Pastor Ron Crouch's
In late 2000 my wife Diana and I moved to Oregon to start a new business venture which would include a partnership. I was finally
moving to where I always wanted to be, beautiful mountains, rural
area and plenty of big game to hunt with my bow. I was finally going to
be in "Paradise," I called it, because the place had everything I thought I ever wanted. I would even pick up the phone when someone called and would answer "Paradise" rather than saying "hello" just so I could get the chance to tell them why I thought the place was so great. We left friends, family, business and church to be in "Paradise" and I seemingly had no regrets and was very pleased to be where I WANTED TO BE. I told everyone that I would never come back to California and that I finally
had everything I wanted in life.
After less than a year, problems between myself and my business partner started to get serious. Then it happened, it shook the world, 911! I watched the attack on television and got extremely angry. I immediately contacted the Defense Department and checked about the chances of reenlistment and was told that I was too old. My youngest daughter was in active service and I felt totally helpless to assist in anything I considered worthwhile at that moment. The business partnership worsened and separation occurred. Diana and I left the house and property that we had purchased on the mountain and moved to a valley community not far away from there. At least I was still in Oregon and I would keep pressing on to keep my "Paradise." We began having serious financial issues and things were looking dismal but leaving Oregon was never an option. Then my health took a serious turn and I was diagnosed with cancer.
At about my lowest point the phone rang, I answered and heard a voice on the line that I recognized as a Christian woman we had not heard from in many years. "Ronnie", she said, "Don't talk, just listen to me." She continued, "I have never done this before so it's hard enough for me, but GOD told me to call you and tell you to COME HOME!" I didn't know what to say! I passed the phone to Diane so she could hear it for herself.
I did not hesitate or ponder my answer. My answer was finally "YES" to God, and preparations were immediately started to get back home. This would mean leaving all that I thought I ever wanted and returning to an uncertain future back home in Visalia, California.
After arriving back in Visalia, I had surgery and treatment for the cancer. I was told after followup that the cancer was GONE! No further treatment would be necessary. I had lost a considerable amount of weight and was not in the best shape, but the cancer was GONE! Immediately after moving back to Visalia I was contacted by a friend who was an officer with the Visalia Police Department. He advised me of an opening in the Juvenile Probation Department. It would consist of taking a test, which I have never been good at, to qualify for the chance of selection. I arrived at the testing center with the other 100 plus applicants and nervously took my seat. I had not taken any scholastic test for many years and was not feeling very confident at that moment. I prayed that God would assist me in the test.
The top ten were interviewed; I prayed again and I was selected for the position. I would be working for juvenile probation at the Juvenile Detention Center. This is not exactly what I had in mind, but it would do.
While working at the Juvenile Detention Center in the camera security main room, which can watch every section of the detention center, I got a late night visitor. The visitor was a Tulare County Sheriff Department Lieutenant who introduced himself and wanted a tour of our security section. That was the first night I had ever been left alone in the security room. I was still rather new to the total operation. I inquired before he left about his interest in our security, and he explained that since 911 the State of California was upgrading the security to all court facilities and he would be leading the new unit for the Sheriff Department. Then he turned and looked at me and said "Why do you ask. are you interested?" I couldn't say "yes" fast enough, and was told that I would be notified for the testing. Oh no, I thought, not another test!
Test day arrived and I took my seat again with another 100 plus applicants, This time was different because I now noticed there were quite a few law enforcement personnel that wanted to take this particular test as well.
I went to the Sheriffs Department interview and was selected as the first to be hired as Court Security Officer for this special new unit. I was assigned at the Juvenile Court in Visalia and worked a couple of years in that position.
I finally felt like I was doing something positive for my country, especially since the court security was directly tied in with the Office of Homeland Security. I was starting to feel like a "soldier" again! I worked closely everyday with Sheriff Deputies who kept urging me to become a Deputy Sheriff and they finally talked me into trying to attain that position. It would mean going through the "Police Academy" at the local college and I was told it would not be easy. Even for the mostly 20 year olds that attended, I knew this would be the ultimate test for this man, being that I was over 50 years old at the time!
The academy was highly academic and very physical. It was designed to "weed out" the less serious and undesirable very quickly. I would first have to take a college entry exam to see if I was even qualified to attend. I arrived at the test site with the 150 plus young people that were anxious to attend. I prayed again for God to help me with the test and the test results were posted on the window the next day. Of the 150 plus that had tested only about one half had passed the test. I was one of those that passed! As I write these words now I am starting to shake as I feel the excitement that I felt back then.
The hard part is now about to start. I would be starting the police academy while having a full time job and the responsibilities it demanded. The academy started with approximately 75 young people and I was by far the oldest.
Each week, during the course of the academy, a written test would be given covering what we had been taught that week. If the test was failed you were given one opportunity to retest and if you failed again you were dismissed from the academy. Week after week the class dropped in size from either test failure or failing the physical requirements of the academy which meant running for miles, lifting weights and more physical training. By the end of the academy 35 remained and I was told that history showed that only 10 % of the graduates would be selected by law enforcement agencies.
Graduation day came and achievement honors along with it. As the "Old Man" of the class I was awarded the physical achievement award and apparently some records had been broken by my "Over Achiever Attitude" inspired by God. I received a couple of other awards during graduation but the physical achievement was by far what made me feel the best. During the graduation ceremony I remember feeling such satisfaction of the completion.
I now had the "expectation" of accomplishment and the confidence to go forward with His leading in any direction He would send me. After the graduation, I had to go through the hiring process of the Sheriff Department who had selected me. More problems came up during the process with everything from proof of education, psychiatric analysis, hearing, vision testing, etc. During each problem I would pray and God would respond with a remedy, it never failed. I was hired and worked that main jail for over three years, and was talked into testing for patrol. I was, once again, leery of the prospects,and was told the failure rate of patrol officers making it past the testing was 60%. After all, I was comfortable in my position in the jail and all was going well! But, God was not done with me yet. I tested for patrol and was assigned to headquarters patrol in Visalia. I worked in patrol for the Visalia area for approximately two years before accepting the position of resident Deputy for Springville. A position that is usually given to someone with far more experience and as a reward position because of status.
At over 60 years of age, I now am a team leader for Tulare County Sheriff Search and Rescue in both mountain searches, cliff rescues and swift water as well as the resident Deputy Sheriff serving the community of Springville, California.
I now live in a beautiful mountainous area where I can hunt with my bow. My beautiful wife Diane and I love the beautiful home we now own is Springville. My health has never been better. I again live in "Paradise"! And even after all of that, I have been able to witness miracle after miracle that is occurring right here in Springville and it is all because of what God is doing right here in our community. I am so happy to be a part of what God is doing with us through IGNITE and I believe it is just getting started.
I did that for years, but I still hadn't said "Yes" to God! Deep down you know what I mean by saying that. Saying "Yes" to God means saying "No" to your pride, your selfish wants, the things YOU want, the sins nobody else knows about, the little "dabblings" of the world that seemingly don't hurt anything. God desires our OBEDIENCE and until we finally say "YES" to that, we will live far below what he has for us.
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way." Psalm 37:23
Instead of rethinking my choices, I just got angry and bitter towards
everything and everybody, and everything got worse.
Tears ran down my face as I handed the phone to my Diane,
because I knew in my heart the message was truly from GOD.
My next miracle occurred and I scored in the top ten applicants;
trust me when I say that was not my doing.
I prayed that God would help me again, and again I scored in the top ten.
Putting my testimony in writing allows me to review the power of God in my life again.
I knew in my heart that if I made the grade, it would only be a miracle of God
that MADE IT HAPPEN! He would use me accordingly.
I then knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was behind
all that had been accomplished in a short period of time.
By my saying "YES" to God and allowing him to heal me, strengthen me, and lead me
in the direction HE wanted, everything has changed in my life for the better.
Please don't wait as long as I did before you finally say "Yes" to God,
and I'm not talking about just going through the motions by attending a church
and saying a few prayers and singing a few worship songs.
Please everyone, say "YES" to God today, and be expectant of the miracle upon miracle
that will begin to happen in your life and the lives of those you love.
I am no special person, only someone that finally said "YES."
Learn about Pastor Crouch's camo Bible ministry for hunters:
Bent Bow Productions