Graduating senior melds missions and music
by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) -- "I've always wanted to sing, and I think the Lord has gifted me and called me to do it. If I don't, I will be uncomfortable, no, miserable if I don't share his love."
That's what graduating senior Traci Lawson told TMCNews about her personal mission of singing for the Lord's glory and sharing the Gospel in song.
For Lawson -- who graduates May 2012 with a B.A. in Music and a concentration in Contemporary Worship -- singing isn't the only way to tell others about Jesus. She traveled to India and Ethiopia on TMC mission trips. In Ethiopia she led a woman to faith in Christ.
"The Lord provided for those trips," said Lawson, who sang in local churches and used the subsequent love offerings to pay half the mission trips' expenses.
"I encourage other students to go on a mission trip. I tell them that, if they feel called by God to go, then God will provide," she said.
"My parents were never sure just how we'd be able to pay for college, but God has been good, and he has blessed us financially," Lawson said. "Mom said it's been amazing how God has provided."
Lawson decided to attend TMC based on a course description she read via the Internet. "When I read about the Contemporary Music degree, it described exactly what I wanted to do," she said.
Singing for God was a calling in Lawson's heart. "I knew I wanted to sing for Jesus," she said. "I've never really enjoyed or wanted to do anything else. I want to share the love of Jesus with everybody, and I never want to stop singing."
Lawson visited the campus and "really loved it. There was a homey, welcoming atmosphere. And I also sensed the Lord calling me here," she said.
"From when I first enrolled until now, I have definitely seen the Lord moving here at Truett-McConnell," Lawson said. "We have more and more students attending, we've had to build more buildings, we have new professors and new degree programs, and we have the World Missions Center."
"Attending Truett-McConnell has definitely helped me grow spiritually," she said. "Our professors are really awesome. They care about each student as individuals. And they pray before or after every class."
"Dr. Wise did an incredible job teaching us about evolution," Lawson said. "And he always reminded us that Jesus Christ is the one who created everything." Wise is chair of TMC's Math and Sciences Division.
"It's been really cool to be under President Caner's leadership -- to see how he seeks after the Lord," she added. "It's very evident that he is doing that."
Continuing her litany of testimonies about TMC professors, Lawson said, "Dr. Caston always incorporates Christ in his music classes. He does a really awesome job reading Scripture to us and sharing a short devotional to encourage us in our faith and in what we're singing." Caston is associate professor of music and chair of fine arts.
"Every day after choir we always share prayer requests," Lawson noted. "That's a cool way for all the students to grow close and open up and share what's going on in our lives. Dr. Caston is a great example of praying for the things he says he will."
"I've never been to another school, but other friends who attend state schools -- they don't have such encouraging stories about their professors," Lawson said. "It's just so encouraging to attend Truett-McConnell. It's an amazing, incredible place. You can feel the Lord moving and you will grow spiritually and gain lasting friendships," she said.
Selecting a college to attend is "something you really need to pray about," Lawson said. "Your college years are when you learn to grow to be who you will be in the future. A school's atmosphere can help determine what you will be and do the rest of your life."
"Being able to surround yourself with godly men and women -- Christians who want to grow you in your faith and encourage you -- that's definitely something to think about," she said. "Truett-McConnell is that kind of school."
Lawson has received the Dean's List and Academic Achievement for Music and Fine Arts awards, and is cited in "Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities." She is engaged to graduating senior Seth Brooks. After marriage, the couple plans to move to Fort Worth, Texas, where Seth will continue his preparation for pastoral ministry at Southwestern Seminary.