When Bethel Bible Village invited Pat Boone to visit during their 65th anniversary celebration, he had just one request: “I want to have lunch with the kids.”
So, on Nov. 7, the 85-year-old entertainer visited Bethel’s campus school, Bethel Christian Academy, flying in from his home in Hollywood. Mr. Boone shook hands with each child and learned their names. Without skipping a beat, he sang a little, shared stories of his career as a singer, TV host, author and movie star and shared Bible verses to inspire them.
Mr. Boone talked a little bit about his Hollywood friends, from Elvis Presley to Perry Como and Cary Grant. He made it clear, however, that his priorities were God, family and being certain he could work to support his family.
“I was 23 and married and had four little girls. I stayed in college and graduated from Columbia University magna cum laude,” Pat said with sudden seriousness. “I was making records, I was making movies, I was doing my own national television show, but I needed to know I could support my family as a teacher if all that fizzled away.”
He also blessed them, assuring them that others who may have had a rough start in life have been able to overcome it and have great lives through Jesus. “You will do good. You will do great,” he told them. “Just follow Him and stay in school and you will go on to have beautiful lives.”
Later in the day, Mr. Boone explained why he spent 35 years putting on shows to raise funds for Bethel Bible Village, after agreeing initially to do just one.
“Someday I want to pass my final exam with Jesus," Pat said, quoting Matthew 25:35-40.
“Jesus tells us, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,'" he said. “Supporting Bethel has been my way to do these things. It’s how I will pass my final exam.”
Mr. Boone is encouraging others to do the same, so Bethel will have the support it needs to minister to children and families in crisis.
“We could not be more thankful to Pat Boone,” said Bethel President Rosalind Connor. “He understands the need for what we do. And in the trying times we are in today, that need has never been greater.
“Our greatest need is for funds to keep our cottages open, the lights turned on, and our cupboards stocked with food and the daily essentials our kids need. We receive no government funding for our residential programs, so we rely on generous supporters to keep our mission going.”
To make a donation, visit bethelbiblevillage.org.