Gene Arnold Story

My name is Eugene J. Arnold and I am an entrepreneur, businessman and motivational speaker.  I have an extensive background in many fields of business.

By 1972, I had been a United States Marine, High School Coach, Police Officer, President of a Police Union, Sports Editor of a newspaper and an Examiner for one of the country’s largest field warehouse companies. I would like to tell you my story. 

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I was the eighth child and the seventh son in a family of nine. I was thrown out of kindergarten when I was four. I was always in fights as a young kid. I had a bad attitude and reputation.

I returned to Catholic school in the third grade in 1947 and wanted to be an altar boy and serve mass. My grandmother encouraged me pray every day for Russia and my brothers. My brother Frank had been sunk three times by German U-boats, and he survived twice. As I grew older I found out that my prayers protected him. Morning and night I would pray, and I became very close to God. I loved Jesus even as a small child. I was confirmed in the church at age eleven, but I refused take an oath that I wouldn’t drink until I was twenty-one. By fourteen I was an alcoholic.

I went through high school, and I was always decent to my mother except I would get drunk. I remember one New Year’s Eve 1957, my senior year in high school, I got drunk. My buddies carried me home. They took me in my house, took me upstairs, and threw me on my bed. They didn’t know I had moved to another bedroom, and they threw me over my mother. I was into this type of living, and nobody was ever going to tell me what to do again when I graduated from high school.

So I joined the Marine Corps. Needless to say I was surprised when I got off the bus at Parris Island. After boot camp and advanced training, I went to Lebanon in 1958 and stayed out of trouble. I went back home to Jersey and became a police officer. I was still drinking, and I went from about 144 pounds while in the Marine Corps to over 240 pounds. I was a drunk, and people were afraid of me.

I was married while on the police force and my wife was expecting our first child on Saint Patrick’s Day. I went out and got drunk. I had new tailor-made uniforms made. I looked sharp. The next day was Wednesday and I went to a Catholic Church retreat called “The Little Course in Christianity.” On the first night one of the laymen read the story of the Prodigal Son. I saw myself in the story. I was living with the swine.

On this retreat men were giving their testimonies. One man was a construction worker and he told his story. He was building a bridge, and he got drunk. He fell into the ditch where they were pouring cement. Someone dove into the mud just before they covered him up. They fished him out and rinsed him off, and he was talking how God had moved in his life.

God had been talking to me on this retreat. I went into the chapel and I asked God to give me everything he had for me, and forgive me of my sins as I repented. I came out of that meeting, and I went home and I started scrubbing dirty words off the walls where I walked the beat. The cops driving by thought I was crazy. My partner and I would drive around at night in a patrol car and when we would get near the Puerto Rican neighborhood I would start singing the doxology in another language, and it sounded like Spanish. He thought I was making fun of them. I was praising God in tongues and didn’t even know it.

God was mighty in my life. After the race riots in the sixties which was a tough time to be a policeman, not that it isn’t today; I left the police force and moved to Pennsylvania. One of my friends invited me to go to a meeting, and it was a Full Gospel Businessmen’s meeting. It was about forty years ago, and Jack Herd was the international director. Some of these men know him. I thought there was something wrong with Jack that day because he never stopped smiling. He is my closest friend right now. I got involved in Full Gospel and started moving along, and everything was going great.

One day my partner in the insurance business called me. He said, “Don’t go home tonight. Your wife is leaving you.” I had five beautiful children and a lovely wife, and we attended marriage seminars all over the East Coast. She decided she didn’t love me anymore and wanted me out. She divorced me and married one of the men in my church. This is the very same man that said he was going to pray for our marriage. I have forgiven them both and also forgave my father. I wrote my dad a sixteen page letter, although he didn’t receive it, and I sent it to my brothers.

I met Darla after four and a half years of being single in the church choir. I knew that the Roman Catholic Church did not allow divorced men or women to remarry. I was now attending a non-denominational church and told Darla that one day I was going to Russia. I answered an ad in the newspaper that they were looking for people to go to Russia and teach the Bible. Guess where I went - the Ukraine?
As I am going up the escalator to the airport with Darla, my oldest son, I turned around and told Darla I loved her and walked away.

When I was in the Ukraine, the first person I led to the Lord was an athletic director, teacher, and head of the communist party in Western Ukraine. It was right after the Soviet Union had pulled out of the Ukraine. We were unloading supplies for our mission when two skids of Bibles fell off the back of the tractor trailer and crushed me. At first they thought I was dead, but I soon regained conscientiousness and they took me to the doctor’s office. They didn’t have anything to x-ray me; so they laid me on the table. Two doctors held me down. One put his foot under my armpit and pulled for twenty minutes trying to straighten the arm. I didn’t know until just this year when they operated on me again, that they had pulled everything off the bones, the tendons and everything. I was a mess.

The Ukrainians sent me to a Catholic hospital in Geneva, Switzerland. I had a full beard and long hair. They thought I was a Catholic priest. They called me Father Arnold. They had one doctor who spoke English and he would visit at the end of the day. When they x-rayed me they found I had a broken collarbone and broken ribs. The nuns and the nurses would come to my room and I would hear their confessions. I told them Jesus forgave them, and all they had to do was accept Jesus, and they would be all right.
The priest came in, the chaplain at the hospital, and asked me if I would say mass before he went on vacation. I said, “I can’t lift my arm. I can’t do it.” I could have gotten away with it because I knew enough Latin from when I was an altar boy.
When I came back to America, I propose to Darla. Two days after we were married we went to Messiah College to a Full Gospel Businessmen’s convention. There were 2,000 adults and over 600 youth. Jack Herd told everybody where we were, and they were knocking on the windows all night long. It didn’t matter. We had bunk beds. We were in a college dorm room, a good place to take your honeymoon.

We went back to Ukraine at Christmas time, and the first night we were there we were in a restaurant eating with our interpreter and a couple of other people that we worked with. Three college boys walked up and through the interpreter asked if they could talk to me. They wanted to know about my God. The Bibles and curriculum that fell on me had been distributed to 200 public schools which were three in one. So in essence 600 public schools had picked up the Bible curriculum and they started teaching Genesis and Exodus as ancient history.

A bunch of these teachers started looking at the curriculum, and thousands of them were getting saved. They were holding prayer meetings in their homes, and teaching the Word at night. People were coming up to me on the street and telling me that they knew Jesus because of my accident.

Three pastors invited me to a meeting. I thought they were Mafia when they first met me on the street corner and took me away. I was scared. They asked me to come back and do a seminar on how to put morality into the Ukraine. I took a team of Full Gospel Businessmen and wives. We went to Ostroh which is the oldest University in the former Soviet Union, and because we did not send our talks in ahead of time they wouldn’t let us talk.
One afternoon we were walking across the square to go to lunch in a beautiful courtyard when a woman walked up with a man carrying a big antenna. He operated the largest radio station in the Ukraine. They interviewed me for forty minutes, and I told them the only way they could put morality into their country was to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It didn’t matter what religion they were. It didn’t matter if they were Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish. All they had to do was have Jesus in their heart, and then I went on and I explained all about the Holy Spirit. They broadcasted three or four times a day for over a month throughout all of the Ukraine. That was an answer to my prayers from when I was eight years old. Eighty million people heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I remember back when I was first Born Again I prayed, “Is my father saved?” He has been dead for many years. God said, “What did your dad do when he came back from Germany during World War I?” He went to the Salvation Army. What did he hear at the Salvation Army?” He heard the gospel. That’s all I needed to know.

What about my mother?” She was an Irish, Roman Catholic and loved the Lord. The man next door died when I was in eighth grade, and I wanted to go to his funeral because his son was my friend. The nuns wouldn’t let me out of school, and my mother went to the priest and said it doesn’t matter if they are Catholic, Jew or Protestant as long as they know Jesus, and from that statement I know that my mother was Born Again also.

I praise God for the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship in America. We are working to train young adults, and one of the things the Lord has me working on right now is the City of Harrisburg, PA. The city is bankrupt. They owe $600 million, and the reason they owe so much money is that there was some corruption. Forty eight percent of the properties in the City of Harrisburg don’t pay taxes.

So the Lord has allowed us to work with 11,000 people in a half-mile radius, the poorest and most uneducated people in the city. A lot of them are Hispanics, African Americans and the poor whites. They are taking their GED tests. We are training them with computer skills. We are teaching the Spanish-speaking people English, and we are also starting factories in the empty warehouses that are there. We have plans to also train employees and employers in Christian business principles while introducing them to Jesus Christ.

One potential business is to grow fish in tanks, and use the fish water to fertilize organic crops. So we are going to create businesses that will put those buildings back on the tax rolls. We have sixty churches in the suburbs coming into the city and working with the inner city black, white, and brown churches. The school superintendent has asked us to come in to all the schools in the City of Harrisburg and have lunch with the students, fellowship and mentor them.

So I praise God, and I wish I could tell you my whole life more and more and more, but these are the most recent things that are happening to me, and I praise God for everything he does in my life.

God has told me to be like Abraham and go wherever he tells me to go. I have thirteen beautiful grandchildren. I have four sons and a daughter. My four sons are pastors in one way or another, and one is soon to be a full ambassador. He is in the State Department, but he taught at Evangelical College in Springfield, Missouri for ten years. He is a professor.


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