Tucker Lownes had been a DL camper for 6 summers when he was recommended for the 8 week Guide program. Guides are campers whose counselors believe have good potential as a DL staff member. I interviewed him by phone and sent him a letter of invitation to register. Tucker decided he would rather work on maintenance with Brent Karner.
At some point I learned that Tucker had trouble reading and was not doing well academically in college, even with the help of people reading his text books to him. (He finished at the very bottom of his graduating class at Gordon College.) I also learned Tucker was a good horse back rider – like big time show time! This may have helped his self confidence, but it did not help him to read!
Tucker became a DL counselor – great with kids! He and Peter Kempf were the first counselors to lead the Allagash River canoe trip. On the river, Tucker decided to ride a moose. He was serious. Fortunately he was never able to get close enough. To have a staff member try to ride a moose may say more about my inability to choose wisely the counselors who would take campers into northern Maine where they would not see a house for eight days…than about the staff member who stayed true to his unpredictable nature.
On Monday mornings Tucker came at 6:30 to the voluntary Breaking of Bread service. The purpose of these services is to worship/celebrate what Jesus Christ accomplished for us through his death and resurrection. Campers and staff sit in front of the fireplace in a semi-circle around the communion table. In this setting campers and staff read the scriptures, pray, and request hymns to be sung – often explaining why they have chosen that particular hymn. I always sat in the front circle and started the requested hymns.
One Monday morning Tucker requested a hymn I did not know. I asked if anyone else would be able to start it. Silence. I then asked this Tucker to read the hymn. The request was no sooner out of my mouth than I realized what I had done. Tucker could barely read! As I sat there, wondering what to do next, I head Tucker reading the hymn like an actor! The words flowed from his mouth – expressive, reflecting the emphasis of each verse. I was stunned. After the service Tucker told me that after he had started to read, he realized what was happening…and just kept on reading. God knew Tucker’s desire to be God’s man, and this was more important than his academic record. God could equip Tucker!
After graduation, he married Kim, a delightful person. Tucker went to work for Ryder Truck Rentals. He worked hard, and after 16 years, was hired away from Ryder by Kempf Building Supply, a company with four locations selling the construction materials used in finishing commercial building interiors. Tucker eventually became Vice President of Sales.
Tucker and Kim were very involved in the life of their church, and came to believe God wanted Tucker to leave his financially secure job, which he enjoyed, and enter the ministry as his vocation. When Tucker told his boss, Bob Kempf, a fellow believer and Deerfooter, Bob said he could stay on as Vice President of Development while earning his Master of Divinity degree from Hatfield Biblical Seminary. Tucker graduates in June and the lowest grade he has earned, in any course, has been a B-. He swears that his wife Kim has not written any of his papers for him!!!
When we get discouraged with ourselves, our children, or our grand children, let’s remember Tucker who, academically, was a late bloomer. Even more importantly, let’s remember a man who seeks to be God’s man.
As I think about Tucker, my mind goes to how the first 4 men Jesus chose to be his disciples were fisherman: Peter, Andrew, James and John.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD Isaiah 55:8