John Harrison Story

Gravel hitting the underside of the car was the last thing I remember as I awoke in the back seat of the car crashing down that Yosemite Mountain.

My prayer was short: "GOD HELP!"

It wasn't long after I joined Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream as their official taste tester / flavor developer that a group from work planned a summer weeks’ vacation in a 1984 riding mule back to five High Sierra Yosemite camps. I took my 10 year-old son Travis along. What a great time we had, father and son experiencing the beautiful creativeness of our God.

When we came down the mountain on the fifth day, we were exhausted as we climbed in the big four-door Oldsmobile and headed home on the winding, mountainous Tioga Pass Road.

We were in the back seat. It wasn't long before my head was nodding as I glanced up to the dashboard to check our speed of 55 m.p.h. None of us were wearing seat belts. The last thing I saw was the elevation marker showing 8500 feet.

When the car was still airbom, I quickly pushed my son to the floor­ board of the car. When the car finally stopped, down the mountainside you could hear a pin drop. Amidst the blood, broken glass and twisted bodies, Travis looked up at me as I was perched on top of the broken front seat and asked, "Dad, am I all right?"

Looking down at him crumpled up on the floor with only a visible bruised cheek, I said, "Son, you look fine."

With that, Travis said with a loud and appreciative voice, "Thank You Jesus... thank You Jesus...thank You Jesus!" What a joy it was to me as he thanked His heavenly father and not me. What a witness that young man was to the two unbelievers in the front seat.

We learned later that God's promise of "hemming us in, behind and before" (Psalm 139:5) came true. There was a park ranger driving towards us who saw us go over the side. There was also an off-duty park medical ranger behind us. He later said, "You missed a big tree by four inches. That would have put the engine of the Oldsmobile and all four of you with it in the trunk of the car."

Praise the Lord for ministering angels and the plan God had for our lives.

We were taken to the Yosemite Hospital with my condition diagnosed as the most severe with a broken back in two places, broken ribs and possible internal injuries. Being a minimal care facility, they didn't have the medical equipment to go any further than X rays and my welcomed shot of morphine. They called for an ambulance to take us to a larger hospital. They called my employer to notify them of the accident and not to expect me back to work for at least six months.

The pain was excruciating. I've never experienced so much pain in my entire life. It was a five-hour drive down the mountain to the big hospital. During that time, the morphine wore off. I was sweating from all the pain.

With one set of X-rays in hand, I arrived at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, California. I was greeted at the emergency ward by my medical doctor and an orthopedic surgeon whom I had never met before. With a new set of X-rays to compare, I heard the doctors confirm the broken back in two places and potential other damage.

I heard the orthopedic surgeon say, "I don't want to touch him until we run him through the bone scan machine." As God would have it, the machine was down and not expected to be running until the next day. This gave time for many FGBMFI and church friends to come by the hospital to lay hands on me and pray the prayer of faith.

When everyone had gone a nurse came into my room to say that the bone scan machine was fixed. They would be taking me down in about 20 minutes. I cried out to God, "Lord, I believe You want to heal me. What do You expect of me?"

I did not anticipate the answer I received from God, "Get off the drugs. They are blocking My healing for you!"

I knew the pain my body was in and how the morphine was numbing that unbelievable pain. I wrestled with God on this until I said "Yes" to Him.

He then gave me two verses of scripture: "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken" (Psalms 34:19-20).

I received the word and promise of the Lord for my need as they rolled me down the hall to the bone scan machine.

The next morning the orthopedic surgeon came to my hospital doorway and said, "John, you can rise up and go home, you've been healed."

Like Lazarus, God had raised me up and given me a mighty testimony of Jesus as our Savior, Baptizer, and Healer.

My employer was told by a doctor that I would be out for six months. But my miraculous healing permitted me to return to work after only three days.

What a mighty God we serve. The people at corporate headquarters were well aware that God had miraculously touched my life. God had indeed canceled the surgery.

I had been a Spirit-filled Christian for about four years. This miracle reminded me of several times many years before, that God tried to get my attention by saving my life. But I brushed it off as just a coincidence or "knocks on my heart" and continued my downward spiral to the bottom.

After a long, hard week, driving home several hundred miles, I fell asleep going 75 M.P.H. on a two-lane highway that was built up on both sides due to the swampy area of Southern Louisiana. I awoke when I heard an audible voice call out my whole name.

When I opened my eyes, I saw that I was driving in the wrong lane and even worse, a Greyhound bus was speeding right at me. I jerked the wheel --not too far, or I would have wound up in the swamp-- just enough to go around the bus. My big Buick was rocking back and forth from speed and suction caused by our combined speed.

I shook like a leaf at the close call of death. But I brushed it off as a coincidence and perhaps an angel watching over me.

A few months later with similar circumstances, I was driving near Dallas, Texas, heading home late on Friday night. I fell asleep driving at 75 M.P.H. and awoke on the off ramp of a Texas interstate. I thought that was unusual, but I simply got back on the interstate, rolled the window down a bit and turned the radio a little louder. No big deal I thought; but this was to happen two more times before I got home.

The Lord Jesus was trying to get my attention. He was knocking on my heart's door, but I was too busy with my plan to hear the plan of God for my life. God has a plan for our lives and that plan is to prosper (promote) us if we seek Him with our whole heart, as it says in Jeremiah 29:1l-l3.

Sure, I went to church most of my life. But it was just a place to go to see my friends. I quit going when I turned 18.

My family has been in the dairy industry for over 100 years, beginning in 1888 when my great grandfather operated a couple of ice cream and candy stores in Manhattan, New York, making his own ice cream and candy.

My grandfather started the first dairy co-op in Tennessee. My uncle owned one of the largest ice cream novelty plants in America.

I was with my father for 13 years in the dairy ingredient business out of Atlanta, Georgia; traveling both North and South America working with dairy manufacturers on formulations of dairy products.

The only god I knew was the god of business. My life was way out of balance. I fooled myself into believing excessive travel commitment to business was for my family's best interest. This was and is a lie. It was a road that led to destruction without God.

I moved to Santa Barbara, California in 1978 from Atlanta with hopes that with less travel, I would have time to work on my rocky road marriage. But it wasn't the travel that was the key to my problems; it was the lack of having any kind of a relationship with my Creator.

One of the choice accounts to have in my industry was the fast-growing Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream in Oakland, California. As I was calling on them, they shared a manufacturing problem they had. They asked if I would like to work on it. Their current supplier had said, "There is no way to solve this problem under current conditions."

I jumped at the chance. I prepared for several months on the formulation problem. I felt I was ready to go in and live at the plant until I solved the problem and got the business.

Not knowing the Lord, I did a strange thing, even for me. On the morning I was to start around midnight making ice cream mix, I asked Jesus to go with me and help me…and He did! Still an unbeliever, I sensed His presence with me for the four weeks I was there. I wound up with the business.

Jesus is the One I now credit with solving the problem at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream. But I took the glory. I learned the hard way that we are not to do this, but rather, we are to give Him all the glory.

Little did I know that my problems were just beginning, due to my unbelief. I was a man going downhill fast. My life was out of control. I reached the bottom rung of the ladder of life. One year later, with a divorce, I resigned from my job and was contemplating suicide.

That is the cleverness of Satan’s deception. The devil made me think I was okay, when, in reality, I was about to go under for the last time!

Looking back, I am so glad God allowed me to go all the way down because I was full of pride and I needed to be broken. I was a "taker" for 38 years.

At this point in my life, I had not been to a church for twenty years except on holidays. Through a counselor, I was recommended to a local church. Several weeks later, I found myself knocking on the church door on a Sunday morning, as I had shown up too early. Soon, a stately woman opened the door and invited me into the kitchen. She looked exactly like my godly grandmother who had died 20 years earlier, but had always prayed for me.

Sitting on the back pew that Sunday in October, 1980, with tears streaming down my cheeks and my hand raised, I gave my life to Jesus. I discovered a peace, joy, and love that I cannot describe. I knew that I knew this was truly home. This was where I belonged and "like a tree planted by the waters, I shall not be moved."

God knew my hunger for Him. I wrapped my arms around Jesus. What joy flooded my soul. I set about serving my God, for He gave me a big portion of faith in Him after 38 years of serving the Enemy.

A year later, the Lord instructed me to get back into the industry that He had trained me in. I sent out several resumes, but they came back with a red "NO". A couple of weeks later, with perfect timing and peace, I received a call from an executive with Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream who said, "We're looking for someone with your ability. Would you be available to come for an interview?"

The next week I found myself confessing Jesus before seven executives of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream and giving Him the glory that was due Him for solving the manufacturing problem two years earlier. I soon accepted the position as flavor developer and official Taste Tester.

As a young Christian I desired to have all that God had for me. I remember asking other members of the church about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and power to live a Christian life. The vague answer I received was, "In His time...He makes all things beautiful."

It was not long after that I joined the local FGBMFI chapter and was able to attend my first men's camp in Southern California. This was an awesome experience for me as I had never been with hundreds of men worshipping Jesus with such love in the Spirit before. Wow, I thought this must be what heaven is all about as it was the most glorious three days of men fellowshipping that I had ever experienced.

I saw for the first time the Body of Christ. There was such a sweet unity in the Spirit.

Tears flowed down my face as the Lord moved in a mighty way through me, just as He did in the Upper Room. On the last night of the camp, singing the last song, "Our God Reigns," standing in the back of the room, Jesus baptized me. Out of my mouth came a heavenly prayer language that flowed like a river. I sang. I cried. I worshipped the most high God with a new language and a heart of thanksgiving.

This was only the beginning as He has used me in so many wonderful ways as I have followed Him.

The Fellowship has been a platform for me. Not to establish my ministry, but for me to communicate Jesus Christ. I cannot speak highly enough for FGBMFI. They have been an instrument in the hands of God where businessmen have come to meetings beat up, discouraged, despondent, and suicidal. But they’ve left the mountaintop  refreshed, renewed and retired. That’s what the Fellowship is all about Men need to get up and get out and give God their time, their talent, and their treasure. We're not a "Bless Me" club-we've got to get back on our knees, praying and seeking God.

As program director for "Night Talk", we see scores come to the Lord. This live television show is on the fourth Friday of the month, from midnight to 6 a.m. It is run by a different FGBMFI chapter every month. We interview businessmen who share their testimonies.

We take between 200-300 calls on our Care-Line. Of these, approximately 10-12 are led to the Lord. A number
of suicides have been canceled. It has a real impact because it is live. God has used it for His glory in a mighty way. It also helps to get FGBMFI rooted in the community.

I press on today to serve the Lord and to be accountable to many that I might remain steadfast unto the end. The Lord prepared works for me in the dairy industry, church board, FGBMFI, Christian college board, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Board, prison ministry and Chinese ministry.

As a volunteer associate chaplain for the past ten years, God has used me to encourage the men. Prison ministry has become a lifestyle for me.

I served the Enemy with enthusiasm. Now the least I can do is serve the Lord with all my strength. When God gives you new life your time, talent and treasure belong to God as He sets you free!

Tasting ice cream and developing flavors is my profession. My “claim to fame” to many is that my taste buds have been insured for one million dollars. The idea for insuring my tongue came from the Holy Spirit and has produced millions of dollars of free advertising for the company.

Ice cream is America's favorite dessert ...one billion gallons a year! In 1991, I helped plan countless advertising campaigns, spearheading over 175 media functions. But it is God who gives the platform. It is He who gives us time ...talent...treasure! To God be the glory!

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