You may remember that I decided to continue pursuing Bryan College until I reached a more definitive roadblock. Well, fairly soon after having this conversation, my mom called Ms. Wesolowski, my admissions counselor. I didn’t pay much attention to this conversation, but I did hear my mom ask Mrs. Wesolowski about options for attending Bryan College through the military.

At first, Mrs. Wesolowski didn’t think of anything. But all of a sudden, as my mom later recalled, she said she needed to talk to someone, and that she’d get back to us. Mom told her just to text us what she found out so that we didn’t take up any more of her time.

This was a tentative option in any case. The new Defense Authorization Act would force the Pentagon to rescind the military COVID vaccine mandate, but this had been placed on hold for some technical reason, so it was tentative.

Shortly thereafter, the phone rang again. Mom answered it, talked for a second or two, and then started waving frantically for me to come closer as she put Mrs. Wesolowski on speaker.

Mrs. Wesolowski started by saying that there was no way for the military to pay for Bryan College prior to my service in the military.

My heart dropped.

But then, someone else, a man named Chris, asked me if I would be interested in joining the Tennessee Air Guard. Utterly confused, and never having considered this idea before, I said yes.

Chris went on to explain that under the Tennessee Strong Act, if I enlisted as a reservist in the Tennessee Air National Guard, I could take basic training that summer and begin classes at Bryan College, with all expenses paid, in the fall.

The explosion of emotions in my mind made me want to laugh and cry all at the same time. Maybe this would work, we thought, because the vaccine mandate may not be enforced as strongly in Tennessee’s state militia.

However, on the following day, Saturday, we brought up the vaccine subject, looked at the numbers, and realized that according to the VAERS system, as best as we could understand it, the single most common adverse reaction to that vaccine was death and that the death rate was nearly twenty percent.

Something about that data did not sit well in my mathematical mind, but I decided to let it rest because neither of my parents would hear any argument for a treatment with a one-in-five death rate.

The vaccine issue would put any military-related option out of the question. So I recalled an option that had been proposed long before: Berea College in Kentucky.

This was the option that my Dad wanted to consider before I attended the Summer Institute, which I told you about earlier. And since nothing about Berea had changed from my perspective, I decided to add it to my list of considerations as Option Five.

As I considered these ever-changing circumstances, I realized that since I had not actually been able to get in touch with the Air Guard recruiter, so I really had no way of knowing whether the vaccine would be an issue. In fact, I knew nothing different than I had known when Chris first presented the option to me. But for some reason, that did not stop my brain from ruling it out as a lost cause.

My hopes regarding Berea College were not high, but it seemed like a good option. And I knew that if it worked out, I would probably be happy with it. But my heart was still set on Bryan College even though my mind had come to see it as a lost cause.

So, on Monday, one week after Mom’s fateful visit to Financial Aid, we made a phone call to Berea College and discovered two things that very promptly ruled it out.

First: Berea’s no-tuition promise does not apply to books, room, and board. Any part of these expenses that was not covered by the federal student aid programs and other scholarships would have to be paid out of pocket. And while this would not have been nearly so high as the cost of Bryan College, it was a significant enough factor when added to the second issue.

Second: Berea College is not a “Christian” college, as I had been led to believe. They were founded by Presbyterians, but their curricula do not focus on biblical values or teachings.

The lady on the phone kept talking about how Berea was accepting of everyone so we shifted the subject a bit to address a new concern. She kept dancing around the subject, but I quickly grasped the sense of what she was saying. So I asked three very direct questions, which were effective in finally obtaining the answer we all needed.

Aside from not being a Christian college, Berea had made an official statement in support of a very anti-Christ political organization.

The conversation ended quickly after that.

I was disappointed in Berea College because of the way in which it had ruled itself out, but I started to realize once more that it didn’t really matter. All I wanted to do was go to Bryan College. The education would be wholesome, and I was beginning to become part of the community. I have grown to love a few very special people at Bryan College, and I have little doubt that I would have succeeded there. But none of that matters now.

On the other hand, why should that be so? I have no reason to have any less hope than I did when Christ first told me about the Air Guard. I haven’t even talked to the recruiter yet. The only difference is what I know about the significance of an obstacle which is no more or less likely to arise than it was when I first learned about the option.

Or do I even really know that?

As I began writing this issue, I looked back at a printout of the VAERS vaccine data ad realized quite suddenly what had been bothering me about its numbers.

I won’t bore you with the calculations, because my time with you is almost up. You can view it if you would like. Basically, however, the data is collected on 548 cases exhibiting at least one of the listed symptoms. Ten of these people experienced death. Now the right side column says that this is 18.18% But I stopped to look closely at the label for that column, and it read “Percent (of 55)”.

Now as I said, I’ll spare you the calculations, but the short explanation is that the percentages are increased by a factor of ten. There is no universe in which 10 is 18.18% of 548.

So even if the vaccine mandate remains an issue, there is a chance, just a tiny one, that it may be a more justifiable chance to take, because two percent is a more favorable set of odds than twenty.

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