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DBU Changes the Lives of One Couple

When Mildred and Harold Sadler dreamed of opening Sadler's Smokehouse restaurant in 1961, they didn't have much to their name. But the lifelong East Texas residents knew the Lord would take care of them and they were determined to work hard.

Looking back, Harold wonders how they made it those first couple of months when profits were slim. He knows Sadler's Smokehouse (now Sadler's Bar-B-Que Sales Inc.) would have never worked without the Lord's help. He also knows anything they've earned from the business isn't really theirs. "I didn't grow up with a lot," Harold says, "so to me, anything I have isn't mine. It's the Lord's. So nothing is hard to let go of when I owe Him everything."

Interjecting and looking at her husband, Mildred says, "You've always had a generous heart, though."

The Power of the Lord...and Barbeque Sandwiches
In 1961, as relayed by Mildred, Hurricane Carla was devastating the Texas gulf, sending families to seek shelter in and around the East Texas area. Sadler's Smokehouse hadn't been open long and many stopped at the new restaurant while passing through town. Mildred (who served as the carhop then) grew worried when every car-even ones full of children-ordered nothing more than cheese or crackers. She understood that the scared, displaced families had no idea how long they would need to make their money stretch.

Taking her concern to Harold, he quickly decided to load every tray with barbeque sandwiches instead of the original orders. "Back then we really couldn't afford to do something like that if you looked at our books," Mildred says. "But we knew it was what we needed to do and that the Lord would take care of us."

Throughout the years their business has grown from the original shop, but even still, Harold is resolved that the Lord has been the one directing their company and guiding the way. It is the way he has lived professionally and personally.

A Grandson's Baseball Talent Draws Them to DBU
When one of the Sadlers' grandsons came to play baseball at DBU more than a decade ago, the family was first introduced to the University. Since then, Mildred and Harold's involvement and generosity has been constant, as five more of their grandsons have attended DBU.

"I remember Henry Blackaby once saying, ‘See where God is at work and join Him there,'" Harold recalls. "All you have to do is drive on campus to realize the Spirit of the Lord is here at DBU."

Harold even served as a member of the DBU Board of Trustees for nine years, being elected as the chair in 2008. He has also been on mission trips with DBU students (including two of his grandsons) planned by DBU alumnus Abraham Sarker's Gospel for Muslims organization, where Harold is a board member. The couple also has the baseball clubhouse named in their honor.

"I know that lives are being changed here," Harold says, "even if some students do not realize it. Seeds are being sown, students are being shown the Lord through chapel and their classes—and God's word will not return void. You can't come here and not be changed."

While the Sadlers have seen themselves (as well as their grandsons) changed through interaction with DBU, their example of generosity and commitment to Christ is helping equally to change lives at DBU.

A Plan for All of Us
Thinking through the years, Harold reflects, "I am reminded every time I drive on campus and see the statue of Jesus washing the disciple's feet that He really does have a plan for us."

DBU is thankful that plan includes people who love and serve the Lord like Harold and Mildred Sadler.

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