“I believe the Army has given me purpose,” says sophomore Latrina Brandon. Brandon has been in the Armed Forces for eight years. She has served as an allied trade specialist for the Army, and she says she plans to stay in for at least 12 more years to try to retire as a colonel.
“When I got into the military, I loved it,” says Brandon. “I want to keep being in the military and rank up.” Brandon was deployed to Afghanistan for a year before returning to the U.S. and coming to CBC. She has also been able to travel to places like Ireland and says she wants to tour Italy and Japan. “After being deployed I came back different. Some of the things we see and do simultaneously change you,” says Brandon. “I learned to grow up really quick. Make more mature decisions and I think it made me a better me.”
According to Brandon, the most challenging part about the military was getting the civilian mentality out of her head. “Civilian life I had a slacker mentality, (in the Army) you don’t have that option,” says Brandon. “I had to make more mature decisions and leave a lot of civilian decisions in the background. They don’t give you wiggle room, basically coming from civilian life to the military you are accountable for yourself.” Brandon says she never really knew her purpose until she joined the Army. “If you don’t know where you’re going right now, it’s ok,” says Brandon. “There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Olivia Farris, Sophomore
“Teaching is a calling,” says sophomore Olivia Farris. “I want to share the Gospel by teaching and letting my kids find a joy in learning.” Farris is an education major and she says she likes to teach because she loves to see students grow and connect things, they don’t understand at first.
I Love Helping Kids See Jesus
“I have always wanted to be a teacher because I love helping kids,” says Farris. “I want to teach kindergarten because (this age group) is really sweet and shorter than me.” Currently, Farris teaches children’s Sunbeams at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Greenbrier. She said she has had interesting experiences teaching ages three to nine year-old kids. “One of my little boys wanted to sing a dinosaur song,” says Farris. “So I came up with a song about dinosaurs that is church related; we sang ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,’” says Farris. Farris says she shows her kids Jesus by helping them find their way.
She says teaching is important and impactful because that’s how learning goes above and beyond. “I feel like this is where God wants me to be (to) help kids and their families.”
According to Farris, she says that God gives her purpose. “My purpose in life is to live and honor God and to show the love of Jesus to others by my actions,” says Farris. “I want people to wonder what I have.” Farris says she recommends others to pursue a career that brings satisfaction to their life. “Find something you are passionate about and will enjoy,” says Farris. “If you don’t enjoy your job, it’s gonna be a fight to go to work every day.”
Todd Whistler, Senior
“I feel called to the music ministry,” says senior Todd Whistler. “I have always wanted to teach theory and ear training classes at the college level.” Whistler says his purpose in life is to follow God’s will for him, and he says he thinks if he works at a private Christian school, he can teach music and do ministry.
Music Is My Calling
“Since sixth grade, one of my piano teachers got her master’s in music at Baylor University in Texas,” says Whistler. “I just always remembered wanting to work there.” According to Whistler, he says that he always knew his calling was music and he used to sing Veggie Tales and Sunday school music all throughout the week as a kid. “I started taking piano lessons when I was eight and would play during the church offertory,” says Whistler. “I started teaching piano in ninth grade and did that privately for five years and currently teach at the Palmer Music Company.”
Whistler says the summer before his junior year of high school, he began to pray intentionally for his path in life. “I was trying to figure out what I was going to do and I knew that it was the music ministry,” says Whistler. Whistler says that prayer is always big when figuring out life decisions and once someone feels whatever they are called to do, that they shouldn’t hesitate. “Try to be proactive and don’t avoid opportunities,” says Whistler. “It’s ok not to be perfect because God made us imperfect, but through him, whatever we give to him is perfect.”
Dr. Joel Slayton
“I have never questioned my calling,” says Joel Slayton, chairman of the Bible department. “My purpose in life is to please God and my calling primarily is to communicate the Bible – that’s my passion.”
A Life-Long Pursuit
Slayton has been teaching at CBC for 43 years and recently celebrated 50 years in ministry. He has served and spoke at numerous churches and conferences in the U.S and around the world and currently pastors at Needs Creek Baptist Church. “I want people to really understand the Bible, that’s what lights my fire,” says Slayton. “If I don’t create within my students a passion for the Book and a love for the Savior that the Book is about, I have not succeeded in ministry.”
My Favorite Classes
He says his favorite classes to teach are Old Testament courses such as Biblical Archeology and Minor Prophets. The Bible is composed of 66 books and Slayton says he loves thoroughly preaching it book by book. He has recently taught 10 sermons on the book of Jude and spent 20 weeks on the book of James. “I think we are living in a generation of a lot of information and not a lot of truth,” says Slayton. “Teaching spiritual truth to me is important and I have a love for the Bible and hopefully I can convey that to students so that they can love it, too.”
Written by Melody Siebenmann, Tower Times Reporter
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