Autobiography of George W. Dixon
Spring Grove, Iowa
Native of Iowa, I was delivered by Dr. J. W. Dixon (no kinship) in a country home in Spring Grove, to Flossie and Harold Dixon. Nestled by a CB&Q railroad tracks, the house rumbled as the trains went by. I remember hearing the lonesome train whistle, and the clicking of the rails as the trains passed. My dad worked for a train company for a while. Then he was a laborer for a farmer, and also for a sand and gravel outfit.
I bathed in a tub. We had no bathtub. In winter, we dressed in the kitchen by the wood stove. Bathed there, too.
We had oil lamps at first, and I remember when electricity arrived. Eventually, we got an electric wringer to attach to tubs to do laundry.
Later, radio came. Wow, the Green Hornet, Fibber McGee and Molly, and that mystery, with the squeaky door opening, called Innersanctum, played for our enjoyment.
TV didn't arrive until I was in my late teens. Airplanes before that.
I attended a one-room school from kindergarten through the 8th grade.
I learned to read and write from the phonics chart on the school wall.
I was the older kid's pet when first starting school at the age of four.
I loved staying at my grandfather's farm house overnight. I didn't like getting up at four am to help milk the dozen or so cows. Nor were the summer chores of gardening, cleaning out the chicken house, and putting up hay the most fun. But the meals the ladies cooked during old fashioned threshing times made up for the work.
Snows in the winter made for hard walking to school from "The Pines" where our house (third) was situated, one quarter a mile from the school. One year I had to arrive early at the old school house (in existence no longer) to build a fire in the furnace. I got $.50 cents for my trouble weekly. I remember once stoking it a little too well, and the stovepipe got red almost to the ceiling before I remembered to cut off the damper. I was so scared I would burn the school down.
We played kick-the-can at recess, or played ball. Sometimes "Red Rover, Red Rover" was the game. I loved the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Mom had made for us kids. Usually there was a chocolate chip cookie included. Jim was the oldest, then sister Norma (now called 'Skip', because in bowling she always had a little skip in her approach), then me, and then Don.
I remember playing hookey once, and a bunch of us kids played post office in an old barn because it started raining. No, it isn't about mail...it is about kissing.
After a few years at the Pines home, we moved back to the old house near the tracks on a Sunday, on my birthday.
We built tunnels in the barn (with hay bales) at Grandpa's farm, and Mom was always scared they would fall in on us and keep us from breathing.
I once participated in the Christmas program at the United Methodist church in Spring Grove, singing, "Don't Fence Me In." It was the only song I had learned, listening to the battery operated radio. I remember when Grandpa Dixon and the other folks got electricity in the country. Previously, I loved the old fashioned lamps by which we read. Hanging a lantern in the barn to milk cows is a nostalgic memory. And squirting milk in the cats faces and mouths added to the nostalgia. And I had fun sneaking up on Grandpa asleep in his rocking chair and pouring a teaspoon of water in his open mouth. (He was napping) He didn't even scold me but just smiled. My dad told me once the cows got out of sync (my word, not my dad's), when he milked the cows in Grandpa's absence. He waited until 6am to milk. And in the evening he milked them at four or five pm. Grandpa always waited until seven pm.
When he awakened me at 4 am, I swore never to spend another night there, but I always did. I remember falling out of bed on the floor once. The bed was fairly high. Ouch!
Move to Burlington, Iowa, lived on Agency Street near drive-in theatre I attended the 9th grade in Burlington Jr. High School, and then the last three years at Burlington High School. I also attended one year at Burlington Jr. College, where my grades were not the best. I worked in the summer fifty-five hours at Benner's grocery store where my Mom worked as a cashier. I did produce and stocking canned goods, and then worked up to be a cashier, too. We had the old electric machines where you hit the buttons for pricing, and then the large button for recording the charge. I got pretty fast on the machine. I guess I got a little too fast once, for I found the Manager scowling over me, watching carefully if I missed any pricing. I never liked him much, sort of thought he thought he was a ladie's man. Not on your life. But it earned some monies for my future schooling. I didn't date much at all. But I did party some, smoked cigarettes, and drank myself drunk once. Mother would have been so disappointed if she knew. I never did ask her about it. Hope she didn't ever know.
Joined the US Navy in September, 1950 U. S. Navy - From 1950 to 1954, I served in the U. S. Navy, Commander Mine Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, during the Korean War. A friend of mine (Arthur Geffers), talked me into enlisting, and when we were sworn in, I found out he failed his physical, so I was in and he was out. I called home and bawled on the phone to Mom. So off to Great Lakes I went to take my thirteen weeks of training in cold Chicago. I made some good friends there. We went to downtown Chicago bar-hopping. Saw movies, and also, on duty, stood guard around dumpsters for cold, freeze- your-rear discipline. Ugh!
Afterwards, I was picked to go to Hawaii (because I had taken typing in high school) where I was stationed all but two months of my service. (I advanced to Personnelman Second Class. I could have gotten First Class if I had agreed to reenlist. No way!) Indeed the Lord uses mysterious things to arrange where we go. During that time, I became a Christian and was baptized at the Nuuanu Baptist Church in Honolulu. Greer P. Mobeley (who led me to Christ), affectionately known as "Pop" by the servicemen, was my tutor. Rev. James H. Ware was the Pastor, a former missionary to China, and native of Tupelo, MS. I am only going to name a few additional things that were my experiences in Hawaii.
- Eating in the homes of many orientals was so much fun. Leaving my
shoes at the doorstep and learning to use chopsticks added to the color of the day.
- Listening to the Old Fashioned Revival hour on Sunday afternoon on the Lanai or lawn at
Nuuanu Baptist Church, and eating fresh fruit on ice cream. Oh, so good!
- Helping teaching Junior age kids outdoors at a school yard in
Pearl City. This grew into a nice church later, the Pearl City Baptist Church.
- Sitting on the lawn on a mountain side watching the
fireworks on Chinese New Year.
- Basking in the sun on days off at Waikiki Beach, or walking the edges of
the water at Hanaumu Bay Beach. Here I walked on rocks around the edges, slipped and fell on a rock, got up, slipped and fell again, and was taken to the local Coast Guard clinic for putting in two staples in my skull. Some will say the effect lasts to this day.
- Walking around Kilaulea Crater (over 4000') on the big island, Hawaii. I stayed a week on vacation at the Kilaulea Military Camp nearby. Steam vents issued all around us as we
walked. One crater was supposedly dead. The Halema'uma' Crater erupted in 1974. (I was in Ft. Worth, TX. then) The lava tube and rain forest on the big island Hawaii, were fabulous.
- Seeing orchids growing in people's back yards astounded me.
- Seeing palm trees, banana trees, pineapple fields, dense vegetation up
Pali View Pass, sugar cane fields were blessings.
- Overnight prayer meetings with Pop Mobeley was fun. His 'doggie' coffee,
as he called it, was so black. He made it on the fire, threw in the grounds, and after it boiled, let it settle, threw in some salt, and we drank. I got sick until we could go and get some doughnuts somewhere to eat. The driver ran out of gas on the way so my sickness had to wait. Ugh!
- Listening to Hawaiian music was pleasant to the ears. And lying on Olive Allen's apartment floor and
hearing Handel's Messiah for the first time was glorious! She served good eggs and grits.
- Hearing Gary Douglas (from SC) play the church organ got me interested
in music. I joined the church choir. I started learning to play the piano on my own, after someone showed me the notes of music and those keys on the piano. I think I bugged those around me some (it was at church) who heard my early efforts. Pastor Ware came in one day and asked if I'd be interested in lessons. I said 'Yes' but never heard anymore about it. "Face to Face" was the first hymn I learned. "I'm Pressing On the Upward Way" was the first one I memorized to play.
- A church group ate at Waioli Tea room in beautiful surroundings.
- My first Christmas program at church was so wonderful. And seeing
Miss Allen's kindergartner's program with beautiful outfits and leis on the kids was so precious.
- My first Easter sunrise service was at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu...so beautiful.
One of the sopranoes from church sang the hymn "One Day." I was so moved by it.
- Pop Mobeley's house was a sight to see. It was a one room
dwelling. It really was an old converted washhouse. I think Pop was really poor living on a veteran's pension. But the house was wide enough for a bunk on one side of the room, and a table and dresser on the other. One closet was his pantry. One was his bath and shower. Pop built his own seismograph, painted, and played the organ. He attended Moody Bible College in CA. I think he heard Dr. R. A. Torrey in person. He was aware of Greek and Hebrew. He played tricks on the servicemen from time to time, so once I dumped some of his shaving lotion in his toothpaste. When he brushed his teeth, he threw some of the lotion on me, and some splashed on my first Bible, a KJV Scofield Reference Bible. Pop felt badly about what he had done to my new Bible but now I treasure the faded smudges. This Bible also has Billy Graham's signature and that of Grady Wilson. When Billy Graham once passed through, a group of us went to the airport to see them for their brief stopover. A Samoan woman was saved when Billy spoke publicly at the airport. Well, I guess you have tired eyes my now, so I shall move on. In April or May of 1954, the headquarters was moved to Long Beach, CA, from where I was mustered out of service. While here, Gary Douglas and I went to San Diego and Mom Thurman's home there. Gary knew her. We went to her church, First Southern Baptist. We visited in the Naval Hospital there and took cookies and cakes she had baked. We also gave out tracts. My Mom and Dad came out via a Zephyr train while there. We attended an Old Fashioned Revival Hour service by Charles E. Fuller. I was praying my parents would become Christians, too. We all put our feet in the ocean one bright sunny day. Then it was time to head home to Iowa. This was in July, 1954. It was cold on the train at night on the way home and I got my Navy blanket out of my bag to help keep us warm. We were in the sit-up- only coach section.
Home and Carson Newman
From July 1954 to August 1955, I worked at various jobs in Burlington, Iowa, a neat town on the Mississippi in SE Iowa. With monies saved during Navy days, I bought a 1956 Chevrolet. I contemplated my directions and what God wanted me to do. Previously I had set out to be a C.P.A., but through wise counsel from my former pastor in Hawaii, and seeking God's mind and will, I concluded I was set apart to the gospel ministry. Then I sought where to go for training, and again, I sought help from a missionary, Miss Olive Allen in Hawaii. She recommended Georgetown University or Carson Newman. So off to Jefferson City, TN., I went and Carson Newman. I barely had enough credits to be a sophomore, but because of my poor discipline in studies in my first year of college, I decided to go the full four years at Carson Newman, getting all the Bible, psychology, history, English, language, and educational courses I could. I met Mildred Peterson in 1955, while she was visiting the campus. It was on the steps of Northside Baptist Church, where I was licensed to preach. The following year she transferred from Gardner Webb in Boiling Springs, NC, to Carson Newman for her last two years. We began dating, and on August 24, 1957, were married at Nance's Grove Baptist Church, New Market, TN., where we were attending church. Rev. L. Dan Taylor, Greek Professor and Bible teacher at the college was the interim pastor. He had a great influence on my life. Once, taking me back to campus, Dr. Taylor gave me $5.00. I felt so rich. Millie, as I call her, finished in 1958 and taught school (English) Carter High School of Strawberry Plains, TN., I believe for one year. I finished in 1959 with a BA, cum laude. Millie always said she graduated, how cum O Laude!
Fort Worth, Texas
We decided that my post graduate studies would be at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. I had tried to get a scholarship to Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, but another fellow from our college beat me out. We arrived in Fort Worth with $200.00 in our pockets (borrowed from my brother Don), and a few household furniture. We came through Atlanta, and every time we went over their dipping points, the UHaul trailer would scrape. We stopped at my roommate's Byron Gibson, house in Stockbridge, south of Atlanta, and repacked the trailer to make riding go more smoothly. We had to leave one item of furniture there. But we made it to Ft. Worth all right. We rented our first house on Martin-Lydon St. south of the seminary for $35.00 a month. It was a box affair, four rooms of equal size. Millie didn't like the scorpions and a small grass snake she found in the sink. We then moved to a duplex on Waggoman St. later for $45.00 a month (really moving up), and finally seminary housing for $90.00 a month, really top dog now. I worked at Hoyt Travel Agency (First in the Hilton Hotel building; later in the new First National Bank Building) part time and full time, depending on our situation. We borrowed monies several times through the seminary. Millie had our first baby (Glenn Edward), but it had to be by C-Section. She also was hospitalized for gall bladder surgery, and our three meals (for a while) were Rice Krispies. But God was good, and had people ready to give us monies and assistance when in dire need. A year after Glenn was born, Millie got a job as English school teacher in the H.E.B. school district. That helped support us.We joined Westcliff Baptist Church (later it merged with Evans Avenue Baptist and became Southcliff Baptist.) In fact, we were charter members. Hal Potts was the pastor. This church raised a lot of money to help us when Glenn was born. They even hired a maid to help Millie for a while when she came home from the hospital. Her brother Bobby stayed with us some, too, and he went to Rosemant School on Seminary Drive.
In 1961, I also began pastoring Blue Ridge Baptist Church, Hamilton, TX. It was 101 miles each way to the church, and the pay was $20.00 a week (plus chickens, eggs, milk, and at times, a piece of ham or beef). But I loved it. We left Ft. Worth around 7:00 am, and got back home about 11:00 pm. During this time Glenn would stand between us and we'd encourage his vocabulary by pointing out things along the way. “Choo, choo” for the train; and light reflectors on the side of the road were “sparklers.” We were young and could take the grueling schedule.
Glenn was loved by the people, and made for interesting action at church. He once escaped his mother and crawled under the seats to almost the front of the church. Once when I was illustrating in the sermon about "scarecrow Christians", he shouted, "Scarecrow?" The sermon was over then. And those country people were some of the best believers anywhere, so good-hearted and considerate. Once I sang a song, "But This One Thing I Know", and part of the words are "the crimson flow, it fell on me." And Glenn shouted out, "What fell on Daddy?"
They took us into their hearts, and their homes. Sometimes we'd spend Saturday night with one of them. It made for easier travel and not quite so tiring. The Perrys, dairy farmers, especially insisted we stay with them. We had lots of fun times together. Once I played a practical joke on them. I removed all the labels off their soup cans and wrote with a crayon on the cans such things as 'lizard soup', 'crocodile stew,' etc. They've always laughed at this memory.
When not pastoring, we were members at Polytechnic Baptist Church, Bro. Bob Woody, Pastor. Sam and Myrtle Estes, members there, treated us like their own kids. We loved their homemade peach ice cream. I got to teach S. S. classes as a sub, preach for Bro. Woody, and Millie and I worked with the Intermediate kids in Training Union.We had so much fun with Glenn, taking him to the zoo, riding the small train at the park, and seeing the sights around town. We had determined early on that our family life would not be sacrificed at the altar of church business. So we spent time with our boy, and Millie and I had our Friday dates. I stayed on for one year to work toward my Master's Degree, majoring in Preaching. Dr. Gordon Clinard was my major Professor. I finished my residential courses, and then went to pastoring, thinking I could write my dissertation later. I never did. (I was granted postlude a ThM by Dr. Page Patterson and the seminary in 2008) But while doing my seminary work, I did get the seminary seminars that I needed badly, to prepare me for what I was going to do my whole life, that is preach the blessed gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.Big Lake, Texas.
Big Lake, Texas - (1965-1973)
Through a friend at Polytechnic Baptist Church, C. A. Roberts Sr., and his daughter, Betty Thrall, I was recommended to be Pastor at First Baptist Church, Big Lake. I went after a call of only 68% in my favor. Many later told me they wished they had voted for me. This was a town of average population 3000, plus or minus depending on the oil field enterprise and OPEC. And of course, politics. Ha ha! We actually saw an oil well within the city limits. Santa Rita #1 had its replica in the city. The actual site was at Texon, where the first oil was struck, I am told, in the Permian Basin.The pastorate gave me an opportunity to develop as preacher and leader. I made many friends outside the church community, among them ranchers surrounding the area. One ranch hand on the Rocker B (279 sections of land), Mr. B. A. Basham, became a believer because of his wife's concern and prayers, and our ministry to him. How I loved their home-cooked meals from time to time.I developed some great relationships with the deacons, in particular Gaylon R. Solomon and Gordon Thrall. Gaylon was Dispatcher for the Santa Fe in the city, and Gordon was a county attorney as well as having his own practice. Through the Thralls, we got into Amway selling products and made some good money to supplement our meager church income. We were provided a parsonage on Maryland Street by the church. We grew and were able to see improvements while there. Philip was born in 1967 at the Shannon Hospital in San Angelo. What a hyper active child he was.Glenn developed as an early reader after we tutored him in phonics, taught in cartoon form from the Fort Worth Star Telegram which we got each Sunday. Church and school kids would bring to our house the latest issues of magazines they knew he could not possibly have read in advance. They were amazed, that though he did not know the meaning of all the words, he could pronounce them and read at a reasonable pace for a five year old. He amazed his parents as well. Don't pray for a kid with a high IQ unless you are ready to live with it!The lack of rain at times tested our liking this place. We had to get out of town from time to time to eat at a restaurant or go to a movie. We loved going to Midland, TX., and eating at the Chinese restaurant, the Blue Star Inn. The Castle-Gap Baptist Association meetings, also provided a break from the routine, and of a totally different kind of entertainment. Friday night football was the king on the throne in West Texas. James Michener said there were three things you don't mess with in West Texas, or perhaps all Texas, too. One was oil-rich politicians Another was Baptist preachers. And the last was Friday night football.I might add, from a personal viewpoint, and don't mess with determined deacons. Once one deacon tried to get me fired. Through help from some other deacons, and my trusting God who said "call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know", God defeated that deacon 10 to 1. Later, he became a friend because I would not snub him or take revenge and talk about him.Our church got involved on Friday nights by using a home-made grill, and after the game, invited high school kids only, to come for a burger and all the trimmings. We would bring in Baptist Student Union speakers and entertainers to speak to the kids. Our people were terrific in their contribution of time and monies. Junior High School kids tried to sneak in, too. Joe (called Jo Jo) Barnes was Reagan County's Quarterback, and he became later Quarterback for Texas Tech. Well Jo Jo led the Reagan County Owls to playoffs. We played at Lubbock in freezing rain. And who were those nuts sitting in the stands, wrapped in lots of clothes, blankets, and a large plastic sheet wrapped all the way around two couples? It was the Dixons, and I think the Alexanders. We had large thermoses filled with hot chocolate. The teams played zero to zero, and Iowa Park won on penetrations. Disgusting! But oh so much fun. I still can see in my mind's eye that flag blowing south as that north wind blew in that driving sleet. Makes me tremble to think I even dared try that. But I was only about 38 then, I think.We enjoyed Paisano Baptist Encampment where our Youth went, and where there was a five days camp for adults and families (called General Camp).After seven and one half years, the Lord moved us to Lake Worth, Texas. Was I to stay near water because I was a "Baptist" preacher? Leaving churches is hard. I really cried when I resigned at this church.
Lake Worth, Texas (1973-1986)
(Northwest Tarrant County, suburb of Ft. Worth, Texas)
Through Millie's friend, Pearl Levar, we were recommended to First Baptist, Lake Worth, Texas. Pearl was church organist, and her husband Randall was in the Air Force. The church extended a call and we accepted. Not long after, the Air Force moved the Levars to the Phillipines. I always accused Randall putting in for a transfer so he wouldn't have to be around me. He didn't go to church.The church grew at first, and we had so many wonderful times with the people. I still get calls from people there. I got one just as I sat down to write this from a Margy Graham, 86 years old now. She just wanted to wish us Happy Thanksgiving and to have a wonderful Christmas. We still have a Friendship Quilt they made and gave to us.We started a day school while there. We operated a food project. We helped in VBS and went to many Camps. I visited in the community and made many friends. Coffee shop time was used for contacts. Some of my people thought I was wasting time being there. You can't please everybody.The Northwest portion of Tarrant County was changing, and I tried to get the church to move out on Loop 820. We looked for ways to sell the property, but it was given up after a while, and so the church still sits there, having dwindled down to about 60 in attendance.Part-time staff members came and went, and they and their families were always a lot of encouragement. Again, Friday night football was very important, and we went to most all the games.We had a great reunion one year, and Millie and some of the ladies wrote a history of the church, and got it printed in time for the return of former members and staff leaders of the church.Our church was situated right under the flight path of planes from Carswell Airforce. They tried to not fly on Sunday morning during church time, but once in a while one came over and I'd say, "this is the pause that refreshes." Happened a lot during the week, too, while trying to talk on the telephone.One year we helped fight the removal of a massage parlor in the area and succeeded. An undercover policeman got under the covers, and the ladies had to hear a distasteful description of the scene in court.Some of the men and I went fishing from time to time, from which, Philip, our youngest born in 1967, got his love of the lake and fishing. We went to the Swift place out at Strawn and stayed a week and fished in the 'tanks' out there. We hiked a lot, and Philip managed to stick a hook in the lip of a preacher's wife who went out with us one year. He also lost our car keys, we thought, in the trunk of the car. We had to call the owner to come and bring our other set of keys. We later found out Philip had dumped the keys in the other preacher's fishing sack, and when Bro. Al Haney was cleaning out his fishing gear, he found them.I was involved in the Lion's Club, and occasionally attending community meetings of one sort or another. I was trying, in my own way, to overcome obstacles people had of seeing our church as stuffy and self righteous. We had to try and lock the back doors of the church to keep people from leaving once they got in. Not a good testimony. Happens too often today!During this pastorate, in 1973, I led my father to Christ. What a glorious feeling it was. You can see his picture with a broken tooth on Glenn's link. He died in 1985, a year before I left the church. The day I resigned, three people joined. They were hurt I was leaving.After thirteen and one half years, I felt it was time to move on. (some deacons thought I had stayed too long). Some of those same deacons later asked me to be the minister at their funeral. Someone asked me once why I agreed when they had asked me to leave their church. I said: Oh, I love to bury all the deacons I can." Just teasing. I've had a lot of wonderful friends in these men. I just ate Thanksgiving Dinner with one of those deacons, Wayne Lisby.
Haltom City, Texas
I went next to Fort Worth, and Oakview Baptist Church. No water nearby....a sign?Oakview Baptist Church (1986-1995)
I once had a Youth/Music Minister at Lake Worth part-time, named Ed Geron. Ed's father was a member of Oakview Baptist, and it was through him my name was submitted as possible pastor. I preached my trial sermon before their search committee at Lakeside Baptist Church, Azle, Texas. I was soon called.Glenn was gone from home by then, and Philip stayed a little longer while he attended North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. He lasted two years.He went to work for General Dynamics, and later went to ATI business training where he graduated with a Graphics Designer certification.We had a wonderful time of trying to develop a ministry at Oakview Baptist. We emphasized reaching out into the old community. We had door to door evangelism, music program events to attract the community, and sports for the youth. We built and laid an outdoor concrete basketball court (half court) for the kids, and had a portable volleyball net for them. We had a part-time Youth Minister or two while I was there, and the same with a Music or Music/Education minister.We had an excellent Homebound Ministry going, and as Pastor I attended the BiVocational Pastor's meetings, as my salary decreased while there. I worked for Azalea Florist and Rose Florist.Our Minister of Music took our choir to sing at a new Outlet Mall on Rufe Snow, and one year built a Christmas tree for the choir to stand on to sing the Christmas music. A couple of years we had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the community, and really decorated the fellowship hall up Norman Rockwell style, with china and all. The choir served the punch, meat, food, and did the cleanup afterwards. We were teaching a servant attitude.We had some rousing business meetings. One year the men managed to get enough votes to get missions cut out of the budget. A month later I got missions back in the budget with the help of the faithful.Church ministry had to be financed often at the expense of people when the budget was not supported because someone did not get their way.Another interesting facet of our music ministry was the sound system. A deacon, very hard of hearing, ran the sound system. We often had too soft or too loud a sound. Someone had to rush back to the sound room to alter the system. Often, the sound man wore a head set by which he listened to the mike, but did not actually hear what was happening in the auditorium. It was a headache that lasted too long a time.In 1989 there was a break-in at our church, and it was set on fire near the choir area, and behind the choir area. At 3:00 am I was called and rushed down there. Smoke was pouring out the upper vents, and firemen were cutting into the roof. Damage by fire was limited to the auditorium, where even the plastic covers on light switches melted at the back of the sanctuary. We had plastic windows and this probably prevented the fire getting oxygen early on and prevented further damage than what we had. Even a fireman had the plastic logo on his helmet melted. We had good insurance, and soon we were rebuilding, but not without some conflict and the losing of some members. We met at Oak Knoll Baptist church until we were able to get back in our renovated sanctuary. My office had to be ionized as the books were all damaged by smoke, and the church library, too. We rejoiced in the Lord when we got back in. It actually was a 30 year maintenance catch-up as so much of the church needed redoing.We saw a Muslin lady get saved, and numerous young people get saved. At one time I saw the sanctuary nearly full. But our main problem was a sort of religiosity without power. We needed more men and women to be growing spiritually, but could not seem to get that accomplished. In the end, the men again got missions thrown out of the budget, and I resigned. The main reason was that I was saved on a mission field, and I had always pastored missionaryy-minded churches. So, I could not stay on. The pastorium was an awful mess which the church did not take care of. I felt God wanted something to happen at Oakview but it was going to have to be someone else to do it. In the end, the church closed its doors and most of the people joined Oak Knoll Baptist Church and deeded the property to them.
North Richland Hills, Texas
North Richland Hills Baptist Church (Aug. 1996 - Present, 2009) I searched around for a church home. I started working at a couple different florists, and later, subbing for local school districts as a teacher. From November of 1995 until August of 1996, we went here and there. We had an offer from Ralph Wetherbee to be Director of the Nursing Home Ministry at North Richland Hills Baptist Church. Rev. Jo McKinney was the Pastor and after an interview with him, I began my work there. We were glad to get out of limbo and get active in ministry again.We had a problem! We had lived in pastoriums all our lives, had no equity built up, and no savings. Oakview Baptist allowed us to live in their pastorium as it saved them on their insurance rates until they got a pastor. We looked at mobile homes and mobile home parks. We investigated costs, downpayments, etc. But we fell far short. The church gave us a love offering. The Senior Adults raised a love offering. One man came by our house and gave us a substantial amount ($8000.00) and asked me if that was enough. I could not ask for more. And through some careful managing, were able to purchase a mobile home and move in May of 1997.We built our own deck with Ralph Wetherbee's direction and help. We purchased a car port and deck roof and had them built, and also a shed for tools, etc. Philip had been gone for a while and he moved back in with us for a while. We had fun with him. He eventually bought his own house out at Newark with his brother's assistance and guidance. He now had his own privacy, and we had ours.The church prospered, we got a new Pastor in Tommy Teague, and he started the Watchman on the Wall prayer ministry. I volunteered to be a Wall Captain, which made me a member of the Prayer Committee. Later, I became its chairman.In December of 2002, Ralph Wetherbee resigned as Minister to Senior Adults. I was recommended for the job, combining it with the job I already had, adding a substantial salary for the duties that would be mine. In December of 2004 I will have completed two years at these combined ministries, and eight years total on the staff as part time support minister. I worked 20 hours at the first ministry, and now am working 30+ hours at this second combined ministries.My time is spent in administering the Tuesday Morning Bible Study, getting speakers for it and keeping it running smoothly. I visit among the homebound and sickly senior adults. I plan to help us be a missionary and ministering body of adults. Staff meetings are lively, and we have a great unity and spirit. I preached at one time to five different nursing homes/assisted living places, but now only three. We had ministered at one time in 19 homes, but are about down to 13. The biggest and most difficult task is to get people to agree to work in the nursing home ministry. We now call it the Multiple Care Ministry because it includes all types of health care and retirement facilities, besides just the nursing homes.
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