CHAPTER TWELVE
"New Classes"
(September 1982)

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Although it seemed as if my 4th hour was the only class I had, there were still five others. My first hour class was Earning and Spending taught by Mr. Walters. The classroom was filled with tables that sat two people at each. I sat at a table with Don on the first day. Mr. Walters, however, soon made an alphabetical seating chart, and I ended up at a table with a girl named Katie until she transferred out of the class.

Second hour was a math Analysis class taught by Mr. Baker. His seating chart put me right next to a girl named Stacey. She tried to talk to me, but my shyness got in the way again. She talked to me about the assignments, but I hardly said a word in response. After several days of enduring my silence, Stacey whispered something to Todd, who sat in the next row in front of us. Todd then said to me, "She wants to talk to you, Bob."

I jerked suddenly and started talking away, but only for that day. I was back to saying almost nothing the next day.

Shortly before I started carrying Don's Bible around, I started carrying my little New Testament to some classes, including my Analysis class. I was hoping that the Bible might open a door for me to start talking to Stacey. I laid the little New Testament on top of all my books so that it would be noticed easily. Stacey did comment about it, but it didn't become any easier for me to talk to her.

I was starting to feel down about my shyness around Stacey. The day finally came when Stacey had had enough. She walked into class, looked at her friends, pointed at me, and shook her head and hands as if saying, "Forget it!" She then moved over to the other side of the table where there was an empty chair next to her friends. As the school year went on, some pages in that Analysis book began to remind me of this incident. Every time I opened my Analysis book and saw those certain pages, I would remember what happened with Stacey. It was a very depressing experience.

Third hour was a second year typing class. The class was all girls except for me and one other guy.

One of the girls tried to communicate with me; but, once again, I couldn't get any conversation going. Another girl named Ramona also tried, but gave up. You'll read more of her later.

The other guy in the class, Matthew, sat next to me. I passed him a gospel tract.

"If you were to die right now, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.

"How do you know?" I asked.

He wrote on a piece of paper, "Because God gave his Son Jesus as a gift to pay the penalty for my sin." I later showed this note to Dan and he said, "Sounds good to me!"

Bur Matthew told profane jokes and cursed. I began to see him as another example of someone who claimed to be a Christian, but who rarely lived like he was a Christian.

I had lunch between third and fourth hours. Don and Matt had the same lunch time as I did. The three of us sat together and we got along good for awhile. Matt eventually drifted away from us. He and his friends would mock us and want nothing to do with us. He would come back later to apologize and everything would be cool. A week or so later he would drift away again. Matt kept going back and forth like this for much of the semester. He did this six or seven times.

Don and I were talking about Matt one day when Matt was acting like he was our friend. I said to Don, "He's getting along with us pretty well now."

"Yeah," Don said. "He's got problems."

"Really?" I said. "What happened?"

"He told me that he got kicked out of his home. He's living in an apartment now."

I doubted whether or not this was true. This was the only time that I ever questioned the truthfulness of something Matt said. Recall from a previous chapter that Matt invented stories in order to make friends.

Matt's friends, Nathan and George, began to sit with us. The three of them mocked Don and I for our Christianity. George, however, seemed to be very interested in the gospel when I talked to him in private. I think that they were all interested secretly, or they wouldn't have continued to sit with us. (I mentioned in a previous chapter that Matt would accept Jesus as his Savior several years later. George would show an intense interest in the gospel a few months later, but I will explain this in a later chapter.)

Matt and I started talking about music one day.

"What do you listen to, Matt?" I asked.

"Country music mainly. Soft rock, too. I don't listen to the hard stuff anymore."

"Well," I said, "there's a station called WYGR which plays Christian rock. Maybe you'd like to check it out."

"You like that?" Matt said with a surprised tone of voice. He had heard Don speak against rock music, so he thought that I was against it too.

"Yeah!" I said.

"Hey! Okay!" Matt said. "Maybe I'll check it out!"

Matt and Nathan were talking about their country music one day. Matt turned to Don and I, and he said, "You guys like WCUZ?" (This was the top country station in Grand Rapids.) "Ever hear Conway Twitty's 'If Heaven Ain't a Lot Like Dixie, I Don't Want to Go'?" They'd sing it and laugh.

While I was eating one day, I got the chance to sit with an old friend of mine named Sam. I hadn't talked to Sam in about a year. (My friendship with Sam had faded away over the past year because we had a different set of friends.) I tried to talk to Sam about my new-found faith in Christ, but he just simply laughed and really didn't listen to what I had to say. This was the last conversation that I ever had with Sam.

Don would sometimes memorize Bible verses while he ate lunch. He carried packs of cards that had scriptures on them. George, Matt, and Nathan would help him out to see if he really knew them.

Fifth hour class was Physics, and it was again taught by Mr. Baker. I sat next to Edward. Edward and I got along pretty well in that class, and he practically got me through the first semester because he understood it better than I did. There were four students from Rogers High School in the class. I got chances to witness to all of them.

Edward and I would act pretty strange in Physics sometimes. We'd pick up shiny poles that sat on the back table, hold them up as swords and pretend we were in "Star Wars." In deep voices we'd say, "I've been looking for you, Skywalker!" and "Luke, I am your father!"

I started handing out tracts once in class during a lab session. (Once I gave one to Mr. Baker, and he smiled and said that he was a Christian.) Lou was in the class for the first semester, and when I was handing the tracts out, Lou told me that he didn't mind what I was doing (he professed to be a Christian), but he said, "Just don't become like Don!"

"Yeah!" Edward strongly agreed. "That guy takes it too far!"

"Don't worry!" I said. "I'll never become like him!"

I regretted that comment later. This, by the way, was one of the last times that I acted ashamed of one of my friends because of peer pressure.

My friendship with Lou eventually dwindled slowly into nothing. I hardly ever saw him again after he transferred out of class second semester. We renewed our friendship (very briefly) several years later, but we quickly lost contact again. I don't know what happened to him or where he is today.

My sixth and final hour was Sociology with Mr. Smith. This turned out to be a pretty fun class. We had a lot of group interaction with games and discussions.

On one particular day, Mr. Smith told us to get into small groups for discussion. I got into a group with two people named Sandy and Randy. After we finished our discussion, I pulled out my gospel tracts and gave them to Sandy and Randy. I then asked if they knew Christ as their Savior. Mr. Smith was sitting in the corner of the room and kind of smile-laughed when he saw what I was doing. Mr. Smith was a Christian. Sandy also let out a little laugh. I later found out that Randy's dad was a pastor. That was probably why Mr. Smith and Sandy were laughing. Here I was telling "the preacher's kid" about Jesus! I also learned that both Randy and Sandy were involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

A guy named Will sat right next to me in this class and we talked a lot. I gave Will a tract and asked if he ever received Christ.

"Yes, I have before," he said.

"Then you're saved!" I said.

"But I still sin," he said.

"So do I," I said. "If you've accepted Christ as your Savior, then you're saved!"

"No matter what?"

"Yeah! No matter what!"

Will and I talked for awhile about church. He told me that his parents attended a church. I asked if he'd like to come to church with me, and he said yes. I tried for the next couple of weeks to get him to come, but he said he had to fix his car on the first week, and then to pick it up on the second week, and then he had other reasons for not going on weeks after that. He may have had legitimate reasons, but he never went with Don and I to church. (Don was now taking me to church. Dan wasn't able to take me to church anymore, so he asked Don to do it.)

I also witnessed to Will's brother Pete in the bathroom once. He seemed very interested in the gospel and took my tract.

This was how my school year began. This was the start of my Senior year, and it would go by very quickly; but it would end up being a very fulfilling year.

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