This firsthand account introduction was written by Mary Jane Bond, wife of beloved Dr. Douglas Bond, a formative pioneer in the history of Tacoma Baptist Schools.
Volunteer workers arriving daily, skilled craftsmen donating time and talents, God prompting people to give sacrificially, and students swinging hammers or finishing concrete–all were common occurrences during the early years of Tacoma Baptist Schools.
Much like Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the history of TBS is a story of God working through His people to accomplish the impossible. In 1960 God moved in the heart of one man, James Bramblet, to establish Tacoma Baptist Day School. Douglas Bond became principal four years later and believed, Nehemiah-like, that TBS needed to “… arise and build and God [would] prosper the work.”
God did prosper His work, prompting hundreds of families to give a “Dollar a-Month,” eventually amassing enough money to purchase the property.
The 90-Day Miracle
Spring of 1965, construction began on what became known as “The 90-day miracle.” A local church deacon said, “Bond can’t build a school by himself —let’s go help.” And help they did. Men took time off work; churches sponsored work parties, men, women, even children set to work with hammers and nails.
Labor Day, three months later, 42 volunteers arrived, working late into the night, hanging doors, installing blackboards, painting, laying floor tile, waxing new floors, and scrubbing windows and desks. The next morning, astonished teachers and students began classes in their new school.
By the end of the first school year, enrollment increased; the band met in the principal’s office and typing class in the hall; parents wanted a high school. Trusting God to prosper His work, people donated time and money to, once again, arise and build.
In 1969, Bond spearheaded the most daunting project, the gymnasium classroom building, a steel structure transported from California on three tractor-trailers. “We rented a 65-ton hydraulic crane with operators,” wrote ever-frugal Bond, to raise the massive beams into place. Volunteers, including students, were carefully trained, and supervised in the skills required to raise the impressive multi-use facility, completed that summer—without injury.
In 1970, three students became the first TBS graduates. Meanwhile, student volunteers installed the maple gym floor under Dr. Bond’s guidance. Professional finishers commented that it was the most level floor they had ever striped. Further prospering His work, God provided through Kelso High School (Bond’s alma mater) wooden bleachers.
High School Built
At that time, the only evangelical Christian high school in the region, TBS enrollment increased rapidly. It was time to arise and build, and construction began on a large classroom building with a library and student center. Again, Bond rallied parents, teachers, and students to be his construction crew, while God prospered His work by prompting many in the community to provide funding. One parent donated her inheritance money for carpeting, another contributed nails and screws, and a drywall company donated sheetrock, labor, joint compound, and texture.
As a result of God’s people giving time and money so generously and faithfully and inspired by Bond’s work ethic and economic philosophy to “owe no man anything,” TBS was built without borrowing money. Those who pounded nails, hung sheetrock, and poured concrete, understood that “This was the Lord’s doing, and it [was] marvelous in [their] eyes” (Mark 12:11).
Dr. Bond, who died in 2006, wrote,
“The building is the physical evidence of a spiritual reality in those who had a part in it …TBS stands today as a monument to the faith and sacrifice that made it possible.”