I can just picture it now. My husband and I are sitting on our front porch with a pitcher of lemonade between us. The grandkids are running around in the the yard. It’s sunset. I look over at him and smile at his grayer than ever salt and pepper hair. Then I say, “Remember that time when we bought the bowling alley?” He’ll grin and nod. We’ll reminisce about the details. What a nice time that will be.
The city of Cochabamba, Bolivia is home to roughly 800,000 people and one bowling alley. For the past five years or so DaRonn’s hobby has been bowling. Those who know my man can testify that he never does anything half way. He strives to be the best he can be in anything he becomes involved in. So it was no surprise that after a short time DaRonn began competing in bowling tournaments and joined the bowling association. Traveling to the other two cities in the country where decent bowling alley could be found to play with his team against the representation of those cities became a fun get away a few times a year.
You can imagine the surprise when late last year rumors began to circulate that the bowling alley was going to be closed down. They were offering the lanes for sale in pairs. There would be no more bowling alley in Cochabamba.
At this same time the school that we had started in 2009 had been experiencing some amazing growth. We needed to purchase a building. There was no time to construct our own due to the demand. So we began shopping around. After a few deals didn’t pan out we finally found a school that suited our needs. We began to speak to people about the idea for the school and the plot of land that comprised half of the property. We would be able to build an annex for Christ Nation Church as well as a permanent home for The House of Dreams Orphanage. Thanks to the generosity of various individuals and congregations around the world we were able to give a sum of money that got us into the building to start renovations in preparation for the start of the school year in just a couple short months. The former owners, acquaintances through the bible school network that we oversee, allowed us to continue to look for financing for the project.
As we began painting and repairing that location DaRonn talked with the bowling alley owners about what was happening. He asked them how much they were asking for a couple of the lanes. He had the idea that he could enhance the physical education program by installing them in the school. In the chats he was having with the owners a new idea bubbled to the surface. They asked DaRonn if he would consider buying not just a couple lanes but the whole bowling alley.
At this point DaRonn did a number of things. Prayer was one of those things. Second, he acquired legal counsel by way of an astute lawyer. Finally, he began to think of how he would present the idea to his wife. In doing all these things a new thought occurred to him.
The orphanage had been running since inception in the red. Somehow we were always able to make ends meet but it never has run to the fullness we originally envisioned. The new idea formulating in the mind of my husband was the option of operating a business that covered the lacking expenses of the orphanage with its excess income.
Still the thought of presenting to his wife the concept of taking on the responsibility of not one but two large operations all at once was a tad bit daunting. It was a fleece. If his wife would go for it then this had to be the right thing to do.
He talked with me about the plans and explained that we were still looking into the financial aspect. Then he asked me if we could get the financial stuff worked out would I be fine with him moving forward in buying the bowling alley. A few days of questions and a bit of investigation went by. I told him that we should go for it.
With the lawyer helping with the deal DaRonn approached the owners with an outrageous offer. We had not yet found financing for the school property. He explained this to the owners. He told them that he would purchase the bowling alley if they would help him finance both it and the school. The lawyer drew it up and added a few of his ideas before presenting it to the owners. They came back 48 hours later with the answer. Yes, they would finance the bowling alley. Yes, they would finance the school. No, they were not asking for any money down. Jaw drops to the floor!
A few more weeks of tweaking contracts and gathering advice from business people to be sure this was all legitimate followed. Then on Friday, April 1, 2011 we officially took possession of Strike Bowling. Aside from lack of maintenance to the mechanics of the lanes the business side was in the black and covering its costs, plus some. The reasons the owners wanted to sell was that they were just tired or bored of having to run a business they were no longer interested in.
Since taking possession DaRonn has been having fun redecorating the interior. Comparing the numbers from last year we are already up 60% in earnings for this month. I say ‘we’ because technically I am 20% owner. So cool! We have to have an entity that Strike comes under. The one we started is called ‘S.R.L. Cristo Nacion’. SRL are the initials for a term which means ‘limited liability company’ and ‘Cristo Nacion’ is the Spanish name for our ministry: Christ Nation Ministries.
The school and the bowling alley are both doing well. Pictures are available on facebook. I tried to keep the story as concise as possible, but it is most likely I have forgotten something. I hope that you will get happy with us about this project. We are so grateful for these opportunities to continue making the name of Jesus famous in the city of Cochabamba. I am astounded at the adventure we are living.