Thursday, June 2, 2016

Gathering Flowers For The Masters Bouquet

Dr. Ralph “Yankee” Arnold, President     Office phone  813-884-432

Memorial Day weekend caused me to remember many warriors of the faith who have given their lives in the midst of the ministry. This is not meant to be an extensive list of all who had a part in my life but just a few. Have you truly considered the price that thousands of young men and women paid to give us THEIR LIVES? How we live our lives with this blessed freedom reveals our real gratitude for those who made it possible. If we waste our lives, we also waste their sacrifice. The same is true of the great sacrifice Jesus Christ our savior made for us. Our lives should be a great big thank you to the Lord for all that Christ has done for us.
Back in 1Mrs._Sue_Stanford2964, Mrs. Sue Stanford would sit in the adult Bible class I would teach while filling in for Dr. Mark Cambron. I asked her to give me several pointers that I might improve upon. Would you believe she gave me 3 pages of notes? She would get all over me for bringing so many kids to Florida Camp from Colorado without registration forms. She would get so frustrated with me, and say "Oh Yankee, you do this every year!". It only lasted about a minute. I not only admired this great Godly woman, I loved her. Betty and I visited her and Val in North Carolina one year, and we had to climb this steep hill up to the house. Sue took off and left the rest of us, and I had to run to catch up to her. I said, "We're going too fast up this steep hill" (I was concerned for her age), She said, "Why, do you need help?"

When you do full time evangelistic work, you wandan_adamst to fill every week with meetings if possible. This one year was full except for two weeks. I kept asking the Lord for those two weeks to also be filled, but to no avail. The first week that I had open, I received news that my friend whom I had led to the Lord had lost his son, Barney Adams. Betty and I decided to get to Minnesota as quickly as we could only to be there at the hospital when the dad, Danny Adams (Pastor of Good News Bible Church) passed into glory. This was the week I had open. Then I knew why God kept this week open.

After I graduated in 1968 from Florida Bible College, I went inSonny_and_Rachelto Indian summer camps as the guest speaker with Cliff Taylor and Sonny Blueye. After attending Indian camps in Oklahoma, Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, we ended up in Colorado. We three started the Colorado Indian Bible College. Years later, Sonny became my registrar for Colorado Bible College. Sonny was a big Indian in a lot of ways. His size was totally intimidating. He had a big heart for his family, his ministry, and the Lord.
To continue with the previous story, I still had a week open and wasn't too sure I wanted to know why. I received a call from Rachael Blueye that Sonny had passed away and wanted me to do the funeral at Bob Dean's church on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation in Buffalo, New York. This was the exact week that I had open. Sonny Blueye and Bob Dean were alumni of Florida Bible College of Hollywood.


Pastor Dick Haynes was also a graduate of Florida Bible College. With his wife Karen, they worked with children, teenagers and adults across America. Dick passed away with cancer, but gave it all he had before that moment. When he came home after being in the hospital and could barely stand, he insisted on going to Cracker Barrel. The next day he was back in the hospital. The next time I saw Dick he had driven a bus loaded with kids to Freddie Coile's camp in Georgia. He lay on a bed with barely strength to move. Shortly thereafter he went home to be with the Lord. He might have been short in stature, but he was a giant for the cause of Christ.

It was always aRay_Dukes_005d joy to visit and preach for Ray and Diane Dukes when I was traveling on the road. Ray graduated from Florida Bible College and pastored for many years. About 40 years ago, Ray was directing a youth ranch in Paducah, Kentucky. I was returning from Florida camp on my way back to Colorado and joined him for a ranch meeting.  35 years later Ray was still working with teenagers and bringing them to camp. When Ray and I were walking around his neighborhood, little did I understand the stress he was under due to his illness. Ray was funny--I mean really funny. He did not have to try. It was so natural for him. He was such a joy to be around. In 2009, Ray went home to be with the Lord after a six month battle with brain cancer.

Two of my favorite people at Florida Bible College were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Miller. Whenever we traveled, we tried to make itMr._and_Mrs._Robert_Miller2 a habit to stop by the Millers' home in Rome, Georgia or in Ocala, Florida. We were privileged to spend many nights in their home. They truly had the gift of hospitality. If you had a problem, they had ears to hear and words of wisdom to share. Their ministry affected the lives of thousands of students who went through the Halls of FBC. They have both gone to be with the Lord.
Many people knowRay_Stanford_010 that Dr. A. Ray Stanford had a very special place in my heart. Not only did he start the Florida Bible College, but also trained thousands on how to win souls. Ray was 95 when he went to meet the Lord. I cannot state the total impact that God's servants made in the lives of those who walked through the Halls of FBC, but I can share that they truly made an impact in my own personal life. Many were not only my teachers, but were my friends and co-laborers in the same ministry and to the same Lord.

Dr. Hank  and Jeannette Lindstrom met when I attended FBC in 1964. Hank made a big impact on my decision to attend FBC Hank1_1in Miami. Many young men desired to be like Hank. He was a young vibrant soul-winner that could sing and play the guitar. Hank spoke in our Colorado Christmas Camp one year. I was driving the bus with a load of teens down a snow packed steep hill, when I asked Jeanette (who was sitting on the first seat on the passengers side), "Would you like for me to move closer to the edge so you can see better?" She almost went into cardiac arrest. Hank started the Tampa Youth Ranch where thousands trusted the Lord. He later founded the Calvary Community Church of Tampa where he pastored for 42 years. Hank went home in 2008. I have been privileged to step into this wonderful ministry and continue the legacy he began.
Every year, there are more of the FBC Alumni that have gone home to be with the Lord. I have mentioned only a few, but I'm sure you could add many more to the list. I believe that I have more friends in Heaven than I do on this side.

Gen 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

The Lord is still gathering FLOWERS. One day it will all be over. Let's run well and finish well. KEEP LOOKING UP.

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