Jonathan Wayne Selby
Early Life and Childhood
Jonathan Selby was born on October 28, 1946 in Mapleshade New Jersey. His parents were Elwood and Lillian Selby both from the Philadelphia area. Jonathan had four brothers, (David, Steven, Wilmer (Known as Phil), a younger brother Daniel, and the youngest sibling Lois Ruth). During his early school years Jonathan was known as a daydreamer and as being very artistic. He also loved playing outdoors, with cars an trucks in the dirt, cowboys and Indians and "Tarzan".
In Junior Highschool (Carl Sandburg JH Levittown Pa) he participated in some school plays, morning school devotions over the PA system, Bible club, and the school newspaper art staff. However most of his extracurricular activities were minimized as he usually kept a newspaper route as did his brothers. During highschool (Abington HS Abington Pa.) he started a couple of businesses such as Christmas tree lots, landscaping, and selling various products door to door.
After Highschool Jonathan went to Philadelphia College of the Bible for about 6 months, took a car trip around the country, was in the Army for about 6 months and during these couple of years began seeing Lisa Kevra who was to become his first wife. She bore him two sons, Eric Andrew and Jonathan Shawn. Most of his employment during this period was as a mechanical draftsman. His first marriage only lasted a few years, near the end of which he opened a coffee house in Jenkentown Pa called Shawns Cafe.
Within a relatively short period of time he met his second wife Bernadette Albertinas from Philadelphia. She bore him four children. Christina, Angelyn, Nathaniel and Joseph. This marriage lasted about 13 years, during which he had several ventures, including a controversial tree house in Hatfield Pa, horse back riding business, and Selby Enterprises Incorporated whereby he endeavored to market several of his inventions, including receiving a patent for a pop-up disposable kitty-litter box. Near the end of this marriage Jonathan also took a trip to visit Israel having to hitch-hike from Holland.
After his second marriage ended he lease-purchased a million dollar campground in Pipersville Pa area and endeavored to begin a project called "New Family Ministries". Which he had grandiose vision for but was lost after conflict with the local government over zoning and other issues. It was after all this that he relocated to the Lancaster Pa area seeking an alternative lifestyle amongst the Amish. He also went back for college his first year there. (Lancaster Bible College), after this he taught school for a while in a one-room Amish school house. During this time he also met his third wife, Maria Knepper of Fulton County Pa., and they soon relocated to the middle TN area interested in a conservative group that had a formed a community there. (muddy pond) Maria bore Jonathan four children, Jedidiah, Obadiah, Abigail and Christiana.
After the end of his third marriage he moved to the Asheville NC near his daughter Angelyn and her family. He then received work and residence managing a trailer park there. During this time he developed his website further and began producing independent programs for Asheville's public access television.. After managing the trailer park for approximately 5 years he secured a place in the mountains of Yancey County where he enjoyed the nature and outdoors that he loved so much as a child for about a year before returning to the Asheville area. This enterprise started in october 2009 when he opened a cell phone store in West Asheville and had hopes of opening a cafe in the same building.
Update: March 2011. Sold my cell-phone store to a friend and as of now planning to meet up with my son Joey end of this month and try our pioneering venture probably in TN one more time.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2018
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Here's a brief autobiography (5 min read) for any interested to know my whole story better:
"My name is Jonathan Selby, I am originally from the Philadelphia Pennsylvania area of the United States. I was raised in a middle class suburban Christian home with four brothers and one youngest sister. My Father worked for the government in an administrative capacity and my Mother was a Bible college graduate who hoped to serve the Lord as a full time missionary but after marriage was never able to do that- but instead hoped that some or at least one of her children might fulfill that dream for her. God had blessed me with artistic talent but it seemed a better investment to take mechanical drawing which led me into engineering.
But disappointing to my Mother, for after high school she took her small inheritance money to help me go into Bible college encouraging me that way but I was not ready…It was the late 60’s and the hippie movement was in full swing and I wanted to go out and explore and so dropped out of college that time- which was the start of my travels. My adult journey brought me many diverse experiences including travel, the military, marriages, children, jobs…and not bragging, but my desire and openness to understand life and religion generated many unusual tales- and it has not ended- because I still, fortunately or unfortunately, am not willing to accept anything at face value even initially the beliefs my own parents gave me without investigating.
Time would fail me to share my entire story so ill cut to the last 10 years of my seventy plus journey and this is an abbreviated version. After a fews years in Philadelphia including having a small corporation and a divorce and wanting an alternative to the fast paced consuming money oriented lifestyle, alone with only the clothes on my back I left it all and relocated to the largest Amish community in Pennsylvania in Lancaster County less than 100 miles from the city and returned to college to go into teaching or human services. While there I had the honor to teach in a one room school house and live like America was in its innocence 200 years ago without any modernization- a clearly different planet then I had just come from. But I soon left left the Amish and upgraded to the Mennonites which allow more liberty, then relocated to Asheville North Carolina and started producing a weekly television program called ‘Jonathans journey” This was a random filming of a multitude of situations and people as many varieties as I could find and film- not to mention thousands of hours of editing it…and after 5 years there I headed to the mountains of Tennessee close to a Mennonite community and built a simple cabin in the woods by a stream- and invited family to come and share the property…and some of my children and grand children soon came…but they brought their baggage with them- alcohol, rap music, pit-bull dogs and more that were destroying my vision for that environment- One day I had to make the choice of: demanding them all to leave, or let them have it and buy another property or (brainstorm) Finish my world trip I had started over 20 years before! (but only made it to Israel and returned)…so you see what I chose and where iam now (however I thought it would be a relatively short trip- but now its been almost 5 years and I don’t know if I will ever get back)
So after divorce 18 yrs ago I had met a Philippine girl online and was invited to come here but it took a while and she married another American…and when I did get to Asia fellow hostel tourists told me that if I wanted to explore more I better do it before the Philippines because many men (for some strange reason) get stuck there! Fine, unlike my usual I took their advise and began touring Thailand and Cambodia- while there I noticed they had a great desire to learn English so I opened a free school and later a teaching job at a private international school until Typhoon Yolanda struck and then I HAD to say goodbye to my class (see video few posts back) and go to the Philippines to help with the disaster relief.
The people there had no homes anymore and I refused to go to the agencie's compound outside and away from the victims but I would live there with them as many also were doing on makeshift rafts or whatever because everyplace else was just piles of debrie and bodies, so there I built my first rough raft-houseboat. After months and aid arrived I asked what now? And just started sailing- but whenever I anchored in the evening people would right away form on the beach to investigate this UFO that had landed! (Unidentified Floating Object)
So what do you do with a group of people who sometimes had never had spaghetti, never heard contemporary praise music or never met an American? You share it with them! sometimes preaching from my boat just like Jesus did …And so began a four year sailing ‘Missionary Adventure’ crossing most of the Philippine islands from east to west then down Palawan Island into Malaysia and Brunei- where that chapter ends and this one began in May 2018, 5 years later after I left America.
Ironically after a typhoon in Malaysia last Christmas time 2017 my boat was completely destroyed and I returned to the Philippines to build another. But that deal fell thru and I so asked God what now?!
(previously I had asked myself more than once where are you going and why? You skipped Manila sailing for Israel to complete your ‘round the world’ trip- is that so important when you are right next to one of the most needy places on the planet?...but I ignored that answer and kept on sailing. Well guess what- here iam in Manila and not really by my choice- I only came here to take advantage of a great deal on a ‘FLYING boat’! and then to continue on my journey. So I said ok Lord I will take a look around and see if theres something you want me to do here if you want to open a door of ministry for me here. First I went to the famous poverty stricken area called ‘Tondo’ but I could find no place there to serve as I had envisioned and thought to look at some other areas- but felt first to look around near where I was visiting at a friends house who had a ‘feeding ministry’ (I had been led to briefly a year before when I took a short trip to Manila to resolve an immigration issue).
I walked a good distance through the city streets looking and inquiring was there any building available suitable to open a small mission and all but nothing opened- until I meet a Christian man on the street who says just follow me and ill show you one that might be available- and it was immediately everything ‘Green lights’…the landlord arrived shortly, the house was big enough, the price was right enough and I moved in the next day..and 3 days later fed 100 kids plus adults with much singing and mutual joy!
And that’s what im still doing at this very moment! (Sept 2018) Praise God He is great and His mercy is everlasting!
The End Amen
PS: Mom...If you could hear me- Sori i didnt plan to but maybe God did...and He's finally answering your prayers and dreams and by His grace and mercy alone I wont fail being a missionary...oh, and Mom- thanks for ALL your many prayers for me while you were alive..and it wont be long now before we see each other again :)
Jonathan Selby 2018
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Freedom in America (Arrested for wearing a Blanket)
Jonathan's Treehouse (Government tears it down)
The Israel Trip (Almost crucified on the same hill)
After leaving America May 2013 and started sailing in my homemade boat (Missionary Adventurer) before it was destroyed December 2017