It was a very timid, scared 15-year-old that climbed out of the old station wagon, soberly looking around the mountain-top campus that was called “Ben Lippen School.” Eleventh grade was about to commence, and my missionary parents needed to return to their work in West Africa.
After the difficult first few weeks of extreme homesickness, conquering the shyness that was my nature, and learning to adjust to campus and dormitory life, I learned that “Ben Lippen” signified “Mountain of Trust.” I also learned that I was among friends: faculty members and staff, as well as the greater part of the students, were not to be feared, but loved and respected.
When I graduated with the Class of ’64, I had learned, among other things, that English grammar was fascinating. I had learned, via my faculty counselor, that one couldn’t always look at the world and at others through “rose-colored glasses” (an expression of which I had no concept until that moment!). I had learned that there was such a thing as a biblical worldview. I had learned the intense joy of participating in a regional FMF convention. I had learned that it was perfectly normal to sing tenor in the Ben Lippen choir.
But most of all, I learned how to fall in love—and stay in love—with Jesus Christ. Chapels were never boring. Bible, as a school subject, opened my eyes on a vista of God’s dealings with His creation. Prayer became more to me than repetitious childhood “good-nights” to God.
We all went different ways, after graduation: me, to Bible college and then to missionary service with my wife and young family. We served first in Africa, where I was born and raised. Later, we moved to Europe, and lastly, have been serving in biblical instruction and seminary training in Southeast Asia.
These have been good years, albeit demanding and difficult at times: Planting five churches, three in Europe; broadcasting the Gospel by radio in three languages to over seven million listeners; operating a correspondence Bible school; developing a seminary-level Biblical training program for church leaders in three Asian countries—everything with a focus on the Word of God.
All the way along, memories of Ben Lippen have remained with me, and I thank God for my experience there. Sure, I know BL moved from the mountain-top to South Carolina. I know that many are day-students. I know that faculty members are not the ones I knew.
But I know that Ben Lippen School still represents what I learned and cherish the most: learning to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. My prayer is that BL will always remain so, until the coming of Christ.
Rev. David Nunemaker, Ph.D.