In the Words of Doris Groat
Doris Groat and her husband Bud began the campground in 1978. They continued building and managing Green Pastures until they retired in the summer of 2002. Since then, Cary and Sharon Coker have enthusiastically served as the center's caretakers. Here, Doris recounts the story of the Lord working in her and Bud's life to build Green Pastures:
Do you believe in miracles? We do! We have had many in our lives starting in 1972 when I suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. My whole right side was paralyzed; I could not talk, walk or let alone do the office work. We had three businesses in Springfield, IL. My husband refused to hire a bookkeeper and said we would just retire. So at the age of 46, we retired, built a new home on the river at Naples,IL., decided to travel, relax and enjoy life. After retiring, my husband, Bud, had a hip replacement but the Doctor goofed and made one leg longer than the other and Bud had to have his shoes built up. A pastor in a local church told Bud to come around and the Lord would lengthen his leg. This was all new to us. We had always gone to church but never had a relationship with the Lord. About two months later after coming home from Mexico, we decided to go to the prayer meeting. Bud did not wear his built-up shoes. After a teaching, the pastor asked if anyone wanted prayer. Bud went forward and I knelt, my hands on his knees and joined in the prayer. We could hear the leather shoes rubbing against one another. I told Bud to "look at your legs". When I did every one could understand me, my face, that had been contorted, was relaxed. We had both had a miracle at the same time. Bud said, "Whatever you want, Lord". A couple of weeks or months later the Lord gave Bud a vision of a church or a campgrounds and told him it would be on Route 104 between Jacksonville and Meredosia, IL. After a couple of months searching for real estate to buy, we gave up and told the Lord He would have to show us where. Three days later, a Realtor contacted us with 41 acres for sale. We bought the property within five days. The year is now l978.
That Sunday, we got up to praise the Lord for the purchase of the property. A road contractor got up and said the Lord had been working with him on about the same thing. He said he, his men, and his equipment would be at our disposal at all time. He has held true to his word. He not only built the pond, roads but he has been helpful in every thing we start out to do. We ask the Lord to bless his business beyond measure.
Whenever our checking account would get down to nearly nothing with bills due, someone (we know not who) would send through the mail anywhere from $60.00 to $900.00 in cash with just a note saying something like "Great serving the Lord, isnÃt it?" and a drawing of a smiling face. This kept up for about a year or until we started getting donations from other people. We know God blessed them in many ways but they still remain a mystery to us.
Another time, we had a contractor from Springfield tell us that if we furnished the material, he and another man would help erect the next building. We mentioned it to Jacksonville man, he said he and his sons would come up with the money. The building was erected and the bills came due. When we presented the man with the bills, he said they had changed their minds. Our world crumbled as we had tied up all our free personal money on the purchase of the property. We told no one but the Lord of our problem but went to the bank and got a personal loan for 6 months. The note was due on January 13th. We spent many days and nights on our face before the Lord. On December 31, we received a call from a small church saying they had a check for us from a local couple who was not sure if our papers were complete with the income tax and had asked them to intervene. The check was for the exact amount of the loan. There is a lesson here---never, never put your eyes or faith in man. TRUST ONLY IN GOD.
We had a fire in 1990 in the library of the big seminar building. It completed wiped out the library, swept through the end of the cafeteria, and up through the pastorÃs study on the main floor. Many people came to our aid and spent many hours working with us. The inmates of Jacksonville Correctional Institution were allowed to come out and help. They spent almost a year here. Many of the men have gone straight and started working in the construction field. The building was put back in better condition.
Another miracle that affected us personally was when the John Deere mowing tractor was stolen with only 200 hours on it. This happened in the fall. We, personally, had bought it for the campgrounds. We had no money to replace it nor did the campgrounds. We prayed that in the spring, we would have enough interest in our personal account to buy another tractor. In the spring, we went with the $5,000.00 to make the purchase only to find that the price had increased $1,100.00. Paying the money we had and asking them to trust us a month for our interest to build up again, we took the mower home. That same week, a man came from Springfield saying he wanted to pay us the $35,000.00 he owed us personally. I do not know if you see what we see or not, but the Lord had multiplied our gift to the campgrounds by seven. We began praising the Lord for His faithfulness. The man asked why we were praising Him. We told him about the theft of the mower and that now we could go pay off the mower. He asked what the mower cost. He made out a check Green Pastures for $3,500.00 to help pay for the mower. Yes, we believe in miracles.
Have you had enough miracles yet? We could tell you about a well that was drilled, completed, and paid for even though it was just dry dirt and yet the next day we had 10 foot of water and it increased till it supplied all our water for several years. MORE? We could tell you about the two young fellows who were amongst the first to accept the Lord. One of them directs a Christian campground in Colorado Springs, CO., where many have accepted the Lord. The second young man has since become a pastor in of a church in Columbia, MO. A more recent young man to accept the Lord is making this web-site. These are just three of the many life changing miracles we have had here at Green Pastures. - Doris Groat