By Jordan Haney

CLEVELAND, Ga., – “My personality now is totally different from the person I was on Move In Day as a freshman,” said Brandon Long, a senior at Truett McConnell University (TMU). “In high school, I wasn’t the most social person,” he added. “Now I can approach people I don’t know and at least talk to them or become their friend.”

The Lord works in mysterious ways

Before graduation, Long had plans to pursue a degree in architecture. “I was prepared to be an architect. I even took engineering classes,” he explained. After taking a tour of the TMU campus, while in high school, he knew this was the place for him.

Although it did not have the particular degree path he had planned to pursue, Long said, “I walked onto the campus, and it felt perfect.”

As he began his freshman year on the Cleveland campus, things were a little different than planned. Long was now uncertain about his major, thinking that he might end up being a history teacher. However, God worked in and through his life and opened doors to a much different path. “I felt God call me to the ministry halfway through the year. I talked to different people and decided I wanted to be a preacher.”

The Christian Studies major laughed at the irony in his life. “My whole life, people always said I would be a preacher, but I never felt God’s calling, so I didn’t want to pursue it. Once I felt the calling, I knew I had to follow it, and people were like, ‘Told you so!’”

A life-changing event

Like many, Long has faced personal struggles in his life. “It was my sophomore year when I got a call from my mom saying she had turned yellow and passed out.”

As he explained that fateful day, Long somberly shared, “They took her to the hospital and found out she had cancer in her gall bladder and her liver. For two years now, she has been fighting the cancer that has also spread to her lymph nodes. She is going through chemo right now, but it is just meant to be palliative.”

Sadly, for the Long family, another trial hit them soon after his mother’s diagnosis. “When my mom got cancer, my dad kind of played the victim card and left the picture.”

Although he and his family have faced adversities, Long wasn’t fazed. “It sounds bad, but at the same time, my mom is able to be a witness to the nurses and doctors through the chemo treatments. She is always happy, always joyful and you would never guess that she is suffering from cancer. So, she has been a huge witness, and I know I have had many people here at TMU praying for her and my family.”

Long also realized how he can use his situation and experience to help others. “When times are tough, I know to not bounce out like my dad did. If people are struggling, then I can tell them, ‘Hey, I know what you are dealing with. Let me help you.’”

Encouragement from many

The future graduate is full of gratitude for the prayers and encouragement from so many people at TMU and around the state. “I have so many people praying for my mom and me. My mom receives encouraging letters from churches across the state.”

Not only has he learned how to be a better friend and minister, but Long has found encouragement through his ‘family’ at TMU. “I have been getting lots of advice here, and I have learned that I can use this situation as a ministry. My professors are friends and counselors and have been able to point me to Christ and show me the grace through their actions.”

“Ecclesiastes 3 has stuck with me.” Long explained how the Old Testament passage has been a reminder throughout his life. “When there is a good thing going on, it is a season, and it is something I should enjoy now and take advantage of while I can. When something bad is happening, it’s only for a season, it’s not the end of the world. Over time, I have gotten used to that idea, and I need to take advantage of the good things that come from it and not focus on the bad. “

“Outside of being a pastor,” Long says about his future, “I want to try and stay close to home so I can take care of my mom. Everything has been very short-term since I have so much going on. God has a plan for me, and as long as I trust Him, He’ll take care of the rest.”


Jordan Haney is a senior Business major and Communications Intern at TMU.

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