Monday, February 2, 2015

Bill Lamkin

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing”-1Thess. 5:11 I found out the other day that a dear professor of mine from back in Graduate School passed away. I had no idea. He lived down in south Texas, a long way from the Ozarks and he and I emailed back and forth for years. He would call occasionally and promise to come see me “all the way up there in the Missouri.” Bill Lamkin was such a blessing to my life. He was an encourager, a builder-upper, an urger, a prodder and a blessing. I would not be where I am today without his God-appointed influence on my life. As a senior, I was finishing my undergraduate degree in psychology at Baylor and was considering options. I was entertaining opportunities all over the place. I was looking at seminaries, working with Young Life, playing soccer with Athletes in Action ministry and some other ideas. One other option was to continue my studies in Graduate School. But that was a long shot. My GPA was only fair to average. So that spring, I went to meet with the Dean of the Baylor Graduate College, Bill Lamkin. I had never met him before. He asked about my dreams and took a genuine interest in me. I explained that my GPA was fair and that I had not taken the GRE entrance exam. He asked more questions about my future. I told him I would like to one day be a Professional Counselor and help people with their problems. He explained, “Joey, you’ll have to take the GRE and make a passing score to get into the Baylor Graduate School first. Then, you’ll have to be accepted into the Counseling Graduate program and make satisfactory grades your first semester. It all depends on whether you really want this. If you do, I’ll take care it.” I explained to him that I wasn’t sure of the Lord’s direction. We shook hands and I told him I’d be in touch, if it could all wait. He said, “Fine.” I left to work at Kanakuk, a Christian athletic camp, for the summer. While at camp, all the other doors shut for various reasons. It seemed the Lord was leading me to Graduate School. But there were a lot of hurdles to jump over first. In July of that summer, I quickly registered for the GRE, took the test in a town nearby camp, and made qualifying scores for the Baylor Graduate School and the counseling program. I phoned Bill Lamkin and he encouraged me to make plans to be in Waco in the fall. I felt so honored. I felt blessed. I had a long way to go, but I was confident that the Lord had sent this special man to help me through this season. I lived in Waco, worked at a restaurant, and began my studies. It was tough. Each student was assigned a Supervisor. Mine was Bill Lamkin. I’m sure, as the Dean, he didn’t have specific students, but he chose to help me. Our meetings and lunches were full of questions about me, my studies, my life and the girl I had met while working at camp. That girl, Jeanie, would become my wife in the spring and move to Waco with me. As I worked through the program, I cherished my times with Dr. Lamkin. Life was not easy as I was working a couple of jobs and keeping up with challenging studies. But Bill Lamkin had the right words and stories to tell me to keep me going. He was God’s messenger to me to persevere and finish the course. Though he is gone now, Dr. Lamkin left a great legacy. He allowed the Lord to use him in so many lives, mine included. I appreciate him so much and hope I’m as willing as he was to reach out. I know I was an “extra” in his life. He was a busy Dean, after all. But he valued me, honored me and represented the love of Jesus in my life. Rest in peace, Bill Lamkin. Of all people, you deserve the joy of heaven. Your selfless life has ushered you into beautiful paradise. May our lives follow your pattern of encouragement… … in helping others through life. By Eric Joseph Staples@

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