• Rev. Sam Martin

My First Year Of Bible School

As the summer came to an end I had made plans to go to school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Two of my Dad’s sisters had promised me that they would help me through school. They told me that as long as I kept my grades up and didn’t get job, a car or have a girlfriend that they would help pay my tuition. Well my Dad & Mom drove me up to the school and I took as much of my earthly belongings that I could. They got me signed up and then we said our goodbyes. That was really hard for me as I did not know a soul at the school and had no friends.

Shortly after my Dad & Mom left I was in the recreation room and there was a ping-pong table. Since I was pretty good I thought I might play and I saw this red headed girl and ask her to play. She told me that she didn’t know how to play so I told her I would teach her. I showed her how to play and in the end she beat me good. After the game we talked a bit and I found out she was left-handed and she was playing me with her right. I felt really stupid. She was a sophomore in school and her name was Jan. She was a very nice girl and we had a lot in common. We never got serious but we enjoyed each other’s company.

While I was at school a good friend that I had met while we were on vacation began writing me. Her name was Brenda and she lived near Kenbridge, VA. We decided to be pen pals and we wrote back and forth. I told her many secrets and as far as I know she has kept them because they have never surfaced. After I left school we lost touch. She wrote me the whole time I was in school and she was a real source of strength for me.

It is very hard to remember all that happened at school but I remember my Christian service assignment. My Dad had a friend who was a Pastor in Ionia, Michigan at the Ionia Community Bible Church. He had arranged it so I could do my Christian service assignment there. I was the song leader and taught the teen class. We had about 7 in the class and they were a joyful experience. Later after I was there awhile the Pastor asked if I would plan some youth activities with them and I did.

One of the members of his Church was attending the college and she would bring me to Ionia on Friday night and then take me back to school on Monday morning. It was about 60 miles or more to Ionia.

I came to Ionia on Friday and plannd stuff with the teens and did visitation and planned for the service on Sunday. I preached off and on for the Pastor when he was out of town. A family in the church put me up and fed me, it was a real experience. The room where I slept did not have heat as the house was heated with wood. They had an old fashion bed warmer if any of you know what that is. When I got up in the winter months I can tell you I was the fastest dresser in Ionia. They fed me good and treated me night.

Before the year was over I had a real good friend at school named Gary who became my best friend. He took me to the license bureau and I was able to get my license. Another friend I met sold me a car. It had an engine in the back. I broke rule two no car. Then I got a job with my friend Gary at a bakery. He was the baker and I was the custodian. It worked great because I worked Monday - Friday and then after work I could drive up to Ionia for my Christian service assignment.

Late in the year the Pastor resigned where I was doing my Christian service assignment. The churches un-officially ask me to preach in his stead. They just had a morning service so I told them I would. They gave me a love offering and provided me food and housing on the weekend so I thought it was great. It was a real experience that I won’t forget. I preached there until the end of the school year and stayed some into the summer until I got the nerve to go home and face the music. My Dad & Mom had left Wheatfield, Indiana as my Dad took a pastorate in Round Lake, Illinois. Cindy the girl in Wheatfield found another boyfriend while I was at school so I had nothing to go back to Wheatfield for. I was preaching and had a girl I was dating and wasn’t sure I wanted to leave but I decided I need to move on so I resigned my position at the bakery and the Church and packed all my belonging to head home.

This was a very hard decision to make as I was enjoying preaching at the church and I loved my job at the bakery. The girl I was dating was a very nice girl and I knew if I left that things probably wouldn’t remain the same. And they didn’t she soon moved on to someone else.

The girl I mentioned before from Virginia named Brenda and I were pen pals. We had met when our family took a vacation to Virginia to visit a Pastor friend of my Dad’s. A family in his church allowed us to camp on their land while we were there and we got to know them. Brenda was the daughter of the family that let us camp on their land. I got to know her and we decided to be pen pals. She wrote me faithful all through this year at college and if it wasn’t for her letters I would have probably quit. We wrote off and on throughout the years. Later after I got married my wife didn’t want me writing her because she was jealous so we lost touch. Since I started writing this story I have searched for her on the internet to try and find her but have not been successful. I think she may have gotten married and her name has changed.

Update: After I moved to Alton somehow I got reconnected with Brenda. I told Kelly about her and she said it was okay for us to write via email. We write off and on but she has a very busy life now so we don’t write much. Maybe a couple times a year.

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My name is Rev. Sam Martin and I am a former Pastor of 34 years and I would like to invite you to join my blog.  Sign up in the box to the right or above if on a smart phone.



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