Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014

The last post left you at a bus station in Tulsa, OK, hanging up from a phone call where I learned that the man I had come to see, hoping that he could help me get past the experiences of my life in California, was not available and would not be available for at least two more weeks.

What was I to do?  I knew no one in Tulsa to help and I was nearly broke.  It was then I remembered that we had passed a "labor pool" as the bus was headed for the station.  I decided I would try working on the "wrong" side of the desk.  I knew it was late, most of the available jobs were filled.  I would have to wait and so I took a seat after filling out their brief application card,  It was 9:30 AM, I would wait until almost 2PM before the dispatcher asked me if I could count.  It turned out that he needed someone to help with an inventory at a nearby company.  Thank you, Lord.

The job was rather simple but there were hundreds of items to be counted.  I went to work.  At 5PM the "boss" asked if I would like to work overtime.  Sure!   And so I worked until 8PM and was told they wanted me back tomorrow.  The boss asked me where I lived and I had to confess I would be looking for a place.  He told me of a downtown motel that was cheap; he seemed to understand my dilemma and handed by a $20 bill to pay for my rent.

That was Monday and as it turned out, I worked all week - 40 hours, and when I got paid by the labor office, I tried to repay the $20 the boss had loaned me and he smiled and said, "Forget it, that was the best investment we have ever made" and then he handled me a company check for $50, claiming that I had earned it.

I walked up the street feeling good about myself and as I passed a cocktail lounge, I thought I would stop and have a beer.  "After all," I thought to myself, "a laborer is entitled to relax after working all week."  Funny, as I tried to open the door, it appeared to be locked.  I tried again, and tried again.  I had heard voices within and was puzzled but just as I started to walk away, two couples walked up and opened the door I thought had been locked.  I started for follow then and then I remembered my question about my need to repent.  Maybe, the door just seemed to be locked to me for a reason.

I walked on to the YMCA and paid a week's rent and when I got to my room, I opened my Bible again to see if  I could find an explanation, but there was none.  The next morning, Saturday, after eating my breakfast at a nearby diner, I decided to ride a bus out to the ORU campus.  It was as beautiful as I had thought it would be.  Just sitting on a park bench, I felt better thanI had felt for months.  I noticed there was a book store nearby and decided to see if Oral might have written something related to my recent experience or, the experiences in my past.  I did not find one, but glancing at a jewelry display I saw an item I liked and picked it up and noticed the card to which it had been attached.  It was a Bible verse, Acts 1:8, ..."you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses.."   I had already picked out a church I would attend the next day, so I bought the item and put the card in my pocket as a reminder to ask someone what that verse might possibly mean to me.

Would you believe, the text the Pastor had chosen for his sermon was the one I had noticed the day before.  I sat in my pew hanging on his every word.  I knew that I knew I had found a church home as it would be for the next two years.  But I was about to have my world turned upside down.

I had left instructions with the CA State people in the office that monitored the homes in which we had placed the children temporarily, that I would let them know when I would be returning.  I was about to be shocked beyond my comprehension.  My wife had been released from prison and regained custody of our children.  I hired a lawyer to investigate the reasons for that decision by the State and he had to tell me there was nothing we could do from Oklahoma.  I decided to wait until after I had accomplished the purpose of my journey.

As it turned, that would never happen.  I began to speak with elders in my new church home and it was their counsel that I stay in Tulsa, work if I could find a job, and wait to see what happened with our children.  It would be a long wait.

Meanwhile, it seemed, I had new power as every place I turned to for employment, I was hired and it went from good to opportunities beyond anything I had experienced in California.  Eventually, I would find an even better opportunity in Dallas, TX, and so I moved there.  Unfortunately, it would not turn out to be as good as it had sounded, but while there, I met a number of good friends, some of whom had other opportunities and so it went on and on.  Finally, I made a deal that paid me a lot of money and I had a plan.  I would sell my equity in a business I had helped to establish and send the receipts to the State of California to maintain my obligations for child support until there was no further responsibility.

By this time, I considered myself to be an authority on what the Bible had to say and I had been looking for the possibility of joining an established training company or similar organization.  I prayed and asked God, what He would have me to do.  A word of advice to those reading these words, don't ever ask God for such counsel unless you are prepared to do what He asks you to do or go where He asks you to go.

Clearly I heard Him say, :"Go, be with my people."

The only interpretation I could make was to consider my thoughts in years past.  As a Manager of a "labor" office in Los Angeles, I used to wonder why grown men, many well educated, would get in such a situation in life where they had to work for minimum wage, paid daily.  It has always troubled me that in a nation as prosperous as we have become could ignore the circumstances of such people and worse, those without sufficient educational preparation to find a better job for themselves.  I knew what I had to do, I knew where He wanted me to go.

With that I literally walked out of Dallas on a blazing hot July afternoon, wearing nothing more than a shirt, jeans and a pair of "penny" loafers, no hat, carrying nothing but my Bible.  I was heading North to be with His people.

I really had given no thought to money, what I might need, what a reasonable person would have taken with him or her.  I just had a confidence that God would provide and He did, for over two and half years and it would have continued, but then there was this lady who dared to declare, long before she knew anything about me, that she loved me and wanted to marry me.  But that is another story for yet another day.

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