Friday, November 26, 2010

From Here to Prosperity

How God Took Me From $300 to $30,000 a Month … Overnight! by Harold J. Perkins (Vision Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9762730-8-0, $10.99)

One characteristic of good men is that they “man up” when the chips are down.

So it was with Harold J. Perkins.

With an injury ending his professional baseball career, followed by several failed attempts at sales, Perkins found himself broke, busted and disgusted. Rather than run for the hills, blame his family, or pin his misfortune on bad karma, Perkins looked inward. He realized that no matter what, it was still his duty as the head of the family to provide, so he sought God for help.

But we’re jumping ahead of the story.

Perkins acknowledges in How God Took Me … that his teen years weren’t exactly ideal. He writes:

As a young teenager, I had been involved in alcohol, drug-taking and drug selling. From ages thirteen to seventeen I don’t think there was a day when I wasn’t high on something. I had gone from a kid that was very active in athletics -- football, basketball, and baseball -- to the point where the most strenuous form of physical exercise I got was running from the police. I was either on my way to jail or an early grave, but God interrupted the enemy’s plan in a powerful way.

One day while getting high with friends in his mother’s living room, God intervened. Suddenly, Perkins was out of his body and lifted above the room, witnessing everything below in slow motion. Then a life-changing thought occurred to Him:

“Is this all you’re going to do for the rest of your life?” his mind inquired.

After a few minutes, he announced to his friends: “You guys have to get out!”

As far as we know that group hasn’t been back. Perkins stopped using drugs and hanging out. He returned to high school and resumed his participation in athletics. After junior college, he transferred to California State University, Los Angeles, and was later drafted by the Dodgers.

Perkins says that during his years in both the minors and big leagues he got heavily into the Word. After the baseball injury, he eventually joined Crenshaw Christian Center and feasted on Dr. Frederick K.C. Price’s teachings on prosperity. Still, eleven years later, he was so bad off that his kids would duck on their way to church because they didn’t want to be seen riding in the family’s beat-up car.

Perkins writes:

I understood enough about the heart of God to know that the problem was with me, not with Him, however. … I could have easily thrown in the towel and quit, but I got desperate for a solution because I knew the answer was with God. I went on a three-day fast with the attitude that I was willing to do anything God told me to do …


That was the opening God was waiting for. God spoke three principles to him that changed his financial life almost immediately.

I would do the author a great disservice if I revealed the three principles God gave him without giving you the chance to buy the book and read them and the many other gems of wisdom for yourself. Suffice it to say that God led him to a series of positions that each prospered him immensely.

With a lucrative job raising venture capital about to play out, Perkins began looking for work at another office. But he kept hearing inside that he should work from his apartment. “Finally, I realized that it was God speaking to me, even though it seemed to make no sense,” but he began to take steps to work from home. He had a phone line put in and went out and bought a $300 fax machine.

As soon as the line was in God showed up,” Perkins writes. Within a few months of his act of obedience, the $300 investment was pulling in $30,000 a month.

Of course, there is a much more to this book than what can be put into this review. Perkins, an entrepreneur and ordained minister, shares wonderful insights on such subjects as hearing God’s voice, the importance of walking in love and obedience, and meditation as the foundation for blessing.

Above all, How God Took Me From $300 to $30,000 a Month … Overnight! proves that prosperity is not such a distant place when you’re traveling with the Lord.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Young, Gifted, and Black Farm Laborer

Dreamer in the Fields: My Life as a Child Migrant Farm Worker By John Hill (Vision Publishing, ISBN: 978-0-9762730-7-3, $12.99).

Langston Hughes in his poem Dream Deferred asks this question: “What happens to a dream deferred?”

Perhaps he should have consulted the parents of John Hill, who once had dreams of succeeding as entertainers -- the father, Thomas, as a singer; the mother, Alberta, as a dancer. Instead, they wound up as dirt-poor farm laborers in California’s Central Valley.

What happens to a dream deferred? It slowly turns into a nightmare. The dreamers turn to alcohol, and potentially good parents become bad parents.

In Hill’s case, his parents went a step further. They became combatants. So fierce were some of their drunken battles that both would seek medical attention. As might be expected, these fights took their toll on the nine surviving Hill children. (One had drowned at seven.)

“My parents’ battles were thoroughly upsetting to me,” writes Hill. “My siblings and I would take bets on who was going to win, but when it was all over we’d go outside to sit and cry. We were all losers, and I think that thought alone may have been the most devastating part of my young life.”

But young Hill was a dreamer himself, and his dreams did not include slave-like work in the hot California sun or the fall chill, picking fruit, vegetables and cotton. He dreamed of a stable home with regular meals, a chance to get an education, and parents who loved each other enough not to try to kill one another. In fact, he often daydreamed in the fields instead of working. “almost always envisioning a more normal existence far away from the labor camps.”

“We moved around,” Hill writes, “following the crops and traveling as far north as Washington. But most of our time was spent in California. We worked in small towns between Bakersfield to the south and Marysville and Yuba City to the north …and other places such as Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Salinas, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Rosa."

The family lived in horrid camp shacks, sometimes bathed in rivers and streams, slept on filthy mattresses strewn around on dirt floors and used outside toilets that were both unsanitary and dangerous.

“We never allowed our sisters to go to the restroom alone,” he writes. “The boys would always accompany them and stand by the door and walk them back to the cabin or tent, but it was also dangerous for young boys who were unaccompanied. We learned as kids how to survive.”

Hill recalls that he began working in cotton fields around age five or six, with the unreachable quota of picking 100 pounds a day. Rising around 4:30 a.m., the family was in the field well before daybreak. Work didn’t end until dusk, and there were often seven-day work weeks. In spite of their dire poverty, Hill’s dad would frequently take all the family’s earning and drown his sorrows in a night of hard drinking while the children went hungry.

There were some good times, especially when the parents weren’t drinking. During such times, the parents would be lovey-dovey, and all seemed right in the world. When Thomas took a regular job in the town of Paso Robles, the family had a period of stability. Hill’s mother was able to see that children went to church. Young Hill, a gifted reader, loved the Old Testament stories, and he developed a love of church. But one day he was impressed to rise above the normal Sunday school fare that made up the children’s church service.

“After Sunday school the younger children would usually be sent into another room until the main service was over. However, on this particular Sunday I felt I needed something more. A voice kept telling me to go inside and listen to the minister. … The minister spoke of the goodness of God and how He would do anything for us, if we only believed in Him. He said, ‘Just ask and you will receive; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened.’ ...Those words struck a chord in me, and the minister seemed to be speaking exclusively to me.”

By age eight, Alberta had abandoned both the abusive and philandering Thomas and her nine children. By age nine, Hill was so miserable that he determined to run away. That’s when a divine visitor intervened to counsel and console him. Hill explained his longings and asked the visitor for help. A short time later, Thomas was sentenced to a lengthy jail term and the children made wards of Fresno County and put in a foster home.

Hill delighted in his new home and foster parents, the Rev. James Seals and his wife, Velma. It is what he prayed for, although all the children regretted somewhat the loss of contact with their biological parents. But Hill reveled in the normalcy of his new life, and found comfort in the strict requirements to attend church and school, and to help with chores around the big foster home. At last, he was able to embark on the educational journey he had always desired.

Today, in comfortable retirement with his wife Mattie, Hill does book tours and holds speaking engagements.

Just what he prayed for: heaven on earth.