I lived in Germany for seven years after retiring from the Air Force and wanted to come back home to Mena, Arkansas to be around my family and the beauty that Mena offers.
I was working at LRMC (Landstuhl Regional Medical Center) as an HR assistant, in-processing new personnel and out-processing personnel leaving and performing leave and finance duties for all the soldiers assigned and I was thankful for the job, but there is a term limit for government civilians working overseas, that they started enforcing, called the five-year-rule. I had completed 22 years in the Air Force moving where the military wanted me to and I wanted to live where I wanted to, so I took it upon myself to find a job in Arkansas to get closer to family and home.
I applied for what seemed like countless jobs only to be turned down, however, I made some interview lists and struck out, but I finally got an interview to be the Program Assistant in Arkadelphia with the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and was hired, a blessing from God.
My wife and I sold almost all our things and shipped some essentials along with our Van and moved to Mena, Arkansas. Arkadelphia is 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Mena one way. That job got me back to Arkansas.
It didn’t take too long and my wife, Manuela, was invited to attend a Church in Mena. We started attending Faith Missionary Baptist Church and fell in love with the Pastor’s style of preaching. It was like he was preaching right at you at times. It was as if he was spying on us, but that was just the Holy Spirit working inside of us. The Pastor ended up leaving and the more we got to know the congregation, the more we fell in love with the Church body. They’re so loving and nice. That’s what following Jesus is about…Love, and the Church does a great job displaying that.
Anyway, I was asked to be on the Pulpit committee, to help search for a new Pastor. I wanted to be on the committee, but never expressed this desire to anyone. That was God’s work. I thought being on the committee was going to be a breeze, we’ll meet a few times, make a few phone calls and have a new Pastor in a few weeks. I was wrong, we are going on three months. You see, there are more Churches looking for Pastors than Pastors looking for Churches. God wants me to learn something from this experience. I know God has a plan and it’s on his time, not mine. That’s one thing that God is trying to teach me (patience) and the other I think he wants me to understand is to have faith. God’s got this. It’s not about us (the pulpit committee), it’s about him. He is going to send us the right preacher for our Church. We just gotta believe.
There’s not many government jobs in Mena, but we do have the Forest Service in Mena and I found an opening in Mena that I applied for. I had been praying to get closer to home for some time now and when I saw the opening, I put my resume in for it and prayed and waited. Well God heard me and I got the job. Now, I drive about 6 minutes one way to work as opposed to driving 1 hour and 45 minutes. It’s crazy, I hardly ever have to put gas in my car now. I bought a Ford Eco Sport to help with gas mileage for the drive to Arkadelphia. It gets about 35 miles to the gallon on the highway. I was getting gas every two days, now maybe once every two weeks, another blessing from God.
On one of the times we visited Mena, my wife and I looked at a house that my step Mom’s sister and husband had for sale. At first, I thought why should we look at this house, we don’t even have a job lined up here yet (Oh Ye of little faith) but God works in mysterious ways. I ended up getting the job in Arkadelphia, buying the house and eventually getting the job in Mena. The house is less than three miles away from the Forest Service. All of it worked out, God has a plan. We just have to have faith.