We have the dates and other information through Sally Jo’s annual diaries.
October 3: Sally Jo and I made our first trip to Dallas, returning the next day. During this time we had dinner with the only two people in Dallas we knew, met with members of the Sky Ranch Board, visited the new Sky Ranch site, and very briefly drove by houses, particularly in the Richardson school district which was recommended by three Board members who lived in the area.
When we told Sally Jo’s parents that we would be moving to Texas, Sally Jo’s dad, a Realtor himself, recommended another real estate agent to handle the sale of our house – and suggested that we listen to the price recommendation of the real estate agent – the agent worked on commission and therefore wanted both the sale of the house – and as large a commission as possible.
October 15: our house was inspected and three days after we put the house on the market, we had a buyer.
October 16: I returned to Dallas with the specific of purpose of buying a house. It was a bit of a shock to have Mike and Glen now almost laugh at me when I said we would like to buy a house in the Richardson school district. These men lived in the area and knew how expensive it was. Never-the-less, they recommended a residential real estate agent from the area.
As she took me around the school district, I was convinced that this was where we should live – good schools, convenient to stores, minutes for where the Sky Ranch office would be, and an easy 30 minute drive to down town Dallas. The Realtor and I spent the day looking at houses. Mike and Glen were right. Even the most modest house was expensive. The next day I flew back to Illinois – no progress. The real estate agent agreed to send us the new listings. This was 1975, before fax machines, e-mail, and the ability to check real estate listings on line.
When we received the listings we would look carefully for a house we could afford. Nothing! Time was running out!
November 19: we saw a listing for a four bedroom home with 1 ½ bath rooms and the price had been reduced – again. It would be affordable!! We could easily live with 1 ½ bathrooms!! I called the agent and identified for her the house we had found in the listings. I asked if the reason it had not sold was because it only had 1 ½ bath rooms. She said the information was incorrect: she had been in the home – it had 2 ½ bathrooms and the house was in very good condition.
The next morning I was on a plane to Dallas. The house found in the listing was located a block from the grade school and 3 blocks from the junior high school. As the Realtor had told me over the telephone, the house had 2 ½ baths and was in excellent condition – with two pecan trees in the fence enclosed back yard. My offer was accepted immediately, and we had our house. Had God caused the error in the real estate listing so we could get a good home at an affordable price? How could we know? I do know that when we sold the house seven years later, we cleared $72,000
December 7: Sally Jo and I fly to Dallas for a dinner reception with Sky Ranch people, a second look at the new camp property, a meeting with the Sky Ranch Board of Directors – and so Sally Jo could see our new house and we could sign the necessary documents.
December 28: the moving van came, and with it the reality that our family was moving from the security of the Wheaton area, where Sally Jo and I had both grown up and we had extended family, to Texas, a place we had seldom seen and where we knew only two people. I was leaving my walnut desk in Oak Brook to become the Executive Director of Sky Ranch – a ministry represented only by a large piece of undeveloped land near Van, Texas.
Leaving right after Christmas made the move extra tough. This was a huge step of obedient faith, but God continued to confirm that He had guided our decision, that He was going before. We were living In Partnership With God.