by Carla Williamson, UMO Chaplain
Once upon a time it was a warm summer evening and the breeze gently kissed my cheek as I stood talking with friends in Goldsboro, NC. Causally the long white car tiptoed by and then stopped. The young man behind the wheel glanced over his shoulder and called out to those standing around me inviting the males to take a ride on his white stallion. They leapt into the vehicle as a lion leaps onto his prey and off they rode into the balmy night. The next day I learned that this young man who came riding in on his stead was a UNCW college man from Grantham and he had informed his night posse that he was going to date me.
Laughter poured forth from me as water gushes when breaching a dam. “That is what he thinks,” I responded. Four months later we were engaged to be married. We were married in a little Original Free Will Baptist church and that young man, Aubrey, and I settled in Dudley and the fairy tale began. A couple of years later Aubrey accepted the call into ministry serving the Original Free Will Baptist church. I gave birth to our first of three sons and I left work as a commercial artist in Goldsboro to be a homemaker.
Over time, it became clear to Aubrey and to me that in order to better serve the Original Free Will Baptist church we needed to become better prepared to serve. We enrolled at Mount Olive College (now the University of Mount Olive). We were both religion majors and were enrolled in cohort # 4 one- night-a- week. We loved going to class together, reading the assignments together and engaging in deep theological discussions. We really had fun seeing who could get the highest grade in Dr. Yonkers class. Our son Bryan was also enrolled at Mount Olive as a Religion major during the same years. Bryan enjoyed seeing if he could get a better grade than his parents. We all graduated in 2004. Not only were we a family that prayed together we were a family that studied together.
This October 14th we will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. Aubrey is still preaching for the Original Free Will Baptist in Kenly and I serve as Chaplain and an instructor at the University of Mount Olive. Aubrey and I did not meet at the University but having been students of the University enabled us to better prepare to serve others in the life of ministry. The University has opened its doors and given me the opportunity as Chaplain to apply my education and calling into ministry. We owe a great deal to the University of Mount Olive. God called Aubrey and me, the University helped equip us, and now we serve God’s people. So we are not really living a fairy tale. We are living out a true story that just feels like it’s a fairy tale! How blessed are we? Our hearts are green, UMO green!