Prodigal daughter returns home, leads most of her family to Christ


By Richard Moltz

I guess I shouldn’t cut the grass.  It gives me too much time for thinking.  That’s what happened yesterday. The last few years have been hard. Actually too much has happened to remember or for me to document. The lady who leads my military group asked me a few months back, “Have you been writing anything lately?”  I told her “no” but actually I journal almost daily, but that’s not really writing, I guess.

Richard Moltz

 It started one afternoon.  My wife went for a physical and the Dr. told her that she was anemic.  He gave her a phone number to call where she could make an appointment to have her blood checked.  She called and they answered, so and so “cancer clinic”.  She hung up and was laughing, “A cancer clinic?” She called back and they said they were a cancer clinic and a blood check center as well.  She made the appointment. I went with her.  Long story short, after a week or so they called her back for an appointment and told her she had multiple myeloma.  What is that?  “Its bone marrow cancer.  It is treatable but not curable. “What?  NO GOD!  NO!!!  NOT MY SANDY!  NO!”  WE’VE GOT PLANS!  We are finally retired and are ready to go.  We’re going to see the world.  Well, I guess the world can wait.  We have been dealing with this now for three years.

A year and a half ago, a few days after Christmas, I went to bed early and was fast asleep.  My wife called upstairs to me and said our 17-year-old granddaughter had been hit by a car and was in the hospital on life support.   We got on the phone, made flight arrangements, got on a plane and headed for Dallas.  One look at her and I knew we needed a miracle.  Well, we didn’t get it.

Soon after that they said a plague had been released on the world and that we would have to stay away from everyone until it was gone.  Don’t get near anyone. Don’t go to church. Don’t go to work. Don’t go to the store. Wash your hands a million times a day. And wipe down your kitchen countertops until further instruction.  If you do go anywhere, wear a mask. Use hand sanitizer. Wear gloves when you put gasoline in your cars, and, oh, wipe your groceries down with bleach after they are delivered.  What do you mean, “No toilet paper?”

Now just a quick run-down on me:  My sister ran away from home when I was barely 15.  My dad blamed me and threw me around the room that night.  I guess, looking back, I was more affected by it than I thought because I quit.  I just shut down.  I flunked a year of school, started smoking, got the worse case of acne I had ever seen and my dad told me I would never be worth anything and would be lucky to find someone who would let me dig ditches. He sent me to a room for almost a year and every night, after he came home and had a few drinks, he would come into that room and curse me and then tell me how stupid I was. It usually didn’t stop until he had hit me a few times.  I even started doing sit ups and push-ups to tone myself so the hitting wouldn’t hurt so much.  Once he held me to the wall with one hand and used me as a punching bag with the other.

We moved to California and one day a couple of years later my sister was standing at the front door.  She had two little boys with her and was wearing a dress made out of a feed sack.  Her teeth were all gone. Her skin looked like chalk. Her hair looked funny, and she weighed around 90 pounds. None of them were wearing shoes. The two little babies were wearing nothing but dirty diapers.  I don’t know how she found us. I believe she hitch-hiked all the way from Georgia to San Jose, Calif. I remember standing in the hallway that night when my dad came home.  I had already decided that if he hurt her I was going to hurt him. Instead, he screamed and cursed her and called her horrible names and that he would never accept the children she had brought into his house.  And then he asked her, “Why did you come home anyway?”  You know what she said?  “I met Jesus. I got saved, and wanted to come home and tell my family about Him.”  He went crazy, screaming at her and said, “Don’t you ever say that word ‘saved’ in my house again.  If you do, I’ll throw you back out on the street.”

After I graduated from high school, we moved back to Georgia, where I attended the University of Georgia for a year and then went to Vietnam.  I was there for four deployments. You cannot imagine the things these eyes have seen and these ears have heard. When I came home, yep, I got into another confrontation with my dad.  I could easily have hurt him but instead, I just left.  I have been on my own since that day.  I have worked all of my life, two and sometimes three jobs at the same time.  I slept around five hours a night and was always exhausted.

On June 8, 1970, I found myself at my sister’s house.   It was a Sunday night, and she just wouldn’t shut up about Jesus.  She told me that she had prayed for me every day while I was in Vietnam, and I knew she was telling the truth. After several hours, I went into her den, knelt down in front of her couch, and she and her husband led me in a prayer.  As I was praying, I began to shake and cry and I couldn’t stop.  Finally she told me, “That’s all those demons coming out of you.”  If she only knew!  Since that night she led my three brothers to salvation.  One became a Baptist preacher and had a church in South Georgia.  She led my mother to Christ as well.  My mother told me that on the day she accepted Christ, she went to the basement and got into a closet under the steps and prayed.  I guess she was hiding from my dad.  I remember once telling God, “I want to come to Heaven when I die, but if my dad is there, I am not staying.” 

I rocked along for several years, had children, bought a house, worked and had a fair marriage.  One night someone asked me to go to Russia on a mission trip.  I decided I’d go and show those Russians what Christianity was all about.  I could write a book about my trip and subsequent trips back since then. When I got home my wife asked me, “Well, how was it?”  I couldn’t answer so I said, “I saw God.”  She rolled her eyes.  I will tell you that I am not really sure exactly what did happen there.  I am now in a Bible study group and we are studying the book of Acts.  I really do know what happened though:  “I SAW GOD!”  After Russia, I was able to forgive my dad and even pray for his salvation. My preacher brother actually did witness to him. Oh, and our marriage is much better too.

Now to get back to this story: While cutting the grass I began to think about the past few years.  I saw people jumping up and down on police cars.  I saw Molotov cocktails and bricks thrown at policemen and I saw people breaking plate glass windows and going into stores and helping themselves.  I saw people beaten and even killed.  I saw political differences that ended in violence and again, demonstrations.

Do you honestly believe that I don’t have opinions?  Do you honestly think that I don’t want to rebel against what is going on in this country that I went to Vietnam four times to fight for?  Do you know that I have not had a peaceful night’s sleep in more than 53 years,  and that I scream and fight and sweat and cry every night while the rest of you are asleep?

I have a place in a little meadow in the woods that I can go to.  I put up a 12-foot-high cross and I installed a screened-in gazebo with a bench that goes around the inside perimeter.  As I said, it is in the woods and is away from everybody.  I can yell and cry and call out to this Jesus that my sister told me about one night, and He hears me.  That’s how I protest.  I’m not going to loot and burn and kill, or curse and fight and jump up and down on police cars.  I’m getting on my knees!

 I came upon a song some years back that I think kind of fits some folks like me.  It’s not exact but you can get the picture.  It’s by the Sattler Brothers:

 Among the local taverns, they’ll be a slack in business

Cause Jesse’s drinking came before the groceries and the rent.

 Among the local women, they’ll be a slack in cheating

Cause Jesse won’t be stepping out again.

They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday.

Jesus won a soul and Satan lost a good right arm.

They all cried “Hallelujah” as Jesse’s head went under,

Cause this time he went under for the Lord.

The scars on Jesse’s knuckles were more than just respected,

The county courthouse records tell all there is to tell.

The pockets of the gamblers will soon miss Jesse’s money.

And the black eye of the law will soon be well.

They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday.

Jesus won a soul and Satan lost a good right arm.

They all cried “Hallelujah” as Jesse’s head went under,

Cause this time he went under for the Lord.

From now on Nancy Taylor can proudly speak to neighbors,

And tell how much Jesse took up with little Jim.

Now Jimmy’s got a daddy and Jesse’s got a family.

And Franklin County’s got a lot more man.

They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday.

Jesus won a soul and Satan lost a good right arm.

They all cried “Hallelujah” as Jesse’s head went under,

Cause this time he went under for the Lord.”

I looked out the window just now and my grass looks pretty good.

Richard Moltz is a member of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia.

First Baptist Church of Woodstock, prodigal, Richard Moltz