We went without any support. I didn’t tell anybody what I was going to do when I got there. This little old mission was struggling along and the rent was behind so I took my last fifty dollars and paid the rent. I turned my store over to a silent partner I had and I left Seattle with two hundred dollars, a station wagon, and three kids. So, I had a chance to prove God for one year. I never took an offering and I went door to door evangelistically, working and leading people to the Lord. I never asked anybody for a penny, just prayed.
One of our first answers to prayer was when we couldn’t find a place to live so I traded my station wagon in and bought a mobile home. I bought the biggest thing they made back then. It was forty feet long and eight feet wide. After we’d been there a few days my wife said, “We’re out of food. We don’t have anything for lunch. ” “Well,” I said, “now’s a good time to find out if the Lord will answer pray and supply our needs.” So I got the children and we all knelt down and prayed and I said, “Now Lord, we don’t have any food for lunch today and I’m out doing your work house to house and I’m not working for anybody else and nobody else knows that we need groceries but you.” We prayed like that and within twenty minutes there was a grocery boy that came to the door with two huge boxes of groceries. We sat down and counted them and there was over twenty-five dollars worth, which I guess now is about fifty dollars worth. I asked the man where they came from. He said, “I was sent to bring them but I can’t tell you where they’re from.” I never did find out, but we had food. We lived one year that way by faith.
God helped me make payments on the mobile home when the next day the payment was going to be due. We prayed for the payment which was $125. That afternoon in the mail came a check from a fellow in Seattle that I had known that was a carpenter. He said, “I was up on a building this afternoon, nailing on siding, and the Lord told me to send you this check. I told the Lord I’d mail it in the morning and the Lord said, ‘No, mail it now’.” He had to get down off of his scaffold and go to the Post Office and mail me that check and it was there just in time to make my payments. So just one miracle after another happened. We lived a full year that way with our three children.
I want to tell you one more miracle that happened in Colorado. There were a lot of fortune tellers in Colorado and they always had ads in the paper. “See so and so and she’ll solve all your problems or mother so and so will tell you how to be successful.” I thought I’ll put an ad in there right with them. So I put it right under the same personal column that they had and it said, “Happiness can be yours” and a phone number. I started getting twenty or thirty phone calls a day. They thought I was another one of these weirdoes, fortune tellers you know. I took appointments with them and I led dozens of people to the Lord. Many of them were hungry and didn’t know what they were looking for and they needed the Lord.
This one night we were getting ready for bed about eleven o’clock and this fellow called up who had seen my ad. He said, “What does this ad mean?” I always reverse the question and I said, “Have you got a problem?” He said, “I sure have. I’m sitting here in my office with a gun on my desk and I’m going to kill myself in the next fifteen minutes.” I said, “Don’t do that. I’d like to talk to you.” He said, “How quick can you get over here?” Well, I didn’t have a car. I’d traded the station wagon off. He told me where he was and I knew where it was and it would take me about thirty minutes to walk. He said,” That’s not soon enough. I won’t be here”. I said, “I’ll get there sooner.” So I called a taxi and went in a taxi.
It was a great big super market. He had a bakery, meat market, and it covered nearly a city block. The store was all dark and he met me at the front door. He unlocked the door and we went back to his office. He had a revolver laying on his desk. So I said, “Tell me your problems.” What had happened was the he had over extended himself. He was living in high society. He had mortgaged his home and all that he had. His wife didn’t know it and rather than face his wife and his friends in disgrace he was going to kill himself. He was heavily insured but I don’t know if that would have done him any good or not. He said, “Now if you can help me, tell me what the secret is.” I said, “OK, first I’m going to tell you what you’ve done wrong and then tell you what to do right. First of all you’ve forsaken God and therefore He has forsaken you. You haven’t gone to church. You haven’t paid your tithes. You haven’t lived right. And God has forsaken you and that’s why you’re in trouble.” I said, “Now I’m going to tell you how to get it straightened out. First of all, you need to kneel down and give your heart to the Lord and confess your sins and ask Him to save you.” He said, “I’ll do anything.” He hit the floor and boy he prayed. He was marvelously saved and got up rejoicing.
I wrote out on a card a prescription. I said, “Now here’s what you need to do to come out of your troubles.” I wrote down first, to read one chapter a day in your Bible. Second, pray and tell God your problems. Third, go to church every Sunday. Fourth, if the church asks you to do something, do it. Do something for the Lord. And fifth, pay your tithes. I just gave him this recipe to follow and he said, “I’ll do it.” He put the gun back in the drawer and shook hands with me and I left. I left him several tracts to read.
I didn’t go back purposely for about two months because I wanted to give him time to see whether it did take hold or didn’t take hold. I went back about two months later in the afternoon. He had a salesman in the office and he waved at me. As soon as the salesman left I went in and he shook my hand and said, “I want you to know that everything is beautiful and it’s working out just the way you said it would. My business is going fine. We’re going to church. I’m teaching a young boy’s class.” It works. Simple. The gospel’s real simple. Just do what you’re supposed to do and God will bless you. No mystery to it at all.
We stayed a year and we started a little Sunday School in the public park. We had about a hundred and twenty people coming. We were having a good time going from house to house, doing this kind of work. I got a call to come to Atlanta and represent a work in Atlanta. See how the Lord works. I was acquainted with Atlanta because I had lived there six months before. I had liked it real well, but I never had planned to come back here. This man that wanted me to come to Atlanta called me up and wanted me to come to represent a work. I said, “I don’t know if we should leave here or not but I’ll pray about it and call you back.”
In the Bible they used the lot method to decide a lot of things. In fact when Judas forsook the twelve they chose another disciple by the lot method. So it must of been a pretty good method. So I wrote on piece of paper, “go” and on another piece of paper, “stay” and I put it in a kettle. I called Dale in. He was about three or four years old then and we prayed over it and I said, “Dale, pull out one of those pieces of paper.” When I prayed I said, “Now Lord if you want us to go, you tell us what to do because I’m going to do exactly what comes out of that pot. So Dale reached in and pulled it out and it said, “Go.” I called my friend and said, “The Lord says Go.” He said, “Where would you like to go. I want you to represent us and we have about four or five different cities. You can go to Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and several other cities around the country. You can take any one you want.” I said, “Well I don’t know. I’ll pray over it and call you back.” So I wrote the names of all the cities on pieces of paper and put those in the pot. I prayed over that and said, “Lord, what ever city you want me to go to when it comes out that’s where I’m going, so don’t make any mistake cause I’m on my way.” I pulled something out and it said, “Atlanta”. So that’s why I’m in Atlanta. So we just hooked up our car and we went to Atlanta.
Well, I worked doing that work in Atlanta and finally it phased out. I told the Lord when I went on this experiment of living by faith for a year that if I ever go three days without food and my family goes three days without food I’m going to take that as a sign to go back to secular work because my experiment is over with. We came to Atlanta and I started doing house to house evangelism just like I’d done in Colorado and it went pretty good but we began to get thinner and thinner and thinner and finally we went three days without food. In 1951 we were living in a mobile home park out here and me and my five children went without food for three days which is no big deal because you can fast three days and that don’t hurt you but that was my sign from the Lord to return to secular work.
Lockheed was just opening up then and I called them and told them my experience with Boeing and they immediately hired me and I had a good job. While at Lockheed, I was still living in a mobile home, a lady began to bug me that worked for me that I ought to take over a trailer park out there that was available. I didn’t want to do it but she kept bugging me and it was the Lord bugging me to do it, but I didn’t know it. Finally, I went over and decided to take over this park and that’s what started us in the mobile home business.
When I started in the mobile home business I didn’t know whether I would sell one a day, one a week, one a year. Now I want to read you this. I’m getting down to this business of tithing. In Malachi 3:8-10, it reads this way. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse for you have robbed me even this whole nation.” This was God talking to Israel. Then He tells them this, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in my house and prove me now herewith sayeth the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there should not be room enough for you to receive it.” Now this is God’s plan and of course it’s carried over into the New Testament, too. God’s plan is for Christians to pay a tithe or a tenth of their income.
I wanted to prosper in the mobile home business when I started and I didn’t know how much I’d prosper but I decided that I wanted to make a thousand dollars a week. Now at Lockheed I was making about a hundred and sixty a week which wasn’t too bad then. But I decided that I wanted to make a thousand a week. God’s plan is ten percent so I said to the wife, “I’m going to start paying God a hundred dollars a week,” although I wasn’t getting that yet, “and then I’m going to expect Him to match it with a thousand a week income.” It was His idea. It wasn’t mine. It’s His formula not mine. I expected Him to live up to His formula because He’s the one who originated it. So we just recklessly started paying a hundred dollar a week tithe. The way to pay a tithe is to pay it first. Don’t ever look at your bills and try to pay your tithe. Because you’ll never make it. Always pay your tithes first. Don’t even look at your bills. Pay your tithe first, then worry about your bills. And God will worry about them with you and that will take care of them.
We just recklessly paid a hundred dollars a week. I wrote out a check every week whether I had it in the bank or not. I’d write the check anyway. That’s why I warned you that my system may be hazardous to you. I wasn’t very orthodox in some of this but let me tell you, my business boomed so fast that I couldn’t take care of it. Sales began to come in and God more than matched my giving. It just went that way from then on.