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The PRODIGAL DIARIES, by Ken Simmons



"THE PRODIGAL DIARIES" - Author, Ken Simmons

In 1969 he left California to begin a work in Florida, and without any money or the backing of any church or organization he moved his family to Lakeland, Florida and began reaching out to troubled young people. Within a short period he began to see results, with dopers, drug dealers, and young people with little hope began flocking to his work. Soon the local newspapers began featuring full page stories of his work and the word spread. He had converted a former honky-tonk biker bar into a Christian coffee house, and soon young people from all around flocked to hear. Quickly the schools began to open up and he and his team were invited into high schools throughout Central Florida with amazing results.

He also took his team to rock concerts in a park near Tampa that was truly a scene of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. One day a band leader challenged him with, "You've been saying 'Jesus is Real' -- get up here and prove it!" Ken then got up on the stage and spoke for about 15 minutes as a hush fell over the crowd. Then he announced, "We've had many here decide to follow Jesus, and we're going down the river and baptize them." He jumped off the stage, and as he headed to the nearby river he heard a commotion, and when he looked back he saw that literally everybody was leaving the rock festival, fulfilling a vision he'd had 2 years earlier as thousands lined the banks of the river to watch the baptisms. During their time at the rock concerts, hundreds were baptized and converted, including major drug dealers.

During one particular rock concert the leader of a band took the microphone and with a raised fist he began cursing and shouting at God, "You've been saying 'Jesus is Real, Jesus is real' -- if he's so #@!!! real, give us a sign!" While he was still shaking his fist at the sky and shouting at God into the microphone, immediately a bolt of lightning struck the ground less than 20 feet in front of him as thousands of shocked young people looked on. The young man was last seen screaming as he ran off the stage and disappeared into the woods.

This work had a ripple effect that eventually spread to reach many around the world. One young man who he led to the Lord, a former heroin addict and ex-con, who had also been a cell mate with Charles Manson, has led hundreds of thousands to the Lord since then, sharing his story in America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, and a full re-enactment of his story was featured on The 700 Club as well as on Dutch television.

Unfortunately turmoil at home eventually found Ken running from God, a modern-day prodigal. His return to the Father heart of God is an epic conclusion to this heart-warming story.

(EDITOR’S NOTE:  If you would like to have Ken Simmons speak to your church or organization you can contact him at – You can also read many of his articles on his website at )


(Ken’s books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Walmart, and GoodReads.)




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  • "The Prodigal Diaries" is my first book, which spans my life of more than 70 years from the beginning until I finished it in 2017. During those years I have experienced things that few people could even imagine. I have survived so many close calls (which I attribute to the devil trying to 'take me out') that included being shot at several times; had knives pulled on me; was stuck in quicksand up to my neck; I was attacked by a 12-14' tiger shark while scuba diving off the coast of Florida; was attacked and chased another time by a huge alligator; and I was upside down in an open cockpit airplane when my seatbelt wouldn't fasten as I tried to hold on to the straps for dear life.  Oh, yes, I almost forgot. I survived a fall that broke 18 bones all at once. 

    But it also includes some of the most amazing miracles you will ever read about. I encountered demons (the real thing) many, many times, with two voices coming out of the same person at the same time, and I then saw those same people wonderfully set free. I saw people miraculously healed by the power of God, including drug addicts who were delivered from their addiction without any withdrawals.

    At a rock concert near Tampa I witnessed God answer the challenge of an angry rock 'n roll musician who took to the microphone before a crowd of thousands, and he began to scream f-bombs at God, saying, "You've been saying Jesus is real, Jesus is real -- If he's so f ** ing real, give us a sign, and while his fist was still clinched, shaking it at the sky, God answered with a bolt of lightning as thousands looked on. He was last seen running off the stage screaming as he disappeared into the woods. The "sign" he'd wanted was for God to stop the rain, but it not only didn't stop raining, it rained so hard that the 70 ft. wooden stage was washed down to the river some 75 yards away, and then floated away down the river. To my knowledge they never had another rock festival at Lowry Park, Tampa.

    And, I led one young man to the Lord who had been a heroin addict, an ex-con, and a former cellmate with Charles Manson, who'd put a tattoo on his ankle. Once he'd been caught smuggling heroin across the border from Mexico in the U.S., and he admitted to hundreds of burglares throughout Central Florida. His heroin addiction eventually had him hemorrhaging (out both ends), and when he went to the doctor in Winter Haven, FL the doctor said, "If we don't operate now you'll be dead in a matter of hours, or at the most a few days."

    That young man's name was Bill Davis (his life story will come out in book form soon). Bill said to the doctor

    "I'll be damned if I'm going to lie here and die on an operating table," so he ripped out the IV's and left the hospital.

    He had decided his life was in the toilet, so he drove to Tampa to a place he knew he could get some heroin and an outfit (syringe) because he wanted to overdose and kill himself. When he got there no one was home, so he burglarized the place (after all, he was also a professional burglar), stole 3 bags of heroin and an outfit, and then headed from Tampa to his parents' home in Auburndale where he would overdose in front of their home.

    However, Bill didn't know it but in order to get to Auburndale he had to drive right by my coffee house in Lakeland. I had converted a honky-tonk biker bar into a Christian coffee house, and when he drove by he saw a group of Christian musicians performing on a stage outside by a bonfire, stopped, thought about it, then said, "Naw, that's for a bunch of sissies," and drove off.

    He did this three times, each time driving away, and each time the Holy Spirit pulled him back in front of the coffee house, only to drive away again. But, on the 4th time he finally decided to come inside, and when he did I stopped speaking, pointed at him, and said,

    "Young man, God's got His hands on your life. I know, because tonight you were going to take your life. But God said "In the last days I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh," and you have the call of God on your life.

    That night, March 17, 1971, Bill Davis got saved, healed instantly of his hemorrhaging, and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Since then Bill's story was re-enacted on The 700 Club television program, then a lengthy re-enactment on Dutch television, and Bill has been sharing the Good News of Jesus around the world for more than 40 years, leading an estimated 500,000 people to Jesus Christ. 

    In retrospect you might say I've had a pretty amazing life. My wife and I are heading to Africa on a missions trip later in 2020. We will be preaching the gospel and teaching in seminars in Tanzania and Kenya. 

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