Waco to Austin by way of Odessa

My journey back to the cross. (short version)

NameJames Reeves

My parents moved to Waco during the last few months of my senior year of High School. After graduation I moved as well. It was a super lonely time for me as I didn’t know a soul. My sister and I hated Waco. I attended church once with my parents but I didn’t seem to fit in. Honestly, I don’t think I gave it much of a chance. The church was large, crowed and we had to stand in a room watching the pastor preach on a video. I had given my life to Christ as a child but had drifted away from what I knew was the right way to be living. Oh I still prayed to God and stuff when I found myself in a jam. My current state was a far cry from the little boy who would sit on top of the corner of the fence singing Sunday school songs to Jesus. Not caring who heard as he would get lost in the moment.

I took a job with Aamco Transmissions as an R&R man. It was my first day on the job and I was hoping to make a good impression. But as the boss walked by the guy in the stall next to me popped off saying, “Hey Wally, is this your six foot man from Austin that’s supposed to be so big and bad?” We’ll, I wasn’t anywhere near six feet nor was I bad in the “tough” connotation of the word. However, I thought to myself that I’m gonna have to whoop this guy. The day drew on and the summer heat began to take its toll. To cool off Pee Wee removed his outer shirt and revealed some of the biggest biceps and triceps I had ever seen. Low and behold he was a power lifter. Well, new plan. I thought it best to make friends and he in fact became one of my best friends. He took me under his wing and made life a lot more tolerable for me in Waco. Years later Pee Wee and his brother both served as ushers at my wedding.

Eventually my parents and I moved back to Austin and I needed a new job. My friend Harold’s dad owned a construction company and offered me the opportunity to work for him. He sent me down to Shiner and my life as a laborer began. This was January of 78’. Shiner was rainy and cold. The temperature was barely above freezing. It was my introduction to construction. I became sick but pressed ahead. Months later I was promoted from a laborer to a fuel man. Our company used backhoes, trenchers and rocksaws to open up ditch to lay pipe. My job was to keep the equipment fueled, oil levels checked and filters changed. They eventually sent me to a job out in West Texas. Spiritually, I longed in my heart to be right with God but didn’t see how it would ever happen.

It was July 12, 1978. I was living in a motel and working about nighty miles South of Odessa. That day my life changed forever. God in His mercy allowed me to be involved in an on the job accident that nearly claimed my life. My nose was crushed and several teeth would need to be replaced. My face was swollen to the point I was unrecognizable. My friends couldn’t stand to look at me.

I had completed my responsibilities for the day and had stopped to help out the boring crew as they were shorthanded. They were pushing metal casing with 4” PVC pipe using a backhoe. They had me hold the two together until pressure could be applied. I was trapped in the ditch when the pipe broke. It happened so fast that I never saw the pipe move. I can still taste it when I think about it.

However, the accident was the best thing that ever happened to me! It woke me up. It gave me the strength I needed to seek God. It took a month or so for me to get to the point where I could return to work. It wasn’t long after that I attended a revival meeting in Austin. I went forward two nights in a row and beg God to forgive me and to please change my heart. Two guys from my former High School came down and prayed with me. Repentance was followed by grace. Praise God. Praise God. I claim Hebrews 12:5-6.

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