It wasn’t long before my enlistment in the Marines came to an end, and I quickly decided to stay with the Navigators. The Nav rep, which was now Doug Benshoof, replacing Dave Kuchee, encouraged me to stick around for more Nav training, so I did. I also remember that my grandpa came to visit me all the way from Minnesota, to find out what I was doing. I think he was a little skeptical of the Navigators and just came to make sure I wasn’t getting into some kind of a cult group. But it turned out that after speaking with Doug, he was assured that everything was up and up. He even seemed quite impressed with Doug and told me so.
So, I guess from that point on I was a full-fledged Navigator. What did that mean? I would find out. I remember moving into a Nav home just a few miles from the Marine base, in Jacksonville, North Carolina. That was good and bad. Good because I was around some great Christians. I loved the fellowship. Bad (just kidding), because of all the rules. It was almost like boot camp all over again. But instead of training for war, our training was to build discipline in the Christian life: like being regular in having a devotional time, a personal bible study, and memorizing verses. And we also had to keep our room clean and other duties. But the thing I really didn’t understand was learning proper table settings, like which side of the plate to put the knife and fork and spoon, etc. And, of course, there was a house leader—or trainer, who enforced the rules. And he happened to be a former lieutenant in the Marines, and was no slouch! If you know what I mean.
Well, even though I didn’t much care for all the house training, I suppose it was good for me. It was good to keep the old man in control. I suppose we all need that because our flesh seems to be always popping up and tempting us to sin.
Another part of the Navigator training was the weekly rallies and also the periodic conferences. The rallies were similar to church services. We had a singing time, a time for a few announcements, and a time when Doug Benshoof was giving teaching from the bible. Doug was always good and I always went away feeling motivated and encouraged.
I especially enjoyed the day-long conferences. There were always 3 or 4 speakers and also times of singing. But the thing I liked best is just walking around between speakers and talking to people and seeing all the smiling faces. The atmosphere was absolutely heavenly. I mean you could just feel the Holy Spirit in that place. It was wonderful! Something that I had never experienced before.