Written by Carol Senn Ruffin
My Maranatha journey began about as early as anyone’s could possibly begin: on May 8, 1968. My brother, who was a student at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College at the time, had called a few days earlier expressing concern over the resignation of Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm as president there. Our family immediately began praying about the situation, but my mom—Elayne Senn—sensed God prompting her to do more.
She made a few phone calls to verify that Sacred Heart Military Academy in Watertown was still for sale and then she did something that I—a typical 15-year-old girl—thought was CRAZY! She called Dr. Cedarholm in Minnesota and told him he needed to come to Watertown, Wisconsin to start a Bible college. Standing just a few feet from the phone, I heard Mom’s side of the conversation and was positively mortified at her gall.
What followed, however, was a whirlwind of events that underscored God’s blessing on this radical new venture. What a relief to learn that Mom wasn’t crazy after all! My family wholeheartedly joined the effort preparing the campus for school to begin in just a few months. We mopped, scrubbed, moved furniture, and did whatever else was needed. It was thrilling to be part of a miracle!
With two years of public high school left to complete, I spent as much time as possible at Maranatha making friends, hanging out in the snack shop, attending athletic events, and enjoying fine arts activities. I was itching to be a part of it all.
When at last I graduated high school, I enrolled at Maranatha Baptist Bible College with a major in Music (Voice) and a minor in Interpretative Speech. My undergrad years were a blur of classes, friends, student activities, society, choir tours, plays, recitals, and summer ensemble tours.
And then it was off to grad school where it quickly became clear that Maranatha’s small college environment had provided me with much more hands-on experience than my classmates from larger schools. What an advantage! Thank you, Maranatha.
This coming January it will be 42 years since finishing my Master of Fine Arts degree. One of those years I was a music reference librarian, six years were spent working and teaching at sister institutions—gaining invaluable experience and healthy perspective, and the remaining 35 years I have been at Maranatha.
What a privilege to be in a position where I can influence the paths and future ministries of the Christian young people God leads our way! The Lord has graciously allowed me to minister in music, speech and drama classes, in voice lessons, conducting the Ladies Chorus, preparing and traveling with summer ensembles, directing programs, plays and musicals, and serving in local church ministry.
With the benefit of fifty years of hindsight, my opinion of Mom Senn’s phone call to Dr. Cedarholm in 1968 is considerably different today. The Lord called my mom home to Heaven this past March 11th at age 93. What a blessing to have had access to her love, wisdom, and guidance for all these years! My prayer is that I, like she, would stay so attuned to the still small voice of God that He may continue using me in whatever way brings Him glory.