With Soapy Dollar

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Program host Soapy Dollar is a full-blooded Apache Indian with an inspiring story of God’s power to overcome disadvantages in life. He has earned degrees in Mathematics and Christian Ministry, plus an honorary doctorate for fostering unity and cooperation among the churches of America’s 7th largest city. In 47 years of ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ (called CRU in the U.S.), he has lived 8 years in Europe and traveled to sing, preach, and equip believers in over 35 countries of Europe and Asia. Since 1992, Soapy has hosted a variety of radio programs, starting “The Bible Live” in 2001 just three weeks after “9/11”. Recording and editing his reading of the Bible (NLT) was a labor of love, completed in 18 months. Soapy’s wife, Suzanne, preceded Soapy on staff with Campus Crusade by one year, after graduating from Texas Tech with a teaching certificate and a degree in Speech and Drama. Suzanne speaks Spanish, is an accomplished pianist and vocalist, and besides a fruitful discipleship ministry over the years, she often speaks and leads music for women’s prayer conferences and workshops. The couple has three children: Scott (a Stanford University Business graduate living in San Antonio), Shawn (a UTSA grad working in San Antonio as computer programmer), and Stacy (a grad of The King’s College in New York City, living and working in real estate in San Antonio and raising grandson William.

Soapy’s full story follows…

Newman “Soapy” Dollar is a full-blooded Apache Indian, born out of wedlock to a 19-year-old girl who left the Mescalero Reservation in southern New Mexico to give birth to the child in Albuquerque on June 14, 1949.

The infant was abandoned at birth (or possibly sold) and taken in by a woman named Princess Babe Hawk, a fortune-teller and magician’s assistant. She named the child after her third husband, Leon Frank Dollar, from whom she was already separated. The child never knew Leon or his real father. A doctor signed a birth certificate naming Babe and Leon as the parents. Most of the other information on the certificate was also false.

Newman was passed to about sixteen families before he was six years old. On June 1, 1955, he was sent to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, a home for homeless and delinquent boys on the site of Old Tascosa, a cowboy ghost town 40 miles north of Amarillo, Texas. It was also on that day that Newman became “Soapy”. Arriving shortly before lunch, the youngster was told to wash his face and hands before eating, but in his nervousness and haste, he left soap suds in his ears and on his neck. The staff and other children called him “Soapy”, and the nickname stuck to this day.

Babe Hawk died in an auto accident in 1958, and Boys Ranch became Soapy’s only home. By that time, though, he had adapted well to the security, the stability, and the many opportunities that Ranch life offered. Just a few months before Babe Hawk’s death, Ranch Chaplain Wayne Rohrs presented the simple Gospel message to the boys, and Soapy had responded with faith, praying and surrendering his life to Jesus Christ. The child’s newfound relationship with God comforted him in the loss of his mother (he only learned years later that Babe Hawk had not been his real birth mother), and it became the primary relationship of his life. Through his years at Boys Ranch, Soapy shared his faith with hundreds of other troubled, disadvantaged young men and led many to trust Christ as their Saviour, too. From his perilous birth circumstances and troubled childhood, God honored the name first chosen for that baby born on the streets of Albuquerque. He had grown up to become a New Man in Christ.

In 1958, the Boys Ranch Chapel program allowed boys to enroll in an annual course offered by the Bible Memory Association. Soapy completed both the youth and adult plans by the time he graduated from Boys Ranch in 1967. Along with the rest of the Chapel ministries (choirs, Bible games, camps, etc.), memorizing and reciting scripture had perhaps the most profound, long-term effect on his life. Soapy preached his first sermon around age 12 (a special shelf in the pulpit allowed youngsters to reach the microphone and pray, read scripture, sing, and preach during the worship services) and was often asked to sing solos as well as with choirs and ensembles. At the same time, though, the young Indian boy excelled in both school and athletics. He was valedictorian of his graduating class, three-time All-Around Rodeo Champion (bulls, bare-back broncs, trick riding and clowning), and 1967 Athlete of the Year (football, basketball, and baseball). Popular among the other 350 boys and the ranch staff, Soapy served two years as President of the Student Council.

During college at West Texas State University, Soapy worked for a large wholesale company and served as a youth evangelist with area churches. After graduating with a degree in mathematics, Soapy met Suzanne Ward at a church pot luck lunch. Following an 18-month courtship, they were married in September of 1972. Suzanne had graduated with honors from Texas Tech with a B.A. degree in Speech and Drama, then she had joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ as a single woman. The couple decided to continue with Campus Crusade after marriage. 

For 47 years now, they have invested their lives in helping people across America and around the world find and experience God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. They lived eight years in Europe and continue to travel widely – ministering in over 30 countries of the world, most recently in Honduras, Ukraine, India, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. Both speak Spanish, and both sing. Suzanne studied and plays the piano, and Soapy has learned to play the piano, guitar, drums, and bass.

Since the early 90’s, Soapy has been a popular radio talk show host on station KSLR (AM-630) in America’s seventh largest city, San Antonio, TX.  In 2001, just two weeks after the “9/11” terrorist attack, Soapy he launched a new program called The Bible Live, dedicated to reading the scriptures into hearts and homes across America. At 9:30 p.m. (CST) each weeknight, listeners hear a 15 to 20-minute dramatic reading from the Bible. All 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation, are heard every year. The Bible Live Quiz Hour airs on Sunday evenings from 9-10:30, a family-oriented program giving listeners the chance to answer questions from the previous week’s readings.

In 2015, Soapy has begun hosting The Storyteller, an evangelistic program aired on 400 stations to Native American reservations across the U.S. and Canada.  Sponsored by the ministry Without Reservation, the program features the stories of First Nations people who are trusting in and following Jesus Christ “without reservation”.

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