I grew up among vineyards and green rolling hills in Northern California. On high school graduation night, June 1969, I moved to San Francisco to work for the summer. There, I met Raymond. My life changed forever. Misplaced love and lust turned into drugs and degradation. In June, 1971, I was again in San Francisco. This time I was hiding from Raymond, deeply depressed, fearing for my life and contemplating suicide.
Chance, or divine intervention, brought me together with a group of young Christians. I didn’t like Jesus people, so I resisted their message of hope and redemption. However, five hours later I became a new person with a new name and a new family -- the revolutionary Children of God. Some called us radical and evil. Parents stormed our communes to kidnap their children. Blind obedience to my leaders propelled me to Mexico and then Central America. There, I awoke from a spiritual sleep and began to question the dictates of our leader, Moses David Berg. I planned my escape and, with help from my parents, returned home to California.
God had different plans for me. Months later I was back in Costa Rica, and had joined forces with a Catholic Priest and an American Missionary. Together, we established Costa Rica’s first Christian halfway house for street girls and under-aged prostitutes. At the age of twenty-three I found myself playing mother, teacher and counselor to rebellious teenage girls just a few years younger than I was. Our hearts became entwined. All of my bad life choices became meaningful. I understood these girls. God's Spirit was at work. Their lives and mine were forever changed.