By Zebadiah Demorest, Publications Coordinator
In this edition of the Fort Wayne Falcon, we will be highlighting Yul ‘Craig’ Marin g89. We recently had the opportunity to interview Yul about how he was led to FWBC, his experiences at the college, and where God has taken him since graduation.
Yul began his journey to FWBC after some advice from both his pastor and African American History teacher who suggested that Yul should leave the Chicago area and attend Fort Wayne Bible College. Yul was shocked at this thought. He was on his way to Washburn Trade School to become a cabinet maker. “After all,” Yul said. “Jesus was a carpenter, right?”
So, Yul came to FWBC in 1984. He originally intended to learn preaching and to become a pastor. But, by his sophomore year, he had changed his major three times. It wasn’t until his mentor and sister-in-Christ, Dr. Alice Joy Weddle g64, stopped him one day and said, “You want to be a teacher,” that he truly found his calling. Up to that point, Yul hadn’t thought about being a teacher. But, from that moment, he knew what God had called him to. “She helped me understand that I could be an educator and a teacher at the same time,” Yul said. So many FWBC grads over the years owe their understanding of the link between teaching and forming fully matured people to the faithful work of Dr. Alice Joy.
After graduating college, Yul was hired as an elementary school teacher in the Fort Wayne Community Schools system. Over the years, he served as a teacher, academic coach, assistant principal, principal, and director. He also continued his ministry outside of the school as he preached, provided pastoral care, and served as an elder. Yul worked in the Fort Wayne Community Schools system for 25 years.
However, after many years of working in the education system, Yul began thinking about changing his career. While at a automobile repair shop one day, he started up a conversation with a lady. He told her that he was looking for a change in career, and she suggested that he open a Biggby Coffee Shop and put it on Maysville Road. That way, she could get her tea in Fort Wayne instead of driving to Defiance, Ohio! In our interview, Yul called this a total “God thing” because, as he stated, “I had never heard of Biggby Coffee and at the time I didn’t drink coffee.” Yul went home that night and started to research Biggby franchises. After going to a “Discovery Day” at Biggby’s home office, he made the decision to retire from education and open the store.
After opening the Biggby Coffee shop at Georgetown, Yul began to form acquaintances with those who came into his store. One of those individuals was Eric Dubach, the Senior Pastor of Brookside Community Church. Eric invited Yul to preach a series at Brookside on “Bridging the Gap of Racism.” Yul accepted the invitation and, after completing the series, was offered the part-time job of “Connections Director.” After serving for a couple of months as the Connections Director, Yul accepted the full-time job of Connections Pastor at Brookside Church. Yul’s job is to connect people, whether that be through small groups, church gatherings, or other activities. This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the world, the job has been difficult, because he has had to adapt to new guidelines and health regulations. “I struggle to get people together in a community during a pandemic where we should be limiting the numbers in our groups, social distancing, and wearing masks.” In spite of this challenge, Yul stated without reservation that this is his “dream job.”
Even in the midst of the pandemic, Yul continues to change lives and serve the Lord. Whether that is encouragement through making a cup of coffee, finding ways to connect the congregants at his church, or showing his joyful (albeit masked!) smile at Biggby Coffee or Brookside Church. In all of this, Yul is thankful to those here at FWBC who had an impact on his life, such as Dr. Alice Joy Weddle g64, Dr. David Bieberstein g66, Dr. Roger Ringenberg g69, Dr. Doug Barcalow g71, and many others. But, most of all, Yul is thankful to God for his faithfulness over the years. “In everything that I strived to achieve – despite my sinfulness – God has always opened the door and led me down the path that He designed for me.” said Yul. “Times can get rough, but the mercies of God never fail. When I am unfaithful, He remains faithful.” For Yul, this thought is captured well by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:6-9: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”