Discovering the joy of learning

By Lou Kinzer Blanchfield '69, nursing

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Lou Kinzer Blanchfield graduated in 1969 with a bachelor's in nursing, and obtained a masters in lursing from Drake University. Lou is now retired and enjoys playing an active role in her community.

My endearing, enduring friendship circle began in seventh grade at Rogers Elementary School, ran through academy at Walla Walla Valley Academy, and stretched into my college years with Saturday night parties with food, games, music (The New Christy Minstrels, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass), and wide-ranging conversations that lasted well into the night with trusted friends. Those were wonderful growing-up years.

During my college years I remember how surprised I was about the joy of learning. It was in Bible classes where I first realized this excitement. 

The foundation was laid at home in my family, and then expanded at the Walla Walla College church where Elder Paul C. Heubach was senior pastor through my childhood and teen years. How fortunate we were! Elder Heubach's sermons and his kind, gentle life provided an outstanding model on which I built my basic understanding of God and His character. I'm eternally thankful for Elder Heubach’s insights.

In the academy, Elder Paul Gordon taught our Bible docs class. From my point of view, the best thing about his teaching was his invitation to ask any question we wanted and I had questions! He encouraged great discussions as he taught us to ask questions, then showed us various resources to explore for answers. For the first time in school, I felt free to explore my own beliefs.  

At Walla Walla College, Elder Joe Barnes taught our freshman Bible class. His lectures were fascinating and opened my eyes to a wider view of the Bible, God, the Holy Spirit, and God's work in our hearts and minds. Through those lectures, he illustrated the difference a deeper study of the word would bring to our lives.

Bible study at WWC was not limited to the classroom, it continued in Sabbath School classes on Sabbath mornings in the balcony (for you who might remember). That is where the dynamic duo of Jerry Schoepflin and Chuck Scriven presented their thoughts on the Sabbath School study. They were not shy about introducing their point of view, and as seniors, the information they brought from their theology and Greek classes easily impressed at least this freshman student! Their thoughts and questions caused me to go home and study for myself. I loved what I was learning and even enjoyed a short stint in a discussion group on KGTS-FM, of all things.

My college years took me to the Portland campus, where, in our nursing curriculum, our Bible class was based on the marvelous book, The Ministry of Healing by E.G. White. What brilliant concepts are tucked away in that book! Those words and insights have provided wisdom, strength, and encouragement, supporting me personally and throughout my career as nurse and nurse educator. 

These formative experiences set me on a lifelong study of the Bible, seeking to know God. I am confident that the joy of exploring the scriptures was the most unique gift I received at WWC. While that interest was nurtured in childhood and continued throughout my life from first grade through academy, by the time I arrived at WWC I was ready to seek more. It was at WWC that I discovered the joy of learning about God in friendship groups, in study, and in worship. I'm thankful for those blessings, for the friendship circle that continues even now, and for so much more.

Students sit together with hymnals in hand.
"I am confident that the joy of exploring the scriptures was the most unique gift I received at WWC."
Headshots of Paul Gordon and Jerry Schoepflin
Paul Gordon (left) and Jerry Schoepflin (right) were only two of the many people who influenced Blanchfield's spiritual learning.

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