Losing a Medical Career or Gaining a New Purpose?

There were so many factors involved in my vocational future changing while at OU that it is hard to know where to start or pinpoint why. But by the end of my freshman year I really thought that the “real me” had come out and that I was being “called” by God into some kind of ministry that I couldn’t yet describe but felt included missions or being some kind of missionary, though now not a “Medical” Missionary because of my grades, or my personal failures/inabilities, or maybe the university’s failure in guiding me that first year. I will never know for sure if it was some or all of those things or if it was as I and my BSU friends said then, “God’s will!” And all of that is without even considering what might have happened had I gone to Tahlequah instead of Norman with a different set of friends and teachers there. Sometimes the fatalist in me says, “What is to be will be!” 🙂 Or the more spiritual me says it was “God’s plan for my life!” 🙂

Two Semesters of Pre-Med Did Not Work As Planned

  • My guidance counselor had planned my first two semesters of classes (the Freshman year) and I followed through, though quite discouraged by the end of the first semester and then the second semester math class was almost the “final straw that broke the camel’s back!” 🙂
  • Plus by then I was really into all this church, ministry and missions stuff through the BSU, my two new best friends, and the spiritual guidance of “Preacher Hallock” E.F. Hallock at First Baptist Norman. It was like I had discovered a whole new world and it was my kind of world! Different from church in either Tulsa or El Dorado, with things seeming to come together for my worldview and/or purpose in life.
  • There were also local mission activities, the orphanage, a BSU Convention, Missions Conference in Fort Worth and plans for my summer to be spent as a “Tentmaker Missionary” in Seattle, Washington.
  • Sometime by or before the end of the second semester I had decided I would be doing some kind of ministry/mission work the rest of my life and that I would change my major.
  • By the time I planned my Sophomore year with the guidance counselor, he had me rescheduled as a “Letters” Major which may be just an OU thing, or at least Ouachita did not have that majo, but I shifted from Pre-med to this general education for what ended up being my last semester at OU, the first semester of my Sophomore year. Then I changed majors again when I got to Ouachita where I graduated with a Sociology Major.

One Sophomore Semester as a “Letters” Major

  • By now I had finished nearly three months as a summer missionary for Southern Baptists and was into the “Baptist world,” especially missions.
  • I was already thinking “seminary” and thus that first semester of second year I chose to take Classical Greek, since they did not have New Testament Greek, and a philosophy class and I’m not sure what else, but on a whole new trajectory!
  • I was even “licensed to preach” by First Baptist Norman and E.F. Hallock and had started preaching as well as doing “mission work.” Being “licensed” was my last act in Oklahoma, leaving with the approval of a “great” church and preacher.
This qualified me for the “Ministerial Scholarship” at Ouachita.

“A Fly in the Ointment” (Problem)

  • By the time I was doing the mission work in Seattle, Mom & Dad, Jerry and Bonnie had moved back to Arkansas. Not a huge surprise considering Mom’s unhappiness and that Jerry also had never liked Tulsa.
  • BUT – that officially made me an “out of state student” in my Sophomore year and I was informed that by the next semester I would have to pay out of state fees, more than doubling the cost of college for me and I already could not afford the in-state fees! So I was forced to change schools.
  • I briefly considered Oklahoma Baptist University but it too was too expensive also and thus started investigating Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia, AR which was not only more affordable but had a scholarship for future ministers or missionaries! Plus several opportunities for on-campus work to cover room & board. Decision made! 🙂

Dreaming of a Life in Ministry or Missions

  • Thanks to BSU and many off-campus church-related activities I had discovered my new world of Baptist life, ministry and service and was embracing it wholeheartedly while the multi-years dream of being a medical doctor had dissipated into the past.
  • I had been on the seminary campus in Fort Worth and that was my new graduate school goal and I saw the Baptist college in Arkansas as another step in my future career in the Baptist church.
  • Having been inspired in high school by the biography of Albert Schweitzer to be a medical missionary, I now either rationalized or just said that it was really the missionary part that motivated me the most and so I was still headed in the same direction basically, a life of helping people – just not through medicine now!
  • And my folks were glad to have me closer to home, figuring that I might visit them more if nearer by their Camden and then later Texarkana, AR homes. I even went on one more family vacation with them in the summer of 1960 to Missouri before leaving for another summer missionary job.

¡Pura Vida!

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