My family and I moved to Killeen, Texas in October 1991. Within a couple of short weeks, October 16, 1991, the worst killing spree in the history of our country would occur. A sick-psycho would drive through the front of a Luby’s Cafeteria and murder many people. This was not only devastating to our community, but to my family as well. If I had not known we were where God wanted us to be, we probably would have been looking for somewhere else to live.
The decision to move to Killeen had not been an easy decision. Killeen is the home to the largest United States military installation in the world. Even though the people in the military are some of the nicest people in the world, the merchants in a military community are usually some of the worst you can imagine. The merchants that serve the military know they have a captive market, and the service they provide is the worst in the world. I speak from both sides of the table in this area, having been a merchant and having served in the military for ten years. I served in the Finance Corps of the Army and received many medals, including a Meritorious Service Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, as well as numerous letters of recommendation from all ranks including Generals, Congressmen and Senators. I had been around the military long enough to know I did not want to go back to a military community of my own free will. However, God had other plans.
I was promoted to manage a Christian Bookstore. At the time of my promotion, there were two stores within the company that were looking for managers; one on the coast of Florida, and one in Killeen. The store in Florida was a new store that had been the top store in it’s region the previous year, (there were only two regions in the company), and the store in Killeen was ranked number 125 of 126 stores nationwide. Not only was this an old store, it was decreasing in sales every year, had an untrained staff, and the store was in chaos. Now I would like to be able to say that every time God plans a move for us, it is a move to a brand new store doing record sales. But, I knew better. I knew that because these two stores were so drastically different in every single area, God was not going to make this an easy choice. Of course, my wife and kids were voting for Florida. But I knew God was urging me to take the Killeen store. We were living in Austin, Texas at the time, and I sat on the front porch talking to God about the decision of which store to take. I told the Lord that I felt He was leading me to move to Killeen because I sure wasn’t going to move there on my own. I said, “Lord, I really want to do Your will. This decision, if left up to me, would be to move to Florida. However, Lord, if You want us to move to Killeen, please give me a sign to let me know this is Your will.”
Asking for a sign is not something I had ever done before. I felt a little guilty asking, but if God wanted me to move to the last place in the world I wanted to be, I felt a small sign might be in order. And wouldn’t you know it, God gave me the sign I asked for to let me know He wanted me in Killeen. The clouds parted in the sky to form a perfect circle with a cross inside of the circle. That was my sign from God that He wanted me to go to Killeen. I’m not sure if the tears that streamed down my face were because God had just given me this glorious Cross in the sky, or whether it was because I had to move to Killeen, but we packed our bags and headed up the highway to Fort Army USA.
We house hunted the last week in September, 1991, drove back to Austin on September 27th, and our baby girl Jamie was born on September 28th. My wondrous joy girl came into the world to bring us all love and joy. I placed our family and my store under God’s care, but the transition was not easy. The store was disgustingly filthy and I had boxes and boxes of material that had not been entered into the stores inventory. And none of my staff wanted to work any overtime, my senior salesperson was out sick for three weeks and my receiving clerk immediately left on emergency leave and was gone for two weeks, and then quit. So not only was I not getting ahead, I was falling farther behind. I needed to receive inventory, clean the store and minister to my customers, and I felt I was failing in all three areas. And it really ticked me off.
Late one night about three weeks into October, I was working in the store late one night and really ranting, raving and complaining to the Lord. I guess He finally got tired of listening to me, because finally He said, “What do I always tell you to do?” I said, “You always tell me to cast my cares on You Lord.” He replied, not a little less than firmly, “Well then, DO IT!!!” I said, “Okay Boss, and I cast all my cares on Him.” And the turnaround was immediate. The inventory that had been sitting in the backroom for so long that pallets had been placed under it because it was stacked from floor to ceiling in every available space all got received and placed in the store. I found boxes that were to go back to vendors in June, but I shipped them out in November and was finally caught up. After making sure God was in charge, it was amazing how the store had gotten clean, the inventory had all gotten caught up and within three months our store was the top store in the company in Special orders, top increase in sales and on and on and on. I wasn’t able to do it, because I had been ready to quit. But God sure worked some amazing miracles in that store. Thanks Lord for being firm with me in reminding me to cast my cares on You.
During the month of October, while the stresses of this store were very real, a new baby in the house, older kids adapting to the intense peer pressure of a new school in a military community, my wife needing me home more to help her cope with it all, the Luby’s murders happened. And it shook the community to the core of its being. Fear became an unwanted sidekick to nearly everyone in the community. My wife and children included. They finally realized that fear could not beat them if they did not allow it. Of course, we were continuously in prayer for our family, but the challenges were real. We made it through the next year, with God’s help, and finally the anniversary of the murders was approaching.
About this time Mauri and I were talking and I had just read about the McDonald shooting and how this community had still not recovered after ten years, or whatever it was. I told Mauri I felt we had a responsibility to ensure our community recovered from the horror of the Luby’s shooting. She agreed wholeheartedly. We began making plans to contact prayer warriors worldwide to pray for healing for our community. We sent faxes and letters to churches and private businesses around the world, and asked them to pray for healing for our community on the anniversary day of the Luby’s Massacre. Mauri also read that President Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was to be at a luncheon in a nearby community the day before the anniversary, and sent her a fax asking her to attend a Christian Songfest we were sponsoring. It was held in the amphitheater by the Memorial site for the victims of the shooting at Luby’s.
There were ten of us there that morning testing the sound system at the amphitheater and we had just put in a cassette tape titled “War in the Heavenlies”, and we had the sound cranked up. Suddenly there were black limousines pulling into the parking area of the amphitheater. Immediately, secret service agents were everywhere securing the perimeter for the Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle. He steps from the limo and had a bouquet of white carnations that he takes over to the Memorial site. One of the secret service agents comments to me, “You people are here getting ready for a Christian Songfest, is that correct?” Of course, I responded we were. Vice President Quayle puts the flowers on the Memorial site and bows his head to pray for the victims of the shooting, and I guess the power of God, from a concentrated worldwide prayer effort, took effect. Because as the Vice President bows his head, he suddenly falls to his knees to pray. It was as if he had been knocked to his knees, and when he arose, the look of amazement on his face was glorious. He had been felled by God and knew he had been in His presence. We all shook hands with him, told him how much we respected his stand on morality, and told him how blessed we were for him to come and pray for healing in Killeen. I believe he was blessed too, and he and the secret service men were gone as quickly as they had come. As they drove off, the music “War in the Heavenlies” was still playing. Everyone in attendance was amazed at what had just occurred. We all saw the power of God at work in the healing process of Killeen. Concentrated worldwide prayer had anointed a city to receive its healing from God.
I am totally amazed at the goodness and power of God concerning every little area of our lives. We serve an awesome God Who is deserving of all our praise, worship and love. The love He showed in performing the healing process in Killeen was wonderful. The only sad outcome was that President Bush and Vice President Quayle did not get reelected. My letter to the editor stated then that the American people were making a choice in the polls between light and darkness. The Bush Family and Quayle Family were the representatives God wanted, and I believe the scandals since 1993 have proved this out. However, we are to continually pray for the administration in charge. I do not believe a person should reject their commitment to God, to raise godly men and women and elect them into roles of leadership, based on an individual’s political party affiliation. It was this particular poll that I had a 100% success rate in picking the losers of each political race. And I voted a straight moral ticket. It did not matter to me whether someone was a republican, democrat or independent, I voted for them based on their moral commitments. And I selected every single loser of every single race. It makes me wonder why everyone else was voting the way they voted. Maybe we should all look to where a person stands in his relationship with God before we ask him or her to lead us. If we do what we are supposed to do, perhaps God can anoint these people in His goodness. Oh well, I will step down from my political soapbox.
Thank You Lord for all You have done for this community. Thank You for walking with me, and for guiding me, and for taking all my cares away from me on my journey. Thank You for everything. I love You Holy Father. I love You Lord Jesus. I love You Holy Spirit. Please feel welcome to burden my heart with any concern You will have me to be involved with. Help me to be accessible in every area of my life. I love You Lord.