“We came up here, a whole bunch of churchgoers,” Gene said. “But then we got saved.”
Toward the end of the retreat, Keith Miller, the original director of Laity Lodge, sat down with the excited group of businessmen. “You need to take this back with you,” he told them. “You need to meet and have Bible study time and prayer time. If you don’t stay together, you’re going to lose it.”
Back home in Corpus Christi, no one volunteered their home or office for a Bible study, so finally Gene said, “I’m a member of the Mustang Club. Why don’t we meet there?”
They did, once a week, gathering early in the morning before work to pray and read the Bible next to the bar. Laughing, Gene remembers the time old friends of his stumbled out of the back poker room after a night drinking and gambling and found six guys reading the Bible.
“They said, ‘What are you guys doing here?’ ‘We’re having Bible study!’ They could have dropped dead.”
The Mustang Club closed years ago, but the Bible studies and prayer groups continued and grew and gave birth to events like the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, which had its 26th gathering this year.
Thinking about the impact of that 1962 retreat, Gene paused, too overwhelmed to speak.
“That is very spiritually emotional to me,” he finally said, his voice breaking. “To know God’s work, what God does, how he can take a bunch of unsaved scrounges, take them to a retreat center and meet Jesus Christ, then go back to their community and change their community.”