Bill Stonebraker's Testimony, cont.
SOMETHING ABOUT DANITA
Bill met his wife, Danita, back around that time. He worked in a surfboard shop, and like most boys his age, enjoyed flirting with the girls. Danita called him one day, for her friend. When Bill asked what she was doing that night, she told him that a few gals were coming to her house. So Bill grabbed some buddies and some beers and headed over.
Danita was 13 years old at the time; Bill was 17. She and her friends were not into the drinking scene, but there was something about her that Bill liked. “At the time, I was consumed with being ‘cool.’ If other kids weren’t cool, they were out of it and you had nothing to do with them. [Since I’ve become a Christian, I’ve learned there’s none cool, no not one – see Romans 3:10.] But there was something about Danita. When I met her, she was sassy, she was strong, but there was also something uncorrupted about her. There was an independence and naiveté about her. She hadn’t been around the block and it attracted me to her.”
Eventually Bill and Danita married, at the ripe old age of 20 and 16. They don’t recommend others marry so young, primarily because for the next seven years they almost destroyed each other. They did everything two people could possibly do to ruin a relationship.
In 1967, the couple moved with their family to Hawaii, where Bill began a surfboard making business. It quickly became very prosperous. Bill’s name became known in the islands. He worked on boards for a lot of the top surfers in Hawaii.
The Stonebrakers lived out on Oahu’s North Shore, along an eight-mile stretch of beach that has some of the best surfing in the world. It was Paradise for Bill. He owned a home, a business, property in the South Pacific – he had it made. If the surf was good, he would put a sign on the door of his shop that read, “Testing New Equipment,” and head out to the waves.
For a surfer, things couldn’t have been much better, and yet Bill was empty inside. There was a void in his life. He began trying to fill it with drugs: LSD, peyote, hash, marijuana, etc. He began to drink all the time. “If I were not a Christian now,” he states, “I’d probably be an alcoholic, possibly dead. My father died of alcoholism, as did my grandfather. The first guy I ever took a drink with died of alcohol poisoning when he was only in his 30’s.”
Gradually Bill began to explore Eastern mysticism. He became a vegetarian and got involved in Hatha Yoga. All this was in an attempt to move into a higher plane, to experience god. But he found it to be supremely selfish. As he got more involved spiritually, he became more and more self-centered and less involved with his wife and kids.
Eventually Bill got the point where he didn’t want his family. He felt that Danita had ruined his life. He blamed her for everything. He convinced himself that she was preventing him from being happy. He didn’t want his three children, either. He had decided that he was incapable of loving anyone. He broke the trust of his family over and over again.
One day a stranger came into his surf shop. There was a saying about God posted on the wall. It was actually put up as a joke, to mock God. But this fellow came in and, reading the sign, asked Bill, “Are you a Christian?” He sarcastically responded, “Yeah,” and then realized the guy was serious; he was a Christian. “I was so embarrassed,” remembers Bill. “I couldn’t even turn around. I just kept washing my hands. I felt so small, so convicted.”
JESUS KEEPS KNOCKING
He met another fellow surfing one day who later showed up at his door on the North Shore, asking to use his shaping room to work on a board. Usually Bill never let anyone use his room and equipment, knowing that one guy quickly becomes 100. But for some reason he decided to say yes to this fellow.
“He spent all day shaping this surfboard.” Bill laughs. “It looked like a potato chip when he was finished. It was terrible. But he was real excited and wanted to know what I thought. I told him, ‘It’s a good attempt for your first time…’”
“Then he asked me, ‘Can I share with you what Christ has done in my life?’ I remember thinking that word was so odd – ‘share.’ But I said, ‘Go ahead.’”
The young man began telling Bill that he’d begun shooting heroin when he was only 13 years old. He was an addict for seven years. “Then Christ came into my life and He changed me. He so radically changed me. He delivered me from heroin. Now I’m surfing here in Hawaii for a while, but next I’m going to Viet Nam. I’m going to speak to some of the vets who are strung out on heroin there. I’m going to tell them about Jesus Christ.”
Bill applauded the man for his intentions. Certainly that was good for him, but it wasn’t what he wanted at the time. So the fellow simply said he would pray for Bill. He respected the fact that Bill wasn’t ready to commit his life.
HE DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A CHRISTIAN
A short time later Bill was once again in Waikiki, drinking and carousing. A nice looking guy with long hair walked by, carrying a guitar. Bill’s friend leaned over and said, “That guy’s a Christian.” Bill couldn’t believe it. He didn’t look the part. Bill pictured Christians weak men with crew cuts, so pale they would melt in the sun. He thought of them as wimps. But this guy looked anything but, so Bill called him over to where he and his friends were drinking.
“What are you doing down here?” Bill asked. “I’m telling people what Jesus Christ has done in my life,” came the reply. So Bill said, “Well, what’s he done?” It was a serious question. As much as Bill was trying to look “cool” on the outside, he knew he was hurting inside. He honestly wanted to know what Jesus had done for this guy.
“Christ has changed me from the inside out,” the young man told him. “I invited Him into my life and He came in.” Bill realized that was what he needed: someone or something to change him from the inside out.