this might be my first real assignment from the Lord
Jesus Christ, after much thought and prayer I said I would do it, if
the Lord would make it possible.
The Lord did make it possible. Honeywell offered no objection to my taking eight days without pay. Somehow, the money for the airfare and the underwriting became available. So on May 2nd I found myself in a hotel in Tokyo with 24 other professionals, and the evangelistic team. Dick Halverson (later Chaplain of the Senate), was our leader, and we had a time of devotion with him each morning. We also had a chance to get acquainted with Bob Pierce, who was the evangelist for the crusade. Bob told us of the problem of getting an auditorium of adequate size in Tokyo — there was only one, the Meiji Auditorium (where Olympic games had been held). The city owned the auditorium, but when the mayor was approached, he said it would be up to the council to okay its use for religious purposes. There were two Communist Party members of the council who opposed it, and this was sufficient to deny permission. Two years earlier, World Vision had conducted a similar crusade in Osaka, Japan’s second city, and the mayor was so pleased he told Bob Pierce that if ever he wanted him to do him a favor, call on him. So Bob called Osaka’s mayor and explained the problem. The mayor promised to put the bee on Tokyo’s mayor for a political favor, which he did. Bob soon got permission to use the auditorium, and learned later how it came about. It seems that Kruschev had invited three members of the Tokyo city council to come to Moscow. The mayor said he would send the two Communist members if they would withdraw their objection — fait accompli!
Akio Sasaki was my interpreter when I had opportunities to converse with Japanese electronic professionals. He was to interpret for me on several other occasions in the years ahead.
Two incidents stand out in my mind about this crusade. On the first night, in spite of much publicity about the 100-piece orchestra and 500-voice choir (which Japanese really enjoy), the auditorium was only half full. Inquiry revealed that because reserved-seat tickets were given out, those who had no ticket thought they could not get in. So Bob arranged for 25,000 more tickets and leaflets to be printed, and on Tuesday each of us was to take 1,000 of them and give them out at some crowded place. I decided on Ueno train station, about 1/2 mile from our hotel, and thought I should walk there for the exercise. It took me two hours to reach the station! I walked up one street and down another while every conceivable reason why I should not do this came into my mind. Suddenly, I realized that Satan was trying to stop me — Satan, who I had previously thought did not even exist! Now I knew he did. As soon as this thought came, I went immediately to the station and passed out the whole 1,000 leaflets. Not one was thrown to the ground. Many people thanked me, and quite a few asked for more. What a blessing!
The second incident occurred on the first night of the crusade. We had been asked to pray that the Japanese would respond to the invitation to accept the Lord Jesus Christ. So I prayed for a Japanese man directly below me in the orchestra (I was in the balcony), and in a few seconds he got up and went forward! Great! So I started praying for the man who had been sitting next to the first man. He didn’t budge. I prayed all the time the invitation was being given, but he never did move. That taught me something about the sovereignty of God. It is God who moves the heart to respond to an invitation — not man. God wants us to pray to Him, but He decides how to answer.
I hadn’t been back in Los Angeles a week
before I received an invitation to join Collins Radio Company, which
was designing a computer for teletype network switching. Since I
wouldn’t move East, Honeywell reluctantly agreed to my leaving
immediately, so I had my workplace much closer to my home — 55
miles rather than 3,000. Since my paid 6-week vacation had been based
on my working at least three years, and I had completed slightly over
one year, I wrote to the division president offering to pay back what
I owed, on an installment basis. A few weeks later I got a letter
from him saying he had taken the matter up with the Honeywell board
of directors (who had approved the paid leave originally), and they
said I needn’t pay them anything. That is magnanimity!
Collins was a prestigious firm, as Art Collins, president and founder, was determined to be in the forefront of development in communications technology. I found that the engineers knew very little about computers, but insisted in developing their own nevertheless. I was reminded of an exploration party slugging their way through a jungle right beside a paved highway. They caught on quickly, however, and soon had a viable design in formation. I concentrated on providing the computer with the dual capability of switching teletype lines automatically and performing ordinary data processing functions at the same time. For the latter I suggested emulating the very popular IBM 1401 computer, which at the time had the widest distribution of any computer made. So I spent the next year designing and testing the emulation program.
I soon got tired of the 55-mile-each-way drive to Irvine, where Collins had their new plant, so we decided to move nearer. After several Saturdays of looking, we found a new house which had not yet been bought at 618 Laurinda Lane, in a development near the City of Orange, and acquired it on a 5-percent down payment. We only lived there nine months, because we found ourselves commuting back to church activities in North Hollywood twice on a Sunday and twice during the week, on the average, nearly as much as before, but now the whole family was traveling. One incident settled the matter for us. Mother and Dad had come for a visit, so we left them one evening to look after Mrs. Chapman, while the rest of the family went to the church for a social event. When we got home near midnight, we found Mrs. Chapman on the floor. She had fallen out of bed several hours before, and wasn’t able to make Mother or Dad hear her calls for help. She was terribly shaken up by the experience, and we didn’t want to subject her to another such.
Once again we went house hunting, and finally found a suitable house in Studio City, not far from the church. The owner was a pharmacist who had been invited to become a partner in a drug store in Sacramento. However, when he moved up there, he found he had been misrepresented and was only to be an employee, no better off than he had been in Studio City. Since his wife had been reluctant to leave the only home she had had in her married life, they decided they wanted their house back three days before closing to us. Those poor people had to pay several thousand dollars for the prepayment penalty on the mortgage and the full real estate commission, as well as our expenses to find another house. We located one at 14907 Hartsook Avenue in North Hollywood, just three blocks from our church, and moved back as soon as we could close. Although we put our Orange house on the market immediately, it was vacant for nearly a year, and then we had to rent it at less than its cost to maintain for nearly two more years, when we allowed the tenant to take over the mortgage.
One of the
saddest things that happened to me in my life was to experience a
split in our church. How can such a thing happen? Of course, it
doesn’t occur overnight. In our case it had been building up
for several years. The people I had been working with in the Sunday
School had come into our church from various backgrounds, very few of
whom were Presbyterian, which as I am sure most of you know, has its
roots in Scotland. Churches like the Roman Catholic Church, the
Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church, and to some extent the
Methodist church have church governments which are directed from the
top — they have bishops (or equivalent) and their clergy are
appointed to their local churches. Churches like the Baptists and the
Pentecostals are local in their government — each local church
decides its own beliefs and calls its own pastor. Presbyterian
churches are midway between these two extremes, just as our
government is midway between a monarchy and a true democracy (where
the people decide everything). Many of the people in our Presbyterian
church in North Hollywood were from Baptist and Pentecostal
backgrounds, and believed the individuals in the church should decide
what was right, rather than what the denomination prescribed. I’m
oversimplifying the situation to emphasize the differences of view
within our congregation. You may remember that at the beginning of
the sixties there was a hew and cry about communists in our society,
championed by Senator McCarthy and so-called right-wing groups like
the John Birch Society. This became a principal issue in the contest
between John Kennedy and Barry Goldwater for President in 1960. This
had its counterpart in church groups. We had a group of
non-Presbyterians in our congregation who were caught up in this
fervor, and who listened to some loud-mouthed people who said that
our Presbyterian denomination was apostate. They said even that our pastor,
Dr. Caldwell, had communist leanings. Some of the top people in the
Sunday School were in this group. Even our new assistant pastor
and his wife, Ralph and Georgia Lee Hoopes, were caught up in this
frenzy. As superintendent of the Sunday School, I was caught in the
middle, so to speak, as these folk resisted the use of the new
Presbyterian Sunday School curriculum in favor of the curriculum that
had long been in use, put out by Gospel Light Press. I did a detailed
study of the whole twelve years of each curriculum to show that the
Presbyterian curriculum was just as comprehensive in its coverage of
the Bible as the Gospel Light material, and was far better
distributed over age groups and Bible books than the other. This only
deepened their opposition, which surfaced in two areas. Without
previous warning, one-third of our 100 Sunday School teachers
submitted their resignations, effective immediately. I had four days
to find ways of covering more than thirty classes. Then these people
started to have meetings on their own, without the authority of the
session, and to distribute subversive literature, again without
clearing it with the church leadership. The session (including me)
met to deal with the matter, and decided to oust the ringleaders
before the church was destroyed. So these folks persuaded Ralph
Hoopes to become their minister and formed the Valley Presbyterian
Church — a strange name for people who had rejected
Presbyterianism and insisted on being an independent congregation. It
was a traumatic experience for me, as I felt that many of the people
with whom I had worked for four years had suddenly turned against me.
The wounds that action caused crippled the church, devastated Dr.
CaIdwell, and drove several of our close friends (Lew and Fran McCune
in particular) away from the fellowship. To make matters worse, one
of the defectors was a session member, Dick Ross, then president of
World Wide Pictures (the Billy Graham Motion Picture organization).
Another was the pastor’s wife, Georgia Lee Hoopes, the leading
lady in those films.
Before leaving Georgia Lee, let me tell you of a much more pleasant incident. Shortly after the first major New York crusade by the Billy Graham organization, a film embodying the crusade was released, with its premiere being held in the DAR Hall in Washington. I was East at the time, and invited Mother and Marion to see the film with me. The film was feature length and very well done, and Georgia Lee was very much the star of it. After the film was over, Dick Ross and Georgia Lee came out on the stage and gave their testimonies and an invitation for any in the audience to become Christians. Then the audience was dismissed and Dick and Georgia Lee went back stage, where they had invited anyone interested to contact them. I asked Mother and Marion if they would like to meet Georgia Lee, and of course they would. When we got back stage, she was busy with a group of people, so we stood at a discreet distance and waited for her to be free. I was busy in conversation when Georgia Lee looked toward us and called, “Herb, what are you doing in Washington?” Marion was quite impressed that the leading lady of a major film production would spontaneously contact me in such a way!
Shortly after moving back to North Hollywood from Orange, Mary Charlotte started attending a charismatic group in Van Nuys, headed by a woman named Jean Stone (see left). She had been president of the Women’s Guild at the prestigious Van Nuys Episcopal Church, where Dennis Bennett was rector. Bennett achieved National publicity when he acknowledged to his congregation that he had become charismatic and voluntarily resigned as pastor of one of the largest churches on the West Coast. Jean called her group the Blessed Trinity Society, and they had weekly meetings in her and other member’s homes. I noticed a decided change in Mary Charlotte’s outlook on church work — she voluntarily began to visit the parents of her Sunday School girls, which she had never done before. She even asked me to go with her on Sunday afternoons to call on first-time visitors to our service that morning. So I decided to go to these meetings also, just to see what was going on, and became convinced that this was indeed a work of the Lord. Not long afterward, Jean started a slick paper magazine called “Trinity,” and the Society purchased a former mortuary at 7821 Burnett Avenue in Van Nuys. Although I did not know it at the time, the whole operation was done on a shoestring, with the printing costs of each issue being covered by new subscriptions. For well over a year the magazine held to its monthly schedule, and was sent all over the English-speaking world, being considered the voice of the international charismatic movement in the early sixties. But by 1964, new subscriptions began to fall off, and it took longer and longer to get enough money to pay for the last issue so that the printer would print the new one. Soon the income wasn’t sufficient to meet the mortgage payment, and the bank threatened foreclosure. When told about it, I volunteered to provide $20,000 as a second mortgage, provided the current second and third mortgage holders would settle for about 50 cents on their dollar. A lawyer in the church named Dave Vinjie handled the settlement for me and secured the releases of the earlier mortgages. Mother arranged to borrow the money for me from the National Capital Bank where we already had a stock-secured loan of $16,000, using our holdings of Citizens Bank stock as collateral. Alas, within three months the first mortgage was in default again, and this time it seemed the magazine would have to fold. I was faced with the loss of our $20,000. Mother then offered to let me use most of her Citizens Bank stock as collateral for a $60,000 loan from the Riggs National Bank, so we could pay off the LA bank mortgage, and be the sole mortgage holder of the building. Jean then deeded the building to us, and we found ourselves in 1966 the owners of a vacant commercial property which cost $650 a month in interest and taxes to keep. I can remember my anxiety as to how I could carry such a huge extra expense, as I was a meticulous budgeter and knew I wouldn’t be able to make ends meet. But the Lord forbade me from budgeting that year, and we did make ends meet! The place was vacant for well over six months until Frank Pine, a local Christian real estate agent, got us an $1,100-a-month lease from the State of California for a State Police division headquarters. This was to have been for two years only, until the State could buy property and build, but it did last for over eight years. With this income I was able to reduce the $36,000 loan at the National Capital Bank to $25,000, and then Riggs took over the combined loans in 1969, which were completely paid off years later.
The summer of 1962 was one of
disappointment to me because the Collins engineers made a change in
the hardware that invalidated my emulation program, but I insisted on
completing it. I felt alienated from the work, and realized that I
had been hired to pick my brains about logical design. Having done
that to their satisfaction, I was no longer of use to them. They were
often pressing me to recommend programmers to them, and when Will
wanted a summer job, I suggested him. He was hired, and worked all
summer on a project all by himself. When he had to leave in the
autumn, Collins hired two college graduates to take over his work.
That was Will’s introduction to computer science, which was to
become his bread and butter as it had been mine. About the middle of
August I heard from John Parker, now president of a little company in
Stamford CN called Teleregister, inviting me to join them. The very
next Sunday afternoon I got a telephone call from Mother in
Hyattsville, who said, “Dad has just passed away! Can you come
immediately?" I was able to join the family the next day. Mother
told us how she and Dad had gone to church that morning, as usual,
and also as usual, had gone into the city for their Sunday dinner at
the Buffeteria. On returning, Dad said he wanted to get a small table
from the attic of one of the Cleveland Avenue houses for one of his
tenants who had requested it. Finishing that he got into the car, but
said he wasn’t feeling well, and asked Mother to drive. She had
hardly gotten started when Dad slumped over on her. She drove as
quickly as possible to the hospital only a few blocks away, and Dad
was put under an oxygen tent immediately. But he couldn’t be
revived — his heart had stopped permanently. The funeral was a
blessed time of reunion with all of the family, even though such a
sad occasion. Mother bore up very well, although it was a profound
shock to her. Knowing that everything possible had been done to
revive him relieved her mind of any feeling of guilt, and she also
knew he had not suffered — as so many do for weeks or even
years before death takes them. If Dad had lived three more weeks he
would have celebrated his 84th birthday September 15, 1962.
I found this picture of Dad and Mother (see left) among my picture albums. It must have been taken a short time before Dad’s death. it may be the last picture we have of him.
Since I was already East, I called Mr. Parker, who invited me to
come to Stamford immediately. I found that Teleregister was a very
progressive little company that had been founded by Western Union,
but was now publicly owned. Its principal business was to provide
stock and commodity information to brokers all over North America on
big electric boards in the brokerage offices. Within several minutes,
every transaction on 11 different exchanges was posted on the boards
of brokers who subscribed to the particular stock or commodity.
Teleregister was also involved in airline and railroad seat
reservations systems, and had eight or so such systems in operation,
the largest of which was in United Air Lines in Denver. Mr. Parker
offered me the job of Vice President for Advanced Research, at
$30,000 per year, the salary I had been receiving from Collins.
Needless to say I didn’t hesitate, for obvious reasons. Luther
Harr was also a vice president. It was good to get back to our old
team. The one fly in the ointment was the need to move to Stamford.
Almost as soon as I returned and severed relations with Collins, Mary
Charlotte had to be hospitalized with what turned out to be cancer of
the uterus. She underwent a hysterectomy, which took care of the
cancer, but the cost raised the health insurance premiums of our new
company’s personnel, which didn’t help to endear us to
them. But this postponed the painful decision concerning a move back
East, so we decided I could live in a motel in Stamford if I could
get home at least once a month. This was my life once again for
nearly two years.
It had now been over six years since that occasion of being in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and promising Him that I would allow Him to direct my life. The immediacy of it had worn off and I could go for days without really being conscious of my promise to Him. While there had been many changes, there hadn’t appeared anything that had the stamp of being a special "work for the Lord.” I was beginning to wonder whether there was ever going to be. What I didn’t yet realize was God’s perfect sense of timing. He was still working on me (and is still doing so today), and I’m sure that if He was waiting for me to measure up fully, He would be waiting yet. Even though I had made a serious effort to downgrade the priority I gave my work, I was slowly allowing it to dominate my life again, and this tendency increased over the next few years. The long weeks away from home blunted my efforts to be close to my children, and the church split had blunted my desire to serve the church. I was slowly drifting back to my years as a workaholic.
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