“To live above, with saints we love, that will be glory.
To live below, with the saints we know, that’s quite a different story!”
Several years ago I came across this well known quote while I studied at the Bible College of Wales.
When you think that Bible College students all day walk with their Bible and study books under their arms and a halo around their heads, you are mistaken.
I had a wonderful time, for sure, and have learned a lot, but we were men and women of flesh and blood who had to learn to live together on a daily basis.
There were strict rules at the Bible College.
Boys were only allowed to interact with boys, girls only with girls, and only in the classroom they were allowed to communicate with one another. We even took our meals in different dining rooms.
However, one couple started courting right at the beginning of their three year study period and managed to keep it secret till the very end.
Next to our studies, we also had to do practical jobs on the College grounds.
The guys looked after all the technical jobs, including plumbing, woodwork and electricity, painting jobs, the gardens and keeping the fires of the central heating going. I was responsible for the tools and parts storeroom, and assisted the professional students when they needed a helping hand.
Sometimes there were jobs to be done in the wing where the girls lived.
One day I went with the electrician to the girl’s dormitory to do repairs. They had to share the room with several girls, while we guys, only had to share the room with one other person. (That could be a challenge too when your room-mate was from a different culture.)
This particular room housed six students, and the quote at the beginning of this story hung on their wall. You probably had to laugh when you read the proverb, but now you can understand how it must have been to share a room with six other girls!
I must confess we guys weren’t saints either, and had our share in breaking the rules.
Whatever the reason was, one Saturday morning a water fight ensued between some students, and somehow I ended up in the middle of it.
As I entered the swinging door, the fleeing student on the other side was stuck and treated to a full bucket of water. This happened just before breakfast, and for the rest of the morning things seemed quiet.
After dinner we walked back to our dormitory, where the “victim” of that morning tried to empty a bucket from the upstairs bathroom.
We thought we were bright and took another entrance, but had forgotten there was only one staircase. Not only we were doused, but the senior student who walked upstairs and threatened, “Don’t you dare!” even more!
We ran upstairs and shuffled with the perpetrator in the bathroom.
One of the students had filled the bathtub with (what we later realized) too warm water. The “morning victim” became a double victim, for two guys put him bottoms-down in the water.
He screamed, and when they released him, he ran through the corridor, yelling, “My bottom is steaming! My bottom is steaming!”
Surely, his behind was very red and another student took him to the first aid department of the Swansea hospital.
The nurse told him to remove his pants.
“What?” he asked incredulous. “At the College I’m not even allowed to TALK to the girls, and you want me to remove my pants?”
The other student burst out laughing when he overheard, and of course this became the joke of the College. Thankfully, it all ended well, but I never forgot the incident.
This is only one of several stories that happened during the two years I spent in the Bible College.
Since then, the students have gone out over the world to Africa, South America, the Middle or Far East or stayed at home ministering in churches, hospitals or wherever God called them, fulfilling the purpose of our training in the Bible College.