In 1979, Shirley and I had the opportunity to start a church in Marathon, Florida.
The senior pastor of the church where I served as the associate pastor gave us two days off to find an apartment. We searched throughout the community and surrounding areas, but we could not find a place to rent anywhere within our budget. The Peninsular Florida District would provide up to $350 a month living allowance for six months, but many of the apartment units cost over $1,000 a month.
We were about ready to give up in the evening of the second day when we decided to pray together about this need. We sat in our VW Rabbit in front of the K-Mart on Highway One and asked God to help us if He wanted us to start a church in this community.
We left the parking lot and just passed the southbound light when I noticed a group of condos on the east side of the road. I mentioned to Shirley that we should stop and talk to someone. As I pulled up in front of the condo units, a man named Bud was walking out of the unit directly in front of us. I called him over to the car and asked if he knew of any apartments or condos for rent.
Bud had a big smile on his face and told us he had just signed the papers on the unit we had parked in front of. It was now for rent! We explained who we were and why we wanted to move to Marathon. When we told him we could pay $350 a month, he said he had not talked with his wife yet, but that he would agree to that price for six months.
God provided! It was at the last minute and it pressed our faith to the limit, but He provided for our need. The Assembly of God church in Marathon was started on March 4, 1979. God led us miraculously to Bud, and we think God had this divine appointment set long before we ever dreamed of starting a church in this community.