The Crowell Hall elevator at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago
The year was 1990. I was in my second semester at Moody Bible institute. I was not a disciplined student in high school and struggled to learn how to learn in my first year at Moody. Moody is a difficult school with high academic standards. In fact, due to my lackluster high school peformance, I'm pretty sure I was on some kind of academic probation from the start at Moody. I did well the first semester, but was pretty scared most of my first year. I didn't want to fail.
Moody's reasonable cost (students pay room,board, and some miscellaneous fees and tuition is paid by donors wishing to fund ministry training) was still hard for me to come up with. For the entirety of my four years, I worked 20 hours per week or more during the school year, even while playing soccer. My days were jam-packed and super busy. That first year was the most stressful as I didn't know if I was college material. I was sure of my calling to ministry, but admittedly wondered if I could stay the academic course. I am a person of average intelligence, most days.
I was on a pay as you go plan that required monthly payments. By the time I got to the Spring semester, I was barely making the payments. I would get my paycheck and bring it directly to the financial office on the forth floor of Crowell Hall and hand it over. It was just after Spring break in 1990 when I was right around $58.50 short of having enough for a payment due that day. Moody was very patient, in fact, my prescribed payment plan demonstrated some lenience to begin with. They had to be strict about enforcing on time payments. If late, you were automatically disenrolled from class until payment was made. Losing a week or two of class time would doom you for the semester. For me, it probably would have meant leaving Moody all together. There I was, $58.50 short. Some friends urged me to go to the financial office and do some begging, so I did. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor and tried to plead my case with a kind woman, who had no choice but to tow the line. I left severely disappointed and discouraged about my calling. "Why Lord, would you bring me here to drop out and fail?", I murmured aloud. I got on the elevator and headed back down to the ground level- exactly where you see the picture taken.
Before I could get off the elevator, the bell rang to indicate it was opening and changing directions to go up. I was slow to leave and so a person got on blocking my way. He had an envelope in his hand, the kind you get at the bank when a teller gives you cash. I did not recognize the man. He was standing in entrance of the elevator holding the door open with one of his legs. He looked at me and asked if I needed any money for my school bill. I responded, "Yes, I need some." I didn't tell him how much. He said, "Great, here, have this." As I said thank you, he turned around and left off the elevator the same way he came on. As the door closed, I looked in to the envelope and took out three crisp $20 bills. I quick hit the button for the fourth floor and went back up to the financial desk, to the same lady who just told me I'd have to disenroll the next day and said "Here you go....keep the change!"
Yes, it was only $60, and I'm not suggesting the dude was an angel (although, I never saw him again on campus, despite looking for him and asking people if they knew who he might be), but I am saying God encouraged my calling to ministry in a monumental way that day, on that Crowell Hall elevator.
Yes, it's my favorite elevator at Moody, so I was happy to pay it a visit last week when visiting for Founder's Week. I find the verse posted above the elevator most providential!
Study to show thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth.
- 2 Timothy 2:15