Ranch History: "Earl's Suitcase"
As told by Jim Parker
Marion and I had taken a trip to visit churches and donors. We were on our way back to the Ranch, coming north through Modesto.
I called an old friend, Earl Voiles, to see if we could take him to lunch. He was an interesting "strange" bachelor. Earl was our very first houseguest when we were newlyweds living in San Jose. He made silly little jokes like, "I just hate the Devil! She is so mean!" He was also very poor. He lived in a little three-room shack of a house on a large plot of land where he grew carrots to sell at growers’ markets. He existed on a small social security check and the money he earned from the carrots.
After lunch we took him home. I went with him to an old out-building filled with boxes and yard tools. There was a small suitcase all covered with dirt. "This has money I have been saving for the Ranch from my carrot sales. I think I might have $600.00 in there! I’ve been putting it away for quite awhile." "Let’s take it inside and count it," I told him gratefully. "Naw, count it on the way to the Ranch and let me know how much it was." We said our goodbyes and started home.
As I drove, Marion opened the tattered little suitcase and started saying, "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" She said that over and over. She counted more than $10,000.00 in that little suitcase!
When we got to the Ranch we had the business department count it, and then I called Tim Salter – a Christian lawyer living in Modesto. He knew old, eccentric Earl Voiles. I told him Earl had no idea how much money he had given. I asked Tim to go see Earl and explain what he did and tell him we will happily give it back or share it with other ministries, or do whatever he wants. Tim called back later that day. "Know what Earl did when I told him how much he had given? He jumped up in the air and said, ‘Praise The Lord! Hallelujah!’ I asked him what he wanted done with it, and he said, ‘Well, I want it to go to the Ranch, of course!"
Several years later Earl died and left his property to the Ranch. We sold it to his next-door neighbor. They tore the cabin and outbuildings down and built a new house. The Ranch still has that little suitcase (pictured).