“Charlie” enrolled at Oneida Baptist Institute as a freshman from Asia. His uncle lives in Kentucky. Charlie explained, “I struggled [academically] in Thailand. I decided I wanted to change something. I used to be a C-D student, but my first quarter (at OBI), I had an A average. It was like a brand new start for me here! I could talk one-on-one with my teachers. At home, one class is 60 people!”
Charlie shared his lifelong passion for tennis at OBI. He became a three-time 14th region singles champion and advanced further in the state tournament than any player in 14th region history. He was a state tournament quarter-finalist and ranked third in the state as a junior. A three-time All-State Team member, he did not lose a regular season tennis match in his four years at Oneida.
Charlie received a tennis scholarship at Asbury College, where he is considering studying architecture or media communications. He said, “I’m lucky they had tennis at OBI. Now, I get a scholarship—think of it! In Thailand, I didn’t think I would go to college!”
To stay in shape year-round, Charlie joined the soccer, basketball and swimming teams. He earned varsity letters in each sport, plus the defensive Most Valuable Player award in soccer.
From a non-religious upbringing, Charlie learned about Christianity at OBI. Though some of his family is Buddhist, Charlie said, “My dad doesn’t have a religion.” He said he was not certain why his parents would choose for him to attend a Christian school but noted, “There must be a reason. I come all the way from Bangkok, which is three times bigger than New York City, and I am brought all the way to this small place. There must be some purpose.”
After learning more about God and Christianity in daily chapel services and from his Christian teachers, Charlie said, “I’m actually closer to being a Christian now. I prayed for the first time last year. My life has been changing since I came here.”
As our most recent school year was winding down, we were in prayer for Charlie because he did not yet know Christ as Savior. Our time with him was short, as he was set to graduate soon. On the day he left our campus, he came to tell me good-bye, and he also said, “Mr. Gritton, I become Christian.”
What a blessing to know we will one day see this young man in heaven! Thank you for helping us sow the seeds of the gospel in this young man.
Larry Gritton is the president of Oneida Baptist Institute.