A Tribute to Aunt Lou

Mary Louise Fischer

June 6, 1914 – September 10, 201614324637_10210988671018464_2822966787155684423_o

The text came through on Saturday.  I went in the kitchen looking for my wife.  “Mary, Aunt Lou passed away this morning.”

At 102 years of age, Mary Louise (Trout) Fischer had lived from before the beginning of World War I through the roaring twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War,  the cold war, the space age, the information age, and through most of  the second decade of the third millennium.  She had seen communication become instant, global, and digital and transportation go from mostly horses and buggies to experimental self-driving cars.  She saw seventeen presidents move in and out of the White House, from Woodrow Wilson to Barak Obama.

My mind re-played the memories of my last visit to her 18 months earlier.  By that time she was a century old.  She had survived a house fire a few years before and was safely living in a senior apartment complex where she learned to prepare and relish her own microwaveable dinners.  She seemed as witty and perky as ever if you ignored her wheel chair and manageable hearing loss.

I sat next to her in that seafood restaurant in Ft Myers, across from her son, my cousin Tom, and his wife, Cheryl, devoted adult children whose tender care for her shouted their love louder and clearer than words ever could.  Mary and I both felt privileged to have that visit with her and them.  To me, seeing my mother’s only and older sister felt like Mom had come back from the grave, so alike they were.

A recycled birthday card

The Trout sisters, Lou and Dot, were born almost four years apart, but to us who never knew them as kids, they could have been twins.  They were the only daughters in a family of seven siblings.  Maybe having five brothers contributed to their sharing the same humor, and their readiness to joke, tease, and laugh at a moment’s notice. They were practical in their practical joking.  Growing up in the great depression marked them both with frugality.  Once, one of the sisters mailed the other an unsigned birthday card.  The other one sent it back on her sister’s birthday, still with no signature.  The card got re-sent back and forth for several years.  Dot used to laugh till the tears ran down her cheeks as she told that story of how she and Lou took tight-wading to an Olympic level.

How to find a husband in the supermarket

If you doubt that Lou was a clown, consider this. In their retirement years, Lou and Ed, her beloved late husband, used to share the grocery shopping duties.  They would go to the supermarket, each armed with a list of items to buy, and then set out in different directions to hunt down and check off their assigned products.  One day, when Lou finished her list, she began looking for Uncle Ed.  Up and down the aisles she went until she was stopped by a helpful stock clerk.

“May I help you, ma’am?” he asked.

“I’m looking for a husband,” replied Lou.

Instantly Mr. Helpful dropped to his knees and pleaded, “How about me? Will I do?”

Lou, without missing a beat, quipped, “I don’t know.  The one I have now has lots of experience.”

“I have lots of experience,” he stammered. “I’ve been married three times.”

I do not know what Lou said next.  Maybe she met her match.  I do know she went home with Ed that day, not the three-time strikeout king.

The phone tag game

In the days when long distance calls cost per minute, the sisters, who lived five states apart, developed a phone tag game with their answering machines. Dot reported that she would try to call and leave a very short message at a time when Lou was likely to be out or away from the phone.  The winner of the game was the one who could leave a message obligating the loser to call back and pay for the minutes.

Sunday night, I found a voice mail message on my phone.  It was not a game.  It was from Tom.  “She’s home,” he said.  “She transitioned peacefully to be with her Lord and Savior.”

Thanks, Tom.  I needed that.

Prayer and tears in the kitchen

Mary and I bowed our heads and prayed through tears right there in the kitchen remembering those whom Aunt Lou left behind, especially her children, Tom and Cheryl and their daughters, Chelsea, Madison and Tara, and her brothers and sisters-in-law, Dick and Sharon and Bob and Nancy and, us, nieces and nephews.  “Lord,  give us all comfort in the assurance that she is in your presence, the One who is the way, the truth, and the life, who died so that believing sinners would by grace live together with You forever. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Procrastination

I am not especially handy.  Sure, I can mow grass and whack weeds, but when it comes to really serious projects like clearing an acre of thick brush or running thirty feet of PVC pipe for a sump pump drain, I begin to doubt whether I can do it.   Procrastination follows.  I would rather read a book, or even write one.   hourglass BW

But at the tender age of 70-something, I am seeing a small breakthrough on the level of doing handyman projects for the “world’s greatest wife.”  I didn’t realize this was happening but now with the perspective of a few months of working alongside a fearless and relentless human machine, who is my brother-in-law, I do see a difference in my attitude.

It all started when Ben and I decided to trade days of work to help each other with some of our manual labor projects.  We agreed that I would spend a day at his farm and he would spend a day at mine.  We did this about five times at each place over the past five months for a total of ten days of work.

Here are three lessons from the experience:

  1. I need an example.  Fear of failure stopped me from pressing ahead on projects.  As I analyze this, I realize that I am afraid my efforts will not be successful, so I put off starting.  Ben’s energy inspired me to get started on large difficult jobs, like clearing the jungle we affectionately call Soggy Bottom.  Attitudes are more often caught than taught, and I caught a lot from him.
  2. I need a partner. As a people-person, I find work far more enjoyable by teaming up with someone. Ben kept me plodding for five days while we cleared more than half an acre of thick brush and fallen trees with his walk-behind bush hog and a couple of chain saws.  We piled and burned brush and carried away five pick up loads of firewood.
  3. I need to embrace delay. Time limitations made me hesitant to tackle jobs that I had never done before. We’ve all had the experience of starting a job we thought would take an hour and, with setbacks and complications, it became a two day project. There were multiple trips to the hardware store and a redesign of the whole plan in the middle.

When I started the sump pump drain project, I had a vague idea of how to do it.  I talked to an employee at Lowe’s who gave me some ideas as I gathered the pipe and fittings on my shopping list.  But I decided not to rush the project.  I let it take a few days.  Each day I got fresh ideas of how to make it better.  I looked at some You Tube videos.  It didn’t take many hours altogether but I let time be my friend while my brain wrestled with how to do it best.  Five days later it was done with grass planted on the rich topsoil that fills the ditch and covers the drain pipe.  Now we just have to wait for the grass to grow in.

Trattore clip artToday, I started a small project to reinstall some slate on the front edge of our porch.  I had all the typical uncertainties and delays.  I bought the wrong adhesive.  Tomorrow I will exchange it.  Maybe it will be done by the weekend.

You can ask me about it, but give me a few more days.  I am learning to overcome procrastination.  How about you?
© 2016 by John Carroll

 

May 14-15, 2016 Weekend readings

Saturday, May 14: 1 Chronicles 26:20-29:30 “Godly Leaders and Biblical Churches”

Sunday, May 15: 2 Chronicles 1:1-5:1 “Starters and Finishers”

I will be preaching this Lord’s Day, May 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM and 6:00 PM at Grace Church, 2731 Edgewood St. Roanoke, VA  24015.  Everyone is invited.

Have a great weekend.  See you again on Monday!

[For more reflections on these passages see the corresponding readings in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

Snowed in? Here’s online church

My friend, Rev. Kyle Ferguson, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, sent the following for us who may be forced to miss our regular church services today:

<<Just a reminder to you and your congregations that there are fantastic church services streamed live online tomorrow from areas with far less snow. Here’s a couple I’d recommend. It’s always great and encouraging to email the church you attended online and thank them for offering it.

First Presbyterian (Columbia, SC) Pastor Derek Thomas, 8:25 am, 11:10 am: www.firstprescolumbia.org/live-broadcast

First Presbyterian (Jackson, MS) Pastor David Strain: 11:00 www.fpcjackson.org/livestream

And if Welsh or Scottish accents are not your thing, there’s [Kyle’s] former church: Cornerstone (Delafield, WI) Pastor Chris Vogel, 11:00 am EST. www.youtube.com/user/cornerstonepcawi >>

A Tribute to my Dad at 100

One hundred years, where have they gone? The world had him for almost 81 years and I had him for 51 of those years, but, then, I still have him in my heart and mind these past 19 years. And, I think, if you knew him, you do, too.

He was born on November 27, 1915 in New York, NY, a tiny twin who appeared to be dying at birth. His sister, Edith, named for her mother, got most of the medical attention. Then, little John Michael Jr. (“Jack” to his family) rallied.

And he survived.

Oh, yes, he pulled through all right. He also survived getting hit by a car when only eight. His broken leg healed up just fine. About that time, he was sent, purportedly for the summer, to live with an aunt in Mineola. Fall came and with it the first day of school. His aunt got him ready and sent him off saying nothing about him going home. Gradually, it dawned on him that he was never going home again. He was right about that, but he never understood it. In 1924, children were only informed on a need-to-know basis and the adults in his world were sure he didn’t need to know.

But he survived.

Dad

John Michael Carroll, Jr.

Fast forward 15 years, Dad had finished high school and college. His degree from Hofstra University was a BA in Business. He took a job with the Ward Leonard Company in NY. His father died soon after this and he moved to Mount Vernon to live with his mother. In college, he often listened to a radio preacher, William Ward Ayer, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in the city. Dad heard the gospel and believed. In Mount Vernon, he looked for a church and began attending the First Methodist Church, pastored by Dr. Otho Bartholow. There he found a vibrant youth and singles group which included several siblings from the Trout family.

Mom

Dot Trout

The Trouts were a fixture in the church. The seven siblings included five boys and two girls. Their ages ranged from 26 down to 6. My guess is that four or five of the oldest ones were very active with the “young peoples’” group. It didn’t take Dad long to spot the fourth member of the Trout clan, a gregarious, 22 year old prankster named, Dorothy, or usually, Dot.

He did not survive Dot.

She was everything he could want: happy, confident, fun-loving, popular. Her family was everything he dreamed of: loyal, loving, welcoming, and carefree.

Dot said he followed her around everywhere. She could not shake him until, one day, she decided maybe she didn’t want to shake him. They were married on Valentine’s Day, 1942 at that Methodist Church where they met.

2015-11-25 20.08.28

Valentine’s Day 1942

But World War II was in full swing. The USA was in. On Christmas Eve, only 10 months after the wedding, the draft notice came and Dad would report for induction. He entered the Army and was sent to Camp (now Fort) Campbell, KY. His unit was scheduled to deploy to Europe upon completion of basic training. We now know that would have meant his participation in the D Day invasion being planned. But…

 

 

 

 

2015-11-25 19.57.13

Dad served in the 20th Armored Infantry

Raw recruits were being added by the thousands. Deployment of Dad’s unit was delayed as they were assigned to train a new group of inductees. Again, his unit was scheduled to deploy to Europe. Again, his unit was held back to assist in training. This happened several times. Finally, D Day was history. Dad was still at Camp Campbell but allowed to live off base in a boarding house. So Mom was there with him. Oh, apparently I was, too.

So he survived D Day.

Then, in January, 1945, with Mom eight months pregnant with me, Dad was shipped out to France. He got news of my birth in France, three weeks after the delivery.

2015-11-25 19.58.22

Dad’s Bronze Star

Meanwhile, the Allies advanced across Europe and into Germany. Dad as a Tech Sergeant was responsible for a small detachment which handled replacement parts for military vehicles. As they pushed into Germany, far behind the front lines, they drove through a small village. Suddenly, a white flag appeared out of a window. Then another. And another. The villagers were surrendering to an almost unarmed unit consisting of a sergeant and a couple of corporals driving a truck and two Jeeps with lots of fan belts and spark plugs. For that he received the bronze star which we still proudly display on our dining room wall.

Soon the war in Europe ended. Dad was sent back to the US to prepare for the final push in Asia. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended it abruptly. Dad was discharged and returned home which was now the picturesque village of Montvale on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge in Virginia.

The years ahead had joys and sorrows. Joys included the births of his wonderful daughters, Nancy and Betty, the building of their home on one acre of land on Grandpa Trout’s farm, and a resurgence of Dad and Mom’s faith and service to the Lord largely  through the pastoral ministry of Dr. Jack Arnold at Grace Church in Roanoke. Dad was a ruling elder, Sunday school teacher, and a member of the Grace Academy Board.

IMG_20151126_113239

John and Dot with children, spouses, and 8 of the grandchildren (c. 1991).

He and Mom were blessed to see each of us children married and thanked God for Charlie Brenneman, Mary Lackey, and Russell Knouff as well as the nine grandchildren that came from those marriages. He would have been delighted to meet his (so far) thirteen great-grandchildren.

Sorrows were present, too, like the financial struggles brought on by the loss of his stucco refinishing business and some tense years raising a difficult teenage son.

923453_10200643953215005_411717256_n

Dad and Abbey Knouff, his ninth grandchild in April, 1995.

After his retirement as assistant to the president of Shepherds Auto Supply Co, Dad’s health declined. The last years were marked by two major surgeries for aneurisms and by Myelodysplastic Syndrome which caused his death on Sunday, September 15, 1996.

Mom related the last conversation she had with him, a conversation he would have had thousands of times over the fifty-four years of their marriage. But now he was wearing a large collar to support his head after a fall that resulted in a broken neck ten weeks earlier. He had gotten up for a few minutes and was about to get back in bed. He rested on the side of the bed and looked at Dot sitting nearby.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” he said, kindly.

“No, dear. Thanks.”

He then laid down, went to sleep and to glory. Did he survive? Yes, he more than survived for, to borrow from the Apostle Paul, he was more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loved him (Romans 8:37).

2015-11-25 20.16.07

Mom and Dad at Monticello. Fall 1986

 

 

One hundred years, where have they gone? But I expect to see them again, forever.

From Blog to Book

Cover to Cover2-1

In May of 2012, I began writing daily devotionals beginning in Genesis. The goal was to read through the Bible in one year and to gain personal benefit from each day’s reading.  Each devotional contained an assigned daily reading of about 85 verses, a selected passage usually of one to three verses, my reflections on the passage, and my challenge from that passage, how that passage calls me to act and think as a response to the teaching.

It was an exhilarating experience for me to get up each day during the months that followed and to read, think, and write seeking not only to profit from my study but to encourage others to do the same.  I never enjoyed any Bible reading or study more.

On January 1, 2013, I began posting the daily devotionals on this blog site.  On December 31, 2013, the goal was completed. In 2014, I began transferring the daily blogs into a MS Word document and re-editing them for possible publication as a book. That process took until July of this year.

In October, Metokos Press founder, Dr. Don Clements accepted the work for publication.  I did not expect this to go so smoothly but editor Mrs. Susan Smith got to work and did a thorough review, cleaning up punctuation and putting the work into proper format for e-book publication.  Ms. Susannah Clements designed the very attractive cover and submitted the work to Amazon for publication as a Kindle book.  Here is the link.

To say that I am deeply grateful to God for His grace to bring this to fruition is no overstatement. My thanks go to many friends (especially from Christ Church in Katy, TX, Grace Church in Roanoke, VA and the Roanoke Valley Christian Writers Group), family members (notably our daughter, Paula who has talent, training, and employment as a writer),  Mrs. Stella Davison, who suggested that I write a devotional book as my first major writing project (you have to know Stella to appreciate the force of her suggestions), Dr. Jerry White, former International President of the Navigators and successful writer himself, who almost 30 years ago encouraged me to write, and my beloved wife, Mary, who was by my side each day as I wrote believing that I could do, checking for typos and various kinds of errors and offering gracious criticism as needed.  Thank you all so much!

I just downloaded the book into Mary’s Kindle.  How does it look?  It looks great.  I hope you will check it out, buy a copy, and write a review on Amazon.  Most of all I hope you will set a goal to read through the Bible, however long it takes.  Know God in truth and walk in the light of His truth.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

My Favorite Bible Study Resources

If you read and study the Bible seriously, you know that it is essential to have some reliable resources to assist you. For example, it helps to know the background and human authorship of any book of the Bible you are studying.  What is the time period of the book? Why was it originally written? It is important to have at least a basic understanding of Biblical hermeneutics (principles of interpretation) in order to accurately grasp what you are reading. It is essential to correctly identify the literary genre of the book you are studying, i.e. What kind of literature is it? History, poetry, prophecy? How does that affect the way we read and understand the book?

Here are the resources I rely on the most (in order of importance to me) as I read the Bible:

1. The Reformation Study Bible. The Bible text is the English Standard Version. Published by Ligonier Ministries, Lake Mary, FL 1995.

The publisher says: “Widely considered one of the best tools available for Bible study…This foundational resource was created by more than fifty scholars and features thousands of in-depth study notes, 96 theological articles, 19 in-text maps, colored maps, and 12 charts to help you understand the Bible better.”

An updated edition of this Bible is due out in 2015.

2. Ryken’s Bible Handbook: a guide to reading and studying the Bible. By Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, and James Wilhoit and published by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL 2005.

I love this book. It is a treasure chest of Bible information and help. I have used it to teach adult Sunday School classes. If you only have one Bible resource in your library, it should be this one.

3. Knowing Scripture by RC Sproul, Intervarsity Press (Second edition) 2009.

Here’s why the publisher’s website says you need this book: “[Dr. Sproul] … presents in simple, basic terms a common sense approach to studying Scripture and gives eleven practical guidelines for biblical interpretation and applying what we learn. With a minimum of technical jargon, Sproul tackles some of the knotty questions regarding differences of interpreting the Bible, including

* discovering the meanings of biblical words
* understanding Hebrew poetry, proverbs and parables
* approaching historical and didactic passages
* being careful with predictive prophecy
* discerning how culture conditions the Bible
* choosing and using Bible translations, commentaries, Bible software and other helps”

4.  Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof. This is a classic and has been a mainstay for over 70 years. But this is not for the faint of heart. If you are just starting you may want to pick up Summary of Christian Doctrine by the same author or Concise Theology by JI Packer.

5. Logos Bible Software.  I have a number of resources in  my software library, too many to list, including commentaries, Bible dictionaries, maps and charts, etc.

I hope you are building a library of Bible study resources. What are your favorites?

Why I keep reading and re-reading the Bible (2)

Continuing from yesterday’s post here are the other four reasons I keep re-reading the Bible:

5. The Bible instructs me in how to live.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

6. It informs, assures, and reminds me of God’s promises to me.

2 Peter 1:3-4  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

7. It warns me of spiritual danger.

Proverbs 27:12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.

8. It is the foundation of life and of my life. While I go through various seasons of life, God’s word keeps me centered on the things that never change and the One who never changes.

Psalm 119:89 Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.

If you keep on reading and re-reading it, what are your reasons? What can you add to this list?

Seven things I am thankful for today

Thanksgiving day.  It seems like a good time to remember the things that  I am thankful for.  Here’s my list:

1. God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness which have been poured out on me over the past 50 years of knowing Him. He has sustained me in faith, blessed me with His providence, provided all I need and grown me in grace. He has not dealt with me according to my sins, but has removed them from me as far as the east is from the west. He has proven the truth of Matthew 6:33:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

God has used many means to bring this about, especially His church and His word.

2. Family. Mary, my faithful and loving wife, has been His greatest gift besides my salvation. Her passion to know God is a constant encouragement and challenge to me. I am grateful for my parents (Dad would have been 99 today) and my children and grandchildren. Their lives are a tangible connection with the past and with the future.

3. A place. Although my life here in this world is temporary, I am glad for the privilege of living on the same land I lived on as a child, with good and, sometimes, painful memories of growing up.

4. Work. I am thankful for abilities to teach, preach and write that I can still use for God’s glory.

5. Health. I am blessed with better health than many my age so that I can still walk and hike in the mountains, hear and see others, travel to see family and friends, and enjoy work and recreation.

6. Finances. God has always provided for us and continues to do so. Although we depended on donor support as missionaries and the salaries of a pastor and a teacher, we have never missed a meal, gone homeless, or suffered the lack of any basic needs.

7. Purpose and hope. I am thankful for a compelling reason to live fully for God’s glory all the days that He has assigned me on earth, and for the promises of God to be with me to the end of life and, because of the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ and His atonement for my sin, to receive me to Himself when this life is over.

I think that covers the main categories.

What are you thankful for today?

He sent a man named Dwight Hill

Image

by John Carroll

I wasn’t looking for God when I entered VA Tech in the summer of 1963, only a few days after my High School graduation.   Not at all.  Rather, I was on a fast track to the “good life:” get a degree, land a job, and get married.  By fall of the next year, I had been in school without a break for six quarters (19 months).  I had decent grades, was a corporal in N Squadron in the VA Tech Corps of Cadets, and worked as a disc jockey at WUVT, the campus radio station.  I was about to join Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity.

Sure, I was achieving my goals on schedule, but there was a problem. My successes were empty.  My life had no meaning beyond the next social event.  I was living from weekend to weekend and crossing off the days in between. Somehow I was haunted by the thought that my dreams for money, marriage, and lots of stuff would become nightmares when they all came true.

About that time, I met a man named Dwight Hill who had come to the campus with a Christian organization called The Navigators.   That didn’t impress me much.  I was more impressed with Dwight’s new Dodge and beautiful wife, Ruth.

One day, Dwight asked me to show him around the radio station.  After the tour, he invited me for a coke at the Squires Hall snack bar.  No, I had no idea I was being “set up” for a challenge to get serious about following Christ.  Dwight was intense, a no-nonsense ex-Marine from Seattle.  He would later admit that he doubted that spending that hour with me would make any difference in my life.  I struck him as an un-teachable person, committed to my own plans, and unwilling to obey God.  He was right on the second point, but not the first.  That day, Monday, November 9, 1964, would be the turning point in my spiritual life.

In the snack bar, Dwight grabbed a napkin and began to draw what I later learned was the “wheel” illustration, a rim (my life), a hub (Jesus Christ), and four spokes (Word, prayer, fellowship and witnessing).   He, paused after drawing the hub, looked me in the eye and stated flatly,

“John, you will never have happiness in your life until Christ is in the center of it.”

His words hit me like a sucker punch.

How did he know that I was finding no happiness in my life?  The night before, I had dragged back into the dorm after another disappointing weekend.

Maybe he saw that his words were sinking in.

He continued filling in the various parts of the “wheel.”   When he got to the “witnessing” spoke, he leveled with me again,

“I am here on this campus to reach men for Christ.  Listen, I think you need to be doing the same thing.”

Another punch to the gut.

How did he know that one of my biggest hang-ups was unwillingness to identify openly with Christ and risk ridicule and rejection?

I thanked him for the coke and we said goodbye. I staggered out of the snack bar and headed for my dorm room in Major Williams Hall on the upper quad.   It was a short walk, maybe five minutes.  But I walked slowly.  Dusk had fallen.  I was glad to have darkness around me shielding me a little from possible onlookers as I walked and thought.  Somehow, I felt I was being given one final chance to turn to God.  I felt like I was approaching the last off ramp before Hell.  Privately, I had given up on Christianity  out of frustration with my own sin and endless failures to improve myself, combined with my fear of being ridiculed by the cool people in my world.  But the emptiness and the guilt, accentuated by Dwight’s two comments, had caught up with me.  I was in crisis.

I prayed silently.  “God, I have made a mess of my life.  It seems as confused and tangled as a bowl of spaghetti.  I cannot be a Christian.  I have tried so many times.  I know I will fail again, but I am willing for you to change me if you will.”

Back in my dorm room, I sat down and wrote my girl friend telling her something of what had happened.

But I was caught between doubt and desperation.  Did God hear my prayer?  Would He respond to my crisis?  Would anything really change in my life?

Yes.  Something already had changed.  Only it took 24 hours for me to realize it.

On Tuesday afternoon, it dawned on me that suddenly I wasn’t using the vulgar language and profanity that had permeated my speech,  the kind of language used in a men’s dorm that was not fit for the ears of your mom or little sister.  My roommate, Jim, and I had attempted to eliminate it for the sake of our moms and little sisters but with absolutely no success. This time it was different.  The impossible had occurred.  Later I would understand that the Holy Spirit had regenerated me and I had been “born again.”

Over the next months , Dwight spent time with me, teaching me to study the Bible, pray, trust God for my future, and tell others the good news of life in Christ.  He and Ruth invited several of us to live in their home for a summer so we could concentrate on “knowing Christ and making Him known.”

Last week, Dwight went to meet the One who was the center of his life, the One whom he urged me to make the center of my life.  Dwight served Him, loved Him, and proclaimed Him.  Because he did, a formerly guilt-ridden, empty college student also serves and loves and proclaims Him fifty years later.  And so do innumerable others.

I wasn’t looking for God in college.  But I learned that He was looking for me and He sent a man named Dwight Hill.

1508165_602601333149023_1456558849_n

Dwight and Ruth Hill with me on February 20, 2014 (photo by Mary Carroll)