In early August of 1971 I enrolled at Wichita State University fully expecting to start classes that fall. I had worked hard through High School and maintained a solid B grade average. At this time in my life though, I really didn't know for sure what I wanted to study so I chose all the basic freshmen classes. Since my older sister and brother had both graduated from college, it was assumed that I would also.
A funny thing happened on the way to school though. In late August I went to Ohio to a Christian festival sponsored by the ministry I had hooked up with the previous year. I fully expected to go, be blessed, return and start college shortly thereafter. I did indeed go. I did indeed get blessed. I never did make it to college. What happened?
At the conclusion of the three day event, a call was put out to the few hundred of us in attendance asking for volunteers to spend a year going with 2 other people to a town where we would work 4 hours per day and witness 8 hours per day. As I sat there on the grass listening to the band play and periodically the head of the ministry doing an alter call of sorts for the new program, something amazing happened within my heart. Not since that mountain in New Mexico two years earlier had I felt the mighty hand of God upon my heart the way I did then.
Much to the shock of my best friend who was seated next to me, I got up and went to the stage to join the other 50 or so young people who were making the same commitment to drop everything in life for one year to go serve the Lord Jesus. We were told that the training for the program would be in one month and in the mean time we had to get everything from a physical to completely out of debt and have $200 in traveler's checks (a large amount back then).
I was on cloud 999 the next evening as I opened the door at home to tell my parents what had happened. I explained to them how I felt the hand of God on my heart telling me to GO and never look back. I told them what the program consisted of and that I wouldn't know until the end of training where I was going and who I was going with.
My mom burst into tears and cried uncontrollably as she kept saying I was throwing my life away because the only way I could succeed in life was to get that college education. She could not stop me for I was 18 years old, but she could lay the biggest guilt wrap in history upon me, which she did. Despite telling her it was only one year and then I would go to college, she wisely surmised that I wouldn't.
After quite a long time saying nothing, I asked my dad what he thought. He put on his most dignified and serious face and told me that I HAD to do what God wanted me to do or be miserable the rest of my life. Again my mom broke into tears for she didn't want him to tell me such a thing because my dad never even attended High School (he did get a GED later in life though). She was afraid I would follow in his steps of dead end jobs.
I told my parents I was going out for awhile to allow them time to talk. I didn't ask for their permission to do what I had committed myself to doing. I was only asking for their blessing upon it.
When I returned, they turned off the television and for one of the few times I could remember, my dad did all the talking. Usually it was my mom who lectured, laid down the law or scolded me. Rarely did my dad get involved with my life, but that night he did.
I of course cannot remember the specifics of what was said nearly 40 years ago, but the end result was that my dad told me to GO and DO what I felt God wanted me to do and they would support me 100%. I was flabbergasted to say the least. This was not something my parents ever did. They either yelled at me or ignored me and all my crazy plans and ideas. I cannot remember a time they totally supported any decision I made. They more or less just put up with them.
A month later I did indeed go to that training and spent a year in upper Wisconsin with two people I had never met. I grew more in that year than any year of my life. Of all the years I have lived, I wouldn't trade any of them for that one amazing year being a missionary of sorts. God truly did call me to do what I did that year and in the years thereafter and I never did make it to college for I was too busy doing the work of the Lord.
Some twenty five years later, I was sitting with my elderly parents and the topic of that night in 1971 came up. I asked them if they had to do it over again would they have still given me their blessing.
My mom hemmed and hawed and said she guessed so, but my dad put on his most dignified and serious face and with a tear in his eye told me that he had never for a minute doubted he made the right decision and my life and ministry proved it. For one of the very few times in my life he then grabbed my wrist and told me he was proud of me for doing God's will for my life and that he loved me. That was the last face to face serious conversation I had with my dad for he suffered a major stroke a year or so later.
Brother Kirk, it is touching recount of what God and your parents played in your life and how you have become because of those decisions and their support. Thanks God for such parents especially your father who blessed and released you to the service of God.[img]http://planetsmilies.net/person-smiley-1153.gif[/img]
Indeed those years of onground training as a trainee missionary must have been foundational for your life and your spiritual walk. Thanks for sharing.:wink:
From Hwa [img]http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/office/fountainpen.gif[/img] Silverpen
As a parent, I know how difficult it is to let your child go... especially if you are uncertain or even feel certain that they are doing the wrong thing!
It is one thing to say we trust God with our children. It is another thing to actually do it. May we all be willing to trust God with our own lives as well as the lives of those whom we love... no matter what!
Thank you for sharing more about your younger years and how the Lord worked in your life and the calling He placed on your heart. I am pleased that you are sharing so that I/we can get to know you better. Each time you share something about your teenage years, I find myself sitting back and reflecting upon this period of time in my own life. Thanks for helping bring back memories of my youth and my own involvement with ministry work. Blessings always! revgenlink
wow really touched my heart as i never completed school but the Lord has given me a peace and called me to the ministry...i pray that my family will see it through Gods eyes one day too.
I think often times, as parents, we think the phrase "letting go" is an action that invites our children to fail, to fail in Christ, and to fail prey to the world. I think that idea is wrong. I look at what your father did for you and it raises the hair on the back of my neck. He saw something in your eyes, heard it in your voice, and had to of felt it in his own soul. He was willing to let you go, but not to the world. He let you go back to your heavenly Father. Wow, that is so cool. I learned a new phrase at a conference I was at last weekend, "It is hard, but it is Good". As I look at more and more of my own decisions, I am reminded that just because it's hard does not mean I should run from it. I must look at the end results and determine whether it is also Good. Letting you set aside college was hard, but letting you run to the Lord, that is good.
Super piece, thanks for sharing it.
It would seem that the "worlds" idea of success is and has always been based on ones education - God however doesn't care about how much education one has but rather that one has an obedient spirit. Your Father was a wise man Kirk. He new it was more important for you to be obedient to Gods plan for your life than to achieve the worlds interpretation of success via an education.
Personally I'm thankful you chose God's plan. I think many would have missed great blessing had you chosen "the education".