Trinity past brings hope for future
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
This fall nearly ninety freshmen filled my two Old Testament courses. Most of them I had never met before, and as they crowded into my classroom on the first day, I knew few of their names and they all looked surprisingly alike. As the semester progresses I will learn their names and begin to appreciate their individual personalities. They are struggling to learn how to follow a syllabus, organize their study time, and survive the realities of dorm life. As I look out over the sea of eager faces, I have little idea of who they are, much less who they will become and what they will accomplish. They are diamonds in the rough, and the future still looks hazy.
Homecoming weekend I had the opportunity to turn from the future and look to the past. My husband Jon and I were privileged to host a banquet table at the 60th Anniversary celebration of Trinity Bible College. The banquet hall was filled with hundreds of alumni who had carried the influence of Trinity literally throughout the world. We were honored and humbled to sit with three wonderful couples who had accomplished much for the Kingdom. They were diamonds as well, though not so rough.
Virgil Moos began his education at Trinity in the 1960s when it was located in Aberdeen, South Dakota. After his first year of college, the German District of North Dakota recognized an eagerness for ministry in Virgil and sent him to Bible school in Germany so he could learn the language and minister to the German speaking citizens of North Dakota. Following his studies in Germany, Virgil returned home and finished his education at Trinity. He and his wife Judy, who also attended Trinity, became the first resident pastors in Ellendale. They had a truly multi-ethnic congregation of various European-Americans meeting in their home. From Ellendale Virgil and Judy went on to pastor churches throughout the upper Midwest for over forty years.
Next to Virgil sat his sister, Linda who also attended Trinity when it was located in Aberdeen. She completed her degree and eventually married Alver Rance, a Trinity graduate, who was a widower with a family and a missionary career. Quickly she became a wife, a mother and a missionary. She traveled throughout Latin America, learning the Spanish language and sharing the Gospel. Linda and Alver ministered for many years in various Latin American countries. Today they reside in Springfield, Missouri and continue to fulfill their missionary calling through their work at Global University.
Darrel and Karen Losing also shared our table. They both attended Trinity and upon graduation, Darrel began pastoring at a small church in rural Montana. His many years of ministry have been spent in the heartland of the Midwest where Darrel has faithfully ministered to his congregations, several of whom have since attended Trinity themselves.
Twenty years from now, should the Lord tarry, I hope to find myself at another Trinity anniversary. Many of those who were present this year will have gone on to receive the rewards of their labors. Perhaps I will sit at a table with some of my former students. They will tell me who they have become and what they have accomplished. The rough edges will be worn away, and they will be brighter diamonds than I remember them to be. I will be humbled and honored to hear their stories.
I returned to my classroom on Monday morning and handed back the first exam. Normally I might have been disappointed that some had not done as well as I had hoped. But this morning as I looked at the students anxiously checking their scores I was reminded that my efforts in the classroom are never in vain. Sometimes we just need to catch a glimpse of the past in order to see the future more clearly.