Our move to Branson, Missouri occurred in November, 2005, and Cathy and I bought a new home in the Branson North subdivision, a short five minute drive from the hospital. For the first time in our marriage I was able to regularly have lunch at home with her. Our home was large enough to accommodate all of our family for weekend visits and special holidays. We were anticipating lots of visits to such a fun town.
The Wound Care Clinic position was ideal for me at this stage in my professional life, and fortunately all the nurses working there were believers. With the administration’s permission we had a ten minute daily devotion and prayer time for our patients at the beginning of each clinic, and we were able to pray with many of our patients. Some were led to a faith in Christ while being treated in the clinic.
Within two years of living in Branson God opened the door in 2008 for founding of a new ministry, The Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks. Cathy and I believe the clinic was the supernatural fulfillment of a vision God had given me years before. It was exciting for Cathy and me to be involved in such a ministry, and we began working together as chaplains praying with and encouraging people coming to the clinic for their medical care.
Because our children were members of First Baptist Church Branson we didn’t visit another church but sank our roots into the ministry there. This was a great fit in what we found to be an outstanding church. We were able to start a younger couples Sunday school class which grew in numbers very quickly. I was fortunate to begin a teaching ministry there and quickly added two other Godly men, Hebo Hall and Dr. Marvin Schoenecke as co-teachers. Under the pastorate of Neil Franks FBC Branson grew into the largest Baptist church in Taney County. At my retirement from medical practice in November, 2011, Pastor Franks invited me to join the ministerial staff in charge of new member outreach and marriage mentoring. Cathy and I continued our mentoring of young married couples along with twelve other couples who had been trained as mentors for the ministry.
One of the highlights of our life in Branson occurred in July, 2015 when Cathy and others organized a second Moore Family Reunion in Branson. The other reunion of our branch of the Moore Family occurred in El Dorado in 1972. Our reunion in Branson was over the Fourth of July weekend and was a wonderful success. In attendance were all of our children and grandchildren, most of brother Berry Lee and LaNell’s children and grandchildren, and sister Marilyn and husband George. Two of their children and one grandchild were able to come. It was so much fun being all together, and everyone agreed to not wait another forty-three years before having the third reunion!
The year 2016 became a physically difficult year for me because of increasing problems with coronary artery disease. Despite years of weight control and a regular exercise program, the genetic factor of heart disease in the Moore family began taking a toll on me. Seeking care in Fayetteville with cardiologist Dr. David Churchill the pathway led to an open heart procedure and triple bypass operation on December 1, 2016 in Fayetteville. The operation was successful with no post-operative complications, but the recovery was slower than expected and marked with persistent problems with atrial fibrillation. In the following two years I had multiple outpatient procedures to correct the problem, but it has persisted and caused me to become more sedentary.
Throughout the years following my retirement in 2011 Cathy and I have drawn closer and more dependent upon each other. During the initial recovery phase of my heart procedure when I was severely disabled, Cathy provided countless hours of care and support without complaint and with a cheerful spirit. She has shown me over and again what it means to be selfless and poured-out in loving one’s spouse, and our journey has been instructional for us in the encouragement of married couples in our church. We believe the life lessons God continues teaching us can become life-changing for others couples.
When I had the words “Thee I Love” inscribed in Cathy’s wedding band fifty-six years ago I had no idea how those words would be lived out. At the time of our marriage I knew I was committed to her for life, and she was committed to me. We have had a few rough spots in the journey, but there never was a time either of us believed our union was not made in heaven. When we surrendered ourselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ in Dallas in August, 1977 we didn’t know how the Lord was going to use us but were confident He had a plan for us.
Over the years Cathy and I have accumulated some earthly treasures, but they pale in light of our real treasures, our children and grandchildren. What a joy to know they are saved and living lives pleasing to our Lord. Our son John Aaron and wife Gina live in El Dorado, Arkansas along with their youngest son Landon. He is a senior in high school and planning a career in the field of physics. Their oldest son Drew works for a mechanical engineering firm in Ruston, Louisiana. He and his wife Emily were married by me in June, 2018 and are expecting their first child in September, 2022. John and Gina’s middle son Brady is currently working as a technician for Dish Network in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Our older daughter Mary Kay and husband Dave Janke live in Branson, Missouri with their younger daughter Sara Beth who is a junior in high school. Their older daughter Rebecca just graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and will soon be deciding on her life’s work.
Our younger daughter Ginny and husband John Luther live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with their two children, Claire and Nathan. Claire just completed her second year at the University of Arkansas, and Nathan is in the eighth grade in a Farmington public school. They all are the delights of our hearts, and Cathy and I are so blessed to have watched them grow and mature.
I love the place God has us in for now and probably for the remainder of our journey. I echo the words of one of my baseball hero’s, Lou Gehrig which he spoke at his retirement, “Today I consider myself the luckiest (most blessed) man on the face of the earth (because of the Lord Jesus and Cathy).
Thank you Dr. John! Sure miss y’all here at Immanuel. Maybe we can visit next week in Branson. Would love to see you and Cathy.