Wednesday mornings in late 2003.
On Wednesdays, the Bible-college had a longer ‘Chapel’, as they called it – more singing and a longer preach. This particular day, there was an Irish preacher called Alan Graham, who’d been working in Zimbabwe. I don’t remember all that he said, but I remember everyone at the college was shaken by something. It was basically a whole list of what we were doing wrong. “Why do you have a TV-room? You’re here to study. Get rid of the TV.” “Why do you dress down? This is the kingdom of God. You should be looking smart.” “Why do you call your principal DP? It’s Doctor … Don’t called him DP!” And then we took an offering for our principal, and Mr Graham told us we would receive a blessing in proportion to what we gave. The principal told us later that he wouldn’t be asked back because “His theology got a bit mixed-up.”
After Wednesday-morning chapel, we had our lectures on the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. He was a good lecturer – a very passionate speaker, but he used to be a pastor, and I felt uneasy when he would criticise people in his previous church for not doing enough, etc. Though some were enjoyable, they certainly weren’t lectures you could feel relaxed in. Our lecturer happened to be a friend of Alan Graham, so that day, he came and sat in with us.
We were asked what’s one thing you want to do before you die. Well, my pastor at home had previously told a story where he was asked a similar question. He was first to answer, and said he wanted to go to the Great Barrier Reef. The others in the class gave more spiritual answers – friends they wanted to see come to know the Lord; that kind of thing.
Because Alan Graham was there, I think people in my lecture were more inclined to be super-spiritual. Someone would say: “I want to see hundreds of souls saved,” and he’d say: “Come on! Preach it!” It wasn’t a peaceful atmosphere – the type where God’s presence is tangible, so anyway, I thought: I’m going to be like my pastor. I’ll just say something really ordinary, so I said: “I want to go to a Grand Prix.”
I wrote in another post about my time at Bible-college and the problems I experienced as a blind person. I can still remember the day I left; they didn’t just let me go; they wanted me to talk to all my lecturers. I can remember his last words to me: “I hope you get to go to your Grand Prix,” and I remember how small they made me feel.
Well, just in case he’s interested, I’ve met Damon Hill, and that’s better than going to any Grand Prix in the whole world. It cost money, but it was worth every penny, and I’d pay it again tomorrow if I had the same opportunity. I’m glad Alex got to enjoy it, and Mum got to see me happy. I think I was happier that night than in all my time at Bible-college, so what does that say about me?