For many students at Southwestern Seminary, spring break was a welcome relief from work and study. For one student couple, however, the week entailed a heartbreaking series of events. Their son developed a numbness in the left side of his body, and when they took him to the hospital, the doctors discovered that there was tremendous pressure on his spine. To relieve the pressure, they said, the child would need to undergo a very delicate surgical procedure.

The parents, however, do not have enough money to pay for the medical bills. “This family cannot have the medical procedure done, although it’s critically important to the future of their child,” explained Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary. “They have to have $6,000, and they don’t have that.”

During chapel on Wednesday, March 23, Patterson called upon Southwestern students and faculty to aid the family in their difficult situation. “We don’t do [collections] regularly because we recognize your poverty,” he told the chapel congregation. “But once in a while, we do that so we can help each other out and, in this case, get this couple on down the line to getting this very delicate surgery done.”

The president proposed taking up a “boot offering.” Several men responded by taking off their cowboy boots and passing them down the aisles in lieu of collection plates. Although the offering was impromptu and the congregation was unprepared, students and faculty gave generously to support the couple and the child. A total of $3,162.08 were collected, and afterward, a donor came forward and pledged to match that amount.

When the collection was poured out before the pulpit, Patterson kneeled in supplication to the Lord, asking for His hand of blessing on the little boy and his parents. “Some here gave their lunch money,” he continued, “others have given sacrificially. You promised that you love such as these, and I pray that you would make that love known to each of these who have given this morning. … I pray for every student who gave this morning to this little boy, that you would return in abundance that which they have given this day.”