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  • Writer's pictureJon Estes


I had a major event (major to me) in elementary school that set the tone for the rest of my pre-college study habits. I will not mention that event specifics, as I see no reason to dredge it up and maybe upset others. I can look back and point to that one moment when I told myself that working to get an A was not worth the effort. That day, I settled on doing good but being a scholar was not worth it, for me.

SIDE NOTE – College changed everything in having me learn good study habits.

From that point on, through high school, I was a C student. My teachers would talk to my parents and tell them I could do so much better, that I was only doing enough to get by. They were right.

I think my parents resigned themselves that me being a C student was what I was. I wonder now if they ever expected more from me or if I would amount to any dreams they once had for me. I do not know and I do not remember being pushed to do better. After high school, my dad did encourage me to go to college. I went, for him only. I had no goals except to get a job, make a living, build a family, and support a church. Probably in that order. I enrolled in a Baptist college in NC. Remember, I had no… none… zilch, study habits. I was there only one semester and I think I failed everything but gym.


I sat in my Introduction to NT class and heard for the first time in my life that the Bible wasn’t all true and that the virgin birth would fit into the “not true” category. God used a liberal Baptist college professor to get my attention and hear His call upon my life unto full-time Christian ministry.

I drove home that next weekend and during the invitation time of the church service, I went forward to let my dad (the pastor) and my church (Derita Baptist) know of this calling upon my life. I am sure my dad was not only surprised but at that moment, he knew he was witnessing a miracle.

The following semester, I enrolled at Criswell Bible College in Dallas, TX. I began the educational journey of becoming a minister. Here I am 43 years later, still serving.

Back to my dad…

I am convinced that if my dad would have seen what God has done in my life since 1997 (remember, he passed in 1996) he would have been amazed at his C student son. It would have further sealed his Baptist reformed thinking. Before his passing, he spoke in 2 of the churches I pastored. Beyond that, he only knows what heaven allows him to know.

The following is a list of the things I look back at and stand amazed at God even wanting to use me in such ways. I also, deep inside, think my dad would have been my biggest supporter during each of these ministries (1997-2022). There were several ministries prior to these but these are the ones I served after my dad passed.

· First Principal of Thomas Adewumi International College, Oko, Kwara State, Nigeria

· Pastor Westmont Baptist Church – Johnstown, PA

· Pastor Scotsdale Baptist Church - El Paso, TX

· Pastor Jackson Park Baptist Church, Kannapolis, NC

· Pastor Emirates Baptist Church, Dubai, UAE

· Chaplain – Arbutus Retirement Park

Dad was an above-average preacher.

Dad was a consistent soul-winner

Dad was a dedicated reader. The list goes on…

I believe dad would have been surprised at how my life turned out.

I just hope that my kids will see my love for Christ and for them.

All those A students can be successful in this world but my success Is not in me or my works, it is all because of Jesus. God can call this C student to the other side of the world and back and use me for great and godly things.

Listen carefully… I say the above things feeling like a complete failure. I see the faces of people I should have told about Jesus. I hear conversations I stopped too early when sharing the gospel. I know churches that I failed and did not do my best as I let the things of this world defeat me while not letting the God of all glory carry me.

I have read this article several times over the past few weeks. I am not even sure if it makes sense.

Job 13:15 – Though He slay me, I will trust Him.

Miss you dad.

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