Scores of students
span globe with Gospel
by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)--From Nepal to North Carolina, and from Manhattan to Montego Bay, scores of Truett-McConnell College students will minister in more than a dozen countries this summer, sharing the Gospel on metropolitan sidewalks amid skyscrapers and in rural mountain settlements in the shadow of Mount Everest.
Whether on a school sponsored mission trip or serving with another missions agency, Truett-McConnell students will work in one-on-one evangelism, church-based discipleship and missions, Vacation Bible Schools, summer youth camps, Spanish Bible distribution, door-to-door and street witnessing, soup kitchens, and even use the Bible to teach English as a second language to Buddhist monks.
Some of the notable missions entities TMC students will assist include Chick-fil-A's WinShape Camps, World Changers, Word of Life, Camp Kaleo, Adventures in Missions, World Harvest Missions (Haiti), and Vida Nueva Ministries.
Like dozens of other Truett-McConnell students who served with WinShape Camps last summer, Melissa Braswell will repeat that ministry this summer.
"Last summer was the best summer of my life," Braswell told TMCNews. As for this summer, Braswell hopes "God will use me as a tool to reach campers and their families for Him, and also to help churches connect with their communities while being a godly and supportive leader of my team."
"WinShape Camps is one of the best organizations out there. Plus, you get a lot of free Chick-fil-A," Braswell said. "If you love the Lord, love children, and love traveling, WinShape Camps is for you."
Meri Houston and Brian Morrison join Braswell in ministry through WinShape Camps for Communities as team members who will travel across the Southeastern United States and lead day camps hosted at local churches. "Every activity teaches the kids more about the Gospel, Christ, and what it means to be a follower of Christ," Morrison said.
Brandon Allen heads to Brasilia, Brazil, with WinShape Camps International for an inaugural project. "We will take the message of God's love to Brazil, and we will be working with local volunteers, teaching them effective ministry so that when we leave, great ministry will still be happening," Allen said.
Motivated by the Great Commission, Allen believes "there is no language barrier to love or worship, and that is something that motivates me every time I engage in missions. And there is no greater learning experience than going to another country, learning a new culture, seeing how other believers worship, and engaging in ministry alongside of them."
Chris Chapman and Kaitlyn Lamb will serve as interns in children's ministry at the notable Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.
"When the opportunity at Sherwood presented itself, God told me, 'This is what I want you to do,'" Chapman said. "I am looking forward to ministering to, and mentoring 5th graders, and especially helping them to be spiritually grounded in their walk with God and in his word. The influence I have this summer on these young students will help them formulate their worldview for years to come."
Kelsey Miller will serve with Word of Life Ministries in South Africa. "I've dreamt of going to Africa and working with orphans. Now, my dream is becoming reality," she said. "We plan to reach the lost by sharing the love of Christ with those who otherwise wouldn't know it."
"God has called us to minister to those around us who are less fortunate," Miller continued, "and to share the Gospel in the process. That doesn't necessarily mean going to Africa because ministry and missions can be done here in the United States, too."
Nepal is the ministry destination for Nikki Cross and five other TMC students. As a Christian service, and in hopes of opening Gospel doors, three female students will help women and children in a remote village harvest barley. Three male students will live in a nearby Buddhist monastery and use the Bible to teach English as a second language to the monks.
In St. Vincent, Mexico, Hannah Watts will be ministering in an orphanage. "I want to engage in missions because I want people to experience the God of scripture like I have," she said.
James Ferrell will be interning as an associate pastor at Leefield Baptist Church in Brooklet, Ga., under the guidance of Pastor Storman Glass: "I hope to learn how to work in a church environment and learn responsibility as an associate pastor," Ferrell said. "I will have many tasks throughout my internship such as organizing events, teaching classes, and ultimately sharing the Gospel with people living without Jesus."
In Los Tulles del Tuy, Venezuela, Charity Estes will engage in door-to-door evangelism, puppet and skit evangelism, and will share Christ with locals. "I don't know where I would be had I not had the Gospel shared with me, so I want to be able to share the amazing love of Christ with those who may have never known what true love really is -- the unconditional love of Jesus. I can't help but want to share this with others so they may also have the peace and joy I have," Estes said. "I am so unbelievably honored that God would use me to plant seeds so that they may hear."
Visiting foreign cultures causes "culture shock" for some people, Estes added. "However, when I was where I knew God wanted me to be in past ministry, I did not experience this at all. I felt even more in my element than here in America because I knew that I was getting to share the love of Christ with people yearning to learn about it."
Thomas Johnson will minister at Camp Kaleo, a Georgia Baptist Convention facility. "We will serve 1st through 12th grades boys, teaching them to become men whose lives reflect discipleship and evangelism," Johnson said.
In Malaysia, MacKenzie Stover will share the Gospel with Sikhs in the region. "I want to engage in missions because I want people to experience the God of scripture like I have," she said.
Joseph Tiller will trek to isolated villages in the Andes Mountains, where the Gospel may never have been told. Having seen people become followers of Christ during previous visits to Peru, Tiller says, "Go one time and it will change your life forever. To see God moving in ways that you may have not seen in the States just blesses your heart and breaks it at the same time."
Dr. Ed. Pruitt, Truett-McConnell's professor of missions, said, "What you have just read reflects several things: The burden these students have for the Gospel and lost people is evident. And, obviously, the students are responding to the call of God on their lives. The leadership team and faculty at Truett-McConnell are inspired by these students' commitment, and we are heartened to keep pressing the biblical claims of God and his Great Commission upon our students' hearts both in the classroom and on the harvest fields of the world."
by Meagan Price and Norm Miller
A new road and sidewalk, and facilities for students pursuing a Nursing degree represent several upgrades planned for Truett-McConnell College.
Construction begins this summer on the narrow asphalt road adjacent to the new dorm. When finished, a sidewalk and water remediation system will accompany the widened, two-lane throughway.
A new concession stand and restroom facilities are planned for TMC's soccer field.
"These additions to the soccer field are growth indicators of our college and soccer programs," said David McDowell, head coach, women's soccer. "These upgrades bring practical improvements that will benefit players and spectators. Both the men's and women's soccer programs are strongly encouraged by these additions."
New furniture for the common areas in three residence halls -- Merritt, Otwell, and Sewell -- will welcome returning students next fall.
Returning students also will enjoy more than 50 high-speed, wireless Internet access points, each capable of servicing up to 75 clients. Some units already in service render up to 100 megabits per second upload/download speed. This represents a 100 percent increase or more in campus web access speed.
A new parking lot of 50 spaces will replace the relocated volleyball court adjacent to Otwell dorm.
Already underway, the biggest addition to Truett-McConnell's campus is the $280,000 Nursing facility. Situated on the ground floor beneath the dining hall, the 3,800 sq. ft. area consists of a 35-seat classroom with a smart board, movable desks for interactive learning, two laboratories, and five offices.
Renovations to both the new and older chemistry labs include the venting of the new lab and a chemical storage area. This first phase of renovation transforms the older lab into a new molecular and cell biology facility.
"During this academic year, and with Dr. Bowen's assistance, we acquired an estimated $90,000 worth of equipment and supplies for approximately $17,000," said Dr. Brad Reynolds, vice president for academic services.
"Dr. Bowen's commitment to Truett-McConnell and our students is evidenced in many ways, including the unassuming and persistent manner he has procured the equipment necessary to update our science lab. We are grateful for his tireless efforts and thank the Lord for his dedication."
Bowen, who is assistant professor of biology, helped procure equipment for cryogenic storage/histology preparation, water purification, centrifugation/dry baths/mixing/sample preparation, protein assay, and liquid handling.
"The renovated space will allow full utilization potential of all of the really great stuff," Bowen said. "And with the update to the laboratory facility, we will also have organized space for DNA and RNA electrophoresis equipment and assays, including regular PCR capabilities; incubators; fume hoods, including a walk-in fume hood; autoclaves; and additional liquid handling equipment, micro-pipettes," Bowen told TMCNews.
Purchase of advanced imaging capabilities, including ultraviolet, chemiluminescent, and fluorescent imaging of DNA, RNA, and protein, is budgeted, Bowen added.
"All told, the biology program's current holdings are valued at about $126,000," he said.
Bowen added that, as the program continues to develop he "looks forward to continued progress, facilities development, and funding that, by God's obvious hands, will enhance the opportunities offered to each student in our degree programs."
Truett-McConnell College will do "whatever is within our ability to expand the college experience for all of our students," said Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell. "We are dedicated to our students' academic and spiritual growth, and we are equally committed to preparing our campus for the future growth coming to this institution."
All campus upgrades are scheduled for completion by the fall.
To help improve Truett-McConnell's campus on behalf of our students, please click here.
Serving God, serving others:
Lady Bears soccer ministers at Young Life Camp
by Hayle Swinson and Meagan Price
(On the cover: Morning sunlight illuminates Joely Cook as she sets tables for breakfast. Photo/Hayle Swinson.)
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)--The Truett McConnell women's soccer team spent a weekend serving others, April 19-21. From prepping to cooking to cleaning up after meals -- and that includes washing dishes -- the Lady Bears ministered at a Young Life Camp, helping to feed more than 320 campers.
"By the end of the weekend I was extremely tired, but serving others and seeing the Lord get the ultimate glory was worth it," said Bethany Murphy.
Throughout the course of the weekend, the student-athletes prayed for strength and energy as they served from 5 a.m. through the evening hours. God continued to sustain as the Lady Bears had adopted a thematic Bible verse for the weekend's ministry:
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace" 1 Peter 4.8-10.
"It wasn't about us," said Shelby Standfield. "It was about
helping these Young Life campers and making their day better."
Emily Bechke said she enjoyed the applause of appreciative campers. "It was the best feeling in the world to know that they really appreciated what we were doing, and to know that we made a difference."
Bechke said one must be "selfless" to accomplish "really hard work. Even though you are really tired, and your feet and back are hurting, so is everyone else's. You just have to suck it up and help out everyone else because they worked just as hard as you did. And to get everything else done, you had to be selfless and help them."
"I'll apply this experience in my life by appreciating the work of others a lot more," Bechke said, adding that teamwork skills will help in her future career.
"We had great teamwork helping each other,"
Tania Perez, said. "We were so eager to help each other."
"The way people were clapping for us on the last day – that showed how much they appreciated us helping. I didn't know that simply serving would be such a huge deal. But it was not for us; it was for God," Perez added.
"This weekend really taught me that I need to do more things for people without anything in exchange for it. Knowing that they we are helping people is much better than getting something in return," she said.
Joy Smith said she enjoyed "being able to get away as a team and show Christ's love by serving others. It was great to able to put myself last and focus on the needs of the ones being served."
Hayle Swinson is women's assisant soccer coach. Meagan Price is women's assistant basketball coach.