We were nervous opening our business over twenty years ago. My wife, Jennifer, and I had both worked for other companies, but to be in charge of everything…? Well that was a daunting responsibility. We prayed and worked and finally got the keys to our first karate school. We didn’t make much money at first, but we kept it clean and used all the tips and tricks we had learned in all of our other jobs. Slowly we began to grow and we saved up enough money to fulfill a long time dream of mine…we were going to Disney World!
I had studied Walt Disney and I was intrigued not only by his creativity but also his business practices, customer service and his vision in general. Walking through the gates for the first time, I was mesmerized by all of the thought that had gone into every detail. It was much more than I thought it would be.
We stayed in a budget resort, but I’ll never forget going over to the Grand Floridian Resort on the monorail. I took pictures of Jennifer and our daughter Nikole posed in front of the white Rolls Royce parked out front. We walked inside and it was absolutely beautiful. It looked like something out of a movie. We watched the parents collecting their kids and secretly wondered what it might be like to be wealthy enough to stay there. It was a magical moment. We went back to our rooms that night and talked about what it would be like to ever stay in a place like that.
We really enjoyed that trip and actually went again in the first six years we were open. God continued to bless the school and we decided we were going to expand and buy some property to build our own building. That was an experience that can’t be conveyed in my next ten blogs…but there was one moment we will never forget.
One of the biggest challenges was to find an architect that would do the complete drawings for the money we had in our budget. We told the builder our dilemma and he gave us a number of a guy that might help us. I was hopeful when I called and the man on the other end of the line said he had just retired but he would be willing to take a look at my sketches.
Jennifer and I dressed up and drove into Houston to a small home office in a nice neighborhood. An elderly man answered the door and kindly introduced himself as Charles Edgar Sims. I handed him my sketches of the building and began to look at the array of photos and models of past buildings that were spread throughout the small office. We didn’t know what to expect and I was beginning to wonder what we were doing there. I’m sure his quote will be outrageous like all the others, I thought.
“This shouldn’t be a big deal. How does forty five hundred sound?”
That was about a third of what everyone else wanted to do the job so we eagerly agreed. We shook hands and were about to leave when I looked up and stopped dead in my tracks. There on the wall in front of me was a large rendition of the Grand Floridian Hotel. I looked back at Jennifer and then back at the picture.
“Mr. Sims…we saw this when we were at Disney World. It’s so beautiful.”
He casually responded. “Yes it is. I was one of the many architects that designed it.”
I couldn’t move. It was as if Jesus himself was standing beside me at that moment whispering in my ear. “I told you I am the One that can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20
We thanked Mr. Sims and tried to get back to the truck and contain ourselves at the same time. We couldn’t stop talking about it on the way home and every day the following week.
Well it’s twenty plus years later and we’ve been back to Disney several times. We even stayed at The Grand Floridian once. But I can never look at it or my building without being amazed at how God gives us the desires of our heart… in His timing and in His own special way. Sometimes He does it with that small quiet voice and sometimes he does it in a “Grand fashion.” These days I look for both…I suggest you do the same.