A Slickery Slider

I read with interest the appeal for stories of our time at Asbury College. The list of suggested topics was noteworthy, too, knowing that I was a small-time prankster. I’m just hoping the statute of limitations has indeed run its course.

My journey to Asbury College began at Georgia Tech, where I was an architect student. It was actually on the secular campus that I gave my life to Christ, through the witness of fellow-students in the architect program.

After leaving Tech as a sophomore, I stayed out of school, returning home to West Virginia. And it was over the course of two months I understood God’s call on my life into ministry.

Now where would I go to school? How would I get started?

I had never heard of Asbury College; the local folks wanted me to consider West Virginia Wesleyan College. So my application went to Wesleyan College, but from out of nowhere, I was in a conversation when Asbury College came up. Subsequently, I received an application from there, and comparing the two schools’ applications was the deciding factor.

This was around 1977, and the Wesleyan College application asked whether I would mind if my roommate was a smoker? A drinker? And would I be interested in a co-ed dorm? Of course, Asbury College stated clearly there would be no smoking, drinking, and the relationships between male and female students would be “chaperoned.”

Having come to Christ from out of the secular party-scene, I knew I would appreciate the discipline of the Asbury campus more.

I entered as a transfer student, with two years of college already under my belt, going through orientation with the Defenders, but a member of the Voyager class. (Though having friends in both classes, it was a personal frustration that I never felt a “belonging” to either class, envying the relationships students shared.)

I can’t thank God enough for the years at Asbury. My experiences were varied! A resident of Johnson West “Bears,” I made great friends with guys on our hall: Evan Kenyon, Chuck Maw, Charles Board, Chuck Mingonet, Tim Gearhart, Mike Dionisi, Buddy Skelton, Frank Brown, Bill Love, Dan Andrus, Steve Applegate and others. Pranks were abundant.

I had a room across from the tiled bathroom, and one evening awoke to the strangest piercing sound. Barely awake, I felt sure this was the end-of-times and the mighty blast of the angel’s trumpet. I remember praying fervently for all my family and friends... and waiting for Jesus to take me...only to find my roommate Mike, quickly shutting the door behind him, leaving lights off and jumping into bed. The reverberating sound had been, I think, a large, round cast-iron weight that would be used by power-lifters – spun like a coin on a kitchen counter! I’ll never forget that close-to-Jesus meeting!

Most important, though, was the spiritual emphasis and personal growth I found. I’m so thankful for Phil Veatch, who took an interest in me and showed me the heart of a man for God. Opportunities for discipleship were abundant, and I was thirsting for God!

It’s been 27 years, but the worship and preaching in Hughes will not be forgotten! Having entered as a babe in Christ, the spiritual challenges and understanding I received while at Asbury was the greatest a young man or woman could find! I know my spiritual formation is of “Asbury origin!” Dr. Dennis Kinlaw was President of the College and we were in awe of him, such a profound speaker and teacher. Though I know he would surely blush over this, the aura of his persona set the tone for our spirituality, and we were mightily blessed!

I was glad to see that Asbury had a community outreach ministry for students during my time there. I took part in the adopt-a-grandparent program, and began visiting a retired minister and his wife, March and Gladys Loar. As Asbury College alumni themselves, you will find their picture in one of the early graduating class pictures at Asbury, late 1920s, I believe. Gladys was a pioneer, a woman preparing for ministry in the Church.

Evan and I also initiated a Boy’s Club for some young guys we met in Wilmore.

The one hesitation I have sharing memories is the lingering fear over demerits that might still be dispensed from the raucous game of slip-n-sliding in the men’s hall. I suppose carpeted hallways would have put an end to this, but at the time, the tiled halls with dish-cleaning detergent mixed with buckets of water made a wonderful getaway to a theme-park atmosphere. Somewhere, a bed mattress at the end of the hall appeared as a fitting stop to these flailing bodies moving at high speed. It’s hard to describe what might have happened to a slickery-slider had someone actually opened the fire door at the end – because there would have been no stopping the slider from landing on asphalt below!

There’s no place like the small college campus on a Friday afternoon in the fall, while the

weather is still warm, and the weekend ahead. Some of the guys would turn their stereo speakers out the windows to the public and the anticipation of dates, football games, soccer, or plans with friends would heighten! It was electric!

I cherish my memories at Asbury College and know that God used the faith-environment in a mighty way in my life – and in the lives of so many! Thank God for all that He has done and continues to do through the Asbury community!

by Kevin Lance ’80