A story of our life together, the accident that almost took Bill’s life, and the love and devotion that has kept us together for these many years and in the ministry regardless of the circumstances. A book that will encourage and inspire faithfulness to the Lord Jesus and to your wedding vows in any situation. It tells how we kept our marriage strong and our commitment to Jesus and to spread the gospel during dire circumstances – and how you can make it as well!
Table of Contents
1. Our Beginning…………Cricket and I met at a roller skating rink at age 14 and it took a while to win her over. Not only did we meet in our roller skating rink but we also were married in a roller skating rink. Although when we were 18 when we were married, many still told us that a teenage marriage would never work but we were in love and we determined that “Ours Would Be Different.”
2. What Have We Done………… We began managing a skating rink and by the time we were 22 we had our house paid for, which of course means no mortgage! God also blessed us with a new Cadillac, a Harley-Davidson Sportster, a Yamaha YZ 125 motocross motorcycle, guns of all sorts – all the toys 22 year olds could possibly want. Because this did not bring satisfaction, we left it all to serve God in the Ministry.
3. Dark Clouds in the Sky………Our little sister was killed in an automobile crash and put her two little children in the hospital in intensive care. Because we got a hold of the Marine operator, we were able to get a hold of mom and dad while they were all on their yacht heading for Daytona, Florida.
4. It’s Not in His Will………It was our desire to adopt kids after my sister died in a car accident. There were many complications and it seemed as though it was not God’s will for this to happen. God wanted us in Bible school but we did not want to go without the kids.
5. No I Will Not Usher………When things began to settle down, we started going to another church and someone asked me to be an usher. I did not want to because the ushers were called on to pray before receiving the offering, which I consider to be forced public speaking. Even though I was a DJ at the skating rink, I did not like to be in the spotlight at church.
6. OK Let’s Do It………..What is the reason you want to be in the Ministry? To keep people from going to hell.
7. Packing Up……………We had an 18-wheeler leftover from our construction equipment and I was able to load up all of our furniture and belongings instead of getting a U-Haul with a trailer. Cricket and the girls were still in Texas and wanted to stay a little longer because Cricket found a doctor who could do surgery on her ears.
8. Do You Have Our Car Keys……Our four-door Cadillac is the one thing that separated us from the other college students. Our home pastor had driven it to the college and then flew back home. We had to go to security to get the keys what they could not find them.
9. And It’s Malignant…………Our freshman year at college, we received a telephone call from my mother telling us she had cancer and that it was malignant. Mom and dad had traded their yacht for a horse farm and dad raised quarter horses and there was always plenty to do at the farm. We went home to be a comfort to mom.
10. Graduation…………College was a lot of work but we were able to graduate with highest honors. A church at the foot of the Smoky Mountains called us to candidate and bowed with us in as pastor. It was a beautiful log cabin church located on 33 acres.
11. Sanballat and Tobiah………As in all churches, there were a few troublemakers left over from the previous pastor. These two had charismatic beliefs and even spoke in tongues so they thought. They were consistently a source of discouragement to us as long as we were there.
12. Three Major Questions……… When visiting the college, old classmates never fail to ask these three questions. Next door to the church was the drive-in movie theater and we had found a house right across the street from the movie theater. Upon visiting the owner of the theater we were able to get him to come to church – the previous pastor had picketed his place because of the movie is they were showing.
13. The Great Disappointments………. We had church wide barbecue dinner on the ground on Labor Day and Memorial Day. This kept the people in town during these holidays keeping them faithful to church these weekends. We had great success doing this but the disappointments offset these.
14. Closer Than a Brother………We started a Bible Institute in our home church and because we had gotten too close, we learned too much and had to leave. I got a job with my brother doing electrical work and he trained me to be an electrician.
15. Starting from Scratch…………We decided to start a church and had 44 our first Sunday. A beginning church needs many things – pulpit, sound system, offering plates, Lords Supper plates, songbooks, and most important chairs. How could we ever afford 50 chairs right off the bat?
16. My Best Friend’s Down………My best friend was MY DAD and my mother was my wife’s best friend. When mom died, dad seemed to turn against God yet he had been called to preach. Later he had a stroke and his opportunities to serve God were all for.
17. My Last Steps……………Because we started a church we need an income and I took a construction job and Cricket was a secretary in a real estate office. I was working on a forklift and when I finish the work, instead of lowering the down they dumped me off and I fell 30 feet and landed head first on the sidewalk. As I was loading the tools into the box I did not realize I was taking the last steps I would ever take.
18. The Doctors Said No………Because of the severity of my injuries the doctors said I had 0% chance of living through the night. At best, I would be a vegetable and have to live the rest of my life in bed in a nursing home.
19. My First Recollections………I woke up to the sound of a breathing machine and realized it was this machine that was keeping me alive. Every two hours someone would come in and turn me to prevent bedsores, and every few hours and a respiratory therapist would come in and drain my lungs.
20. Who Said That…………My respiratory therapists was training me to get me off to the breathing machine. He pulled the tube out of my lungs and put his finger over the hole and told me to say something. Immediately I said, “Something!” LATER that week my family was in for a big surprise.
21. Like the Barber Said…………Of all people who would come and visit me, my barber walked through the door. I have not had a haircut for a long time, and that hair underneath the collar of my neck had not been washed in over 10 weeks. It itched like 1000 fleas on a dog’s back. When he told me he brought his clippers and asked me if I would like a haircut and how I wanted it? Of course I said –
22. Stuck on an Elevator………What is an activity therapist? Good question and then she tells you to wait by the elevator for her, you better listen. Two of my nurses I thought were going to help me but they put me on the elevator, pushed a button, and then jumped out. I was off for the ride of my life.
23. Party Poopers…………I was 40 years old when this accident happened. It happened in February and my next birthday was in June. Not many people thought that I would see 41 and the closer I got to it the more excited I became. I was able to talk the staff into letting me go home for the weekend and my birthday was on Monday, but instead of a birthday party had to take a three hour ride in an ambulance.
24. Return to Sender…………At the end of June they decided to try letting me go home as I had to wait for an opening at the rehab center. After two weeks, not only was I able to go back to the hospital, I was begging them to make it so.
25. No Place like Home…………I weighed about 165 pounds but my home health aide weighed about 240! She would pick me up out of bed, put me on a wheel chair, ride me into the bathroom, and then lift me into the shower chair and shower me. She got smart with the boss and ended up getting fired and I did not get another shower until 1½ years later.
26. Preacher and Shirley…………Have you ever had a best friend that would do anything in the world for you? We had 2 such friends in our preacher and his wife. Every time they saw I had a need, they did everything in their power to fill that need. What about when I need a $42,000. van to travel in?
27. Turn Out the Lights……… Our bodies are magnificent machines that they will only allow so much abuse. I had three doctors and all three were giving me medications but not keeping track of each other. Danger, danger when taking prescriptions, you would think the pharmacist would have said something? When your brain turns off the light, the darkness can be a sad, lonely place to exist!
28. Round #2………………Common sense would tell you the medication needs to be changed if you keep having episodes like I was having, but some doctors are not equipped with common sense. Needless to say, I went down again, but this time it looked for good.
29. Round #3 – Down for the Count…..When I stay up all night screaming, don’t leave me alone because when you come back, blood will be everywhere!
30. Sign on the Dotted Line…………. I used to visit nursing homes when I was the pastor of a Baptist church. Now they are telling me I need to go there but just for 30 days. Thinking I could get through this, I counted down every day but at the end of 30, they told me 30 more that was not the end of it.
31. 30 became 482……………At first it was not so bad, I was beating all the old people in bingo and in most of the other games. When I found out this was going to be permanent, they moved my stuff from home in with me, like it or lump it. And when the reality of two showers per week set in, I wondered if I would ever live again.
32. Every Preacher’s Wish………There was a lady in our church who took a liking to me and was there when I needed her. Cricket was out of town looking for us the house in Indiana. So this lady would take me to church on Sunday night and Wednesday night and would always treat me to coffee afterwards. Anything I needed all I had to do was give her a call.
33. Cardboard and Water Again……Cricket lost her job again and it was back to eating cardboard and water again. We had moved next door to some Christian people and they told Cricket about a managing job. It would not be long until strike 3 and we were out of there.
34. Saying Goodbye………You wouldn’t think it would be hard to say goodbye to a nursing home but it was. For some reason, it seemed as a ghost town and every one was either laying down or off somewhere. Two of the nurses waved goodbye and that was it but I hit the door running, because we were headed north to First Baptist Church Hammond, Indiana!
35. One Day at a Time………….Every day I find a promise of God in the Bible, write it down, and send it to everyone on my e-mail list. God started doing this for me in the nursing home and has continued every day to the present. Living in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic has many challenges and I need the daily encouragement from the word of God.
36. Lessons We Have Learned……God is good, God is still in control, God does not make mistakes, God can use you regardless of the circumstances, God will turn bad things into opportunities to do good for Him, living by faith requires trust in God when you don’t know the reasons why things happen, etc.
37. Cricket’s Diary……………My wife Cricket pours out her heart so others will know what it’s like to have to take care of someone that is completely helpless. She reveals that her wedding vows were serious and that she loves me beyond any human comprehension.
38. The Life Which We Now Live…………We live thinking of others, those who have been paralyzed and must stand the rest of their life in a wheel chair. We love pastors and missionaries and try to encourage them on a daily basis. We understand the need for encouragement but also the need for love – not just spoken but proven with actions.
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