Through a Father’s Eyes
Don C. Schneider
Jesus is my Savior. He’s my Friend. He became special to me when I was a student at Wisconsin Academy. It was Friday night, my senior year. I’d been challenged by students and by staff. I was in an environment where it could happen. So that Friday night I went into my room—No. 139 in the guy’s dorm—locked the door, knelt by my bed and gave my life to Jesus. What an exciting thing it was! Nothing in my entire life has compared to that event.
The next morning as I walked across the campus with Jim Clizbe, I was singing, "I’ve wandered far away from God, but now I’m coming home." Jim didn’t understand. He didn’t know what had happened to me the night before. So he exclaimed, "Man, you’ve changed keys three times already!" But to me the key was not important. The message—Jesus had become my Savior—that was all important. That was everything!
Our family had met Jesus earlier in northern Wisconsin. There hadn’t been much of a spiritual life in our home, but the head elder gave us Bible studies, we became Adventist Christians, and I was enrolled in the Adventist elementary school.
In that school in Merrill, Wisconsin, Mrs. Doyle taught me to pray. I’d never had that experience before. Mrs. Doyle taught our family about the Sabbath and how to keep it. She taught me, and I explained it to my parents. One day my mother said, "If Mrs. Doyle said it in church school, it must be right, so we have to do it." Mrs. Doyle had a lot of influence on the way we did things around our house.
That Adventist church school gave me the opportunity to learn about the Bible. Once when I visited my grandmother, she said to me, "I’ve heard that there is something in the Bible called the Twenty-third Psalm. I’ve never seen it. Could you find it for me?" Because of Mrs. Doyle and the Adventist church school, I could easily find the Twenty-third Psalm. Church school made a difference.
Naturally, that experience affects me every day of my life. So when Marti and I met (at an Adventist college), were married and had children, we obviously had to take them to the Adventist school. In a box at our house is the picture of our little boy holding his Snoopy lunch box just before we took him to his first day of school at the Adventist school in Lincoln, Nebraska. Later our daughter entered the first grade in an Adventist school in Casper, Wyoming.
Do you know what we wanted from those teachers? It wasn’t very difficult. We had only one boy and one girl. Our mission for those teachers was, "Please, do everything possible so that boy will be in Jesus’ kingdom. Please do everything possible, 'cause we want to live with that girl in heaven." That’s what we wanted from Adventist education.
Later, our two children graduated from Adventist academies, colleges and universities. I kind of hope their education prepared them for their chosen professions, but the thing that is absolutely crucial to me is that they both know Jesus Christ personally.
Has an Adventist teacher, dean or school administrator positively influenced your life? Send us your story. The best stories will be published in a new book coming out in 2006. Get the facts and story-writing guidelines at www.nadeducation.org under "What’s New."