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Making the Miracle of Liberty University Happen

By By Rod Gladfelter (’80), York, Pa., June 12, 2019

In 1996, I flew to Bozeman, Mont., with the idea of regrouping for the next chapter of my life. In need of a mini-vacation, I chose Bozeman as my “getaway.” After I landed, I rented a bicycle and bought a cheap fly-fishing rod. For the next five days, I camped in a small tent along a stream just below the snow line of a mountain and rode my bike 60-80 miles each day. I fished for my food along the stream where I camped. The idea for the trip was to rough it, to a degree. I must say I lost some weight between the very few trout I caught and riding my bike each day around the mountains.

The memories gained in those few short days would be etched forever in my mind. There were several miracles to speak of during the trip; however, I will only share the one that changed the way I looked at the gift I received from Liberty University in the form of financial aid.

Our family was blue-collar. No one in our family ever went to college as far back as we could remember. Somehow, the Lord blessed me with the finances to attend the greatest university in the world, Liberty University. It was just another miracle from God to place me under godly men who helped me in the course of my young Christian life — I was a diamond in the rough, as Liberty’s founder Dr. Jerry Falwell used to say.

On the third day in Montana, I was riding my bicycle approximately 40 miles north of Bozeman along a deserted dirt road 30 miles from any town when I came upon a lonesome house between the mountains. A 92-year-old lady was bent over cleaning up some trash left behind by the trash pickup. I offered to help, and as I was sweeping the glass from her short driveway, I learned her husband died a year earlier. Out of the blue, she mentioned that she had only one regret and that was that she and her husband never got to visit Dr. Jerry Falwell’s great college down in Lynchburg, Va. When I asked how she knew about Liberty University, she said she and her husband watched Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour on television every Sunday morning since they seldom were able to get to a church, being so far out of town. She went on to say how they gave $40 faithfully every month to help students gain an education at this new Christian college.

As tears started to roll down my face, she asked me what was wrong. I said, “Maybe you and your husband never did get to go to Liberty, but God brought a small part of Liberty to you.” She was puzzled when I thanked her for their faithfulness to the Lord, but then I told her I was a product of their contributions. If it weren’t for the scholarship gifted by people like them, I told her, I would never have had the greatest experience of my life. I thanked her, and we hugged each other and cried together all because she and her husband helped make the miracle of Liberty happen.

I thank our Heavenly Father for the many people like my friend from Montana who made the Miracle of Liberty Mountain happen — the miracle of many lives like mine. Dr. Falwell often said that Liberty is in the business of Training Champions for Christ. I would like those who give to the Lord through Liberty University to know that you are Champions for Christ and my heroes. My life and many, many others have been changed because of you.

For more information on giving to Liberty University, including joining the 71 Club Scholarship Fund to provide direct scholarship assistance to students in need, visit Liberty.edu/Giving or call (800) 543-5309.

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