63. “Are We Still Invited for Dinner?”

63.  “Are We Still Invited for Dinner?”

After years of going to our doctor near our home, we became friends as well as being patients.  Dr. Block could see I was slipping downhill with post-encephalitis syndrome.  “Bob, you are not going to be able to keep teaching down the road.  You should find a source of income that you and Betty can do together, and she can gradually become the breadwinner.”

We had asked him and his wife for dinner before, but he had declined.  Then Dr. Block called and asked if the dinner invitation was still open, he would like to come and show us a business opportunity.  We had been pitched twice by friends at church with the “business opportunity,” approach for Amway, so Betty responded with, “If it’s Amway, we’re not interested.”

Dr. Block replied, “Can we still come for dinner?”  Sure.  After dinner, I asked what was the business opportunity he wanted to show us.  It turned out to be Amway, and we joined.  We joined, not because of the opportunity of Amway, but because we knew Dr. Block was a successful businessman and a high achiever, and we trusted him.

Being an Amway distributor was not easy because the “indirect approach” for recruiting had been established, for which Amway had a bad reputation.  There were, however, unexpected serendipities.  First, was the personal growth program.  The Amway program was to “build” successful people, not just a successful business.

We were encouraged to read personal improvement books and tapes, and attend meetings to learn how to build better relationships with people.  Who could forget the three C’s: Do not Criticize, Complain, or Condemn!  The leaders spoke of maintaining a positive attitude and positive expectations, and not speaking negative.

We went to the mainland US for major events put on by our upline Diamonds.  Betty and I had great times on the trips, being with positive uplifting people who shared a common goal.

It took a while, but I learned one secret of Network Marketing.  The business is not to sell products, but to buy products for your own use, and share the idea with others.  We did reach the first rank of note —DIRECT DISTRIBUTORS in two years.

New DIRECTS were given a free trip to Amway headquarters at Ada Michigan, only 20 miles from my home near Ionia, so we got to see my folks as well as tour the Amway plant.

Our upline Diamonds were also giving a perk to their DIRECT distributors.

We flew to Seattle, then took a ferry to the Rosario, an old luxury resort on Orcas Island.  The resort was an old mansion that had been converted with a motel-like complex of cabins.  The “luxury” was the food and the ambiance of being on the water, and watching seals surface to peek at the visitors.  The weekend highpoint was an incredible buffet with a huge whole salmon, head and all, cooked, chilled, and mounted in the center — we hated to pick the meat off the magnificent display.  I ate 4 pieces of cheesecake!

We have Doctor Block to thank for opening the door for us to learn about Network Marketing.  We’ve been doing Network Marketing for 34 years, and have enjoyed ongoing experiences such as cruises and traveling to places we would never have thought possible.  We cherish the friendships we’ve made with up-lifting positive people!

62. Milolii Place

62.  Milolii Place.

One weekend, after a swim at Hanauma Bay, we decided to turn into the Hawaii Kai Marina subdivision and see what kind of housing was on the canals.  We called it a “Dream Detour.”  At the end of the first street, Milolii Place, there was a hand-painted sign stuck in the yard — “FOR SALE.”  This was dreaming, so we went to the door to take a look.

It was a ground-floor one bedroom condo with a large enclosed lanai right on the canal, with a dock.  There was covered parking at the end of the duplex building.  Our dream of moving to Hawaii Kai was for years away, but this was a fluke, with a low price, so we bought it.  (That’s the short story!   There was need for much renovation, part of the reason for the low price.  Betty became an expert at repairing drywall and laying tile.  We hired a weekend contractor to fix the tough stuff.

At the beginning of the summer we bought an old 12 ft. boat with an outboard motor.  A few times we buzzed out of our canal, under the bridge to the reef about 1/4 of a mile beyond.  It’s too shallow at low tide, so we had to time it right…and then we anchored in clear blue water inside the reef and snorkeled in about 3 to 5 feet of water.  Our “spot” was beyond a bird sanctuary, so there was a nice sandy beach, and no homes along the shore.  We could see the rain clouds gather on the mountain tops, and an occasional rainbow.  A beautiful place for an outing.

We traded the dingy for a small outrigger canoe.  That was fun, and good exercise to paddle around the marina canals.  I actually built a ramp out of boat trailer parts so I could crank a winch to pull the canoe up out of the water onto rollers.  I had hoped to get a sail, but that did not materialize.

It was a fun diversion to watch the Mallard ducks who lived in the marina.  On rainy days, they came up in the back yard to take a bath under the streams of water cascading off the roof.  One day I stepped out the screen door as Mama duck passed by.  Her trail of tiny yellow ducklings, trying to keep up, walked over my feet.  I stood very still, but a few of them did trip over.

There was one male duck we nicknamed “Hop-a-long” because he limped with a crooked leg.  We felt sorry for him because the other ducks chased him away from food we put out.  So Betty chased the other ducks so “Hop-a-long” could eat.  One day Betty was in the kitchen when she felt she was being watched.  She turned, and there was “Hop-a-long” watching her from the edge of the kitchen tile.  He had followed her into the house hoping for a handout.  He did get extra food, as Betty coaxed him to “follow the food” out the door.

After a hot and unusual windless day, Betty and I went out in the back yard to enjoy the quiet cool of the evening and watch the stars twinkle a few times.  There was enough of a glow of light from the neighbor’s house to see the tiny ripples on the canal when a bug bounced into the water.  Now and then the crazy laughter of the “wild” Mallard ducks broke the silence as they were disturbed.  Well…..not complete silence….there’s the soft trickle of “people” sounds in our suburb, a distant TV, music, high laughter, and tiny unidentifiable noises of civilization.  We counted ourselves so blessed to have this beautiful place, and the beautiful night reminded us of God’s goodness again.


61. Randy Produces a Musical


The Cross and the Switchblade is the true story of Pastor David Wilkerson, who worked in the gang-ruled streets of New York.  He published the story in 1962.  It was subsequently made into a movie and Broadway musical.  The story is the dramatic conversion to Christ of Nicky Cruz, a gang leader.

Randy got the idea for Christian Vision to produce the musical.  He invited young people from other churches to join in, and got days at the McKinley High School auditorium for rehearsals and performances.  Betty was designated to do publicity and promotion.  She asked, “How many seats?”  Randy told her there were 1114 seats, and he was planning three performances on two weekends.  Awe!  Which means “ouch” in Hawaii.

Betty contacted nearly every church in town to get notices in their newsletters and bulletins.  Flyers were made and put in store windows.  Everybody in the show was asked to invite friends and neighbors.  The auditorium was packed all six performances!

Opening night, two seats in the front row were reserved for the Governor of Hawaii and his wife.   They arrived as the lights went down and the curtain went up.

The sets looked professional, and the songs were perfect.  In the final confrontation when Nicky Cruz was threatening to stab Wilkerson, you could hear a pin drop, and everyone was holding their breath.  When Nicky dropped the knife, there was an audible sigh from the audience.

Overheard, “If I had known this was going to be as good as an Off Broadway show, I would have invited more of my friends.”  So, we decided to do it again another three performances.

There were elders waiting in the aisles to pray with people who wanted to accept Christ, and the young Hawaiian guy who played Nicky Cruz went on to be a pastor, and was actually pastor at our church Kalihi Union Church.


60. The Singing Christmas Tree

60.  The Singing Christmas Tree

It was 1984, and one of the exciting things of the year, was the growth of Christian Vision.  Randy resigned from the church staff to go full time with Christian Vision…a step of faith I can hardly believe…and suddenly we were employers, and Betty was up to her eyeballs in paperwork, and on the phone scheduling Randy and Gay’s singing engagements, handling bookstore orders for recordings, etc.  and everything else that we had no idea was involved.

Randy and Gay were featured at “The Singing Christmas Tree” put on by the First Assembly of God Church in the Blaisdell Arena….Honolulu’s sports arena that seats 8000.  What an extravaganza!  The ‘singing tree” itself must have been 40 feet tall, with scaffolding holding 120 choir members tiered up in a green tree shape with white “snow” and red poinsettias at the base and sides.  They were backed by an 80 piece orchestra made up of the Honolulu Symphony and First Assembly musicians.

Randy and Gay were treated like royalty….a special introduction and the last kudos at the end.  Gay sang a song Randy wrote for Her, “Rejoice,” to show off her voice.  Betty gulped at the bill for orchestrating “Rejoice” for the 80 piece orchestra!  What a program!  There was a pageant of Hawaiian history, and then, the Christmas story set to music.  Powerful voices, with the powerful story of Christ’s birth… what a night to remember!

For us, the grand climax came after the program when Randy shared this incident:  A man who was in the choir came up to Randy and said, “I never dreamed I would have the honor of meeting you in person.  Someone sent me your tape “Lord of the Islands” when I was in prison in California.  You’ll never know much your music helped me during that time.  ” Wow!   That’s what makes our work worthwhile!  Praise God for the way He works through music!