When Laura George walked into the Gateway Southlake Campus in 2014 for the first time, she didn’t want to be there. It was a weeknight after a long day and it took her an hour to drive to the campus. She was tired but felt like God told her to attend a big event for single adults. However, after walking around for a moment, she realized the event had been canceled. Another woman there saw her and invited her to a women’s prayer meeting in the building instead.
She walked in and could immediately feel God’s presence, but at the same time she felt uncomfortable. “I thought, God if this isn’t You, please tell me now and I’m out of here,” she says. “Then I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, ‘You’re uncomfortable because we’re not close yet.’” That was the night her walk with God changed.
Laura grew up in Arkansas in a church that didn’t talk much about the Holy Spirit. While her family loved God and were strong Christians, when an opportunity came to take a leap of faith, they had a tendency to rely on their own logic and reasoning. But as Laura grew in her relationship with the Holy Spirit, He began to lead her into uncharted territory. She began hearing God’s voice more often. Then one day He said something to her that caught her off guard.
God told her He would introduce her to her husband that summer. “I was 35 and single,” she says. “I wasn’t about to tell anyone because I didn’t want to look desperate and crazy.” However, she shared it with a few trusted friends who helped her process what God was saying. Around that time, Jeff entered the picture. They were in a Gateway Group together, but it never crossed Laura’s mind that he could be a potential match for her. “She thought I was weird at first,” says Jeff with a laugh.
One day that summer, Laura invited the group to go for a hike at Eagle Mountain Lake. It was a difficult trail, but Jeff was up for the challenge. In fact, he was the only one up for the challenge. “He’s the only one who showed up,” she says. Not long after that hike, a romance began to bud and soon they fell in love. Within a year they were married and later started a family. After their son was born, God began to test their faith through provision.
Laura left her job to stay home with their son. The budget was a little tighter, but Jeff still had his job. Soon after that, Jeff heard God tell him to quit his job. It took quite a bit of prayer to process that. He waited to see where God was going to move him, and he talked with his boss about what was going on. While they were waiting for Jeff’s next step, God gave Jeff another test. His boss mentioned there was a severance package available for one person on his team, but he needed to know by the next day if Jeff wanted it. That night was the 2018 First Conference, and Jeff asked a few people to pray for his decision. That’s when he heard God say, “I told you to quit. What are you waiting for?”
They made the decision to obey and found themselves sitting in limbo for a month while trying to figure out what to do next. However, it was a transformational time for them. Their doubts and fears only caused them to trust God more, even when family members and coworkers told them they were making the wrong decision. They prayed about it and felt the Lord leading them to move. Though they had no idea where they would go, they put their destination in God’s hands. They put their house on the market—a house they had been renovating—and it sold immediately with a significant profit. Flipping and selling that house helped show what God had in store for them. It had been such a successful experience that they decided they could do it again and have a livelihood wherever they moved. Laura says God told them to relocate to a specific zip code, and when they looked it up, she was in shock. “It was in Arkansas right where my family lives,” she says. “We told God to send us anywhere, and He sent us to be around family.”
The timing couldn’t have been better. Laura’s brother had just started a home-building business there, and her sister-in-law is in the real estate business. To top it off, her father decided to invest in their home-flipping business. All these pieces fell into place within the span of a few months.
While leaving their church home has been difficult, they can see that all the spiritual growth they experienced at Gateway has led them to this point. Hearing God’s voice, finding true freedom, and making disciples will be with them wherever God leads them.
“I was going to write Gateway a letter saying, ‘It’s your fault we’re leaving,’” says Laura. “‘You introduced me to the Holy Spirit and supported, equipped, and loved me. Now God is calling us to share it all in Arkansas.’”