Near Death Experience
Life on campus was, if you could describe it in one short statement it would be "energy in motion". There was always a hustle and bustle of activity. Something was always going on. It seemed like an endless stream of activity. Most of the time it was enjoyable, but occasionally, and sometimes all too often something would happen that would take the sheer pleasure from the job and tasks at hand.
To begin with I was a nobody, at least in the eyes of the hierarchy of the work. (However in the eyes of God I am loved and important enough that He paid a price to ransom me from Satan and death. And the price was the very life of Jesus. And He did the same for you as well.) But in Pasadena there was a definite chain of command. And sometimes that chain would come whipping back and slap you across the face. More often than not it was just to show who was in charge and nothing more.
The year was probably 1970, although the exact year is not important, but what happened was. It was not an earth shaking occurrence, in fact it probably went unnoticed by most. But it did impact the lives of those that were there, especially mine.
I was working on a special project along with several other men. We were redoing some of the landscaped area around the Loma D. Armstrong Academic Center, directly west of Ambassador Hall, when HWA walked up to inspect the progress.
He asked for the supervisor in charge, Mr. Robertson. Which by the way he had known this man for a good many years, so he wanted to speak to him specifically. Everyone just stared at HWA not sure what to do, fear does strange things, the men simply froze. I have never been, nor am I to this day afraid of any minister or church authority. So I spoke up, to the gasp of the other workers. I informed HWA that Mr. Robertson was not available and asked if some else could help. He said, I WANT TO SPEAK TO Mr. Robertson! I said, Mr. Armstrong, you don't understand.... and that was about as far as I got. His face turned red, he started to shake his head from side to side, his fatty cheeks began to shake violently...he said in what was almost a rage, DON'T YOU EVER TELL ME I DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!! I simply said OK and went back to work. He did not let me finish my statement. What I tried to say, Mr. Armstrong, you do not understand, Mr. Robertson is not here, in fact he is not on the campus. He has gone to pick up some materials. Interestingly enough, just as he finished his angry display, Ellis LaRavia walked up and talked to HWA. He informed him that Mr. Robertson was not presently on the campus. (I was close enough that I could hear their conversation.). HWA looked at me, never said a word, and then the two of them left.
Did this situation scare me? Quite honestly no. But it did forever change my personal opinion of HWA. I never thought of him again in terms of gentleness, kindness and Godly leadership.
In case you are wondering, I was not fired but warned to tread carefully.
This was not an isolated case at all. I discovered later that many have experienced his wrath, and all too few have survived.
Life on campus was fun, it was hard work and sometimes the unexpected would take place. Perhaps next time I will tell you about the time I was working on campus and some of the ministers walking by started to throw rocks at me....perhaps next time, (It not as bad as it sounds, in fact it was funny considering the circumstances.)
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