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Manuel T. Gonzaullas was born in 1891 in Cádiz, Spain, to a Spanish father and Canadian mother, who were both naturalized U.S. citizens. In 1911, at the age of 20, he served as a major in the Mexican Army. Later, in 1920, he joined the Texas Rangers.
During his career with the Texas Rangers, Gonzaullas’ primary responsibility was enforcing the law in the rough and wild oil fields of West Texas and along the state's border with Mexico. Because he always patrolled alone, he earned the nickname “El Lobo Solo” (the Lone Wolf) – Lone Wolf Gonzaullas.
In the early 1930s, a major riot broke out in one of the oil towns in West Texas. The drunken oil field workers were tearing up the town, so the sheriff and mayor contacted the governor in Austin for help. The reply came back that help would arrive by special train early the next morning.
The next morning, with the riot still raging, the mayor and the sheriff met the special train. The sheriff and mayor were very disappointed to discover that the train only had one passenger on it – Lone Wolf Gonzaullas!
The sheriff couldn’t believe it! He shouted, “You mean they only sent one man?”
Gonzaullas, in the manner of all Texas Rangers, took his thumb and pushed up the brim of his regulation issue Stetson hat. Standing at 6-feet, 9-inches tall, Gonzaullas looked down at the sheriff and replied, “There’s only one riot, ain’t there?” Not waiting for a reply, Gonzaullas then walked toward the downtown area, where the riots were taking place. Single-handedly, Lone Wolf Gonzaullas put the riot to rest. Today, at the entrance to the headquarters of the Texas Rangers in Austin, four words are carved above the door: “One riot, one man!”
Today, we often hear the words, “I’m only one person. What can I do?” The answer to that question is: "Plenty!" Consider this: 1 Kings 18:19-46 tells us that one man, Elijah, defeated 450 prophets of Baal. Later, Elijah’s replacement, the prophet Elisha, although surrounded by thousands of enemy soldiers sent to kill him, had to reassure his attendant, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16)
Elisha then prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of his attendant so he could “see.” The Lord opened his eyes and the attendant noted: “The mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” There are more for us than against us!"
What can one person do? When Jesus gave Christians the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), he said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And, surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
“Go – Christian – I’m with you every step of your journey!” The apostle Paul reminds us of this in Romans 8:31: "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
The two Colt 45 revolvers Gonzaullas carried became his trademark. They were instrumental in his success as a Texas Ranger – he was “one man,” armed with two Colt pistols. The Christian is also armed…armed with the word of God that is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
Christians in Vandalia are doing some amazing things for the Lord. Christian groups are providing coats and backpacks with school supplies for kids; they are providing lunches for kids in the summer; and they are providing Christmas for more than 400 families. Recently, Christians (The Ministerial Alliance) opened the 6:35 Food Pantry for families who have come upon hard times. What many folks do not realize is that many of the great things happening in Vandalia began when one person answered God’s call to “Go!” Often, it was one person who had an idea!
In an interview given late in his life, Gonzaullas was asked which of his accomplishments gave him the most satisfaction. Interestingly, he did not even mention the riot. He replied that his greatest satisfaction came after he retired from the Texas Rangers. He, and a group of his fellow Presbyterians, banded together to raise funds to build the first hospital in his home town.
What can one person do? Plenty! Are you that one person that God is calling to accomplish something for the kingdom?