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Walking With Giants April 9, 2013

Posted by Fritz in Yachts and other things that float.
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The Lord works in mysterious ways.

This Easter my wife and I hosted a dinner for out of town friends visiting during Spring Break. My dad and step-mom, Freda,  also attended. During dinner my dad recounted a recent experience in his bible study group at his church.

The group was charged with reading Elmer Towns’ What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know. Mr. Towns is a prolific religious author as well as being the co-founder of Liberty University in Virginia.

Dad and Freda missed the first bible study class and also missed the first assignment; reading the book. At the group’s second meeting, they had no idea what was awaiting them when they sat down. Several members of the group surrounded my dad and began asking all kind of questions. It seems the first chapter sparked all the excitement.

“My first introduction to Sunday school came from Jimmy Breland. He was a Sunday School teacher from the Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia who made a living from being a door-to-door salesman for Jewel Tea and Coffee.”

A few of the members in the study group knew my dad was from Savannah so they eagerly asked if Jimmy Breland was any relation. Jimmy Breland was my dad’s father.

Mr. Towns went on in the first chapter to recount how my grandfather had shaped his life and pointed him in the direction of serving the Lord. He described him very close to what I remember. He passed when I was 11.

Needless to say my dad was busting  buttons at this brush with celebrity. The new found star of his bible study class couldn’t wait to share the story with us and it made for great Easter dinner conversation.

On Monday I Googled Elmer Towns and was surprised at what I found. In addition to writing over 200 books on religion, Mr. Towns holds multiple degrees including a Master of Theology, Master of Religious Study and a Doctor of Ministry. In 1971  he and Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Mr. Towns is currently the Dean of Religious Studies at the college.

During my search I came across Mr. Towns’ e-mail address. Not really expecting any response, I wrote him a quick note recounting my dad’s bible study story. To my surprise I received a very nice e-mail response full of questions about my grandfather and dad. He said this was the first he had heard about the Breland family since he wrote about my grandfather. He went on to say he wanted to send me a copy of his memoirs; Walking With Giants. In it he called my grandfather one of the ‘giants’.

I wrote back and asked if he would instead send the book to my dad. He responded quickly and said a copy was in the mail.

I think my dad will keep his celebrity status among his study group for a few weeks longer.

E. Towns

Elmer Towns

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