Boise Bible College has a long legacy that includes alumni of all kinds. Those who have endured the rigors of study to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, and some taking a decade or two to finish. Others have earned an Associate’s degree or a Bible Certificate. Still, others have taken classes for many years with no paper credits. We often highlight the commitment of four-year graduates, but in reality, the dedication to study God’s Word for any length of time at the level expected in classes at Boise Bible can challenge and change one for the better.
The story of one of our “non-graduating” students is a story worth hearing. Born on a humble Nebraska farm in 1900, he left school at 12 when his father died of cancer to run the farm for his mother and two sisters. He became a Christian in 1914 at Platte Valley Church of Christ in Cozad, Nebraska. His older brother helped for a few years until he was drafted into the army in 1917. At twenty years old, he married, and he and his wife worked the farm while his mother and sisters moved into Cozad. For the next 27 years, they worked on the farm, raising four children, a boy, and three girls; the oldest was 18 years older than the youngest. He served on the local school board, ministered as an elder at the Christian church, and for ten years was a precinct Assessor.
In 1947 Ray and Sylvia Beans had their lives turned upside down. Orin Hardenbrook (founder of Boise Bible) led a revival at the Christian church in their hometown. Ray had dreamed as a young man of going into medicine. Orin asked Ray, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to save souls instead to just heal them physically?” and encouraged him to attend Boise Bible College. In a short time, they sold their farm and moved to Boise with three of their children. They rented a house on Bannock Street, and the five of them shared it with another family of three from the College and rented the basement to two young men taking classes at Boise Bible. All this with one bathroom!
Ray began his studies in 1947 at forty-seven years old. The Beans were farmers and were used to hard work. Ray helped build the original dorms while a student. To make ends meet, he worked as a paint contractor and did janitor work at South Junior High in the evenings. Sylvia cleaned homes on Warm Springs Ave to help provide income. Ray applied himself well in the classroom and learned all he could. (Remember, he had to quit school at 12 and didn’t have a high school diploma). A lifetime working a farm prepared him well. Their youngest daughter, Peggy, recalls moving from the home on Bannock Street and that Ray built a home on Church Street. The first winter, they lived in the garage with sheets to separate rooms and cooked on a camp stove, and it was cold! This family made numerous sacrifices to prepare to do ministry.
Life After Boise Bible College
In May of 1953, with classes over, Ray was told of a ministry opening in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. He went to preach and never looked back. Kenneth Beckman came and held a two-week revival meeting, and for the next three years, this farming community became their home. During this time, two young people from the church attended Boise Bible College, Ivan (BA’60) and Joann Martin, who later served in Zimbabwe. They thoroughly enjoyed this ministry.
The Beans visited their daughter and family in southern California, and Ray was asked to preach at the Colton Church of Christ the Sunday they were visiting. This ended in an invitation to be their preacher. After much prayer, they decided to accept the call and moved to Colton. This began 18 years of ministering there. Within the first year of arriving, a new building was built. The building was constructed with lots of volunteer labor. Soon they were completing a fellowship hall, classrooms, and a kitchen too. Kenny Beckman came several times during this time to hold revival meetings. The church grew during his ministry.
Ray was now 70, and through a series of events in which they were helping four grandkids, they ended up back in Boise. After they arrived and were settled in, Kenny Beckman recommended Ray to the leadership at Meridian First Church of Christ as the preacher. Ray preached for this small group of believers starting in December 1970. Ray loved the people and worked to bring others in. He tried hiring Boise Bible College students to help with the youth. In 1972 Steve (BA’75) and Beth Moore came to help with the youth. Steve and Beth asked Lee (BA’74) and Kathie White to help with the ministry during that time. It had been determined that Ray was ready to retire, and they set May 1st of 1976 as his final sermon. Steve and Beth returned to western Oregon after graduation, where he got a job. The Moores returned in December of 1975 to say goodbye to the folks they knew at the church. During that visit, Ray asked Steve to consider taking his place and arranged an interview with the elders, who hired Steve on the spot. He was to return to begin preaching in May of 1976.
On February 29th, 1976, Steve Moore was ordained for ministry at his church in Oregon. Ray gave that sermon. Everything changed on March 17, a day after being given a good bill of health from his doctor; Ray had a massive stroke and was never able to preach or walk again. Overnight their retirement plans of a trip to the National Missionary Conference and Nebraska to visit family would not happen. Sylvia cared for Ray in their home until she passed away in 1983. Ray learned to say, “Well, Well and NO- NO,” but that was the extent of his verbal communication. Ray then spent his last three years at Capitol Care Center in Boise.
After Ray’s stroke, Steve Moore returned to preach on March 21 and has been preaching at the church ever since! Steve gives Ray credit for jumping in and saving the church. Today, Steve Moore gets credit for the Meridian First Church of Christ’s growth, moving to a new facility on Cherry Lane to becoming Ten Mile Christian Church today. Still, without Ray’s encouragement, Steve may not have ever given ministry a chance.
Ray Beans was a tall, lanky farmer with a warm smile and a captivating glint in his eyes. He came to Boise Bible College without a high school diploma and studied for six years, completing 98 hours of classes, as he provided for his family. When asked to preach, he went. He served until his speech was taken from him. Ray and Sylvia shared 60 wonderful years, and the decision to uproot and move to Boise well into their middle-aged years was one they always valued. They made friends wherever they went, and only God knows how many lives were changed to follow Jesus. They have had kids and grandkids attend Boise Bible College, and perhaps some great-grandkids will soon? Though he received no degree, he was a scholar and a humble servant leader and helped grow communities towards Jesus wherever he went.