I have just worked through Sally Jo?s daily diary from 1975 and found the following:
- February 8 – Dam construction to create 70 acre lake begins
- March 3 – Our family has picnic on lake bottom
- At some time:
- Eleanor Briley arrives in Dallas, stays with friend June Hunt in Dallas, begins staff hiring
- J.C. Hawkins hired – maintenance – lives mile from camp – builds fences, prepares riding trails
- About 30 unproven horses/tack begin to arrive at camp – bought by Lonnie, new wrangler from W. TX. His instructions: horses must be safe for campers to be around, all suitable for trail rides, some must be trained for barrel and other races within rodeo corral – also buy necessary tack & other needed equipment. He had two months – very tight budget! Good horses, great program!
- May 10 – Six repossessed mobile homes (cheap!) pulled in by bull dozer for staff housing & office-1st cabin framed in May 13 – Heavy rain. Concrete truck gets stuck – pulled out by bull dozer – no more deliveries until things dry out. Randy, the cook, arrives – stays with us in Dallas while working on menus, food suppliers.
- May 18 – Stoves from old camp put in temporary kitchen under our 12X12 dining tarp
- May 19 – Staff arrive in rain – sleep in mobile homes – no water, sewer, electricity – staff training in uncompleted barn
- May 20 – Water running off tarp onto burners and griddle. No refrigeration. Only water source across lake. Desperate situation! Decide to pray for 24 hr – set up schedule: “Lord, Please Stop The Rain.” The Lord Stops the Rain! – for area of about 3 miles around us
- May 21 – Call general contractor. “The sun is out at Sky Ranch” Calls 7 sub-contractors – no other dry place to work.
- May 22 – 7 sub-contractors/their crews arrive – I have movie of their arrival – workmen everywhere – working together – Larry Brooks, art teacher from Middle Tennessee State U. arrives with wife/daughter to run craft program
- May 25 – Lake full – copperhead snakes into camp up from lake bed (kill 28 during summer) scorpions abound!
- June 1 – workable camp – home type refrigerators/freezers are all we had for 1st summer. – first campers arrive – fortunately a small number for the first session.
- June 3 – Sally Jo and our 3 kids join me in mobile home. Still no electricity, thus no AC – over 90 degrees inside. While swimming with kids in lake sees snake – likely a water moccasin – very sobering.
Each session more cabins are completed – and filled with campers registered months before. During summer over 1000 campers had been at the new Sky Ranch – as many as attended old ranch in a peak year.
- If there had been no intense rain, the lake would not have been filled.
- If there had been no intense rain, the Sky Ranch staff would not have experienced God stopping the rain over the camp
- If there had been no intense rain, the sub-contractors would have had other places to work.
As Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way never lacks for God’s supply.”
Dr. V. Raymond Edman, President of Wheaton College said: “Go as far as you can go, even if you cannot see how necessary things will happen. If it is God’s work, God will keep a step ahead.”
God again proved Himself faithful. I kept going forward, and God was continually going before us, providing the resources as needed to do His work. This was true in the area of staff hiring, supply purchasing, building design, site selection, and construction. Living In Partnership With God is a reality we can experience. It takes faith in action.
The Bible gives many examples of how God desires to work through people who take God at His word: building the ark, fighting battles, Gideon’s battle, training to be a king, preparing for Jacob’s family to survive through Joseph’s being sold into slavery, food and water for Israelites in desert, Nehemiah’s building the wall around Jerusalem, Esther’s intervention, Daniel as prophet.