Encounter With the CIE

By now, if you’re like most Guide readers, you can write your own name, maybe even in cursive. Sure, you might misspell it occasionally, but usually it’s pretty close.

By the fifth grade I could write my name. I’d also gotten pretty interested in electronic gadgets. My parents, perhaps seeing a faint glimmer of hope that I might one day become a productive member of society, fostered my interest in things with wires by buying me a home subscription to Popular Science magazine. It told of astonishing technological breakthroughs and contained detailed plans for making everything from shortwave radios to small helicopters. I don’t know if anyone who built one of the small helicopters survived to tell about it, but it sure looked like something I’d want to try.

Almost as interesting to me was the wide range of advertisements in the front and back sections of each Popular Science issue.

The ad that really caught my eye was from the Cleveland Institute of Electronics. It offered free information! Wowsers! I could get a bunch of free stuff from a real-life institution that had something to do with my current hobby! All I had to do was fill out a little postcard and mail it in! How could I go wrong?

My dad can answer that question, but I will take full responsibility for the incident and tell you myself, even though it wasn’t me who bought the magazine subscription.

Having signed my name in cursive handwriting, I sent off the postcard and eagerly waited for all my free stuff to show up. What actually arrived was much more than I’d bargained for.

At 9:15 a.m. on a Sabbath morning a stranger’s car pulled into our driveway. Not surprisingly, the car’s driver arrived at the same time. The man got out, walked up our front steps, and rang the doorbell. My father, who was feverishly trying to gather the family to make it to the church on time, answered the door.

“Yes, what may I do for you?” my dad asked the gentleman.

The stranger took a small postcard out of his pocket and said, “I’m from the Cleveland Institute of Electronics. I’m looking for . . .” The man paused and squinted at the postcard. “I’m looking for Mr. Randy Fishell.”

After a slight hesitation, my father replied, “Well, Randy Fishell lives here, but he’s not exactly a ‘Mister.’ He’s 11 years old.”

By that time I was peeking down the stairway, which overlooked our living room. I couldn’t see the stranger’s face, but just then there seemed to be an unintelligible gurgling sound coming from his throat. I will not share here other things coming from his mouth that were intelligible.

It turned out that the Cleveland Institute of Electronics always sent a personal representative to the home of anyone writing in to request literature from them. The man had driven some distance to visit Mr. Randy Fishell in the hope that I would soon be enrolled in the Cleveland Institute of Electronics (CIE). Had this actually happened, I am confident that I’d have been the youngest person ever to achieve that particular feat.

After a final exchange between my father and the CIE agent, the man returned to his car and drove away. Moments later our own vehicle quickly approached warp speed as my dad aimed the old Ford Fairlane toward the little Adventist church in town. The gurgling sounds coming from his throat need no explanation. Everything else he said is probably best left to the imagination.

Yep, where your name shows up is important, but nowhere is it more crucial than being written in the “Lamb’s book of life” mentioned in Revelation 21:27. Because unlike the man from the CIE, Jesus is coming back.

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Encounter With the CIE

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