College. The question asked of every high school senior, “Where are you going to college?” The line on an application you want info. for, “Level of education?” That great place where you’ll meet your lifetime friends, stretch your wings for the first time, study for your future and maybe even meet your future spouse. College! Ah, how we high school seniors counted down the days until we were FREE from compulsory education and ready for voluntary education! (Never considered that aspect, have you?)
For me, I’d known since I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to go to Fort Wayne Bible College. Actually, it was more of a thing that I “knew” I was to do. If you’ve ever felt God lay something specific on your heart, than you know what I mean. And I was thrilled to be directed to Fort Wayne Bible College. I even loved the sound of it! It sounded so…grounded. Sort of like a no-nonsense school that would train young people to take on the world for God with the Bible in one hand and our diploma in the other. It would be a place of stimulating discussions on world and theological topics with other young adults who were dedicated and focused on the Lord. Sure, I knew it wouldn’t be that every student was like that, but most probably would be or they wouldn’t be there. (After all, there are a lot cheaper places to get a degree than a private, Christian college.) All through high school I looked forward to going to FWBC. Then came reality.
The reality was simple: I couldn’t afford to go without taking out a horrendous loan. It was one of those that would incur interest from the date it was taken out even though you didn’t have to pay on it until after you were through school. Then, if you hadn’t paid anything on it when it came due, the interest was added to the principle and that was where you started your payments. Now, even someone like me without a head for numbers could see that this was financial idiocy. So, a week before I was scheduled to leave for Fort Wayne, I backed out. It could have been that it was a lack of faith on my part–that’s always a possibility. But time would indicate that that wasn’t necessarily so. Although I had a rough couple of years, I learned some lessons in humility that were badly needed and did an amount of maturing. Now that I’m in my forties I can look back and see just how much farther I had to go, but it was a start in the right direction.
My time at AIMM had broadened my scope of the world and made me consider not just my own desires for my future, but also what the needs of the world around me were. When I finally decided to go to FWBC, it was to become a teacher for missionary children overseas. Teachers were needed and I was single, enjoyed teaching and was available. I would note here, however, that that was not the degree I originally wanted. When I was planning to go out of high school, I wanted a Biblical Studies degree. I didn’t even know how I would use it, but that was what appealed to me–to study the Bible intensively and know it cover-to-cover. When I finally got to school, I opted for the el.ed. degree because I felt the Biblical Studies degree wouldn’t be as useful where I wanted to serve. So, in the fall of 1990, I finally arrived on the campus of Summit Christian College.
“Wait, wait, wait,” I can hear some of you saying, “I thought you were all gung-ho to go to Fort Wayne Bible College. Where did Summit come from?” An excellent observation on your part! I’m proud of you! Okay, here’s the scoop: Somewhere between my freshman year of high school and the fall of 1990, FWBC changed its name to “Summit Christian College.” I’m sure there were all kinds of discussions, board meetings, administrative conjectures, etc. about that decision and it was with the idea of helping people to have a broader perspective of the possibilities at FWBC/Summit, but for me, it was disappointing. I had liked the strong identity of FWBC and its long history of graduates who can sense another graduate just by sniffing. (Okay, so that’s a little extreme, but we had something like that happen at a church function on more than one occasion! And we were visitors!) But, my disappointment wasn’t strong enough to make me reconsider, so to Summit I went.