By Bob Chaphalkar
The New Citizens Press
E. LANSING, MI — Reverend Larry Woods is an ordained minister at The Cornerstone Community Church, located at 4901 W. Michigan Avenue in Lansing. A graduate of University of Oklahoma in Business Finance and graduate of Southwestern Baptist seminary, he started to help college students “see” by visiting them on many campuses.
Reverend Woods meets with Michigan State University (MSU) and Lansing Community College (LCC) students every Sunday night in the Union building on MSU’s campus.
Reverend Woods has been blind from his childhood. As far as he remembers it, he could not see in the dark. As he grew older, his sight became worse and worse. Nowadays he can only see the difference between light and dark. Larry likes to ” encourage students, offer help if they ask for it, make suggestions to them in difficulties”.
At one of his Sunday gatherings, Reverend Woods talked to couple of students. They seemed to like his homily, presentation and his tone. Then Reverend Woods went “knocking on wood”, going from dorm room to dorm room praying with and for the students.
Bobby Groom who is a second year LCC student in Fire Science Technology, said he has been coming to the meetings for a year now. Sometimes another student, James Bosko asks Reverend Woods for personal guidance without being specific. On some evenings, James guides Reverend Woods to the MSU dorm rooms where Larry knocks on doors and asks students if they have time to talk.
When asked about the just knocking on doors, Reverend Woods said that during freshman orientation, MSU students are given options to list 3 religious organizations that could call on them. Campus Cornerstone Church is on that list, duly registered and approved by the University to call on students only if the students choose to list the church. According to Reverend Woods, there are 40 to 50 groups that are listed on the orientation form.
Reverend Woods and the practice of “knocking on wood” was successful. While standing in a dark hallway, Reverend Woods had a casual conversation with James’ roommates Stephen Diljak and Jacob Lippert for a few minutes.
Reverend Woods has called on students at University of Oklahoma, University of Miami, Florida, Dade Community College in Miami, Florida, University of Iowa, Michigan State University and LCC.
According to James, the students are very accepting to Reverend Woods because they can see Larry is trying to do the best he can. They are learning from his adversity and how he is able to rise above it with grace and dignity.
James said, “Reverend Woods told me that,’ There is nothing a blind man can’t do if he is given a chance. We need to appreciate what God has given us and make the best of it by trying and improving ourselves’. “
Reverend Woods said, ” This is very neat. This is my opportunity to help others, opportunity to get involved…. If I help them (students) I am helping myself. I like their optimism, idealism, zest for life. …I like the young people around me and they seem to like me too. I think I am being useful and supportive. I am very thankful to be able to impart whatever I have.”