God’s Plan

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.              

A Busy and Blessed Sunday

Sunday my wife got up and decided she wanted to go help with the 4th Sunday morning Brotherhood breakfast that started at 730 am.  Of-course, I wanted no part of that.  That means I would be getting the kids ready, which she helped before she left, and I would finish getting the kids ready and ensure we are there at 830 am for breakfast. 

We have an almost four year-old, December 18, and a six year-old.  Anyway, I finished getting myself and the kids ready and show up to Church with the girls for brotherhood breakfast and Sunday morning devotion.

When we got there, there was pancakes being grilled outside on the grill, bacon, eggs, the works.  It was very good. 

I had worked on my Sunday school lesson the day prior and was proud of myself for studying the lesson and filling out the answers.  I even blogged about it here on my website.  Well, our Sunday school teacher couldn’t make it to Sunday school and his fill-in found out about taking his place the day before, since my wife knew I had studied the lesson, she made sure to tell “Pistol” that I had studied it, basically, volunteering me for the job.  Pistol said he had heard that I did my homework and asked if I wanted to lead the Sunday school this morning, Sunday school is in two hours. But, who am I to say no to God (“Pistol” is not God, but we are in God’s house.  Who am I to say no in God’s house?)

Plus I like to be challenged.  I don’t really like being in front of people, but I like to try to overcome my fears and I accepted the chance to present the material. 

Anyway, next up was a beautiful devotion from one of our beloved Church members that was another blessing to listen to her speak.  It was a touching devotion about making sure we have our body armor on to fend off the devil while we are searching for a Pastor.  She reminded us, her Son is in the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program and she went to pick him up from training and she noticed how everyone had a battle buddy, reminding each other not to forget their back pack, or luggage or whatever and they were genuinely concerned for each other and their well-being, just like our Church is checking on each other, praying for each other, praying for the Pul-pit Committee and for our Church in this time without a “Shepherd”, her words were inspiring and a blessing and we haven’t even had Sunday School yet.

It was an honor to go over the material with the Sunday school and I felt good that I was helping out any way I could in Church.  There was a lot of class participation.  It turned out to be a blessing to help out.  I guess that’s what happens when you show up to Church early for breakfast.

For our Church service we had a visiting preacher come to share his sermon with us and it turned out to be a wonderful message, one that the Lord put on his heart and I am sure that we all needed to hear about Paul being “all in” when he went to deliver his sermon in Colossian.  The preacher said Paul really had nothing to lose in Colossians.  He surely wasn’t afraid to die, because he knew he would go to heaven to be with the Lord anyway.  And he was asking if we are “all in” for Jesus?  It was another beautiful message and another blessing and it’s not even 12:30 pm now. 

Next, since it’s the fourth Sunday, we have youth night at Holly Springs Homestead scheduled and I am helping with security, making sure vehicles are parked in the parking lots.

There was a crowd of about 180 that showed up, there were games to play at the Homestead from Frisbee toss to corn hole and a corn maze for the youth to traverse.  There was hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and even hobo soup.  After, the kids were fed (eating again, we’re Baptists, what can I say, we like to eat), we sang songs and had a message for the youth.  We even had one soul saved and planted seeds in many more.  Again, another blessing.  The day was filled with blessings.  I was exhausted at the end of the day, but I slept great.  Who am I to say to say no to helping the Church and serving God?  Are you All In for Jesus?        


I’ve been blessed with a job opportunity in Mena, Arkansas, where I live. I currently commute to work 1 hour and 45 minutes a day one way. I’m looking forward to working in the same city that I reside in. My new place of employment will be 2.5 miles away from my residence as opposed to 85 miles away, maybe I can keep my car clean now.

I wanted to pay homage to the people we come in contact on a day to day basis that I will no longer see (maybe not on a daily basis).

I travel on highway 8E from Mena to Arkadelphia so the first person I won’t see anymore is the policeman directing traffic at Centerpoint school district. If I leave early enough he’s not there, but if I am running behind at all, he is out directing traffic, keeping everyone safe.

Other places I won’t frequent as much is Norman Truck Stop, sometimes I stop there to get gas, when it doesn’t look too busy. Another place I won’t frequent as much is the Big Red in Glenwood, a place I stopped to get gas or grab a snack.

I will also miss the friendly people that operate Davidson’s Sporting Goods and Grocery store in Amity. I stop there to grab a pack of M&Ms and a Sprite for the ride home. I also found Zoom Brush Hog Watermelon flake tackle that I used to catch that 6lb bass. I will miss the nice people there.

Another place I won’t frequent anymore is the Chick-fil-A at Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist Universities. There’s no Chick-fil-A in Mena, but I will get to eat at Meyers Cruizzers Drive in more, or probably just drive home for lunch.

I also will miss Allen’s BBQ and catering. I have to hit these places up before I leave.

I’m leaving old acquaintances and making new ones and I just wanted to take some time to make sure we don’t take people for granted that we see on a daily basis, from the policeman directing traffic to the people working at your favorite convenience store.

I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life and none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for God! God is Good (All the Time).

Faith and Patience

I work in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and I commute 1 hour and 45 minutes one way to work. We moved from Germany to Mena in April 2018, I’m a government employee and there weren’t very many GS jobs near my hometown in Mena, where my wife and I wanted to live.

But, I kept looking on USA jobs for job opportunities in Mena or at least in the area. I finally found one I was qualified for and applied for it a few months ago (It seems like almost 6 months). If you have ever applied for a job on USA jobs, you know it takes a long time to get notifications on the status.) I interviewed for the job over the phone and I would much rather interview in person, with a firm handshake and look the interviewers in the eye while answering questions while dressed for success.

I was nervous and I didn’t like my interview, but I prayed that if it was God’s will, they would pick me for the position. I rationalized it with God, saying I would have more family time, I wouldn’t have to worry about deer jumping out in front of me, or wrecking my car. I wouldn’t have to worry about bad weather. I would save money on gas, and oil changes, wear on tires, etc., etc. But God knew all this.

I kept my faith, but I hadn’t heard back from them in what seemed like an eternity, but in reality it was probably 3 or 4 weeks, so I called the forest service and checked to see if they had made a selection and they stated they had, but it was taking a long time for the notification to be announced. And two days later, I was notified that I was selected for the position. If I hadn’t have been selected I would have been disappointed, but I would accept that God needs me there in Arkadelphia, however, I kept my faith and tried to be patient and it all worked out and I am still thanking the Lord for this opportunity to be closer to home.

Fourth of July Weekend

My wife and I hosted some friends this Fourth of July weekend. Our friends came from Virginia, on their way to Colorado. They were our neighbors in Germany, where Greg and I would sing old country songs and have a few beers. I was concerned that our friendship would take on a new dynamic since I don’t drink nearly as much as I did in Germany, more on that later.

First, we took them to Parrot Island Waterpark in Fort Smith, my wife promised our kids we would go. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of taking them there. I wanted to show them some more local areas of beauty, but it turned out to be a very good time swimming and floating down Crocodile Creek or Lazy River. Oh and Greg even tried his luck on the new attraction, Flow Rider. http://parrotislandwaterpark.com/attractions/

The next day, Saturday, we showed them Little Missouri Falls. It was beautiful, however, when we arrived it was raining so we decided to eat at one of the park benches in hopes that the rain would pass. We thought we would ride out the thunderstorm in the van and when it let up we proceeded to walk to Little Missouri Falls. We got wetter walking to and from the Falls than we did in the Falls, but it made for a funny story that we will never forget. http://www.exploretheozarksonline.com/activities/parksnature/nationalforests/ouachita/caddowomble/littlemissourifalls.html

Greg and I also got up early Saturday morning and went fishing at an undisclosed location. Greg had his line broken by a monster bass, another “the one that got away” story.

Sunday, we got up early and went back fishing to try our luck on finding this poor fish with a lure stuck in it’s mouth only this time we tried our luck in a flat-bottom boat that conveniently just happened to be there (I’m glad we didn’t tip over.) We were able to fish different aspects of the pond and I “hooked” the biggest fish I have ever seen. I reeled it to the boat side twice and Greg couldn’t grab it before the monster broke straightened out my swivel and swam away. I didn’t even get a picture of this mammoth bass and no one probably even believes me. But I’ll dream of catching this fish again, and I will certainly attempt to soon.

Then we went to bible study and Church and took them to see Queen Wilhelmina State Park, where we rode the miniature model train modeled after the original Glory Train.



We had a great time enjoying the beautiful view that is literally right in my backyard. And we had a great time even if I wasn’t partaking in having a few drinks. My friend stated he hasn’t had that much fun in a quite a while and I have to agree even without a few beers.

God Opens Doors

My family and I just moved back to my hometown in Mena, Arkansas a little over 1 year ago. I wanted to move back home after retiring from the Military and spending over six years as a civilian. I thought it was time to be around my family and I missed the beautiful Arkansas countryside.

I work for the government and there are not many government jobs in Mena much less near Mena. I applied for many jobs. I feel like I am not a great interviewer and I was interviewing over the phone because we lived in Germany. I prayed about it many times, praying if it is God’s will that I would be hired, while reminding myself that I am on Gods schedule, not mine but I finally got hired in Arkansas, not in Mena, but close enough. I felt like if God gave me the opportunity to be hired that I should take it even if it is a long commute every day especially with all the competition for jobs and my interview skills.

Not only am I back living in my hometown around family, but we met some great people that invited us to their church. I was apprehensive at first, but after a few weeks we went and in a month or two we joined the church and it has been so awesome to be accepted by the congregation. I truly believe God sent us here for a reason, to be around family, to help out when called upon and to join this Church and to help them as well. God has a plan for us. I don’t know how this is going to end, but we’re just getting started.

My story may not be all that exciting, but I wanted to share it with you, so I could share a very exciting story how God opened up doors for Stephen Baldwin. This is an amazing story. It is long, and it starts out slow, but trust me it’s awesome. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdctQJHvpkI

The Power of Prayer

On Thursday, my wife called me and told me that a tornado was spotted in Mena and it was headed our way to take cover, so I got in the safest place I know in the house, the bath tub and I started praying for not only my safety, but our safety. The kids were at Church camp and my wife wasn’t home yet.

Another friend of mine, on Facebook, said that it took a few seconds for it to register, that it wasn’t noon on Wednesday, when she heard the sirens warning people in Mena.

I’m not going to lie, I was somewhat afraid, but I also knew that God had my back. He wasn’t going to let anything happen to me, unless it was time to call me home to heaven and that did comfort me.

God heard my prayer and the tornado didn’t fully develop. It could have been much worse than it was. I truly believe God heard me and possibly others praying and his hand was on that cloud. There definitely is strength in prayer.