We were born and raised Pentecostal, Assembly of God. When I was two and a half years old, from that time on I slept on the bench and under the bench in a Pentecostal mission or tent. We went around the country with another minister. We had a big farm but at night and on the weekends we went to different towns within 50 miles of our farm to set up this big tent and held tent meetings and brought the Pentecostal message. That’s the way I was raised. Persecution was then. Erma was raised the same way. We never did have eggs and rocks and tomatoes thrown at us, but Erma did. When she was a child, they went on the street corner, her and her dad. She played the mandolin and he played the guitar and they sang. Or in the little missions they would have, they would open the door and throw tomatoes and eggs and things through the door. They thought that was persecution, but we haven’t seen persecution. Erma’s dad, bless his heart, Pentecostal preacher for almost 50 years, he said, you can’t tell me there isn’t going to be a rapture. Regardless, it doesn’t matter whether there is a rapture or not. What we need to be prepared for is whatever. If there is a rapture, wonderful, well, and good. But if there is not, than we had better be ready for the situation that arises. And the Lord is trying to warn those who will listen of the coming onslaught of satanic power.
Well, anyway down through the years the Lord has had us into many things and seemingly almost everything became wonderful and then it became a failure – sometimes through our own efforts, sometimes through efforts of others. In one situation, we lost everything we had. In the last business we had, we began to see that God controls circumstances. And in that business God sold it for us for all cash. The man didn’t even want us there the next day to tell him what to do. We owned Technical Publication Services which was in Buena Park down where Knott’s Berry Farm is and out in North Hollywood. We had the largest repro typing service in southern California for the aerospace missile industry. We had contracts totaling, well, we had just received one contract that was a million dollars. And we had many, many contracts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And God relieved us of that and we became full time service for the Lord. And as we did, our full time service was with the Full Gospel Business Men. We traveled everywhere in this country and abroad. For a long time no one handled any tapes or books at any Full Gospel Convention unless I authorized them to or I was there. And we traveled, well in fact we did two or three conventions last year and we have done two this year and we will probably do one or two next year. We will be in Jackson, Mississippi again the first week in June. But the Lord has gradually taken this out of our life because we have fulfilled our calling there.
He has given us friends in every nation almost in the world. I had the opportunity to go to Russia one time, and I wish now that I would have gone. I was in Sweden and several of the Businessmen went to Russia and I did not go along. But the Iron Curtain countries are the only countries in the world that we do not have people that have written or contacted us for books or tapes of the end-time ministry of the Lord. And he has helped us to become friends and associates of all the major speakers and ministries in America today. I appreciate that, because we have received wonderful, wonderful teaching from them.
Besides traveling with the Full Gospel, we traveled quite a bit with Dr. Derek Prince. We went with him to seminars that he held in different places in the nation, and we handled the tapes and the books at these conventions. And it was through this ministry and the ministry of brother Duncan, a minister who came out of the state of Washington, that we got the calling into the deliverance ministry. And as we traveled the face of the earth, everytime that we ended up at a convention or a seminar somewhere, it seemed that just as we were packing up to leave, and were so tired that we could hardly move, after spending five and six days, 18 hours a day working the tapes and the books, somebody would always come up and start talking to Erma, or some situation would arise and we would have a deliverance case on our hands. We couldn’t refuse because the person was desperate. It was seemingly their last chance and this has happened over and over again – in Houston, Chicago, Denver and other areas and the Lord marvelously delivered.
And as the time went by we began to see a need for a place where families of the Lord could come as a family unit if they so desired, and the individual as well, for help and the restoration of the family. I don’t claim that I am able to handle it all. I have got to have help and lots of it, and they have to be people who understand and have a hurt in there heart for people that need help. If you don’t have it don’t try it. You know what happened to the sons of Sceva, that will happen to you. We don’t ask for these situations. We are not going to turn our backs. We are going to do what we can and the Lord will build the house. So in our travels, the Lord showed Derek Prince that he should open up a place to teach young people and have a deliverance center where people could come for deliverance. He made that statement to me. Some how down through the years he got farther and farther and farther away, then the Lord began to prick my heart on what he had showed me.
And we began to look and hunt for the vision I had seen, and the only place that I knew where clear water existed was maybe up in Maine, or way up next to the Canadian border or out in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and Western Montana. So we spent two and a half years traveling that whole area. During that period of time we went to Calgary,Canada, once or twice and handled the Full Gospel convention. We went to Bamph, Canada, and handled one in Boise, Idaho. We went to the state of Washington a couple of times. We went to Portland Oregon many, many times and had charge of the Full Gospel Business Men’s books and tapes there. So when we would get through, we would spend whatever time we had left between the next place, and would side track all through the country through southern Oregon and we came down across northern Washington. One time we came in at the Idaho side and then came across northern Washington and nothing just ever seemed to fit right. Two and a half years we drove many hours and drove many hundreds of miles in that area. And then one day something seemed to prick my heart that how could a poor person, if they lived in Maine or the state of Florida, ever get out here to the state of Washington or Oregon? And I said, Lord, I don’t know, but I don’t know any other place to look.
So, I did a strange thing. I took a map and a compass and I know that the center of the United States falls down through Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. That is the geological center of the United States and I knew that in that area and west there was no such place as I was looking for. So I took a map, and a compass and I set it up on Miami, Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, and Houston. The geological center of the United States, when that is done, falls in the state of Arkansas.
We had never had occasion to travel this state – never in all of our life. We had traveled south across Louisiana, but most of the time we traveled across Missouri and Illinois because that is where all of our folks lived. So, in our trips to the east or the south, we somehow managed to go across Louisiana, and back up to visit our folks, to visit them first, then back across Louisiana to California. We put 250,000 miles on a Lincoln. And the Winnebago down here, has 176,000 on it, and still running good. We changed the motor in it and every other moving part, except the rear end.
But God has been good to us. We have never had an accident. We never even came close to one. And we have traveled day and night. I have driven 20 hours a day, many many days. I stop for a couple of three hours, rest, and then go on, because we had so long to get from one convention to the next one. We couldn’t fly, because we had too much material to carry. So, we said the next time we go back that way, we’re going to look in Arkansas. So the next time we came this way, was to Nashville, Tennessee, to the Full Gospel convention, and we come back across interstate 40, across Arkansas. We didn’t stop, we just traveled through.
Then we went to Jackson Mississippi, to the convention. And Erma never did agree with my visions or my looking. And she was always happy that I never found anything. But I persisted in looking. For two and a half years we had looked in the Northwest. And we went to Jackson by way of Louisiana. At Jackson, Erma was manning the book table, and a lady walked up to look at the books who had a name tag on that said Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was Inez’s sister. And Erma said, “Oh my husband says we’re going to move to Arkansas.” A lot of faith, my husband says. So, this woman says, “Oh my sister is upstairs and she’s in the real estate business. I’ll go get her and bring her right down.” So she did. And she insisted that we come over to Hot Springs and look over it, saying that we would find a place here, it was just the place.
So we left Jackson, Mississippi and followed her home. We stayed with Inez and Lee Barron, in their new beautiful house that they had just moved into. And as I come up off of 30 and started up through the winding hills that begin as you leave Interstate 30, my blood began to run almost cold – or hot or something. Because the farther I came, the more the surroundings began to look like what I had seen. And as we came up, I said, “Inez this looks familiar.” So she took us around a lot of places, and as she would take us out on the farms and out on the outlying areas around, every place around here has clear running water. I said, “Well this looks like it.”