Walt’s New Year
Howie was intent on his game of marbles ‘singles’ when a shadow covered him. A tall, lanky fellow greeted him and asked him if he would be interested in being part of his Sunday School class. Any sentence with school in it was bad news to Howie. “Not interested,” he replied. “May I play you a game of marbles?” asked Walt, the visitor. Now that was better, thought Howie. Walt won every game! Howie was impressed. He was ready to stick with this guy.
Walt continued on his mission. He had approached his pastor about being a teacher in the church’s Philadelphia Sunday School but there were no spots available. So the pastor suggested, “If you can recruit a group of boys from around here we’ll find a place where you can meet with them.” Eventually Walt succeeded in gathering 13 boys, each just under the ‘teens. Recalling those times as an adult, Howard describe this group as a collection of “ragtag, rough-hewn, cruddy kids. We became his fans.” (Source: “Footprints” 1981 by Howard and Jeanne Hendricks)
In addition to class time Walt took the boys on hikes, went sliding down snowy hills, visited amusement parks, went boating on the Delaware River and became their friend and confidante. Howie developed a thirst for making his life significant too. While in sixth grade he decided that he wanted Jesus to be his Savor and then live for Him as Lord. Eventually 11 of the 13 went into vocational Christian work. Walt had introduced these boys to a New Year like no other.
I have read the late Howard Hendricks’ books (died Aug. 14, 2019), sat in on one of his seminars and used teaching materials he has developed. What Walt meant to him, Howard Hendricks has been to many others.