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A Bible Teacher’s Backstory (Interview) (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
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December 31, 2021 3:00 am

A Bible Teacher’s Backstory (Interview) (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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December 31, 2021 3:00 am

How did a Scottish pastor end up in Cleveland, Ohio? Hear that story, along with some fun details about how Alistair Begg met and courted his wife! Be sure to join us for the rest of Bob Lepine’s special interview on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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People frequently comment on Alister Briggs Scottish accent ever wondered how a Scotsman ended up in Cleveland, Ohio that they were to hear the fascinating story and will learn about how Alister and his wife met and fell in love with each other.

That's today on Truth for Life.

As I continue an interview with Alister Bragg. How did you wind up as a teenager in America in the summer. How did that happen soon. My late father-in-law would say because you know I am a tenacious Scott that's the answer. It was this American family I've never met an American family that that I met when I was 16 in suburban London that introduced me to Americans who were in the UK with campus Crusade for Christ and it was one of the girls of the American family that I sent my affection on and will Outlook break that's what you mean to her and you see her and you go wow and yeah yeah yeah Vincent. 516. She was 3013 jacket that compute for you that your 16 inches but I never gave any thought that is all I never I never I never imagine anything really beyond the fact that I sat down to lunch at the this table with invited to this American home and around the table were various people some friends and their people in the family and across from me.

A girl and she had the lovely lovely eyes and and I just fascinating captivated by this and the next day one of my friends and I went to Carnaby St. in London. We before we got the train to go back to leads and I got a postcard and card machine I and I wrote to her and I said it was so wonderful to meet you and ask your mother if it's okay if I write letters to you, you were instantly smitten. Yeah, you dive into it was it was just it was the weirdest thing so we we live 300 miles apart from one another and then one day without checking Iacocca without checking with me took the American family back to America and so I had been the problem that it wasn't over 300 miles between us were 3000 miles between us so I was very sad and there's more to that story my friend was friendly with her sister. I called him on the phone.

I said did you hear that they're not coming back. He said yes I said what you going to do.

He said what you mean what you say, what were you going to do, and they're not coming back is sore. That said, everything over is nice is in a daily affair. We live here.

Let's move on. I said monitoring that is or you assembling America. It was like yes your your yet while you visit Mars on the way and that when I put the phone down in my hallway and I said I will I will go to America on the this is not over. So I wrote letters for another year and in vivo. The way to get to explode a 72 with campus Crusade, knowing that her folks had introduced me to campus Crusade and discovering that they were going to go to exploit as well. Taking this girl with and so after a gap of about 14 months. I then met up with her in the Adolphus Hotel is where I was staying these Specific guys and she can walking down the stairs. Now she's 16 years old. I haven't seen in 14 months and ask was it could've been that she said hey hello the summer happened. But no, no, I go through that summer and then I said you know I'm a right under write to you more and more, and I mean that she was here. The boys were here all the stuff was here. Everything was here all I had was a pan, no telephones, no faxes, no twitters, no nothing at all and so that's how I ended up there and that's how I ended up back there and 75 because we just ran out. Postage is safe to get married but at that point she was only 20 you and you had crushes before her all yeah every time yeah yeah like yeah I mean always. But this is not this was different really are yeah well we found out after seven years of writing letters. It was that I mean the thing that made it different was it was like talking about steps along the way, the beginning it was just silly childhood stuff and we have all of our lectures, while all of her letters, which will have to go run someday.

But as time progressed, you know, it's one thing we arrange a 13-year-old girl and you and your mother says what is this about six. She has lovely eyes. You know as man-to-man. She had a mortgage other than lovely arts is a 13-year-old girl. So there was no like sexual connotation in it, you know, peculiarly now that I was immune to that or or or that we are but as it progresses. She said the real estate sky actually could happen so I said you know you got to go about your life, you've got to go to your high school prom.

You've got to do your thing, you people take you here taking their and I'm going to proceed like that as well because I'm not a live as a monk in your number live as a non-you were dating other guys and we had to BS it because it makes sense.

It would be it would be crazy. This is not this is not the way other people. My aquatic but I said this is my this is what I would say to you, you are number one in my affections. If you have moved off the top spot.

I will go to write you a letter to tell you that it's I met Mary Lou and and I that she's filled up the page so much that it's only right to goodbye letting us. We have very little M so that's right yet is it that the seekers filled out was Ricky Nelson. Was it seekers the diverse and quite yeah and so I said then maybe you will go out in the same way and what happened was that her parents that suddenly realized although her dad was reluctant and I had long hair other things but but he realizes what other good, very skinny, but quite they realize that I was actually that these letters that were coming from the Scottish boy were actually good for the daughter and that any presumptuous way but but the influence that I was having even from a distance with the Lancers were proven to be significant because there were spiritual encouragement down exactly because I was encouraging her then to get involved. One of the guys who was in the who was in the Adolphus Hotel with me by this time was married, himself, and I was encouraging her to get involved with his wife who is also a campus Crusade girl, which was exactly what happened in on my shelf over the road. I have her living Bible, which is all marked up as a result of the weekly visits with this girl. Well, I don't want to take credit for that. But I suppose if my influence had been a different one than it would necessarily supported so at age 17, 18, when you conquered America when you came to know I was 20 or 20 2072 and and you came up with the idea of the art. I'm going to come and work to solidify this or just take it to the next level. No, I didn't know what it would be like. I didn't know what which answer was, you know, I have a dog stance and no chance but I certainly was even more resolved.

You know, we spend that entire week together in Dallas. Then I flew to Los Angeles with my campus Crusade parties and then I had previously brokered a deal whereby the families visit to a coffee shop on Lake Michigan would also include an invitation to me and so I was then in that environment. So, although we never we were never closer to one another than 300 miles during the whole seven years on the occasions that we were together you are in an environment where you could really take a measure of all of the person.

So when I joke about the way in which somebody treats their sister or use it for a girl watch the way that guy treats and sister watch the way he speaks to the mother that kind of thing. She had an opportunity to view that at least up until she left for America because my parent. Her parents came to check out my set up when they realize this. This fellow was writing letters to the daughter which was good on their part right and so they really think and essentially to vet us at what point did you say were done writing letters.

This week it's time to solidify that while I was I was so foolish and nave about everything that I better told her that you know when I was 18. You know, if we keep this thing going. You know I'm going to marry you if you let me and so I think in the winter of 73. I have America explore yes I came to America and I actually sat down with her dad and I said you know this thing here is this is killing me because I I live and die for the Lancers from your daughter.

I mean, I I am I'm not messing around so I don't know how this is going to work out but I want you to know that's how serious I am. I want to know that that you're okay with that. And if you're not okay with.

I want to know that to because it was just devastating for me and so I think you and I think that and I and and I said to Sue you know maybe maybe we can make this happen.

So there was in the winter. 73. She then came in the summer of 74.

Of course my mother had died in the November 1972 and we roamed around Scotland with my dad for bless his heart. You know he he took us around, must be so hard for this is the this is not my business. Your first kiss. Sue, where, when, how, in the butt in the back of her friends car fit go look for your rearview mirror here James. How long had you been writing letters of the pointer Custer for the first kissed her on that Sunday night when you met her that yes I kissed her in the back of the car. Before she got out she didn't know what happened to her that first that she's 13 just had dinner with her and you know we went to church is very sick she was not she did not go to church, neither because she wasn't old enough for the youth group, but like you say it's not your stinking you're a rather roguish young man tenacious Scott listen. It was that was there was something about the whole thing there was almost cosmic canal yeah how did you propose to said were running out of postage, will you marry me. Nothing fancy, nothing fancy know I we went out we went out to dinner.

I think I bought a ring and like a department store. This fifth night of SUB.

You know, I mean there's no reason there's no laughing reason why Sue would buy out for this and her sisters you I felt sorry for all look what's happened to Sue.

I mean look.

She married guys going to be a pastor yelling after sent To Cisco.

What this is terrible thing to what are we going to do. She could have had no idea she was what she was signing on to.

As a pastor's wife on her.

She couldn't especially know and Scotland in the in the 70s we went to the church tomorrow morning 77, you know that the the expectations on the pastor's wife were the expectation on the buses wife.

The pastor's wife is the is the chairman of the ladies thing in the street.

She leads the things she does the devotional and everything.

Sue was or she's 20 when she's married. So now she's 22 maybe 23 and all these old with what seemed old then Scotty's ladies didn't know what it cost her by the IC was fine because God brings good friends into that environment and there were there were a couple of ladies there who became more than big sisters to her and and I was her salvation.

So, did she ever have a season early in the marriage were she thought. What have I done all probably know you know we were united in in the thing you know we look back on it now, you know, here we are in the in one of the most visited cities of Western Europe and wheat we never did anything, you know, we had no money and and I I wanted to please Terry prime so much that you know if he said go visit 10 people. I revisit 20 people in weed and suffer from it, but she was gone from her mom, her dad, siblings and everything that really represented security in her life and she was hanging out all on companionship with me but she knew that that was going to happen only our wedding was set for 16 August they encounter with Bolton to place in many April, so this was just months before the wedding. Yeah and so she didn't. Her father didn't know if I even know if I was employable enough if I could support his daughter, and I didn't know either. I mean, in the providence of God. I think Kirby told me Gilbert told me there is not a man in the entire United Kingdom, to whom I can send you who will be of greater benefit and help to you than the man you're going to. He said you don't know that because you don't know and what you will know that how did I get how do I get that opportunity. Did you think or did she think you would live in Scotland, your whole logs.

It never ever occurred to us to think of anything other because by the time we were two years into it, set a miscarriage in Edinburgh that our son was born and so all the formative elements of her life. Instead of growing up in married life were all know formed in the Scotty's framework. She was very contented and she was very happy. My sisters loved her from the age of 13. I mean the matter she was. I think 14 and to this day there there the best of friends. So everything was good to see it wasn't a quid pro quo, you know, maybe if I do X years here you come into X years there no when the invitation came from America then as I see it was a relatively easy thing for her to come back into an environment that was not strange to her and and did that invitation was part of your calculation that that she had sacrificed to be with you and so now the noblemen are not in any sense of know she never asked that question. She never posed that no the real question was, would I do with this invitation, which are first declined which came again a year later and I can hear is a very reluctant prophet I had been in America enough by this time, I mean I came in 72 no were talking. 11 years later, so I've been North, South, East and West in America had been in Vermont and being a New Englander be done in the southern states and I knew that if you want to go somewhere in America. He united in the greater Cleveland, Ohio. Not not if you're serve. Choosing so I didn't hold any appeal in that way. The challenges that were represented in it were fairly daunting. I came out of a genuine sense of art and assess the honest truth. I mean I came willingly at but I came fearfully and the fact that 37 years later were were talking about.

It is an indication of the forbearance of the congregation of the tolerance of the Lee leadership who I surely must've driven them nuts in the and still probably drive him nuts, but I must've really done a number on them. In the early days and again that's that's an indication of the grace of God, you know, softening those things, creating affection, even in the in the rough edged elements of interpersonal relationships. What was your motivation when you got married. I guess I'm thinking back to my own marriage but I got married because I liked being around this person who loved me. I liked being loved right was just think of this just feels good to be with this person a groan from there.

But that's where I started.

Yeah yeah II would be I would prefer you are on that when I I got married to Susan because I couldn't imagine living my life without her. I wanted her to be my friend in life it's it's Abigail Adams.

You know I wanted to become her dearest friend in all of its time mentions in terms of physical relationship with one another in the everything yeah yeah I wanted to I wanted to become one with her. I didn't want to write letters to her anymore.

I couldn't handle it any longer.

I wanted not want to be married.

What counsel do you give young men and young women about thinking lately about marriage in this day. Well, one of the things I say and and you know they say will you say this, but what about the safety valve for me in this whole thing that you kiss this girl in the car before she leaves. But I was 300 miles away. That would've been a real problem if if I lift three doors up from her or something are and mean it was just so bizarre.

Yeah right.

It was Chin of Hamden should've have new know your writing letters, letters and others knowing that we don't hang out.

There's no there's no there's no way to develop that except these crazy letters. What I would say to somebody, one of the things I say to them is always, never assume that a friendship has to be more than a friendship when it begins, especially in our sexualized environment where the phenomenal ridiculous pressure and notions that are attached to all of this in the terms of engagement, Christian young people are going to have to be prepared to set boundaries for themselves that are regarded as absolutely ridiculous by their surrounding culture is one of the ways in which the teenager can actually prove that we are a peculiar people, and so you know I want to encourage them and help them in that regard, and also because as is, I think we probably can acknowledge many of the marital difficulties that we deal with in pastoral ministry.

I find myself when they walk out the door saying I don't, and if ever been friends. I don't think it was a good friendship dissipated. I don't and they started this friends and especially if you add a physical dimension to the relationship on the front and that may actually become a driver for things so that's one of the things enjoyed developing friendships without putting the added pressure on the thing in the male-female relationships look to role models that I can help you with this said, be honest with the whoever it is in your in your sphere of influence whether it's your youth pastor, whatever else it is realize that he knows exactly what's going through your head.

He understands exactly the concerns and the passions and stuff. I don't know much beyond that. Just as I think about it just now on our wedding invitation.

We had first John 419 we love because he first loved us as a bit of verse that's marked your marriage. Anything that the two of you have come back to you as as kind of formative to what your relationship how God has brought the two of you together well and and the two shall become one. Our wedding rings engraved into hers was under two and engraved into mindless shall become one. So I guess the whole notion of we too are one we been listing to a conversation with Alistair Begg on Truth for Life and I hope you have enjoyed learning more about Alister's back story that we are counting down the hours now until 2022.

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Visit Truth for now Alister is back here with a special New Year's greeting.

Thanks, Bob here we are the close of another year of teaching the Bible ever grateful to God for his faithfulness and for watching over us in providing for us throughout 2021 on behalf of our entire team. Our warmest wishes to you and your family for a blessed new year and I'll just add my amen to that, Bob Lapine. We wish you all the best as you close out the old year and bring in the new join us again Monday as well find out why God can't fail us, no matter how our circumstances appear Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life with the learning is poorly

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