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October-November 2014

What's Next for Home Missions?


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Serving God Is (More Fun Than Barney Fife With Two Bullets)

By Wayne Spruill


Commencement exercises at Welch College took place this year on May 9. By 1:00 p.m., both graduation and President Matt Pinson’s annual End-of-Year meeting with the Welch College faculty and staff were over. As we left the cafeteria where the meeting was held, we greeted a student’s mother as she closed the hatch of a very full SUV. My wife Brenda asked if everything was packed, and, with one of those motherly “grins,” the visitor explained that this was the third vehicle they had loaded with her daughter’s belongings.

A few hours passed, and I watched as car after packed car left campus with only enough room for the driver. I recalled a similar trip in the spring of 1970 when Larry Swain and I packed my MG 1100 (four-seater) with barely enough room for Larry in the passenger seat. The Virginia State Trooper who pulled us over as we passed through a school zone made me prove I could see out of the back window. He simply said, “It’s obvious what you’re doing. Just be safe and get home.” You could say I felt for these students as I watched them make creative use of every bit of open space in their vehicles.

After visiting around campus saying goodbyes and wishing students well, I returned to my office and was informed that Tim Jordan from Alabama was looking for me. I went to search the campus. If you know Tim, standing 6 feet, 6 inches, you know that he was not hard to find.

Tim, the ever-busy Master’s Man, and sidekick Eric Thomas had been sent by the Master’s Men of First FWB Church in Dothan, Alabama, to pull the Disaster Relief trailer to Nashville. In Tim’s own words, the purpose of the trip was prompted by the desire to “Make it a joy to send a student to Welch College.”

To their great delight, students from southern Alabama and Georgia were able to load their belongings in the trailer and avoid the dreaded crowded-car syndrome. One of those very thankful students had this to say:

“I am beyond grateful that Mr. Jordan came all the way to Nashville with his giant trailer to help us pack up our dorm room and carry it home. There is no way I could have fit all my stuff in my car, so it was very helpful. He was also the best traveling companion we could have asked for. His witty humor made the long trip very enjoyable. His kind service was a pleasure to us all!” —Anna Grimsley, Colquitt, Georgia

According to Billy who has just completed his freshman year, this mission was a blessing in more ways than one:

“I am very thankful for Brother Tim Jordan and his willingness to serve and sacrifice in order to help a few college kids out in a great way. Never once, through the process of his coming and us going back home, did I get the impression that he was doing what he did out of obligation. And never once did he even present me with the option of paying for myself on the trek home. There is no doubt in my mind that he pulled that big red Master’s Men trailer from Southeast Alabama to Nashville and back because he wanted to, and, whether he realized it or not, it was a tremendous help and relief to me and my family. 

Since I did not have a car at school, my parents were originally my only means of bringing my belongings home. This would have worked, but not without difficulty. My dad is self-employed and does all the work himself, which would have meant him losing a day of work in order to get me and my possessions back to Alabama. When I think of Brother Tim, I think of someone who understands what it means to be a friend and neighbor.” —Billy Champion, Newton, Alabama

Having just observed other students and parents with those nearly bursting cars and SUVs, I thought this was a great idea. In a conversation with the students, I discovered that the caravan stopped for breakfast and lunch, and, of course, Brother Tim would not allow the students to pay for their meals, because the men from First FWB Church, Dothan had it covered.

And it wasn’t just the students who were blessed. According to Tim, he and Eric “had more fun than Barney Fife with two bullets.” On behalf of the college and the students who were helped: A big thank you goes out to the Master’s Men of Dothan, Alabama, and all the other chapters who do a great work for our Lord and denomination.

Perhaps you have an idea to assist students at Welch College both during the year and as they travel to and from college. Many students are away from home and family for the first time. Encouragement and support from caring Free Will Baptists goes a long way. If you have an “out of the box” idea, please share it and be the blessing that our Lord would have you to be.


About the writer: Wayne Spruill, AKA, “The Rolling Deacon” is director of institutional research at Welch College, where he and his wife Brenda have served for the past ten years. As a member of the Master’s Men Board from 1975-1987, Wayne has had many years of friendship with Tim Jordan and other men who offer a helping hand when needed.


©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists