Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BOYCOTT (11/01/18)
TITLE: From Rebellion To Repentance
By Mariane Holbrook
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ALL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN "CAMPUS CLEAN-UP" ON SATURDAY, APRIL 3 FROM 8 A.M. TIL 3 PM. ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE POSTED ON THIS SITE ON MARCH 15.
"Outrageous!" shouted one disgruntled boy as he pulled away from the growing cluster of students and headed for class.
"Are they kidding?" a girl from Kentucky asked the person standing beside her. "I work at Luleich's Bakery every Saturday. I can't afford to spend a whole day washing windows or clipping some stupid shrubbery."
"The college should hire more groundskeepers to do their dirty work," a beefy football linebacker interjected.
"Heaven knows we pay enough for tuition, room and board at this place," someone shouted from the edge of the group. "We've got time. Let's protest or boycott this decision. What can they do if we don't show up to work? Send us all home?"
Canton Christian College president, Dr. George Stebbins, stood at his window watching the students milling around the Student Activities Center directly across from his office. He knew that "Campus Clean-Up" would not be a popular concept but the Board was exploring every avenue to help relieve the growing financial pressures. With declining enrollment, the college had been tightening its fiscally conservative belt so vigorously that they feared for CCC's very survival.
"Cut operating costs at every conceivable level," their comptroller had warned, "or soon we'll be having a very different conversation here."
Student fumed and quarreled about "Campus Clean-Up" day in dormitory rooms, campus hang-outs and student activities centers. Senior Jon Drummond suggested that a steering committee be formed to make plans for a major protest and boycott. Most students were eager to participate.
Soon posters were visible on telephone poles, dormitory windows, classroom doors, and even store front windows in downtown Canton, asking businesses to refrain from providing service or selling products to the college until the matter was resolved. Angry letters to the editor of Canton's only newspaper appeared regularly, decrying the unfairness of the scheduled cleanup.
The students purchased a permit for a Boycott March through downtown Canton on March third, thus giving the Board a month to change its mind before the April cleanup.
The Sunday after the "Campus Clean-Up" notice appeared, Dr. Stebbins was scheduled to speak at the campus chapel. He avoided mention of the upcoming student boycott. Instead, he requested prayer for his wife who had been rushed to a Canton hospital the day before.
"She is suffering from very severe headaches and an unexplained blistering of her entire scalp. Hospital physicians couldn't make a diagnosis so tonight she'll be air-lifted to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota."
Dr. Stebbins then left the pulpit, saying he needed to be with his wife. The campus pastor, instead of preaching, called upon the student body to kneel at their pews and begin praying unceasingly for the president's wife. The shocked students responded immediately, so deep was their concern for the wellbeing of Mrs. Stebbins, undisputedly the most beloved woman on campus.
The praying continued all afternoon, evening and all night in the chapel, with students coming and going as they were able. Tears poured freely, testimonies of Mrs. Stebbins' kindness shared, Scripture was read, confessions of sin were heard. Monday classes were cancelled while the prayer vigil continued on.
On Tuesday, senior Jon Drummond, chairman of the "Campus-Cleanup" committee, rose to his feet in the chapel prayer meeting.
"I've asked God to remove any sin in my life that's preventing the healing of Mrs. Stebbins," he wept. "I feel strongly that I should resign as chairman of the "Campus Clean-Up" boycott and have no further participation in it. I do so now in obedience to God's prompting through the Holy Spirit."
Immediately, another student rose in agreement, then another, then nearly the entire student body rose, indicating they, too, would no longer protest. Sustained applause, impromptu singing of worship songs, prayers and Scripture reading continued. Later, some returned to their rooms, feeling the battle for Mrs. Stebbins had been won.
After two weeks of intensive tests at the Mayo Clinic, Mrs. Stebbins returned to her home on campus. The cause of her malady was never discovered and her life returned to normal. Twenty years later, she still mentored women on campus who sought her wise counsel.
On April 3, the "Campus Clean-Up" was declared an overwhelming success.
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