Part Three–Forever Transformed

After I finished the book Devils Driver, I realized that God was exactly what I needed in my life. I got on my knees and cried out to God for over an hour. I wept for all the things I had done to people, and all of the ways that I had rejected God and hated myself. I cried for all the things I had missed in life – all the lost opportunities. When I got up off the floor, I was literally a bran new person.                                       

       When I was placed in General Population a few weeks later, I went to church immediately. The Chaplain befriended me, and bought me a very expensive Bible with his own money. I read it for HOURS every day. I couldn’t get enough of it! It was TRUTH and I knew it. I had lived believing so many lies in my life, the Truth was like a stream of cool water in the desert for me.                                                                                 

       The Scriptures spoke wholeness and hope to my heart. They gave my life meaning and purpose and stability. I began experiencing peace and joy such as I had never known. And I began wanting something that was very foreign to me – I wanted to help others in prison. I became a song leader and began supporting others who were as broken as I had been. Prison would become one of the best experiences of my life.                          

       I was later transferred to a minimum-security prison. However, out of the 90 women there, I was all alone in my faith. I cried out to God and asked “WHY would You send me to this spiritually empty place? I need training. I need friends to help me now more than ever! He showed me that I was the one who would bring hope to these women. I started teaching the Scriptures there, and I learned later that these studies continued years after I left.                                                                 

       When I was released, I had to go back to Santa Cruz, California, where I was from. But the only people I knew there were drug addicts and prostitutes! Again, I cried out to God – “How could you let me come back to the town where all I know are drugs and the street life. How will I overcome the reputation I have made there?” He showed me that I was to be a witness to those I had run with. God brought me many people and opportunities to share His love, light and Gospel with.                            

       The next best part of my life, after accepting Jesus, was when I met my current husband, Michael. He was raised in a family of California Highway Patrolmen!! COPS!! His family was shocked that he would bring “someone like me” home, but over the years, God changed their hearts about “those kinds of people”. God surely has a sense of humor! We have now been married for many years and we love to help others come to faith.  I went back to school and earned my Registered Nursing degree. I also started teaching Bible studies for women. God brought me a very unusual group of women to teach. There were those who had been Christians all of their lives, and there were also women who had just come off the street. Some came from addictive backgrounds, and many were single moms. I couldn’t find any material that this diverse group could all relate to, so I started writing my own studies. The book I wrote, called Be Transformed: By the Spirit of the Living God, was birthed from this class, because my life had been forever transformed.

The Letter to the Galatians

Greeting & To the Churches of Galatia

 Galatians 1:1–5

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage above and the Bible passages listed under the title, “Scripture Reading.”

1.           Paul, being  sent out with a message, so an apostle, and this by and through Jesus Christ and God the Father. Paul states also that the Father raised the Son from the dead.

2.           Verse two makes it clear that there are other “brothers” with him who also greet the Galatians.

3.           Verse three has been referred to as the “Passing of the Peace,” and which we begin our worship service with.

4.           In verse four Paul states the core of our Christian faith, that Jesus gave Himself up on the cross for our sake, which has the power to deliver us from the “present evil age.” And all this according to the will and purpose of the Father.

5.           The opening greeting concludes by stating that all glory will be to Father, and this forever and ever.

Zion’s Inn

Chapter 12

The Soul Inn did not last for long. It was under the direction of a Baptist church, with its congregational, democratic form of government, so the house was subject to the will of too many congregants who did not especially like our use of the storefront church. Toward the end, there were only a few of us left living at Soul Inn, and one by one the residents moved on to various places. Some even returned home.

San Rafael, the largest town in Marin County and also the county seat, still had reasonable rental prices. The smallish home we rented was a bit too small, and this was the time that David and I began painting houses to support our ministry work, but only on rare occasions did it provide sufficient money for us.

Three couples living in the same house did not work out for long. After about six months, the Hoyts and Philpotts moved to a larger house on Greenfield Avenue, also in San Rafael. David and I transformed its large basement into living quarters, adding three additional bedrooms. We didn’t care much about permits; we only cared that it worked.

Our consistent problem was what to do with young women who became believers in Jesus and had nowhere to go. Many times we simply placed them homeward bound on trains, planes, or buses. Some had no home to go to, so we had to do something.

David had the idea first. He bought a Volkswagan van—yes, a real
“hippie-mobile”—and painted “Zion’s Inn for Girls” on the side. David and I used that van for our painting business and also drove it for the street evangelism in the City. It was extremely useful.

Soon girls began to move in, mostly for short durations, but some stayed long enough to get stabilized once again. During this period we somehow made friends with a Marin County judge, Peter Allen Smith, who began sending girls to us as a kind of diversionary practice, rather than sending them to jail. He required that Bobbie and I become foster parents, and we did this for a number of girls. It also meant that some court-provided money was coming into the house. Our contacts with Marin County and the City of San Rafael and the good reputation we were able to build with these local governments allowed us to open two “Christian Houses” especially for drug addicts and alcoholics—again a sort of diversionary assignment rather than to jail. This ministry worked out wonderfully well, and some of our top leaders emerged from these houses.

It was here on Greenfield Avenue that I began a Tuesday night Bible study, a tradition that has continued to this day, although in different locations. Someone who began attending the meetings and occasionally leading them was Martin Rosen, who was then with the American Board of Missions to the Jews (now Chosen People Ministries) and who later became “Moishe” Rosen of Jews for Jesus. This connection with Rosen lasted many years, and he and I often worked together doing various kinds of ministries. My oldest daughter Dory was an administrative assistant to his first secretary while she attended high school.

Within a short time, the front room of Zion’s Inn could not accommodate the crowd, so we moved the study just one block down the street to John Wesley Hall at the United Methodist Church of San Rafael. It was at this Bible study where miraculous events began to occur again, mostly healings. I was shocked at this, seeing it happen right in front of me and fairly often. Those who know me know I am a terrible skeptic, and it takes a lot of evidence to convince me.

Family Miracle Story

I will tell the story of one rather incredible miracle. It was about a week after David and Victoria moved to Walnut Creek. My painting work had not been going well; it was before I developed a real painting business employing some of the young men and women living in our houses (yes, many more houses were to come), and one morning we had nothing to eat.

At the breakfast table sat Bobbie, Dory, Grace, and Vernon, who was either an infant or about to be born. In addition, there was Kathy Granger, Linda Patton, and Sher Keaton. Bobbie had boiled some water for the few tea bags we had left. And that was all we had. I can still see us, a motley crew for sure, and we prayed and asked God to take care of us. As if on cue, there was a knock on the door. I answered it, and there stood two people, a man and a woman, both about my age, and they were holding several white bags. They held out the bags toward me, and I took them, carried them back to the kitchen, came back, and received another bag or two. They turned to leave, and I thanked them as they retreated down the stairs and climbed into a newish white panel van (I did not yet know what was in the white bags). They drove off, and I returned to the kitchen. There on the table was a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and milk—the works—exactly enough food for the lot of us. We thanked God for His provision and loved every second of that meal. When we finished, it began to dawn on us what had just happened. Somehow we did not get it right away. But then we realized that someone, perhaps angels, had appeared to answer our prayer.

We examined the bags and the food containers, top and bottom. Even on the bottom of the paper plates there was no indication by whom or where the cups and plates had been made. Nothing. Not a clue. I had never seen the people before and I never saw them again. After all these years I am still amazed. After that event, I rarely worried about our needs being met.

That was breakfast; there was still no money for lunch or dinner. I do not recall how it was we survived, but we did. Never again would Zion’s Inn for Girls ever suffer want. And it was not pennies from heaven that turned things around. It was ads placed in the Marin Independent Journal that read, “Seminary Student and Crew,” that God used to bring us what we needed. 

It was after about one year at Zion’s Inn that David and Victoria moved to Walnut Creek to begin a new work. David and I were both type-A leaders who knew how things should be done, and thus we had times of conflict. I have often wondered what might have been, if we had been able to continue working closely together.

My daughter Dory reminded me just recently of one memory from the Zion’s Inn days that needs to be told. My daughters Dory and Grace shared a bedroom that David and I had constructed in the basement. One mid-morning, I returned to the Greenfield house or Zion’s Inn and saw fire trucks blocking the street. A jolt of fear ran through me as I realized the trucks were parked right in front of our house. As I rushed to the scene, I found my family—Dory, Grace, and Bobbie—standing in front of the house, watching smoke billow out of the basement. Dory, who was crying and shaken, told me that when the girls went to school, a space heater must have been left on and started the fire. She was scared to death I would blame her, and I did my best to let her know it was all okay.

The smoke from the fire made the entire house uninhabitable. The landlady, Gloria Ladd, graciously stepped in and offered us the use of a house she owned in Ross, a mansion really, that happened to be vacant. We lived in that sprawling Victorian type house until the Greenfield place was ready to reoccupy.

Until more recently, I forgot about this incident, perhaps because it brings up my lack of caring for my own family during the turbulent years of the JPM. Times of awakenings are wonderful, but there is a price to pay. Those involved will often go through very trying times at minimum, and some of the stories I hope to relate toward the close of these memoirs are not comfortable to recount.

An invitation to write something for our new book.

We are about to publish Why I Decided Not to Kill Myself. It is my personal story, a short ‘booklet’ intended to help others overccome suicidal thoughts.

We are looking for a few more one paragraph accounts of how others decided the same thing. And by sending it to us would mean your granting us permission to include it in the book.

We will only put as authors of the short pieces a first name, whatever you would want it to be.

We just came up with this at breakfast today, and we intend to finish this by Monday coming up. So, if there are out there some who have struggled through such a thing, this is an opportunity to help others.

If you receive this on my blog or on Facebook, please send your piece to:

Kent and Katie Philpott



When I was 19, I started working for the California Conservation Corps. One of our responsibilities was to serve meals to the firefighters and prisoners as they fought the major fires. This is where I met “Bill” who was an inmate imprisoned up in Yreka, California. Bill and I wrote letters back and forth for months, and when he was released, we moved in together. We were later married and had 2 children.                                    

       At this time, I was drinking heavily and smoking pot. For years, I had used every drug I could get my hands on. But little did I know that Bill was using IV cocaine and speed. And it didn’t take much to convert me into an IV drug user. I would spend the next 6 ½ years with a needle in my arm. I had 4 near-death experiences when I overdosed, twice by the needle and twice when I was smoking crack. Needless to say, I lost all interest in working, taking care of my 2 kids, my husband, my apartment– and myself. We ended up living in a tent, because we had lost everything. The only important thing now was using. I ended up sharing needles with people who later died from AIDS. Over time, my veins were so scarred from injecting myself, I started shooting in my hands and feet. On several occasions, I even had another stoned addict shoot drugs into my neck veins. This could have meant sudden death with even the slightest mistake. The interesting thing is, throughout this horrible time, I wasn’t having fun at all – I was just trying to deaden my pain. Bill and I divorced after 8 ½ years of marriage. We had tried to get sober together, but by that time, we didn’t know who each other was without the drugs. After a 6-month attempt at sobriety, I left my family and headed straight for the streets so I could continue in my addiction.

       I harbored guilt for this for years afterwards, because I helped to destroy that marriage and I abandoned my children, just as I had been abandoned as a child. I wasn’t able to see them again for a very long time. I never imagined that I would end up living on the street for 2 years. I was that proverbial “bag lady” you often see on the street. I lived in a predominantly black neighborhood when I was homeless, and I would go up into the projects at night for drugs – which is something even the locals wouldn’t do because it was so dangerous. I occasionally scoured garbage cans for food, but I usually just sold my body so I could survive and keep up my drug habit.                                                                  

       I certainly had a death wish. Twice, guns were pulled on me, and once I told the guy “Shoot me and put me out of my misery”. I tried to commit suicide on several occasions, but I couldn’t even succeed at that. I was miraculously spared from death on so many occasions.  It’s funny – when you’re “out there” – you just don’t realize how “out there” you really are until you get your life back.                                           

       I had been arrested 13 times by the time I was 29. One morning, I was unlawfully on Fort Ord Army Base in Seaside, California, when 6 military police cars and the City of Seaside Police Sergeant pulled up to the front of the house I was in and came busting at the door. I didn’t know it then, but this was to be the very last time I would ever use cocaine. I’m 5’8” tall, and when I was arrested, I weighed in at 117 pounds. I didn’t even realize how sick I had become.                                              

       Because of my lengthy record, and multiple recent crimes and arrests, I was sent to prison. At the time, I thought this was the end of my life. However, I realized I was at a critical crossroad in my life. I needed to either fully choose life, or fully choose death. I just couldn’t live like this any longer. I am abundantly grateful now that I chose life.                      

       I was sent to a Southern California women’s prison. I was placed in the “receiving unit” before being released to the General Population. I knew some of the women there already; I had run on the streets with them. It’s organized so that 2 inmates are placed in a cell that’s roughly 6 feet by 10 feet. We were on lockdown 23 hours a day for 6 weeks, so there was absolutely no privacy. Very few inmates in receiving are allowed out of their cells to work.                                                                               

       But GOD had a plan for me. My cellmate worked in the kitchen, which gave me the time I needed to be alone. God was about to do another miracle in my life. While I was alone in my cell, I finished a book called “Devils Driver”. The story was about Al Capone’s chauffer, the big mafia guy in the 40’s. This man had killed many people and landed in prison. He found hope in that dark prison, and his life changed so much, he began to help other prisoners.                                                                

       I didn’t know I was at a major turning point in my life. I wasn’t even looking for God. All I knew was that I wanted to die. My whole life up to this point was useless and the pain was unbearable. I was 29 years old and had nothing but misery and a pathway of destruction to show for it.     

Jesus Appears to His Disciples & The Ascension

Gospel Meditation

     Luke 24:36–53

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. Two stories now.

1.         After the reports of the “eleven” are made by the two disciples heading toward Emmaus, that they had seen the risen Christ, plus that Peter had also seen the risen Christ, Jesus appeared to the eleven. And they were startled at this.

2.         Jesus then shows them his hands and feet marred by the nails driven in them, then lets them touch Him. So seeing, hearing, and touching Jesus they understand that it is really Him, alive and risen from the dead.

3.         Jesus explains that the things they have witnessed had been foretold  in Moses (his five books), in the prophets, and in the Psalms, and that now they are witnesses to these things.

4.         Then comes the great commission: the followers of Jesus are sent out to proclaim these saving events. But they are to stay in the city until they are empowered for this work, and this we read about in the early chapters of Acts.

5.         Leaving Jerusalem, Jesus and the apostles walk out of the city and toward Bethany.  Somewhere on the way, Jesus “lifting up his hands” blessed the apostles.

6.         At that point He was “carried up into heaven.”

7.         After worshipping Him they returned to Jerusalem, full of joy and continued going to the temple to bless God.

Concluding Thoughts

I am glad I decided not to kill myself. How close did I come to it? Likely unanswerable.

I am also glad you read this tiny booklet, and that you have the strength to look at reality. It takes emotional strength to face such a thing. 

Last, I want to state again the reason for this piece; if I could be up front and admit what I went through, so can you. To fess up does not mean you are weak or a basket case. No not at all, just the opposite since it reveals that you have the ability to face difficult issues and talk about them.

Suggestion, keep this booklet handy as you might find someone else to give it to.

Here is my email address, in case a reader wants to talk through things.

Please include a phone # and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Now this from Sharon Dutra whom I interviewed, along with her husband Mike a few years ago. They have produced a fabulous 16 minute video and gave it to me to put the link to the video in this book. Below is the email she sent me.

Hi Pastor Kent,

If you want to use the YouTube video of my testimony, which explains why I didn’t kill myself. You are welcome to it.

Here is the link:


There is a national suicide and crisis number as well: 988. It is, it is a Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Lastly, you may have a story to tell. If so, write it out, not long, edit it carefully, and send it along to me and we will include your piece in a new edition of this book.

Another help line is titled “warm” and it can be reached by typing into a browser: Try it, it is very helpful.

Some states have help lines too, here in California it is Cal help.

A Little Help

Dear Friends, We are looking for people we can interview on our television program, Spiritual Paths and the Pastor.

We do the interviews via Zoom. The focus of this program is talking with people who have been engaged with occult/psychic practices like Reiki, Tarot, astrology, crystals, mediumship, channeling, Ancestor Worship, and much more, and who are now followers of Jesus.

If you know of someone who might be a fit for this, please ask them to email me at:, or call me at: 415.302-1199.

By going to a person can see who we are and poke around and find our television programs.

A little help with this is much appreciated.

Kent and Katie Philpott

One Will Be Taken

Chapter 11

After a while, people in the Haight knew who I was—the preacher or the reverend—mostly because I often carried a big, black Bible. This was in 1968, and I didn’t want people, especially cops, suspecting I was one of the many dope dealers peddling their wares everywhere at that point.

LSD and marijuana were the usual, but speed and heroin soon crept in, and the turf rights to sell that stuff in the Haight were something to fight over. It was also safer to get dope in the Haight than in the Fillmore District, which was only a short distance away.

Added to that were other kinds of groups, like the motorcycle gang that moved in. One day around noon, a hippie ran up to me and dragged me down the street to a house where something awful had happened the night before. A young hippie kid had been thrown through a window by the bikers and had landed head-first right on the sidewalk on the less frequented side of Haight Street. I had already heard about this death, so I didn’t know what the big rush was.

We climbed up to a second-floor apartment, empty of furniture but not of people, since about ten young hippies had moved in and were now squatting there. Some of them had witnessed the murder; now they had a place to stay.

Among the group were two youngish girls who did not fit the typical hippy look; in fact, they appeared to be fresh from a midwestern farm. I think there were seven guys and four girls, but the kid who had brought me to the place was mainly concerned about the girls. They were naïve, innocent, and vulnerable, and he knew what was likely to happen if they stayed in that apartment.

The four of us went into a side bedroom and talked. One girl was nervous and obviously uneasy; the other could hardly wait to have a good time. The kid and I did our best to warn them, but it was not working. After a time, I left with a heavy heart.

The next day I made it a point to drive into the City as fast as I could to check on the girls. The door of the apartment was partially ajar, so I gingerly stepped in and saw sleeping bags all over the floor. There they were, mostly naked, some still stoned, and one couple doing the deed, but the one girl could not be found—the one who showed some fear the day before.

My presence was not appreciated, so I started to leave but then decided to check the rest of the rooms. In the back, perhaps a pantry off the kitchen, I found the one I was looking for. She was partially dressed, and I could tell that some clothing had been ripped off her.

She recognized me, ran over, and put her arms around me and wouldn’t let go. We stood like that for some minutes. I simply said, “Let’s get out of here.” I walked her to my car and drove back to Marin, and the next day the girl was on a Greyhound headed out of hell.

“One was taken, but the other was left” (see Luke 17:35).

I tell this story to say that this was not uncommon. Kids turned up from everywhere, thinking the way to happiness was through chemistry, free love, and rock and roll. What they found was altogether different. By 1968 the Haight was a snake pit, but still they came, and the work of direct personal evangelism picked up steam.

Other Christian groups started to appear. The Living Room with Ted Wise, Danny Sands, Lonnie Frisbee, Rick Sacks, Jim Dopp, Steve Heathner, and others came to do what they could. The Clayton House, a block up from Haight Street, was up and running with the Assembly of God’s Dick Key. Teen Challenge sent folks in to evangelize and gave me a place where new believers could live for a time, though it was some distance from the Haight.

In Marin, we were opening new Christian houses, disciples were being developed, and the work was becoming more complicated and stressful. The early days and months, when I walked the streets asking the Holy Spirit to lead me to whom He wanted—those were the best times. The “love and peace” Flower Children were mostly already gone, but kids from afar were still flocking to the City to tune in, turn on, and drop out. Many did not survive it.

The hip, glory days were gone, but the Jesus People Movement, which we did not know about yet, was just taking off.

From Sharon Dutra

Here is part one of the story of Sharon Dutra, who made shipwreck of her life, and has now had her ship uprighted and is engaged, with her husband Michael, in a wonderful ministry to those who are in prisons.

   Sharon’s Story of New Life

We all have our “life stories”. Some turn out well, but many end in sadness and emptiness. I hope that you will take the time to listen to my story.

My name is Sharon, and I was born in Los Angeles, California. My father was an alcoholic and womanizer, and he was married 4 times by the time I was 17. My real mother left me when I was about 5 years old, and I never saw her again.       

Every time my dad would divorce, he would put me into foster care, only to pull me out when he would remarry. Subsequently, I was moved from foster home to foster home all of my growing up years. I started using drugs when I was 13. I believe that’s when I finally realized that I hated myself. Up until this time, I had been able to ignore my feelings of worthlessness, and block out my rejection and abandonment issues. But this increasing awareness only led me to run away from home when I was 15. I lived on the streets until I was arrested. And this began my life with the law.          

I ended up at Eastlake Juvenile Hall in Central Los Angeles, California. I was definitely the minority there, and a hot target for the ethnic groups, because I was a white girl with long blond hair. Those were the days when they didn’t separate criminals according to the severity of their crimes; murderers, thieves, and gang-bangers were in with those who had only run away from home. I gained a whole new understanding about hatred, racial tension, gangs, and fear.                                            

I would be sent back to that Juvenile Hall many times over the next few years. I was later transferred to Florence Crittenden, an open-placement girl’s home in East Los Angeles. “Open placement” just means that I was able to leave the grounds at will. It was against the rules, but there were no bars or walls.                                                    

During that time, I was transferring buses from West Los Angeles to Central Los Angles to East Los Angeles at night, unaware of the potential danger I was in. Pimps, predators, and gangsters abounded in those neighborhoods. I look back now and KNOW that God had His hand on my life.                                                                                                       

I was unable to stay in an open placement – I was too restless to stay anywhere for long. After I ran away from the East Los Angeles girl’s home for the third time, I was re-arrested and sent back to Juvenile Hall.

I was a ward of the court by now – my father and stepmother had divorced. Neither of them wanted me to live with them. So the court placed me in a closed facility in Central Los Angeles, called the Convent of the Good Shepherd. The neighborhood was so unsafe, we had to move our beds away from the windows on holidays, because gang members had shot through the windows in the past. The convent walls were 12 feet high. But I even ran away from there, climbing up onto the roof of the laundry building and crawling up the ivy to escape. There are many other stories in between these stories, all of which led to increased self-hatred. I was raped on several occasions, and my anger was overwhelming. My contempt and mistrust of authority, life, and people in general escalated. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was headed for absolute destruction.