LTRP Note: Carolyn recently mailed this letter to Lighthouse Trails. She wrote it shortly after Ray passed away (on October 16th). Carolyn is the author of Castles in the Sand and Dangerous Illusions.
Update: After posting this letter on November 30, a reader wrote to us concerned that Carolyn was writing this letter to Ray, that it might give the impression that Carolyn or Lighthouse Trails endorsed talking to the dead. So that there is no misunderstanding and so that we do not mislead anyone, we want to clarify that neither Lighthouse Trails nor Carolyn Greene believe one can talk to the dead or should one try to talk to the dead. Carolyn’s letter was meant as a tribute to Ray and not intended in any fashion as an effort to communicate with Ray. Because of this concern, we have reworded Carolyn’s letter into third person.
Dear Lighthouse Trails,
How I have missed Ray Yungen, and always will.
The first time I heard about Ray, I read his book, A Time of Departing, on the contemplative spirituality that had crept into my church. I had been questioning it, and his book gave me the confidence to stand in the truth.
The first time I met Ray was when he came to speak at my church . . . the new church we found and loved where the truth was being taught.
The first time I got to know Ray was a few days later. We had lunch in the Greek restaurant, and we talked about all the things that had put us on the same page for such a time as this. One touching thing he told me that day was that he was a romantic at heart. His dream was to have a picnic with a checkered tablecloth and a basket of food on a grassy hill with someone he could love. A beautiful girl with a British accent perhaps, with whom he could wax eloquent. It was sweet that he shared his hopes in many conversations to come, and I wished it for him, but it was not to be.
The first time he came to our family’s home was some time later, to discuss my research on a current faith healer who was telling everyone to “come get some” Holy Ghost fire at a big so-called revival in Florida. He walked in, and I was prepared to get down to business and show him all I had found. But he asked if I had any coffee, and if he could just sit on the leather couch and take it all in. It was my first introduction to the idea of having an awareness of the ambiance of a moment, that life was not all about work. Life was about taking it in and enjoying the gift of it. I saw that in Ray— a home was a place to cherish. I remember how he so enjoyed the roast beef dinner at our table, how relaxed he was, how he enjoyed every moment, and took interest in everything. It was not a fancy meal but one he would refer to years later as “a wonderful dinner,” even though we didn’t have the HP sauce he requested. After dinner, we watched video clips together on my computer of the madman who shook and flailed wildly on stage, claiming it was the Holy Spirit anointing, like a wolf deceiving the sheep. Ray were so stunned by it that he stood up, walked to the view windows and looked out at the hills . . . deep in thought at first; then very excitedly, he began to pace and explained how this was the connection between Brother Lawrence (who danced like a madman when he went into “the presence”) and this modern-day movement. And sure enough, as I researched further, this false teacher did indeed “practice the presence,” and even taught it. Ray thanked me profusely. I was simply honored.
Then Ray made a temporary move to Canada and lived with some brothers in the Lord. The first time I dropped by to discuss his research, he greeted me with such delight and enthusiasm. We were always on the same page and had many interesting conversations. Together, we led an evening addressing questions about Yoga to concerned parents at a local elementary school that was introducing it to kids.
What also impressed me was that Ray knew the Bible very well. He loved attending our church when he could and was a wonderful addition to our fellowship, often joining the lunch crowd at the restaurants for Sunday dinner. I always sensed God’s strength and joy in him. He couldn’t suppress the sparkle in his eye or subdue the constant grin that lit up his face. Especially when we would visit the local Christian bookstore, and he would bounce from book to book, excitedly expressing his exasperation, for all to hear, that such a store would sell books written by the mystics.
The time came when he had to go back home to the U.S., and we lost contact. From what I saw in the time he was with us, he embraced life as much as he did his calling. His passion was the ministry God gave him . . . to warn the church of false teaching disguised as the truth.
Surely he changed the direction of so many people walking the paths of error. Looking back on time, I now realize that God used Ray to change the course of my life. I was told he picked my pen name for the novel I wrote for his publisher, the publishing company that would not even exist were it not for Ray. I was so honored. How I wish I could have told him these things before he left us.
The first time I heard of his illness, I had hoped to share these thoughts with him. But then suddenly, he was gone. I was so sorry to hear the final news. That day I pictured him walking in a golden meadow with Jesus, picnic basket in hand, a sparkle in his eye, waxing eloquent, and enjoying the ambiance of eternity.
I miss Ray. He truly was, and forever will be, a RAY of SON SHINE.
LTRP Note: If you have not read Castles in the Sand and its sequel Dangerous Illusions, we would highly recommend it, especially if you have or are a college-aged person.