It was on a warm spring day in May of 2008 that I first met Kathy and Jeff Moore. That afternoon they would share with me God's calling in their life. To leave the familiar surroundings of the big city. Move to East Texas and build a place where children with autism and their families could come.Their inspiration was their autistic grandson Elijah, who is autistic.
"We kept praying and praying and asking for confirmation and every time we turned around there was some kind of confirmation would happen. It was scary at times and there was doubts at times," Kathy told me in May of 2008.
The Moore's found a local church that helped them get started. During our interview in 2008 they had just completed the shell of their first cabin. Jeff and Kathie paying for most of the materials out of their own pocket.
In the days to come the Moore's would get a lot of help. Mercy Ships for one saw our story and became a big supporter.
By the summer families began to come. Videos posted on You Tube by families who came to what's now called Elijah's retreat show the kind of Ministry Kathy and Jeff felt God had led them to provide.
"And we hope to minister to these people here just planting the seed with Christ. Some may not be Christians," And as you know when things happen that are not so good in life we tend to blame the Lord. And we can't see the why," Jeff said in 2008.
Those words now seem to echo out along a stretch of road just outside Elijah's Retreat. Just five months ago on Dec 2nd, just five tenths of a mile from home, Kathy lost control on the rural road leading to the retreat. Her car struck a tree.
She died at the scene.
"Literally, for the first two or three weeks I didn't talk to God a whole lot other than asking questions. I was just in a dilemma," Jeff told me today. "Why? And the first thing He basically told me is this is not about you. And I was trying to feel sorry for myself"
Numb is how Jeff described those days after Kathy's death. Should he stay or should he go. Decisions he tried to figure out on his own. Bit after weeks of that internal struggle he remembered lessons he learned from Kathy... about who was really in control even in the worst of times.
"Initially my thought was not to stay. I just knew I could not do it by myself. But as I turned it over to God the confirmation, week by week, was just so strong that I knew this is what He wanted. I love it here. Its obviously not the same at all without her, but I can see God working to achieve things. As the progress goes on I know that He wants this to continue to grow," says Jeff.
And like before confirmations came in many ways. God began to provide people to help...and provisions became available that allowed Jeff to hire a full time employee to help him care for the retreat. This summer is just about booked and he hopes he can soon begin work on a second cabin soon.
But for now he is comforted by his confidence that what Kathy started was not just her passion but God's. And that there is nothing more certain than the power of prayer.
"It is easy for me to turn it over to God. She was the passion of this place. I allow that passion to continue in letting God work through me. Because I don't have the ability. And it was somewhat easy when I came to the grips that she was gone. So the only thing I can do to sustain my sanity is just turn everything over to God. And truly pray for a heart that I will listen to Him and hear what He says."
Clint Yeatts, East Texas News.