Making The World A Better Place

It was the summer of 1948. I was a rising senior at a Virginia state teacher's college, looking forward to a "fun year" and graduating next June. I had worked in the dining hall the three first years and my mother would pay my tuition so that there would be only one class besides my student teaching that last year. A "lady of leisure," it sounded like!

Other students, if they needed to, had had summer jobs, but my summers had been spent "keeping house" for my working mom and my disabled dad. This summer I had applied for a non-paying job with the Methodist Church at a work camp. There were several camps, and I wanted to go to New York City because that would be a new place--to live there and see the Big City sights. Nineteen, a place to live, lots of time, new experiences, what else could one want?

But I was sent to a college town, in hot Iowa (before air conditioning, you know) with 27 other students. I went on a train to Chicago where friends took me to see the sights, then to another Big City, Des Moines.

Actually the location really didn't matter--our goal was to make the world a better place, and we spent two months enjoying every opportunity. We girls lived in a dorm, the guys in a frat house across the street. We did our own housework and laundry, ate in the college dining room and sometimes packed our own lunches to eat wherever we worked. Really a new experience for me, with a whole bunch of brothers and sisters.

For two months we painted and repaired churches, recruited new church members and taught in summer Bible schools (children and adults.) I had a part time job in a real estate office for a few days and tried to recruit teachers and church workers.

But there was one guy--he had applied to go to the Mexican work camp, because he'd never been to Mexico. Soon we realised that God's Plan was different from ours; we wanted to spend our life working together. He went back to his school, I returned to my college work in Virginia and we graduated. the next year he went to seminary in Atlanta and I taught there. We were married in 1950 and celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, as minister and wife.

We volunteered in four different states in summer camps and visited our church mission headquarters. We cruised the Aegean Sea one year, I went to Russia and Brazil. We traveled, volunteered our time and talents, but my favorite trip was that in 1948.

Could one ask anything better?

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