"It was so fun to answer the phone now and say we are open," that's what Splash Kingdom owner Marci Blevins told us four years ago this month. Splash Kingdom had just opened its doors for their very first season.
Marci and husband Johnny Blevins then told me they felt God calling them to do something like this park for a couple of reasons. One to have keep Johnny home from a job that had him traveling across the state. The other, to provide a fund place for families in a safe Christian environment.
Today, like four years ago, Splash Kingdom opens every day with prayer. There are scriptures painted on their building... and you'll hear contemporary Christian music playing the background. It was a step of faith four years ago that is working still today.
"I think wether you or a Christian or not, wether you have the same belief system we have or not, we are providing an upbeat family environment," says Johnny Blevins. "Most of the music we play has a great message that I'm glad is getting out there. But you have never seen or no one has ever seen us out there handing out tracks, or overbearing any kind of message. We don't want it to be uncomfortable for anyone. We just feel God wants us to provide a safe, Christian based atmosphere. "
Another ministry would grow here over last four years. Every summer the Blevins employees more than 130 high school and college students. That subtle Christian message hits home with the kids here too.
"Not necessarily a spiritual situation but for some reason they feel like Marci and I will listen,"says Johnny. "For that matter we joke about putting "counselor" on Marci's door because they just feel like with the environment, the attitude and the atmosphere it is safe to work and it safe to visit with us.
"These guys know that if they've got a situation that's going on at home...they don't have to give us the details, we can help them," says Marci Blevins. "We have one son and a house large enough...we have people spend the night if they need a place to go. Even to help with their college classes...we hook up different college employees together to help them with their college classes."
A few months ago the Blevins got more confirmation that God is working through their business. A church in Shreveport was given a water park there once called Water Town from an estate who was facing financial problems. The church would quickly realize they didn't know how to run a water park... But the Blevins did..
"And we were visiting back and forth on some things and God laid it on their heart to see if we might be interested to operate that park or buy that park or something like that, " remembers Johnny. "Marci and I had absolutely nothing in our mind to do that. It was not laid out to us, but laid out to them so we prayed about that and got a very clear answer that we worked through the situation made the purchase in February and just spent a lot of time and effort getting it ready to the standards we felt it needed to be and God's blessed it... the feed back has been we have gotten from the Shreveport community on the changes we've made, the difference we've made over there hopefully we can make the same impact."
So now there is not only Splash Kingdom Canton, but Splash Kingdom Shreveport. It hasn't been easy along the way. There were days, especially early, that this couple wasn't sure they could keep their business growing. But looking back now they do believe it was the power of prayer that lead them to this business and ministry and its the power of prayer that keeps them going today.
"Its been fantastic," says Marci, "for our family and for our son to see it as well how God really does show up and support you even when times are bad.... He really is always there and He is the hope that you have."
"Our motto is to glorify God while providing a safe recreational environment for families to come and enjoy... so I really like that my family is based on God," says Johnny and Marci's son Brett Blevins.
"I know that without prayer and a great partner, a wife, we could not have done it. Its much more time intensive, labor intensive than I would have ever imagined. It is great when you see the results and you see what we do with the students I mean its great, its very rewarding. But without knowing it was put on our hearts through prayer it would have been very, very difficult to do and it would have been extremely difficult to stick with." says Johnny
Clint Yeatts East Texas News