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  • Class of 1979

    Lori Shanebeck

    I was a very new Christian, having accepted Christ when I was 15. I was not raised in a Christian home, so all of it was very new to me. However, I knew that I wanted to come to Biola very much. I had one huge obstacle though, my non-Christian dad. He was afraid of what kind of person I would become if I attended Biola. His fear was that his daughter would become a strange religious freak who preached on street corners.

    My mother talked him into coming to the college to just check it out. They went the spring of my senior year and I stayed home. A good day was spent with a campus tour and lunch in the cafeteria. When my parents went out to their car in the late afternoon they saw that they had a flat tire.

    My dad insisted on changing it himself and was in the process when a young man approached them and offered to finish the job. My dad said yes and they chatted while he worked. The young man shared that he was a student at Talbot and studying to become a pastor. According to my dad, he was bright, personable and clean cut. That was a plus given that it was the seventies and my dad really didn't like long hair!

    As the young man finished my dad handed him a twenty dollar bill. He politely refused, my dad insisted, and this went on for a bit. Finally the young man said that he would take it if my dad would allow him to give it to his church. My dad agreed and they parted.

    What that young man will never know is that his engaging personality, wit, heart, and desire to please God spoke to my dad in a way that no one had been able to up to this point., My dad was not a believer and proud of it. This young man showed a depth of character and a winsomeness that affected my father.

    He agreed to allow me to attend Biola and that first semester met many more students like that young Talbot student. Even though he didn't want to, he began to see God in a different light. Back at home he took his questions to my pastor in what had become a weekly meeting. The combination of Biola and the Holy Spirit were having an affect on my parents.

    It was in January of my freshman year and I was studying in my dorm room when I was told that I had a call. On the other end of the line were my parents with the news that they had both accepted Christ and would be getting baptized in March. They flew me home for the event and as I sat in the front pew in my church that night, I thanked God for that Talbot student, my pastor, and for the impact that a series of visits to Biola had on my family.

    My father died two years later, but right up to the end he talked about Biola and what an incredible impact the school had on his life. He often said that even though he did not get a formal degree from Biola, he got help with the ultimate degree - the one that would enable him to spend eternity with His Lord.