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The Nacogdoches Mission

It was exciting to watch God draw together people to provide the staff that would be needed to operate the growing ministry. After the purchase was completed, God began to clear the way for His chosen ones to come together. On February 15th, two college students – Roland Harvey and David Bryan – moved into the old hotel, which was in a serious state of disrepair. Roland and David had been working through GODTEL with a focus on children’s ministry. It was cold and very little had been done to the building, so they had to live much like campers. There was no kitchen and there was dirt, dust, broken furniture, rotted mattresses, fallen ceilings, loose wallpaper, bare wires, peeling paint, and cobwebs throughout the building. By March 1st, when staff members Martin and Mary Baker moved in, there was already a transient at the door seeking shelter from the cold. The Gentry family moved in a few weeks later, completing the original staff.
Although the ministry’s official name is God’s Open Door To Eternal Life, Paul Jagoe’s father noticed that the first letter of each word combined to spell “GODTEL,” a further reminder that this old hotel was now “God’s hotel.” The name “GODTEL” came into common use from that time on.
The first months were especially rough, physically speaking, because there was no kitchen to cook in and nothing but a few space heaters to warm the 17,000-sq. ft. building. What there was in abundance was an accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris brought on by years of neglect. Cleaning, renovation, and repair work consumed the time and energies of the staff, outside volunteers, and the transients who came in ever-increasing numbers.
During April 1977 and for many months thereafter, three carpenters came regularly on Tuesday nights to build walls in order to create apartments for the staff families and to do other much-needed carpentry. In these early days, various individuals and groups, including the Brotherhood and W.M.U. of Fredonia Hill Baptist Church of Nacogdoches, gave much help. GODTEL became a literal beehive of activity as ceiling and walls were pulled down, scraped, plastered, sanded, sheet rocked, and painted.
Other activities included hauling truckload after truckload of trash to the dump; scraping and cleaning windows; scrubbing sinks, toilets, and bathtubs; repairing the plumbing; doing electrical work; sweeping; and mopping (and mopping and mopping!).
The needs of transients (they are referred to as “the residents” by that staff) also had to be met. Meals were prepared on a Coleman camp stove in the lobby, and the dishes were washed in the bathtub on the first floor. Those who did not want to work did not stay long. By God’s grace and supply, a kitchen was eventually equipped; central heating units were installed on the second and third floors; and some electrical rewiring was done to accommodate air-conditioners in major work areas. (Most of these air-conditioners have since been removed because of the excessive cost of operating them.) The work of renovation and repair has been ongoing, and much still remains to be done as funds become available. Early in 1991, the kitchen underwent a long-overdue and much-needed renovation. With the exception of the Gentry family, the original staff members went on to various other callings. Other staff members have come and gone over the years.
From January of 1999 to March of 2007, Brother Michael and Tammy Silva, along with their five children (which increased to seven during those years), served as our staff family in Nacogdoches. Michael is the oldest son of Brother June and Nancy Gentry. Under the directorship of Brother Michael, the Nacogdoches mission underwent some renovation of its facility. Being raised in the environment of this homeless shelter, Brother Michael had an inside perspective of the troubles that plague those whom he ministered to daily.

In June of 2005, God moved the hearts of the staff to purchase new property in Nacogdoches for the purpose of building a new facility. God showed the staff the property to buy, and provided the funds to have it paid off by January of 2007. Brother June anticipates potentially having a completely new facility at that new site, which is just a few miles up the road from our current location, by 2009

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