Bob Engle Story

Bob Engle is the owner of Bob Engle Ford Agency in Shelbine, Missouri.

As a boy of eleven, the knowledge that I was adopted suddenly broke over my life like a tidal wave-and I felt unwanted.

My father was a contractor. At that particular time he was building a bridge and I overheard him and the foreman talking one night. The latter said, "Which one of your sons is adopted?" I had never heard anything like that. Later that night at the dinner table, I looked at my dad and mother and asked, "Which one of us was adopted?" (I had a brother two years younger than I.) My dad answered, "Bob, you were." My world suddenly fell apart. I ran out to the barn and for three hours sobbed as though my heart was broken; I was unwanted, I didn't belong. Oh, if I had only known just how much I did belong; they loved me so much they had taken me as their very own.

Three years later I took my first drink. By the time I was fifteen I was hooked on alcohol. After the war I settled in Los Angeles where I worked for nine years. There I met Lorrie, and shortly after, we were married. We drank far too much and too often, and were getting well on the road to becoming alcoholics. This caused continual discord.

After six months we moved to Fort Worth, Texas thinking that a different environment and new friends would enable us to escape our many hang ups.
I became top sales manager of the then largest Ford dealer in the country. That only caused more problems, however, because we had more money to sin with. We were rapidly growing farther apart every year.

Lorrie's early religious experience was somewhat similar to mine. When she was twelve years old her mother told her she needed to be baptized, so she was. She had gone through the motions as instructed and therefore considered herself a Christian. However, in Fort Worth she began to have her doubts, and going into church one day, she asked the pastor about God. He sent her home and told her to think about it. She was looking for help, but that preacher failed her.

I had walked down the  church  aisle  to the mourner's bench when I was seven years old, and my mother had read Bible verses to me, even the times I would come home late at night when I had been drinking, but none of it changed my life.

Lorrie and I both wanted to change the pattern of our lives. We would say, "Tomorrow will be better," or "Beginning with the New Year, we'll do better."  But we never did.

At seventeen I left home and joined the Navy. There on a ship, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I realized that I was all alone and a long way from home. In 1954 a son was born to us. We named him Robin, and Lorrie and I loved that little guy more than our own lives. By that time we no longer loved each other, but we did love him. He was all that kept us from getting a divorce since neither of us could bear the thought of leaving him.

We gave him everything. I didn't know it then, but the last six months of his little life he would beg his mother to read the Bible to him before I got home because he knew I wouldn't stand for any of that. I probably would have torn up the Bible. But this little guy was leading his alcoholic mother to the Lord.

She was searching and seeking as best she knew for the solution to our problems. She wanted to make a go of our marriage and keep the home together with our little son, who was then five years old, but there seemed to be no similar response from me.

One night when I had come home drunk and extraordinarily abusive, Lorrie couldn't stand it anymore and went into our little boy's room and slept with him. That night, in the midst of her deepest misery, she cried out to God that she would give anything or do anything if only He would cause us to stop destroying ourselves. Long afterward she told me it was as though a great searchlight had shone in and fairly lifted her up from the bed. I believe that was the moment when she was born again, because from that time on she was completely delivered from any desire for alcohol.

One day the doctor told Lorrie that Robin should have a tonsillectomy, so I arranged to take him. On the way I  promised Robin a Mattel gun when he got well. Because  of  an  intervening  emergency  in  the hospital,  Robin's operation  was delayed for some time. While we were waiting, he indicated a desire to have the gun  right then. I went to a nearby store but couldn't find the particular toy I  had  promised   him,  so  I bought a little 29¢ pistol. When I explained I couldn't  find  the  one  he  wanted,  he said, "Daddy, that's just what I  wanted." Then, putting his arms around my neck, he kissed me and said, "Daddy, Daddy, I love you." Those were my son's last words to me.

A few minutes later Robin waved to us as they wheeled him down to the operating room. It was to be just a simple tonsillectomy. About an hour later they brought him back and laid him on the bed, but as they did so, his mother noticed his fingers turning blue. The anesthetic had stopped his heart.  At her scream, the doctors carried him back to the operating room and closed the door in my face.

Angry, hurt, and beside myself with grief, I went outside, looked up at the sky and shook my fist at the heavens, and cried, "Why God? Why are you taking the only thing I love?"
After what seemed endless hours they brought Robin back to his hospital bed. All the long night my wife and I watched as he struggled for life. Many people came and expressed sympathy, but nobody told  us about Jesus who could help us bear that burden. Once, seeing a little smile on his face, his mother reached out and patted his foot, and he took hold of my finger. We thought he was returning to consciousness, but he wasn't. About 8:30 that morning the doctors told us our little Robin was dead.

My wife leaned over and gently picked him up, and in that moment God reminded her of what she had promised Him three weeks before: that she would give anything if only He would cause us to stop destroying ourselves. And, although the memory of her words returned now to haunt her, she looked up into the face of God and smiled, as she tenderly held that lifeless little form in her arms.

Robin's death affected me differently, however. I sat and watched that little casket day and night until the funeral, bitter and resentful against God, wondering what I had ever done to deserve this.
Then came the old urge to run again. So we headed for Fort Worth and finally Los Angeles. Sitting in a bar with one of my best friends one evening, tears began to roll uncontrollably down my cheeks–– why , I didn't know. Then, through my tears, I suddenly realized that Lorrie was drinking cola instead of liquor. We were so estranged I hadn't even noticed that she had stopped drinking intoxicants. I pushed my glass away, and haven't touched another glass of liquor since.

When we told Clayton Moore, television's Lone Ranger  (a personal friend of ours), about  Robin's death, and of how our son  had  enjoyed his programs, he said, "Look up to God, as your little boy looked up to  me."  He was the first person, in the midst of our sorrow, to advise us to turn to God.

We headed back to my home town, St. Louis, but since there was no longer anything to keep Lorrie and me together, she prepared to leave me. I called my uncle to tell him I planned to commit suicide. All I wanted was to die and go to Robin. He suggested that we go to a revival meeting in the Baptist church he attended, and although at first I objected strongly, I finally, though grudgingly, consented to go. After the service, the pastor and the evangelist tried to explain to me that at death the spirit is absent from the body but present with the Lord. They told me how Jesus would forgive sin, and that if I would accept Him as my Savior, one day I could go to be with my boy. I didn't understand nor believe it.

The following night Lorrie and I went back. At four o'clock the next morning those two preachers were still sitting in my car talking to me about surrendering to Christ.

The next morning at ten o'clock they came to my home. All day long they talked about Jesus, but I still remained stubbornly opposed to accepting Him as my Savior. When they left, sometime after four o'clock that afternoon, however, I went to our little boy's grave, knelt down, and cried out to God that I was willing to do anything to get the peace in my heart that those two preachers were talking about. In that moment I had an experience with God that is just as real today as it was then.

Shortly thereafter, the pastor invited me to go with him to a revival meeting in Texas. It was during this time I learned of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Three nights later on a return trip I resumed my acquaintance with a Spirit filled businessman . He asked me to visit a church in Dallas with him before I left town.

During the meeting they asked me to testify. About the only thing I remember saying was, "I want all God has for me, and am willing to do anything for Him."  We went into a prayer room and within a few minutes I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Since that day I have endeavored to be led daily by that same Spirit.

It has been sixteen years since God took two people who had fought and argued every day of their married lives, and brought them back together. We are still walking happily together in God's way.
God never takes anything that He doesn't give you something better. Yes, He reached down and took my son Robin, but He gave me His Son Jesus in exchange– and what an exchange that's been!

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