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"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."


God, an Incredible Teacher

On the inside, I knew I had a lot to learn about the Bible and being a Christian. This surfaced every time I was asked difficult questions by people I was talking to about Jesus Christ.  This motivated me to ask Kent about Bible schooling.    

“Kent, what do you think about me going to a school to learn more about the Bible?  There is so much I don't know.  When I talk to someone about God I often don’t have a clue how to respond to many of their questions.  What do you think?”

“Well, David, it would have to be a Bible College.   That would be the next step for you since you've graduated from high school.   Seminary is for those who've already been to college.   We can look into it and write to a couple of Bible Colleges and see what happens.” 

“Sounds good – are there lots of them?”

“Yes, there are plenty of them around. I'll get some addresses and we can write to them.  I'll be a reference for you, and maybe you can apply for work on campus to pay your tuition.”

After several months of prayer and mailing applications, I was finally accepted to California Baptist College, a Southern Baptist school located in Riverside California. With this acceptance came a promise of twenty-five hours of work per week on campus to cover room, board, and tuition.

New life in Jesus Christ was exciting!   Every day was an adventure.   Kent and I continued working together painting the exterior of homes.   We also witnessed regularly in the city, at beaches, and at Golden Gate Park.   As the summer drew to a close I said goodbye to Kent and family and headed out to the great unknown of Bible College.

Taking a Greyhound south to Los Angeles I caught several more busses to reach Riverside where the school was located.  The last lap was on foot about a mile to reach a rural campus.   Suitcase in hand, I was excited, especially when the campus came into view.    Walking up the long driveway my heart was pounding.  I was eager about having the opportunity to learn about the Bible.

Looking around and taking everything in, the campus was clean, adobe Spanish style with arches and tile roof, but the lawns were parched by the summer sun.   I followed signs to the Admissions office but noticed that other students looked ultra conservative.  Locating the Admissions Office, I went in and gave the secretary my name explaining I was a new student.

California Baptist College 1967

Looking me over, the secretary spoke in a formal tone, “Please take a seat and I'll notify the admissions director you've arrived.”

Over the next forty-five minutes I saw several people on the other side of the counter and wondered if one of them was the admissions director.  I also noted that there were several private conferences going on.   I hoped everything was okay with my paperwork.  After an hour had passed with no one else in the waiting area, I approached the counter and inquired, “Do you know how much longer it will be before I can speak with someone?

I'm sure it will be very soon now.

Shortly afterwards the Dean of Admissions called me into his office and asked me to sit down.  He began, “I'm sorry for the confusion and the delay in meeting with you, but the work exchange positions we offer to incoming students in need of financial aid are all filled at this time. This is what we've been discussing. I'm sorry, but it doesn't look like you'll be able to begin at our Bible College at this time.”

“Could I have some time to try and secure funds from my family?”

“We feel it best that you take some additional time to be part of a local church before you attend school here.”

“ I already applied and was accepted!”

“Yes I know, but the full time job positions are currently filled.  I'm sorry. You should consider working for a few years and get established in a local Baptist church and save for this.  Then perhaps you will be ready to return.”

“Does my appearance have anything to do with this decision?”

“Perhaps” he admitted.  “But there are other reasons too – the ones I just mentioned to you.”

I swallowed hard, feeling the finality of his comments.  Regaining some composure – I lifted my head, picked up my suitcase and made my way to the door. This decision was obviously not going to be reversed and I had no control over it.  There was nothing I could do but accept it.

Walking down the driveway to the main street my legs felt heavy and my gut was churning.  After a long trip south, this was an outcome I hadn't expected.  Rejection was something I'd never gotten used to. I tried not to take it personally – but did.  

My mind was racing, rehearsing what just happened, but I knew, it didn't matter, it was over.  Suitcase in hand I lumbered down the main road from the campus with a heavy heart as my pace slowed to an aimless shuffle.  Was it the length of my hair, my clothing?   Then out of nowhere, I heard a voice similar to the day I received Christ, saying, “That's all right, I will teach you.”  The same last four words came again.  “I will teach you.”

“Was this really God?”  These short concise words seemed to breathe hope into my being.   At once my legs weren’t so heavy and my steps regained energy.  “I will teach you” was a completely different perspective to this door that had just slammed closed.  “How could I do better if God was my teacher?”

The hot scorching reality of rejection on a rural Riverside road
Was brushed aside by a cool breeze sent from God
Jesus – accepting, understanding discouragement and rejection
The Lord speaks with clarity – refilling my soul with hope.  

“But where should I go?  Which direction should I take?”

Then the idea hit me to return to the small town of Monrovia.  A place I was familiar with.  Where Grandma had once lived and my former neighbor Barbara lived.  It was a good move and I found work immediately at a small Holster Company, renting a hotel room by the week until I could save up for an apartment.

Myrtle Ave. in Downtown Monrovia

The first Sunday in town I decided on attending The First Assembly of God Church I'd seen on one of my walks.   Pastor Vinton Huffey was the first person I met and he took an interest in me right off – offering me help me in a number of ways.  He gave me landscaping work at his home, taught me a ‘Foundations of the Faith’ class and went witnessing with me.   The foundations class was exactly what I needed along with regular worship and Sunday school attendance. On one occasion pastor admitted to me privately that his congregation was far too comfortable.  They're not as interested in reaching the lost as they should be – and I'm glad you are here, to remind me what I should be doing alongside the church work.

Pastor Vinton E. Huffy

He urged me to steer clear of the church youth groups, knowing they didn't welcome outsiders like he hoped they one day might.  I was fine with this, as there was not a group my age anyway.  Pastor Huffey was a man of tall stature, balding, even-tempered, and exuded wisdom and a prayerful approach to whatever he put his energy into.  From my perspective, God had put me exactly where He wanted me. In the months that followed Pastor Huffey became a spiritual mentor to me – taking me along with him to places he went – enjoying the company of someone committed to sharing Christ with others and open to spiritual guidance.    

After settling into the congregation over a period of seven months, pastor approached me one Sunday morning after worship,  “David, I've been thinking that it might be good for you to bring us a message, or share part of your testimony one Sunday evening.  What do you think?  I'd like for you to pray about it.  

I prayed and agreed to do so asking pastor for help. “I think I'll need some coaching – because speaking publicly makes me nervous.  Would you look over what I come up with? ” 

Sure my boy, I'll be glad to give you a few suggestions, but I think you'll do just fine. We all have to start somewhere and we'll be trusting God to anoint your words with the Holy Spirit.

The night came for me to address the congregation, and I felt unusually nervous. Speaking to people on the streets one-on-one about Jesus was no problem at all, but addressing people who had been in the church forever was.  I invited my Mom, Dad, and step-Mom, having no idea if they would show up, but they did.  As the worship songs were being sung I thought about mounting the stairs to the pulpit that Pastor Huffey filled so well with his tall frame. It was then that the responsibility of presenting God's Word hit me, as pastor invited me to the platform.  I felt in awe, speechless – and my legs were shaking. I was glad for the size of the pulpit to hide this reaction.

It was weird to be so nervous in God’s house and at ease speaking and witnessing about Jesus to just about anybody on the streets or in the parks. Relief only came when the message was over. I spoke on the three Hebrews who didn't bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's idol and their deliverance from the fiery furnace.  The subject matter was good and carried the message.  My shirt was sopping from perspiration when I finished.  I felt like I'd just run ten miles.  The upside was – it was an honor to speak from God’s Word, and it was encouraging to know pastor Huffey had enough confidence in me to provide this opportunity.  Having my family present also felt good, and I thanked them for attending – hoping they were touched by God in some way.     

Monrovia was also the home of my former neighbor, Barbara, who was a committed Christian.  She had baked cookies for me, shared her faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and took me to the bus station when I moved north to San Francisco.  I had looked forward to seeing her and her family and popped by one day after work.  Knocking on her door, I waited with excitement. The door opened and she recognized me instantly. 

David! It's so good to see you,” she said as she hugged me. Come on in and tell me all about what you're doing here.  I've been wondering what had happened to you and was hoping you'd write and let me know. Now tell me what's going on!

Well, Barbara, I've got some great news.

Cross against evening sky

Come on, tell me!

I've received Jesus as my Savior!   And I know He's the true Son of God!

“Praise be to God!  This is such wonderful news!”  

“Do you remember when I was studying Eastern Religions and the teachings of gurus?”

“Sure do.”  

“One of the last things you told me before I moved to San Francisco was to stay open to Jesus Christ because there were lots of imposters out there?  Do you remember telling me this?”

“I think so.”

“Well, when I went to San Francisco I was right in the middle of a maze of religious paths and teachers.  The drug world was intense with magic mushrooms, L.S.D, you name it – it was available.   It was so hard to tell what the truth was, and I hooked up with a Swami who had come over to the USA from India.  I even lived in a temple he founded and was initiated by him.   But God began sending Christians to talk to me about Jesus and the Bible.  I was interested, but also angry about what I was hearing.  A battle was raging inside and I didn't know what to believe. Then, when things were the weirdest, God showed me that Jesus was His Son and the only one who could forgive my sins.”

“O my, that's so like God.  He made it clear to you. That's awesome, David!  So what brings you back to Monrovia? Are you living with your family?”

“Well, I'd hoped to go to a Bible College here in southern California and had been accepted, but when I got there – they didn't have a spot for me.   It was discouraging, but I believe God is going to teach me, and I feel at peace about it.   In fact I'm excited when I think about what He's going to do.   Right now, I'm renting a room at a hotel by the week until things change.”  

“Are you going to church anywhere?” Barbara inquired.  

“Yes, I've been attending the Assemblies of God church and met Pastor Huffy.  He's been helping me in different ways, and it seems like a good match for now.”

“That's great!  I just wanted to make sure you knew that you're welcome to come to the church I attend anytime.  It's the same Nazarene church I've always attended.   But the main thing is that you're in a church where you're growing and are accepted.  O David, this is the best news I've heard in a long time.  God really does work miracles in ways that are past our understanding, and He answers prayer – doing what seems impossible!”

“I know Barbara. Each seed that was planted in my heart by you and other Christians, and every prayer offered up, helped defeat Satan's grip on my soul. I can hardly believe how different everything is since receiving Jesus into my life.”

“I'm so happy for you David, and so glad you came back to tell me what God has done for you.   This strengthens my faith in a time when I really need it.  Since you were here before my husband has been in and out of the hospital and has been unable to work.  The kids are okay and growing, but things have been a lot harder. I know God will bring us through, so I just keep praying and trusting.   I'm working part-time now, and this is helping pay the bills.” 

We sat and visited for awhile and I had a chance to see her kids, now 6” taller – as they bolted in and out of the house a couple of times.

“Guess they keep you busy?”"

“Sure do, but they've been a big help, with my husband sick and all. They do some of the chores and help me look after him when he's been the worst and had to be in bed.  They're good kids and doing well in school too.”

“Well Barbara, I'd better be taking off, but I'll come back and check in from time to time when I'm in the neighborhood. OK?”

“That would be terrific.   And please remember to pray for us.”

“I will Barbara.”  


While attending the Assemblies church the in-filling of the Holy Spirit was a Biblical doctrine which was given a lot of attention.   At the conclusion of the service there was usually an ‘alter call’ where people would go forward to the front of the church to pray and be prayed for.  Some came with personal problems, healing needs, to receive Jesus, or to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  The pastor, elders, or older Christians would lay hands on our back, head, or shoulders and pray for our specific needs and requests.  One of my ongoing requests was to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. 

At the altar I heard others praying in tongues and I saw some being filled with the Spirit for the first time.   How this happened was a mystery, but I’d read about it in the New Testament and I wanted everything that God offered.   On a few occasions I felt so close to receiving this gift, but the prayer language never came. It just wasn't my time for some reason.  Others had the same problem and that helped a little.  This desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit prompted me to fast from food and give myself to God in intense personal prayer. 

Arriving early to church for a Wednesday evening prayer meeting an older Christian who knew I was seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, said, “Seek the Giver, not the gift!  You can be sure this spiritual gift will come to you in God's perfect timing and way.”   

This made sense and his words stuck.  But I continued to fast and to pray over the next week or so.  My evening habit was to spend an hour or so worshipping God in praise, Bible reading and prayer.  I was also reading an interesting and timely book entitled ‘Aglow With the Spirit’ by Dr. Robert Frost.   The book was simple yet profound when it came to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the process of being filled.  In fact it echoed the words of the elder who had told me to ‘Seek the Giver, not the gift’.

Holy Fire

In an unexpected way, during a personal prayer time in my hotel room, it happened!   I was worshiping God in prayer and singing songs of praise, and a wind from heaven came.   Suddenly without warning I was saturated with the power of the Holy Spirit and began speaking in heavenly tongues of praise.  Wave after wave of God's Spirit came and I was physically shaking with the glory of God's Spirit.  In the next hour or so I heard a variety of languages and was amazed they were coming from my mouth.  I now knew what Jesus meant when He cried out with a loud voice,

"If anyone is thirsty, let them come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within. By this He meant the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.”  John 7:37b-39a

This was a perfect description of what happened.   God had opened the spigot of the Holy Spirit, and my soul was acting as a pump allowing this river to flow back to Him in praise. Receiving the Holy Spirit – it flowed back to the God of heaven in mysterious heavenly tongues.  I couldn't have invented this!   I’d only known English, not three or four other languages.  I felt transported spiritually into a deeper level of praise and awareness of God's holiness, majesty and glory.

This in-filling of the Holy Spirit lasted for a number of hours and continued on and off over the next several weeks.    It was so strong it was hard to concentrate on my job without bursting into praise.  As a result of this experience, I felt drawn to intercessory prayer and to speaking more boldly about Jesus Christ.                    

The working of the Holy Spirit in my heart was strong, but it was obvious I had much to learn about ‘living in the flow of His Spirit.’  Because I was an infant in listening and learning from God as my teacher,  He used the Bible, older Christians, random people I met, circumstances, and his voice when I was paying attention enough to hear it.  Though young in the faith I was sure God was constantly at work, helping me grow.    

One of the people he used to mentor me was Mary Feister who ran the Christian bookstore in Monrovia. She had been a missionary for many years and given up for dead after contracting a tropical virus on the mission field.   But God had interceded and restored her to health in a U.S. Hospital.   After her recovery she started a Christian Bookstore with a few hundred dollars.  She was a true saint and I knew it the first time I met her. 

She saw her store, or rather as she put it, "The Lords Store" as her U.S. mission field and used it well. She encouraged and ministered to anyone who entered the doors.  I'd been in the store a number of times buying tracts and looking over Bibles but was not ready to upgrade from my Bible until I had more money.  Over the months we became friends.  Meanwhile my Bible was becoming more raggedy with pages starting to loosen from the bindings and the cover was duct-taped together.

I always enjoyed visiting the Christian Bookstore and talking with Mary about things.  She was the kind of woman who had a deeper perspective about life and always had a fresh word of encouragement.   Well, one day I got a surprise I hadn't anticipated.   When I entered her store, she greeted me warmly, saying, "Well David I've been expecting you."

“Really? I didn't even know I was coming in, but decided to, after work.”

“Well, I thought I'd be seeing you soon, because when I was praying I saw you coming through the door.  I won't keep you wondering what this is all about – I have something for you from the Lord.”

As she was speaking she had already gone into the long glass counter and was taking Bible boxes out from inside.    One by one she laid them out on the countertop.  About ten in all of the best Bibles in the bookstore!   Then she carefully opened each box and folded back the tissue paper that surrounded each Bible.  As I stood there with my mouth hanging open she leaned over and patted me on the shoulder saying, “What are you waiting for?   This is why God told me you would be coming in today, because He wants you to have a new Bible.  It's a gift from Him and me, being that we’re partners.  Now look each one over, take your time and choose whatever one you like the best.”

Mary, I don't know what to say”, I stammered.

"You don't have to say anything.  Just rejoice in God's goodness and love for you!"

"I do.  Praise you Lord!  And thank you Mary for being His instrument!"

"This is the Lord's gift to you. He knows you don't have the money right now." Mary was one of those ladies who could speak a word of wisdom that would ring in your soul, and her gaze into my eyes reminded me of Christ looking at me – and through me.    

Carefully I looked at each Bible and made my choice.  “Thank you Mary."

"It's my privilege – just remember it's God's gift to you and He knows every one of your needs.  He knows each of our needs and cares about us. Remember, He is your very best friend."

Mary and I continued in our friendship, and she encouraged me to learn to hear and obey the voice of the Lord.  Looking back, she was one of those unique individuals who poured herself into others – through Christ's fullness living in her.  She became a spiritual mentor to me, and I still own and treasure the Bible she gave to me – as a gift from the Lord when I had no money to purchase a quality Bible. 


The Assembly of God Church offered opportunities to hear special speakers who might be in the area.  One Friday evening, I joined a group from church to attend a Full Gospel Businessman's Dinner that was to be held at a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. The sponsoring organization was comprised of Christian businessmen in L.A. County.  After the dinner, the evening featured a concert by Andre Crouch and the Disciples, with testimonies from former heroin addicts who had been through, or were still living at, a Teen Challenge center in Los Angeles.

"We've Come this Far by Faith" was sung that night with such power and anointing that I've never forgotten the tune.  The songs and words of those who had been delivered from addiction reinforced everything God had done and was doing in my life. It was inspiring and a reminder of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save anyone!

Seeing these young men recovering from heroin addiction reminded me of an old friend named ‘Wally’ who had struggled with his heroin addict.  I wondered where he was and how he was doing– and our pact to try and find God.  With some twenty-five recovering heroin addicts standing up for Christ, singing God's praises because they'd been set free by the power of Jesus Christ – I couldn’t help but think of him. 

The testimonies from the Teen Challenge individuals were simple yet powerful – a clear reminder that God is in the transformation business.  I said a prayer that night for Wally.  Also that God would never let me forget to tell others about the freedom that is found in Jesus Christ – knowing that Jesus’ blood has the power to wash away the most addictive and darkest of human sins.


TO BE CONTINUED David Hoyt

Dave Hoyt and his wife Ginny reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He grew up a troubled teen in Los Angeles. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco’s ‘Haight District’ seeking truth and God. Reaching a crisis of belief in Eastern Religions – he turned to prayer and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. He went on to be an early participant in the Jesus People Movement in the USA and Europe. He continues as a follower of Jesus Christ.

In honor of one of my mentors: Rev. Vinton Earl Huffey, died at home peacefully on Feb. 25, 2008 at age 92.  Huffey pastored the First Assembly of God Church in Monrovia for 20 years before retiring to establish a program to bring churches to America’s inner cities.  His small book titled ‘Born on the Seventh Day’ highlights his journey. Pastor Huffey loved fixing things – and afternoons often found him with a nail and hammer – doing repairs, something he said helped him come up with sermons. Vinton was a man of faith and optimism, and he liked the long shot. His great pleasure was people as they energized him. 

Whether he was attending an inner-city church or staging a garage sale as an excuse to sit in the sun and talk to neighbors – he was always ready to listen and look for an opportunity to introduce the center of his life – The Lord Jesus Christ. He’d often develop conversations with strangers by saying “There’s a lot of bad news in the world today. Would you like to hear some good news?”  As the perennial optimist Vinton saw each day as a gift. At age 90-92, when asked how he was doing, he’d always reply, “Oh, I’m having a great day!”


Read previous articles in David Hoyt's "Jesus Revolution" Series:

Part 1: Jesus People Days

Part 2: A Cry Rushed Upward to a Place Called Heaven

Part 3: Ripe for Change and Heart Revolution

Part 4: Recollections of My Search for Truth

Part 5: My Search - A Prelude to Finding God

Part 6: A Search for God Unraveling

Part 7: An Appointment with God

Part 8: Launched into a New Life

Part 9: A Steep Learning Curve

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Last Update: 2017-07-24 17:04