Chapter 1: A Rude Awakening

“Do you remember this man?” asked a group of ministers who came up to me after a gathering in a university hall a few years ago.  They pointed to a man in the group who kept grinning from ear to ear and waving at me.  But I had no recollection of seeing him before.

It was a chilly fall night and I was in western Ukraine with a fellow minister who was teaching an accredited Bible College course.  In those days in western Ukraine, nobody smiled and waved—they were still under great oppression, even though the Iron Curtain had already been lifted.  What was there to be happy about in a place so devastated that many people died every winter from the cold and hunger?  The government-run heating plants were broken down and the Communist governments that had held this nation in bondage since 1922 had taken all the spare parts when they departed in the 1980’s.  The very young, the very old, and the unhealthy perished every winter.

A smiling, happy man just didn’t look normal for that environment.  The men who had asked me to identify the happy fellow went on to tell me that he was the one they had brought to me for prayer the night before.

Not many people go to the western part of the Ukraine.  It is very difficult to get into this part of the country, and there is no guarantee that you can get out once you are in.  This area used to have a secret city where Russian spies were trained during the Cold War before coming to the West.  The interpreters that were hired, avowed atheists and communists, had formerly taught English to the spies that came to the West.  The Christian minister in charge of the translation work during the class had to monitor their work closely.  But while helping with the translating, they accepted Jesus as their Lord and they started showing the fruit of the Spirit that had changed their hearts and lives.

The Russian Mafia has so much control there now that it is a bad situation and Christians are still suffering very much.  This area is so different from most of Eastern Europe, because the Ukraine fell under Communism in 1922, not in the 40’s, like the rest of Eastern Europe.  Right after World War I, Russia overpowered them and then they lost their identity.

Immediately after Russia took over, the Ukrainian language was made illegal and so was Jesus Christ.  Anyone who used the name of Jesus was killed.  The churches were required to support propaganda programs during the daytime, so people could hold church services only after 8 p.m.  No young people were allowed and the name of Jesus and the Ukrainian language were forbidden.

Every church, even the Orthodox, had nicely-kept graves in the back for the martyrs who had refused to stop naming the name of Jesus.  In our nation, the United States, we are very fortunate.  People in this nation commonly use His name in vain or slanderously, but in the western Ukraine, most people have never even heard the name of Jesus, even as a swear word.  So where do you start in a place like this to reach people with the name of Jesus and the love of God?  We just had to trust the Lord to give us the way to do it.

At the hall, where we held evening meetings for the general public to tell them about Jesus and God, I stood in the back and offered to pray for healing and deliverance for anyone who was sick—something these Ukrainians had never heard of.  The very first night we did this, things were slow, but once people started getting healed and delivered, they started bringing others to be prayed for.  Even though they had never heard of Jesus, given the seventy years of their captivity in atheism, they knew about spiritual power with long experience with witchcraft.  Witchcraft was the leading spiritual power over there.  The man who was brought to me the night before had been cursed with a professional curse by witches.  I guess that he figured in order to get rid of the curse he had to go to a clairvoyant, which compounded his problems!

The whole village knew that the man, whom I will call Slava, was cursed.  They were familiar with that kind of spiritual power.  No one would do business with him, leaving him without income.  His mother-in-law had come down with a virus and was dying of dehydration.  His mother had a stroke and was paralyzed.  The whole family with all the children was living in a one-bedroom house with no food or money.  And to top it all off, the roof had caved in on part of their house.  When someone brought Slava to me for prayer, without thinking twice about it, I removed the curses from him in the name of Jesus, because I was confident that that was what God said to do.  Then I went on to pray for the next person and many others, totally forgetting about the cursed man.

The next night when he showed up at the meeting, the people explained through our interpreter what had happened.  I had prayed to remove the curses.  He had gone home to find that his mother-in-law—who had been dehydrated, dying with a virus, and who hadn’t been able to eat—was up making cabbage soup!  She was feeling great and was just hungry.  They went to bed very late that night because there was great rejoicing in their house.  When they got up the next morning, his mother, who had been paralyzed for months, was sitting on the edge of the bed working on getting her balance.

There was no real reason to hurry down to the shop, because nobody was doing business with him anymore.  They hadn’t had this much rejoicing in a long while.  It was about two o’clock in the afternoon when he finally got down to the shop.  When he arrived, people were lined up all the way down the street waiting for him to come.  The strange thing was that nobody knew that things had changed in his house.  Yet, there had been an about-face regarding everything in their lives.

When they told me about what had happened to this man, I thought to myself, “I’ve got to learn about this,” but we were so busy that I did not think that much about it again.  That was a big mistake!  I had no idea I would suffer consequences as a result of my lack of knowledge of how powerful curses really are.  I was new to the whole idea and God was using this incident with the man to teach me.  It turned out to be a very hard lesson, because without really thinking it out, I had stirred up the devils in the witches who had cursed the man.

You see, just being oblivious to something does not mean it can’t happen.  You may say, “Oh, well, it won’t hurt me to step off this building.”  But when you hit the ground, it’s still going to hurt you, even if you don’t know what gravity is—if you happen to live through it.

The consequences began while we were still in the Ukraine.  We had an incident with the Ukrainian army, “the big guns,” and had a hard time getting out of the country.  At the time, it never even occurred to us that anything serious was happening, much less that we had been cursed.  I was caught in a no-man zone between the borders of Hungary and the Ukraine for hours.  These countries usually have no-man zones about a block wide.  It was a bitterly cold day, with no place to take shelter, and I was wearing very little clothing.  We had given most of our clothes away before returning home.  The weather had been warmer when we arrived in the Ukraine, but it had turned very cold by the time we returned to Budapest.

When we got back to the eastern United States, even stranger things were happening.  I hadn’t slept for four days; I just couldn’t sleep.  My wife was waiting for me in the Southeast and we still needed to drive across the country to our home in New Mexico.  So I said, “We might as well go back home now, because I can’t sleep.”  We took off.  We were on the Interstate Highway 20 and it was raining so hard we couldn’t see, when both my back tires went flat.  There was nothing we could do about it—we couldn’t get anyone to stop to help us.  Finally, after sitting there for about three hours, still not able to sleep, I just started driving and prayed, “God, please protect our tire rims.”  So, we drove thumpety-thump, two or three miles an hour for miles, until we reached the next exit.  When we got there we found a mechanic’s garage, but the people wouldn’t help us.  This really happened!  I was getting very puzzled and questioning why this was all happening.

It was the middle of the night and we didn’t know if we should go on from that gas station.  Then I remembered we had an Auto Club card, so I called them, and they came to help.  They towed us about twenty miles to a tire dealership, where they dropped us in front of the garage doors.  There we sat for a couple of hours until the workers showed up and even they were unfriendly!  After we bought a couple of new tires, we got all the way home safely.

Finally, on arriving home in Albuquerque, I found out that my business had been totally dead for many days.  Everything had just come to a complete stop.  Everything!  I found out that people, who had loved us before, now were being spiteful.  The people who were going to help us financially with the trip did not come through with the money promised, so we were extremely deep in debt.  I fasted and prayed until I received a word from the Lord.  It consisted of one word only, “curse,” that’s all.  I picked up the phone to call a friend and he asked me, “Were you messing around with witches in Russia?”  I said, “No, I was not messing around with witches!  And I was in Ukraine, not Russia!”  Then I remembered the incident with the man who was cursed.

We went out to pray at the sand dunes near Albuquerque.  The view there is amazing.  From those hills of sand on the high desert, I could see mountain ranges all around us, some as much as a hundred miles away.  As I prayed, I’d watch storms come and go and move around.  In this awesome beauty, I would sense God’s presence very strongly.  This was one of my favorite praying places, with the sand blowing like drifting snow.  For two or three hours, we praised God and prayed.  When we got back, the phone was ringing—boom!  Business was flowing again.  Out on the dunes I had prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, asking God to remove all the curses I had picked up, and thanking Him for blessing us even though we were hurting and our business had been shut down on us.  The curses were broken, business was back to normal, and we continued to ask God for everything to work well.  We started receiving blessings again instead of being cursed.

That incident started me on a quest with God to understand about curses and how they can be broken.  Little did I know at the time that I would end up traveling all over the world teaching about this subject.  I have taught the topic as a class called “Turning Curses to Blessings” over two hundred times and have traveled to three different continents.  By God’s grace, thousands of people have been healed of diseases and bad health conditions.  Many have been delivered from oppression.  Blind people can now see and deaf people can now hear.  People have been healed of back problems, heart problems, emotional problems, and economic problems.  People have had marriage problems from generational curses.  God showed them to us and we removed them in the name of Jesus.  Then later those same people would tell us things like, “You’re right!  I’m from a third generation of divorcees!”  All of these miracles have happened as a result of finding the curses and replacing them with blessings from God.

Let me make something very clear.  All this has happened to us, not because I’m such a great person, but because I have been willing to do whatever God asks me to do.  I’m just an ordinary man (and not too good a one, at that), but God is extraordinary and awesome!  The visions He has given me and the things He has taught me have tremendously enriched my own life.  I have had to put up with a lot of issues in my life and now I know how to deal with them.

Now I understand how they can be solved and the authority that Satan had over me before has been broken.  I want to emphasize again that this has nothing to do with my being a special person.  All the glory goes to God for any time anyone is healed or delivered.  The promise of God is: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.  If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:13-15).

Let me tell you a little about my background.  As a small child, I used to speak to and hear from God, singing, and talking to Him as I ran down the deer trails in northern Minnesota.  My communication with God was good, until there were a series of incidents in the church that caused me to rebel against God.  You see, I believed that the church represented God.  As time elapsed, I drew closer to the Lord and I began to ask convicting questions – the kind that make some ministers nervous when persistent little kids ask honest questions.  There soon came a time when I was rejected by the church.  When they rejected me, I felt God had rejected me and I blamed God.  It was then that I decided I was not going to have anything more to do with the things of God.  I became intensely angry and rebellious.  A lot of deep-rooted curses had come through our bloodline—all the way from Ireland!  A curse of anger and other curses really affected us after my whole family left the church.

Prior to that time, I had a good relationship with my family members, but something happened that caused us to be driven away from each other.  After that, family relationships deteriorated.  Around that time, my uncle and my father got into a violent fight.  No one ever saw my uncle again—ever!  My brother and I didn’t have anything to do with each other for twenty-five years.  Years later, once I understood how curses worked against our family, I talked to my brother and we prayed.  We became the best of friends after all those years!  These curses are real!  And they happen all over the world, not just to the Irish!

After I stopped going to church, I no longer looked to God for answers.  Life became very difficult for me.  I was a rebellious teenager working as a hand on my father’s farm.  I left home at seventeen to make my own way in life.  I worked at all kinds of jobs until I finally started working as a life insurance salesman.  I became very successful in business and I built up my own insurance agency.  I was earning a high income from it, as well as from several other businesses I started.  I had the world at my feet or so I thought!

Ever since being rejected from the church, there was always a thread of anger, hatred, and violence that colored all my actions.  I never had peace in my heart.  I was always on the offensive and experienced a lot of rejection in personal relationships.  My anger curse didn’t help too much, either.  Barroom brawls, fights, angry reactions, and revenges were a common occurrence.  I was smart enough to keep good working relationships for the sake of business, but was forever restless, always looking for the next challenge, never satisfied.

It was not until I was about thirty years old that I finally made my peace with God again.  At that point, I resolved to serve Him and do what He told me, in spite of the cost.  This was a new beginning in my life, a time of new challenges and new things happening to me.  I couldn’t even begin to tell you of all the times that God protected me, times when I was sure there were angels looking after me.  I lived in many places, met many people, and talked to them about the mercy of God for them.  I also met my lovely wife, Sheila.  We were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when I finally began to understand for the first time about all those unexplainable things in my life and in the lives of others.


There are so many questions we ask ourselves.  Why are the Irish always fighting each other?  Why are there so many poor people in certain countries?  Do the gypsies always have to roam around?  Why can’t the Israelis and the Arabs get along, when they are both descendents of Father Abraham?  How come some people get sick and the doctors are never able to do anything to heal them?  What does it mean when certain countries in the world just can’t seem to stop having revolutions and live in peace?

I’ve discovered that when we ask God these questions, He will always answer them so we can learn to live a life full of rich blessings, instead of one that is cursed and tormented.  We have many questions in our own personal lives that seem totally unanswerable and people conveniently say to us, “You’ll just have to wait until you go to heaven so that God can tell you.”

I’ll tell you, I have asked Him many questions!  Now I’ll ask you.  Did you know that God curses people?  Do you know that many times you curse yourself and don’t even know it?  How about all the people who curse you and don’t even realize they are doing something so bad?  Do you know about professional curses?  Have you ever seen a man of God curse someone, in the name of God?  Curses are powerful things and nobody wants them in their life.

I have seen how curses operate in different cultures with different people.  Certain races of people have things in their culture or history that cause curses.  One day, here in America, an Apache Indian from New Mexico came over to my house.  He was drunk and upset because of what white men did to the Indians, including introducing them to alcohol.  So I said to him, “I wonder who laid out the biggest curse, us or you?”

And he asked, “What do you mean?”

I said, “Well, the white man didn’t know anything about smoking tobacco, either—until they connected with the Indians.  I wonder which caused the greatest problem: alcohol or tobacco?”

He got really mad at me and said that was not true.  So I asked him, “Are you calling me a liar in my own home?”

He replied, “No, but it just is not true.”

I responded, “Well, you’re drunk and you’re not very polite, so hit the road.  Get out of here!”  He was belligerent.

A week later, he came back and he said, “Preacher, I have to tell you, I’m sorry.”

I said, “For what?”

Then he answered, “Because you told the truth and I called you a liar.”

The interesting thing about this incident is that we became friends.  I discovered he was a medicine man.  Over a period of time, I talked to him about Jesus Christ.  He confessed Jesus as Lord and renounced all his practices of witchcraft.  At this time, he was born again into the family of God, delivered from the power of evil, and healed in his body.  He even brought several friends to me so they could get the “whole works” too!

But, when he fell back into alcohol, he came back to our place drunken and belligerent.  I told him he had to leave until he sobered up.  The next day we found feathers stuck all over our property in the manner of Indian witchcraft.  He had laid curses on us, because he didn’t know anything else.  That was just his way of doing things.

Have you ever wondered why American Indians have historically had a much lower tolerance for alcohol than white settlers?  Many become alcoholics and don’t have to drink very much to get drunk.  I believe the curse is in their blood—I say this with all respect, because I have dear friends who are American Indians.

There are also certain things that are unique about the Russians and the Germans, as well as other Caucasian groups.  Here in the United States people tend to classify all white people together, but they are really distinct white races.  These races come from different parts of Europe and you often encounter different curses on them.  Some people wouldn’t want to call them that, but it’s true!

When I look at the curses that came on this land because of slavery, I see that they caused a war that we still have not recovered from in some areas of the country.  I believe the bitterness is still there.  Also, many blacks have not truly received freedom.  The situation, in which blacks in Africa sold their brothers and sisters into slavery, and the subsequent enslavement in this country, brought many curses on them, both in Africa and America.  We see this in the gangs on the streets of America today.

But what about the good things in life?  Do you ever wish something would go right for you?  How many times have you desired to have good relationships with people and something keeps messing you up?  Have you ever read books about when bad things happen to good people?  How would you like to read a book about how good things could happen to bad people?”  God wants to turn the bad into good in my life and He wants to do it in yours.

My story is only an example to help you, the reader, understand that I am just like you—probably worse—and God has used me, and is using me, to help people come out of conditions that are out of control in their lives.  There’s no way I could have been good enough to deserve His favor.  If there is anything in this book that speaks to you, to your situation, and helps you to get free, all the honor and respect and glory belong to God and Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the only way to be rescued from man’s sinful condition!  He is our freedom and our peace.  Look for Him and you will find Him; ask Him and you’ll receive; open yourself up to Him and He will communicate with you and you with Him.  God says that if you don’t ask, you don’t receive.  So, what’s wrong with asking?  Nothing!  It’s great, because He does answer!

This book is all about turning bad to good and many things more!  So, put on your seat belt and take a ride with me.  I pray you’ll never be the same after this trip and you will walk in God’s blessings all the days of your life!

Teaching and ministering faith, healing, deliverance and salvation around the world.