CBF greatly encourages life-long learning. In 1998 while on our first off-field assignment Ralph began a journey of completing his Masters of Divinity degree through the Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond. BTSR was willing to accommodate Ralph's need to study long distance (a very long distance!) and his inability to be on-campus regularly. The administration at CBF supported the idea and enabled Ralph to be at BTSR when required. It was a long journey and Ralph persevered. We fondly recall the Hymnology class requiring him to join the hymn sings via phone. This meant getting up at 1AM and singing in the pantry so he wouldn't disturb the rest of the family. What did the neighbors, security guards coming and going at odd hours, think when they heard that??
The Stocks family made their way to Richmond along with friends to whoop and holler when Ralph's name was called. The night before graduation a towel service was held. Each graduate receives a towel as a symbol of serving as Christ did, humbly. We laughed later when our good friends, Laura (Virginia's WMU executive director and commencement keynote speaker) and Henry McDaniel presented Ralph with a BIG towel! They decided after 11 years of study he needed it.
We would like to thank all of you that supported Ralph through this journey. We appreciate the prayers, words of encouragement, loaning of books, the use of vehicles to make the trips to Richmond, and the many other gestures of kindness during this time. To God Be the Glory!