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PART II: How Robert White Began Attending Lee College With Only $10 Forum Index -> Acts-Celerate Post new topic   Reply to topic
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Post PART II: How Robert White Began Attending Lee College With Only $10 doyle

PART II Robert White's Dilemma And The Incredible Miracle That Came About Because Of It

by Doyle Daugherty

WHEN members of the Ordained Minister’s Council, OMC, at the Church of God General Assembly, nominated Robert White for an important position, it is no understatement to say, what they elected him to do ROCKED his world.

Being nominated for any position by the Ordained Ministers Council, OMC was viewed by White as an honor. Why? He knew the dedicated caliber of people in that Council. He deeply respected the years of faithful service it required for them to be there. Every member of that Council had earned the right to be there by years of faithful service and study.

Robert White’s own journey into ministry began by walking to church with his Mom. Since they did not have a car, as a boy, Robert and his Mom Minnie White walked to a small “Holiness” church several miles outside the little town of Richton, Mississippi.

A COG minister came for a revival. The small church group enjoyed his preaching. He encouraged them to become part of the COG. When they were uncertain, he presented them with a written agreement with a PROVISO, attachment. The Proviso stated that in six months he would return. If 100 percent of those signing the agreement decided to leave the Church of God, they could.

To his surprise, in six months, everybody had decided to leave except for two members. They were Robert White’s Mom Minnie and his Grandmother Viola Graham. Because of Minnie and Viola, the rest of the people also stayed with the Church of God.

Robert attended a one-room school “out in the country” until the Fourth Grade. At that time, the County transitioned a number of one-room schools into the larger and more modern Richton school system.

When he was in the Fifth Grade, Robert noticed a small revival tent near the school. When he went to check it out, they asked if he went to church. He replied, “My Mom is Church of God.”

“We are too,” they gleefully responded. “We are starting a new church here in Richton. Be sure to tell your Mom about us.”

MINNIE WHITE and her Mother Viola Graham became Charter Members of the new Richton Church of God. Both have long since gone to Heaven, but these many years later, the Richton church is still open for worship. Check out their FB page.

Brother Overstreet from nearby Hattiesburg, MS, was appointed as pastor of the Richton Church of God. In his 80’s at this writing, Brother White said, “I still have fond memories of Brother Overstreet. He was a blessing to us.”

Though he attended church throughout childhood, White particularly remembers a time of re-dedication at 14. His school had a Bulletin Board for teachers and students. It was almost like a daily school newspaper. He put a special notice on the Board and signed his name, “I Got Saved!”

Robert remembered having another special distinction at school. He was the only Pentecostal child there. Graduating at 16, he was also feeling the “Call” to preach, but at first, he hesitated.

“God, I love You so much,” he prayed, “But I can’t even testify. How can I preach?” He had tried it several times and it had not gone well in his young opinion. Of course, most people at church are always thrilled when a young person shares their love for the Lord.

When he was 18, Robert made the 23-mile trek from Richton, and moved to Hattiesburg, MS. He found a job with the Butane Gas Company. Late one night, he got lost in a section of town he had never been before. He wandered around for a long time.

At nine o’clock at night, exhausted and afraid, he stepped into the middle of the deserted road. He asked the first man he saw for directions. Never once had he met the man before. He was a total stranger.

However, instead of giving him directions, the man asked a question that shocked him. “Young man, are you a preacher?”

Nothing Robert was wearing made him look like a preacher. Amazingly, the insightful man invited Robert to preach at his church.

“I mostly testified,” Robert remembered. He does not know how the word got around, but soon there were other requests to preach. He knew it was not because of his oratory abilities.

One revival continued every night for eight weeks. He humbly remembered, “I was amazed that people continued to come out. I was still struggling in learning how to arrange a sermon. After church, I would be almost overcome with insecurities. I would think, ‘After that, nobody will come back tomorrow night.’ ”

White says, “I was a nobody from nowhere with nothing, but God was blessing me and others through me. All I had was a voice, but I longed to use it for God.”

Pastors and church people liked the young preacher. Many of them had unsaved Loved Ones. Those without Christ were known as “The Lost.”

Their “lostness” and deep concern for their souls, brought tears to Robert’s eyes. He wept openly when praying with people about their unsaved Loved Ones. People remembered his compassion and concern. Those qualities outshined his insecurities and inabilities.

W.E. Rogers invited Robert to preach a revival in Bogalusa, Louisiana. While there, the very popular Lee College Trio came to sing on a Sunday morning. As a result of their dynamic ministry, many young people throughout the South had been recruited to attend Lee. The leader of the Trio said, “Robert, you need to be at Lee College.”

“That would be nice,” Robert replied, “But it would take a miracle. I do not have any money.”

“You don’t need much money to get started,” the Trio member replied. “A lot of Lee students get jobs and work their way through school,” Come to Lee and the school will help you find a job.”

After visiting his Mom in Mississippi, Robert White headed to Lee College. In Hattiesburg, he boarded a bus headed the 410 miles to Cleveland, TN. His Mom had helped all she could. The only money he had in the entire world was in his pocket. When he arrived in Cleveland he had $10.

Clifford Bridges was the Lee College Business Manager. It became his sad duty to tell Robert that $10 was not enough to attend Lee. White replied, “I’m looking for a job.”

Seeing disappointment flash across the young man’s face, Bridges explained, “Part of my job here at Lee is keeping up with who in the area is hiring. Right now, all the available positions are filled. If something comes open, I will let you know immediately?”

“May I speak with the school President and share my situation with him too?” White asked. “You sure can,” Bridges replied.

Lee President Dr. Leonard Carroll was also sympathetic to Robert. He repeated what Clifford Bridges had said. If Robert could find a job, he could go to Lee and make monthly payments.

At that very moment, Clifford Bridges rushed back in and exclaimed with joy, “I just got a call from Hardwick Mills. They have an opening for a Janitor.”

There were no cell phones then. Robert had just arrived in town. He did not yet have an address or money to establish one. Had he not requested to speak with the Lee President, he may not have been there when the Hardwick call came in.

“I ran all the way huffing and puffing,” White remembered. However, evidently Hardwick had called a list of others too announcing the job. When Robert came rushing in, the Mill Supervisor said, “I just hired someone.”

EMOTIONAL from the entire incident and exhausted from the bus trip, tears began to flow down Robert’s face. He blurted out in disappointment, “YOU GAVE MY JOB AWAY. That job was the only way I can go to Lee.”

The tears touched the Supervisors heart. He most likely had hired a number of Lee students who were working their way through school. They were non-smokers, a very good thing for a furniture factory, and were non-drinkers.
Evidently, Lee students he had hired previously had made a good impression.
It was Friday afternoon. Looking at the young, eager-to-work Robert, he said, “Come in Monday at 4 PM and we will work something out.”

It could be remembered that it was the possibility of jobs at those Cleveland-area furniture mills, that A.J. Tomlinson had used to motivate COG people to move from Cherokee, County, NC. to Cleveland, TN.

Their little corner of Appalachia was deeply poverty-stricken. The people Tomlinson pastored in Cherokee County could barely feed themselves.

In 1903, the year the Wright Brothers finally took flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, A.J. Tomlinson was trying to get the COG off the ground. In June, 1903, at the far end of the state from Kitty Hawk, the COG had its first official meeting in the humblest of mountain shanties.

The kitchen was a large pot over a fire outside. The only running water was in a nearby creek. If the new Church of God was to rise above such desperate poverty, Tomlinson must first help lift the people into a more stable financial future. How many came with him is unknown, but sometime around 1905, Tomlinson moved his family the 60 miles from Murphy, NC to Cleveland, TN.

In addition to jobs being available in Cleveland, it had the nearest railroad station. That transportation network gave Tomlinson access to most of the nation. Without that move to Cleveland, it is highly possible the new COG would have withered on the vine instead of bearing such phenomenal fruit for the Lord around the world.

Today, 60 miles driven on asphalt highways hardly takes an hour. In 1905, there were only dirt and mud-rut back-roads from N.C. to Cleveland, TN. In 1905, transportation was walk, ride a horse, horse-drawn buggy or wagon. Moving a family and any of their belongings or mule, would require a wagon or two. Ten miles a day would be the limit. Did they camp along the trail or stay with people they knew?

For them, it was a BIG deal, a long and laborious trip. There were no phones or internet. They didn’t yet have electricity in their homes. So, moving 60 miles away was a leap into the unknown. The more one learns about Tomlinson, the more impressive his leadership and faith legacy becomes.

End of PART II. More to come.
The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.

Last edited by doyle on 3/31/21 11:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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3/13/21 7:56 am

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Post Oh, that's good stuff! Aaron Scott
My grandfather worked for Hardwick Stove Company (I assume another enterprise of the Hardwick Mills) for, I believe, 45 years.

Thank God for kind people and God's providence.
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3/15/21 10:09 am

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Post JLarry
Robert White was the first preacher I saw that use sermon notes.
Recorded Sermons @

No one who died without Christ is happy about their decision.
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3/22/21 7:53 am

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Post All Preachers do doyle
Larry, all preachers use notes; Matthew's, Mark's, Luke's, John's, Paul's, Jesus'.

The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.
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3/22/21 10:49 am

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Post Aaron. Your Dad's 45 Years Of Honorable Service doyle
Numbers of my family members from the South-East Virginia area, worked in the Bassett, VA furniture factories. Uncle Frank put in 36 years there.

Congratulations to your Dad for his years of faithful service in supporting his family with that kind of physical labor. Our nation was built on men like your Dad.

The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.
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