A Christian’s Voice From Raymore – December 5, 2009
Editors Note: This is the second of a three-part unfinished manuscript that I found as I looked through some of my father’s electronic files. I have enjoyed reading it and hope that you find benefit and encouragment from reading it as well. Look for part three next week. Have a blessed day, dear reader!
Conflicts in my Life – Part 2
William C. “Bill” Sexton
God seems to lead and direct us, at times, when we are so ignorant of what we “should do.”
Being in Hamilton Ohio, working on the 2nd shift, at the Estate Stove Company, making $1.16 an hour, having a child on the way, I needed to find any way possible to make more money. Having been in the service, I had some GI schooling coming. There was a welding school in Hamilton. As a veteran, I could attend there and get a check. I signed up, attending each morning from 7 to 12 Monday through Friday and then 4 hours on Saturday morning. In the process, I learned that even though you had failed in “your education” before you reach adulthood, you could still learn, although it took me sometime to grasp the width and depth of what was available. My total motivation in registering in the Welding school, however, was to get the check and that was the only school I knew that was in the area. In the school, we studied a book as well as practiced welding. At the end, I passed the test. However, I was fortunate, in that for some dozen years I made a living welding; there was just about always a job to be found in welding. The pay was more than I would have been able to make had I not learned that skill. Although it was a dirty job, I actually liked to weld, and build things out of metal.
In reality, I had learned something in that period of time in addition to welding, although it took it some time to really come to the forefront in my thinking process. But after I had finished the welding school and got a job welding, it dawned on me that there were other things a person could learn from books!
In about 1952, with this new discovered mind-set, I saw some advertisement about taking home courses in Radio and TV. I signed on to that, and in the process my perceptions of education was awakened more and broadened. In as much as my formal education was so limited, I had to study extra hard to understand and comprehend the concepts of electricity and how they worked in radio and Tv, as they were presented in the literature. But, as one takes advantage of opportunities, other facets of information filter in, too. So, as I was getting near the end of the Radio and TV course, I became interested in religion. That awakened me to the ideas on the scriptures, and whereas I had not been much of a reader at all, I began to read more and more, liking the benefits I got from it. When I was converted to Christ, then I became interested in more general education of history, grammar, etc.
I became aware of Wayne School of La Salle Extention University, in Chicago, A Correspondence Institution, offering Home Study Courses. I registered in that university and began studying. I would get up at 5:00 am and study an hour each day before I went to my regular job. One of the first courses was in World History. That was exceedingly interesting because I could relate what I was learning there to Bible Times as I studied ideas, practices, and rulers, etc.
Later in Lowell Indiana, the Public TV channel 11 out of Chicago, offered a lot of College courses. I availed myself of many of them: I would watch on TV and order the materials and study them, although I never registered with the college to go take the test and get the credit. I still learned a lot., taking the time to read, listen to the lectures, make as good application of the concepts as I could. I was getting a much better view of the world of which I was a part. I found that each community had a Library, with many books. So, I would visit the library often, pick up books whose titles would interest me, often not reading them through, but becoming familiar enough with the subject enough to discuss the matter with others.
When we moved to St. Joseph, Missouri I became interested in getting my GED. I found a book and studied it, and prepared for the test. I took it and passed. Missouri Western College had just moved to it’s new campus and became a four year college. I registered, taking two courses: Sociology and English. It was somewhat accidental that these were the two courses I took, without having made any great plans on what to study, other than getting in college. However, it turned out that these were perhaps the best courses that I could have chosen. In my test score for the GED, I had made the best in social studies. That was perhaps due to my interest that had developed in working with people in regard to salvation. I also saw a need to study English because my grammar and vocabulary were very limited. I viewed this as a challenge to improve my ability to forcefully present a persuasive message to those seeking salvation and desiring to serve God faithfully.
With 70 hours of instruction at Missouri Western College, I moved to Wichita and registered at Wichita State University. There, I completed the requirements for the degree Bachelor of General Studies, finishing with over 120 hours. When I moved to Manhattan, I registered at both Kansas State University and Manhattan Christian College. I was awarded the BS degree from Wichita State University in December 1981 and a Master of Theology Degree from Christian Bible College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on January 9, 1987.
In the process of attending college as an adult, older than many in the class, I knew why I was there: to learn. I did better than many who had much more ability than I, because I was interested in learning as much as possible! I could see so much use for what I was learning. At first, I felt very timid, being in my upper thirties and still going to school, I felt that I would be considered “odd.” But I wanted to learn so bad, that I was willing to take the “risk.” However, to my surprise, I found that many people were going to school who were in their thirties or even older. One student was in seventies and pursuing a degree in philosophy. At first I was fearful that I could not learn, but when I came through my first semester with nearly a 4.0 grade average, I was in a lot better shape of proceeding. I decided that i could do it — study college courses successfully! Yes, I registered in many classes, to find after attending a few periods that they were not what I wanted, so I’d drop them. I was so grateful that God had made it possible — for one who had wasted so much of the opportunities in my early life NOW made it possible for me to continue my education, even though it was difficult. The conflict was there, but how wonderful that somehow I found enough courage to plunge into the fresh waters on the field of education.