An oasis in the desert

Posted: Mar 10, 2004 12:00 AM

As a new bride in 1984, I left my job in Washington, D.C., and moved to Houston, Texas, where my husband, Andy, taught Naval Sciences at Rice University. My young life up to that point had been filled with cause-oriented work ? I lived and breathed national politics and, from junior high school, had longed to make a difference in the lives of people across the nation.

In Houston, I found myself far away from the work I so loved ? and although there were plenty of local opportunities to get involved, my heart ached for the cutting-edge information and discussion with others who shared my quest to work on the national scene. My precious husband often worked long hours and, in his absence, I felt as if I was in a lonely, arid desert.

And then one day, I heard the voice of Marlin Maddoux. Somehow I "stumbled" across his show, "Point of View," on a local Christian radio station and, in so doing, found my oasis.

Marlin's broadcast was unusual for the time ? he talked about biblical principles and national politics and what individuals all around the country could do to impact Washington. He was a master at interviewing policymakers, other conservative and Christian leaders, and like-minded authors and lecturers. Marlin's words were like a river flowing with milk and honey ? the nourishment my mind and soul craved was plentiful during those two hours each day.

Marlin was a visionary. In 1982, he was one of the first broadcasters to harness the latest technology of satellite transmission when he successfully sent his local show around the nation. And he did something else no other broadcaster had been able to do with such success ? take calls from people all over the country who cared about the status of the nation.

Marlin's phone lines were jammed throughout his program ? callers waited weeks, and even months, just to be able to tell Marlin the joy they felt at tapping into this mighty river that now flowed from coast to coast. At age 23, I was one of those eager callers who finally got through the phone lines and onto Marlin's show.

Years later, when I returned to Washington and my work in the conservative policy arena, Marlin hired me as a stringer to provide news stories to his 24-hour news broadcast venture called the USA Radio Network. As our friendship grew, at some point I shyly told Marlin about the exhilaration I had felt at being able to participate as just another caller on his show ? I thought he might think I was silly to have been so excited. But when I saw the tear in his eye, I realized that, to Marlin, callers weren't numbers ? they were individuals whose hearts and souls he loved and valued.

Always by his side, helping him to reach the masses, to produce his show, and to develop his news network (now carried on some 1,300 stations) was his beautiful wife, Mary. Mary is one of those people who is kind and gentle ? just as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside. Married for 49 years, Marlin and Mary shared a goal to reach the nation for good ? and they worked together like magic.

Marlin and Mary also inspired their children to help flood the nation with truth. During the mid 1980s, the Maddoux family held rallies in huge auditoriums across the country bringing together local folks who were drinking from this same life-giving river called, "Point of View." My husband and I were among several thousand who attended one such uplifting event in Houston so long ago.

For over 30 years, listeners have been blessed by the influence of Marlin Maddoux and his wonderful family. On Thursday, March 4, Marlin's passionate, powerful voice for truth passed from this world into the next.

But his words of love, and accountability, and challenge still float through the wind like the moist vapor rising from a mighty falling river. You see, Marlin didn't build "Point of View" and USA Radio Network to carry his voice ? he built them to carry the truth.

Years ago, he tapped incredible talent to make sure the river would flow long after his death. He assembled an amazing team that delivers outstanding news updates 24 hours a day to listeners around the world. And Marlin's inspiring and brilliant "Point of View" co-hosts ? Penna Dexter and Kerby Anderson ? will continue to bring the life-giving liquids to the proverbial deserts of those thirsting for truth in cities and towns across the nation.

I last saw Marlin just weeks ago when he came to visit me at the Heritage Foundation. We enthusiastically discussed how, during his travels to D.C., he would broadcast from the new Heritage radio studios I'm privileged to manage. I had the opportunity to thank him ? once again ? for reaching me so very long ago in the midst of my own drought. He smiled that humble, warm smile and hugged me goodbye. As he stepped outside to catch a cab, I noticed it was lightly raining, and offered him an umbrella. He jovially waved me off, saying he didn't mind a little water. How fitting.