After our sophomore year at Midwestern Baptist College, my fiancé and I were married at the Newark Baptist Temple in Heath, Ohio. After our honeymoon at the French Lick Hotel, French Lick, Indiana we returned to our apartment in Pontiac, Michigan. We enrolled in fall semester classes at Midwestern.
In late August or early September of 1979 Polly informed me that she thought she was pregnant. We had been married all of six weeks. Back at my wife’s home Church the gossip mill ran wild. The gossips were quite certain that Polly was pregnant BEFORE we were married. Nothing brings more glee to gossips than a preacher’s kid getting knocked up before marriage. (it makes them feel better about their own sexual escapades) Fortunately our first child was full term, born 7 weeks before we celebrated out first wedding anniversary.
I changed jobs several times during the first few months of marriage. I had a difficult time finding work that would pay enough to support two college students and a child on the way. In late 1978 I was laid off and we began to have serious financial troubles.
I made an appointment to talk to Levy Corey. Corey worked for the College and was my homiletics teacher. I consider him one of the best preachers I have ever heard. I vividly remember his first lesson in homiletics class. “Forget everything they taught you in speech class!”
I told Levy Corey about the financial troubles we were having. I told him we were going to have to drop out of college for a semester in hopes of getting our finances in order. He told me, “It is the will of God for you and Polly to stay in school. God will provide. If necessary borrow the money to stay in school.”
This was the worst advice to give to struggling college students. God didn’t provide but Beneficial Finance did. We borrowed money we could not repay. We were not very responsible with money to start with and being encouraged to borrow money was not what we needed to hear.
Even with borrowing money we could not keep our head above water, and in February 1978 we withdrew from Midwestern Baptist College and moved back to my home town, Bryan Ohio.
Before we left Pontiac several friends of ours took it upon themselves to come to our home and preach to us about leaving Midwestern. They informed us that it was not the will of God for us to leave college and God would never use us if we left. The founder of Midwestern College, Dr. Tom Malone, hated quitters. He hammered us in chapel about never quitting. NEVER QUIT! We were quitters, the lowest of the low.
Ironically, several our our friends who prophesied against went on to graduate but never served a day in the ministry. We spent over 25 years in the ministry. (yes that is a smug “take that’ poke) In the early mid-1980’s at a Preacher’s conference,Dr. Malone publically said of me, “Bruce left college before we ruined him.” I appreciated his words.
Polly and I packed up a small u-haul trailer, hitched it to our mid-1960’s Chevrolet Impala, and moved 2 1/2 hours southwest to Bryan, Ohio. We moved in with my sister and her husband and a month later we rented a duplex on Hamilton St.
I was asked by Pastor Jay Stuckey, pastor of Montpelier Baptist Church in Montpelier, Ohio, to be the church’s bus pastor. I gladly accepted this unpaid position.
In the next Fundy World Tales I plan to write about out time at the Montpelier Baptist Church.