Tuesday, September 24, 2013

No Secrets: The Call

No Secrets:  The Call

After graduation from high school, I began to feel the call to full-time Christian service.  God began to speak to me about attending Trevecca Nazarene University.  One day, as I worked in the field chopping cotton, I said, "Yes."  I chopped my hoe in the ground, stood up the handle and I went in to tell my mama.  I will never forget the look on her face.  "Son, you can't do that.  We don't have the money to send you to college."  I said, "I know, Mama, but God has called me, and He'll make a way."  It is no secret what God can do.

I had two uncles who I thought had money.  They agreed to co-sign a bank note with me for $225.  It was in faith that I agreed to pay the money back in a year.  I bought a new suit of clothes including underware, new shoes, and a tin trunk.  Everything I owned was in that trunk.  I said goodbye to my family and friends and most of all my sweetheart and caught a ride with someone who was going that way.  I hitch-hiked my way to school and back home again the two years that I was there. 

When I registered at Trevecca, I said, "I have no money, and everything I own is in this trunk. I will need to work my way through."  There was no money for room or board or books.   Because I could not afford a meal ticket,  I lived on peanut butter and crackers and pork and beans. Today I still can't eat pork and beans. 

I had several jobs while there.  My first job was digging a ditch ten foot deep.   The sun was shining down in that ditch.  It was so hot that I could hardly stand it.  With sweat dripping off my brow and down my face, I longed for home.  The devil said, "Quit."  Knowing that it was God's plan for me to be there, I prayed for grace and another job.  God proves Himself faithful.  Shortly thereafter, I was given the job of ringing the bell for classes.  When winter came, my job was to keep the large boilers of steam running by putting in coal and keeping the "clinkers out", where the coal melts together and will not burn up. If left in, the fire will go out.  I've thought about this over the years.  We need to make sure the "clinkers" of our lives are kept clean so the fire of the Holy Spirit will keep burning in our soul. Later I was made night watchman. It was a great job. I was given a pistol that I kept on my hip. It was interesting to see the preacher boys and music ministers who tried to sneak in after curfew. (We often said Daddy's story made us think of Barney on Andy Griffith.)

While at Trevecca, I held jail services in the county and city jails.  Part of my training was to visit the homes within a block of the school and hand out tracks and witness to people on the streets in downtown Nasvhille.

After a year, the note had come due at the bank and I had no idea how I was going to get the money.  An older man from Wray, Colorado, had moved to Nashville and asked me if he could drive me around as I went about the Lord's work.  He gave me the money to pay the loan.  Years, later I received a note in the mail, "Paid in full."  I sent a letter to thank him and the letter was returned and stamped "no return address."  An angel?  I don't know.  Divine Intervention?  Most certainly.

The following summer, I continued to preach.  It is no secret that God works in a life that is truly dedicated to Him. 

Reflections by Mama

The first time I heard Emory preach, I would hardly believe what my ears were hearing.  It was remarkable how the Holy Spirit was with him.  He preached like he had preached forever. Because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, many were saved.

One night he preached on hell and it seemed the little schoolhouse got hotter and hotter.  He was preaching with such fire, talking as fast as he could, and running down the scriptures in such a way that you felt like you were there.  He quoted the scripture, "Where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched."  Instead he said, "Where the worm dieth not and the fire is not 'squenched'," I lost it and almost fell off the pew laughing.  One time when he was preaching in the early church, he got hot and took his coat and tie off, rolled up his sleeves and said, "Ya'll get comfortable and take your clothes off."    

An old friend drove Emory everywhere he preached that summer.  I went every time he held a meeting. Although we were young, we knew our love was geniune.  We promised ourselves to each other and talked about getting married after he finished college and found a church.

I had one more year of high school.  I knew that a new church would need a pianist so I started taking lessons.  Mama borrowed an old-fashioned pump organ from a neighbor, and this is how I learned to play the notes.  Mama exchanged the organ for a second-hand piano and I attempted to learn every song in the hymnal.  

I volunteered for every office in the church that became available including teaching a Sunday School class of 12 year olds, serving as youth president, and secretary and treasurer of the missionary program.  In the midst of it all, I wrote Emory everyday.

During his second year of college, I worked for a local manufacturing company. I was paid 40 cents an hour.  After taxes and social security were taken out, I brought home $15.40.    I lived the first few months with his brother, Ernest and his wife, Lois.  Instead of paying board, they let me send the money to Emory.  I sent him $5 a week to pay his board and he ate his meals with a married couple who lived on campus.

As you already know, he didn't finish college.  He came home, set up tent, and started the home mission church.  We were married in the Fall. We didn't get a honeymoon instead we started to work immediately.  The next Saturday, we went "house calling."  Emory wanted everyone in the church to meet me and I was ready to be a pastor's wife.

A handsome, young couple

I think my mama was beautiful.

She indeed loved the church
and her preacher boy.

To Be Continued...



  1. What a great, great story, Bonnie. It really does prove that where there is a will there is a way! Love that about "take your clothes off" xo Diana

  2. A book is there. I'd buy it.

    Love, Rebecca


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