In 1995, with college graduation a few years away, we received a knock at our door in married student housing. A young basketball player that I may have met once before, standing head and shoulders above me, was there. “Hello, I’m Tim Ware. Some minority students on campus are having challenges transitioning, and we’re hoping you can meet with us and help in some way.” I was at Cedarville as a transfer student from Word of Life Bible Institute, and my life was busy. Married just over 10 years, Gina and I had full plates. Both full-time students, raising Jessica, our 4-year-old, I worked a full-time job to get through college, and we were already serving with our friends Bart Sheridan, Tim Walker, and Bob Biekert leading a college class of 180 students at Grace Baptist Church and every other week providing pulpit supply at Second Baptist Church of Mechanicsburg, Ohio. I couldn’t imagine finding time to assist students in any way. Tim’s request for help from me had fallen on deaf ears. “No, I’m really sorry; I wish I could do more,” I said, empathetically attempting to turn him away. As I started to close our front door on him, Tim quickly used his oversized shoe as a doorstop. “Just one more thing,” he said. “My dad taught me when you have a challenge, find someone older and wiser to help, but if you won’t be that person …” His words trailed off as I reluctantly agreed to help.
It is no surprise to see Tim honored as Cedarville University’s 2018 One Another Mindset Award recipient during homecoming weekend. He has displayed that same kind of focused care for the children of Memphis, Tennessee, where he and his family have served, impacting countless lives. I’m so thankful for his encouragement and nudge more than 20 years ago, for me to make myself more available to serve others transitioning on college campuses.