Fifty years after the White’s Ferry Road School of Preaching’s founding, its legacy endures.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
I remember the pink JOY buses that brought all the little children — “red and yellow, black and white” — to worship.
I remember the campaigns where we passed out gospel flyers during the day and sang verse after verse of “Just As I Am” at night — as the preacher urged sinners to come forward, repent and be baptized.
I remember the drawbridge over the Ouachita River, the pungent odor of the paper mill that permeated the entire town of West Monroe, La., and the alligator we saw in the water one time when we went fishing.
In the summer of 1974, my family packed a U-Haul truck and moved to northeastern Louisiana so my father, Bob, could attend the White’s Ferry Road School of Preaching.
Amid the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned that August as I started first grade at Kiroli Elementary. On our black-and-white television, we watched the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” and shows such as “All in the Family” and “The Waltons.”
We ate fried bologna sandwiches, tuna casserole and canned soup as we relied on the GI Bill — educational funding from my dad’s time in the Air Force — to cover our family’s living expenses.
“I remember you as a tiny little dark-haired boy with cute little glasses,” said Deanne Middlebrook, whose late husband, Tommy, attended the tuition-free preaching school with my dad.
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