During my sabbatical from the Catholic Church, I had the great privilege of working for George Otis, an Evangelical minister; the name of his ministry was High Adventure.
I was a member of the Valley Vineyard, and it was through this ministry that I met and became friends with a young lady name Vickie. Vickie was working for High Adventure and told me of a part-time opening. My children were young and both in school, so I was able to take on the responsibility of that position.
High Adventure’s offices were located on the second floor of a business building in Northridge, California. There the genius of George Otis took on the world to spread the gospel. “The Voice of Hope” was his brainchild, and he put up the first Christian radio station in Lebanon, near the Israeli border. Mr. Otis’s “High Adventure” was not an easy task because all this took place in the mid-seventies when Lebanon was being torn apart by the PLO. I was unfamiliar with the acronym PLO and was too embarrassed to ask what it stood for. The PLO was a topic of conversation at work, and I quickly learned that PLO stood for Palestine Liberation Organization, a terrorist group headed by Yasser Arafat.
George Otis did not listen to the voice of doubt, but to the voice of God. In order for him to accomplish this monumental undertaking, through this entire journey God aligned Mr. Otis with the right people to bring hope to Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries. Soon they would hear Christian programs to lift their spirits. George Otis, with the favor of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Major Saad Haddad of Lebanon, and other-hand picked men of God, who helped set up “The Voice Of Hope.”
My job at High Adventure was to prepare taped programs for airing on The Voice of Hope. One of my duties was to listen to “Thru the Bible” programs by J. Vernon McGee. I was to splice out the name of “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ” whenever it was used because many Jews and perhaps Arabs who were Muslims might be listening to the broadcast, and out of respect to their beliefs, George Otis did not want to offend them; he only wanted to bring the Word of God to them.
J. Vernon McGee was a Bible scholar, whose voice was so distinct that I can still hear it playing in my head. This was another means by which the Lord trained me to love the Word of God. Though J. Vernon McGee did not agree with Catholic doctrine, his understanding of the interpretation of the Bible was and is still well received by Protestants. Although he died in 1988, his program is still aired (Thru the Bible) on over 600 radio stations today.
The staff at High Adventure was small: Mr. Otis, his secretary, the accountant, and his assistant, Vickie, Don, his son, and me. The offices were small, and I worked in the back room. George Otis was a little taller than me, but when he walked into the office, and when he spoke, it seemed that the room shrank because he exuded extraordinary grace. George Otis was always upbeat and ready to take on what the world threw at him. This one-time CEO of Lear Jets was now a humble servant of the Most High God. Nothing would change the course God had paved for this giant, and George Otis knew God was on his side because he never stopped seeking Him.
On many occasions, George Otis traveled to the Holy Land and Lebanon to oversee The Voice of Hope. He was on the PLO’s hit list, so he was instructed by Israeli officials to get a bulletproof vest for traveling to Lebanon. As part of my job responsibility, I was asked to drive to Los Angeles to pick up the vest for him. Anyone who knows me also knows that I really don’t like to drive to Los Angeles. I was given the keys to an old station wagon, of course no navigation apps, no map, just handwritten directions to get to some ammunition store in downtown LA to pick up the bulletproof vest. Through the grace of God I made it there and back safely. When I turned off the engine of the old wagon, the car kept rattling and moving like it was having convulsions. I thought that I had done something to cause this and was scared to go back up to the office. I prayed for the car to stop shaking, and then went about my business.
On various occasions I drove to Camarillo to a beautiful church off the 101 Freeway, either to take paperwork, or to pick up something of importance for Mr. Otis. I loved working for this ministry, but it was short-lived because of Mike’s position, which required us to move to Orange County.
My desire to visit the Holy Land started in this small office. Part of the High Adventure ministry was to take tour groups to Israel. I’d hear the wonderful stories of the birthplace of our Lord so I longed to visit it. God knows the desires of our hearts, so He has granted me opportunities to visit the Holy Land. My first trip took place in 1996, and I have continued to travel there almost every year since.
I am surprised that George Otis’ story has not been picked up by some big movie production company, because what he did was both dangerous and exciting. I know of no other person who can say that he built a Christian radio station in Lebanon, especially in the height of a war. I pray that someday a movie will be made about George Otis’ High Adventure.
The Lord has been so gracious to me because I never really realized how great the impact of George Otis has been on the Christian world. I naively saw him as my employer with a crazy busy job. I was ignorant of the war in Lebanon and the special need for the Voice of Hope to offer hope to Christians in the Middle East. I thank God that I had minuscule part of such a meaningful ministry. God is good!