||I was born in Ambon, Indonesia in 1951.
My parents had just come out of a difficult time in their life. They experienced
occupation in the Japanese concentration camps in Indonesia. In 1952 we moved to Dutch New
Guinea (now known as Iriyan Jaya, which is Indonesian). My dad was a policeman employed
under the Dutch government. We moved from place to place as he got transferred by the
Police Force. I never really grew up with lots of toys. Nor did we have McDonalds or KMart
or anything like that. But you know, toys and food don't really constitute joy and
happiness. We were very happy in New Guinea.
I need to
tell you something here that is very important. I always believed in God. I was brought up
with my mom reading the Bible and stories about Jesus since I was little. I believed in
God with all my heart. He always answered my prayers. On the weekends, we would go to the
river and swim. But if it rained, we couldn't go. So I always prayed that God would clear
up the sky and we could go to the river. God always answered!
Another important thing about my family was that I had
God-fearing grandparents! They prayed for me continually, and always encouraged me to
trust God. It's very important to have family that will pray for you. As a matter of fact,
you might as well just give up, if you have a praying grandmother!
All this time my dad wanted to immigrate to the United States. We
couldn't do that from New Guinea, because we were told that we had to emigrate from a
place that had its own government. New Guinea didn't have its government. So that meant
that we either had to move to Australia or move to Holland and from there pursue our
immigration. In 1961 we took the steamship "The Waterman" to Holland. It took 35
days and I loved every minute of it. We went through Singapore, Aden, the Red Sea, the
Suez Canal, Naples (Italy), the Straight of Gibraltar, Southampton and then finally docked
at Rotterdam, Holland.
We lived in Holland for 2 1/2 years. I loved it over there, too.
By this time I was 13 years old. My parents had received the immigration papers that they
wanted and on July 4, 1964 we flew to New York City and then took the Greyhound bus to Los
Angeles. When I first came to California, I had a hard time learning English. Not only
that, but I was going through those teenage years and I was just having a difficult time.
||The years that followed were very
difficult. More for my parents than for me, I'm afraid. At an early age I got into drugs.
I was a very stubborn and rebellious teenager and I got married right out of high school
just to get out of the house. That marriage didn't last. As a matter of fact, I plunged
even deeper into drugs because of that. I moved to L.A. soon after and got involved with
the wrong crowds even there. I got into the modeling and acting scene. This picture on the
left was from my acting portfolio. I eventually ended up in Guam, strung out on heroin. I
narrowly escaped a huge drug ring in Guam and fled to Hawaii. I then met my husband to be,
Tom. We met in a discotheque. He played bass in the band and I waited on tables. We moved
in together about January 1976. To read his story, click here.
Free at Last
Throughout all my life, God was always trying to get my
attention. Once when I was in Guam we were watching the fireworks on the 4th of July. I
remember a church group on the beach playing guitar and singing songs about Jesus. I
literally felt that someone was actually drawing me to that group of people. I longed to
just go over there and find out more about what they were singing about.
A New Beginning
I started reading a lot of Christian books. I stayed away from
the Bible, though. I could never get into it. <S> One day, I was reading a book, and
in it it explained the way of salvation. The question was raised, "Have you ever
received Jesus into your heart?" It then proceeded to go into a sample sinner's
prayer. The light went on in my head. I thought to myself, "That's what I have to
do!" I then prayed and asked God to forgive me for all the wrong I had done. I told
Him that from then on I would live my life for Him, and I asked Jesus to come and live in
me. Wow! What a change! I immediately knew something was different. I had been cleansed by
the Blood of Jesus. This is not the end of my story. This happened in 1977. I have walked
with the Lord for 28 years. At times the road was rough. Many times I was stiff-necked and
disobedient. But even though I was unfaithful, God is always faithful. He never fails.