I forgot to mention in my last blog who the next Nav rep was after Doug Benshoof. It was Harvey Cox. Harv didn’t have the same evangelism gift that Doug had. In fact, I don’t think he went to the Marine base at all. His ministry was more to the faithful who were already in the Navs, and he especially worked with married couples. He seemed to have a special gift of rebuke and correction. And, as you can imagine, he wasn’t that well liked. But he was strong in the word. I remember asking him some very specific questions about my future and marriage, and he almost instantly had a verse for me, which I still hang on to: Proverbs 24:27, “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
I should tell you about my work experiences, and also college, during my four years with the Navs, from 1971 to 1975. I started working as a common laborer on a construction site. That was hard work, but at times interesting. I remember some of the old guys chewing tobacco, how they would chomp off a big chunk, hold it in their cheeks and keep chewing it all during the day, and every once in a while, spit it out. I tried a little one time. It was kind of tasty and gave me a little high, but it wasn’t for me.
I had another job for a while as a carpenter’s helper. I guess I was lucky to be hired, not really having carpentry skills; but I must have convinced them that I could learn. And I did. I learned very quickly. My main job was working with the carpenters installing all the crown molding and baseboards in all the new apartment rooms being built. It was a great job. I liked it, and loved learning that skill.
Another skilled job that I managed to get was with an engineering company, drafting. Sometimes I worked out in the field doing surveying, but I mainly worked in the office drafting. Most of the time they had me drafting individual lots that were just surveyed; and sometimes I worked on large subdivisions, and also on topographical maps. Those were fun.
I can’t remember how I got that job, but it probably was because of where I was going to college at the time. I was undecided as to what I wanted to do with my life, but I thought I would like drafting. So, I checked out the local community college, Coastal Carolina Community College. The closest program they had to what I wanted was a program they called Surveying Technology. I wasn’t particularly interested in surveying, but I liked the drafting part of it. I didn’t care for the other classes either, and generally, I wasn’t a very good student. But on the positive side, I think all the struggling through the classes helped me. Basically, I think I learned better study habits by just plain will power—mixed with a strong dose of prayer. In the end I received a two-year degree in Surveying Technology—in three years. Sadly, the degree was worthless to me, but the study experience was well worth the effort.
In one year, I would begin going to Northwestern Bible College in Roseville, Minnesota (which is now renamed Northwestern University). There I finely felt that I was in the right place, and all the tireless work that I had put in, in the community college in North Carolina had finely paid off.