Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Story - Raymond and Juanita Morgan

We will begin our first revival of 2016 tonight on the last day of 2015. We are excited to be in West Harrison with Pastor Wade Hicks and his fine folks. We used to attend their New Year revival when we lived and worked in Ohio and we have also preached it a time or two since we have been on the road. We are super glad to be going back.

The end of the year has put me in a reflective mood as it often does. Over the next few days I will post pictures and maybe a few stories and lessons from 2015, but today I have a story that reaches a little farther back. 

God has been watching closely over us for a lot of years and most of the time we could not even see it AS IT WAS HAPPENING. This is a reminder for me that God is working even when it looks like He may not be paying attention!

A few weeks ago we had chance to see and visit with several old friends and long lost relatives. We saw one couple that night that we do see from time to time but that night I thought to snap a picture.

Meet Kelly Jo's Great Uncle Raymond Morgan and his wife Juanita.


Uncle Raymond is a brother to Kelly's Grandpa Dennis Morgan. Dennis was a prince of a man and he had some great brothers and sisters too. When we first married we attended the same church as Kelly Jo's Grandparents along with one of her Grandpa's sisters and three of his brothers, including Raymond.

These folks played a very special role in our lives and only people that go back over 30 years with us will have any idea what that role is. In fact, I dare say some of our oldest friends and even closest relatives do not know what I am about to tell you concerning Raymond and Juanita.

When Kelly Jo and I were going to be married we needed a place to live. We scrambled about but the options we were finding were slim to none. We had a fall back plan but not a very good one. That's where Uncle Raymond came in.

He and Juanita were renting a two story house from a local businessman in Wilmington, Ohio. It was right in town but it looked like a big ol' farm house. The upstairs had three rooms and a small bath and had been divided from the downstairs and it had its own outside entrance. They were renting the whole house but only used the downstairs. They offered to rent us the one bedroom upstairs apartment.

It was not unusual for an old house in 1985 to rent for $300 a month. They offered us the apartment for $60 a month and we paid our own utilities. That's a deal! After we told them we would take it, they told us the first two months rent were free as a wedding present. Double deal!

Two friends helped me move in our fridge and stove and clean the place up on our wedding day. It was partially furnished with some living room furniture and a bed. I think it might have had an old kitchen table too.

Kelly Jo and I spent our wedding night in Dayton and then we set up housekeeping in our new apartment on Sunday. We had paid the deposit for the utilities but the electric would not be turned on until Monday afternoon. We spent the first 24 hours in our house with no lights, fridge, stove or fans.

We knew no one that lived in Wilmington except for Raymond and Juanita downstairs. We were only about 20 minutes from my parents and 45 minutes from Kelly's family and less than 15 minutes from church. I was hired at a local company and even though I worked long hours at $4.00 an hour, I was able to go home nearly every day for lunch.

It was a great place to start our life together! Remember I told you they gave us the first two months of rent as a wedding present? At the beginning of the third month I went down to pay the rent with the money in my hand. They insisted on giving us another month without rent. 

That happened every month we lived there. They did not owe us that. We did not expect that. But they did it anyway and it was a tremendous blessing to a young married couple with barely enough sense to come in out of the rain!

We moved to a little bigger (and much more expensive) house in Corwin after Odie was born and we have never lived in Wilmington again.  But we have never forgotten our first place to live AND we have never forgotten the kindness and generosity of Raymond and Juanita Morgan.

I am amazed when i look back at the providence of God. He has been helping us from the very beginning. We were two messed up kids but God was loving on us all that we would let him.  What an amazing God we have that directs our paths, guides our steps and provides for us along the way.

Three things I am thankful for today as I think about all of this:

I am thankful to God for Raymond and Juanita Morgan.

I am thankful to God for thousands of other Raymond and Juanita Morgan's He has brought into our lives.

I am thankful to God for teaching us AND allowing us to be Raymond and Juanita Morgan to others we encounter along the way.

Thanks for reading.

Davy

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