by Charissa Veal
CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews) – Benjamin Garrison is a familiar face to many students among Truett-McConnell College’s campus. In 2012, Garrison received his Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies with a concentration in Biblical and Theological Studies, but he continues to work on campus as a Resident Director and take classes towards his masters degree in the school’s Master of Arts in Theology program.
When asked what he plans to do with his master’s degree, Garrison replied, “What I plan to do with my degree is to continue what I’m doing now.”
Garrison, who is currently working as a youth/college minister at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Clarkesville, Ga., plans to use his degree to continue serving in ministry: “The classes here have been very beneficial,” Garrison said. “Just continuing my knowledge of the Bible and using that to serve in ministry has made such a difference.”
Reflecting on God’s leading in his life, Garrison recounted how his current job is a result of the preparation and experiences he gained through TMC. “I was called into ministry when I was 15,” Garrison said. “During my senior year of high school, I felt the Lord calling me here, but it cost a lot of money and I didn’t know how I would pay for it.”
Although his parents were in favor of his goals, they were unable to help him financially. Not knowing where he would get the money to come to Truett-McConnell and only having $1,000 to his name, Garrison prayed: “Lord, if you want me to go, you’d better provide.”
Three days before move-in day, Garrison prayed to God again while sorting envelopes for a credit card merchant company where he worked: “Where do You want me to go? Where’s the money? How am I going to do this?” Just then, he picked up an envelope and felt a rattle. Inside was a quarter made the year he was born.
Garrison said, “It was like God was saying, ‘You didn’t know where that coin came from but I did; and you don’t know where the money for Truett will come from but I do. Just trust Me and be obedient.’ And I said okay.”
A few hours later, TMC notified Garrison to tell him his account was balanced and he could move in.
A fever for missions
Before coming to TMC, Garrison never attended a foreign mission trip. “I was scared to go on mission trips. I didn’t want to,” he confessed. However, the summer after graduating, he signed up for a trip to Thailand and it changed his mind.
“It was great,” Garrison said. “We got to work with an orphanage, and they gave me a nickname….they called me Beayou. They told me it was after a TV star over there [but] I don’t know if it was true.”
Working with the children at the orphanage made a big impact in Garrison’s life. During their two week stay in Thailand, Garrison shared how the group served and learned through different types of ministries: “We had class in the morning just to learn about the culture and different world religions, and then we’d go talk to Buddhist monks,” he said. “We would go into the towns and cities and just talk with people.”
“After I went on a few [trips] with Truett, I absolutely loved them,” Garrison said. “So I’ve kind of gotten a fever for it.”
Garrison has been on several international mission trips since Thailand and is currently preparing to take a group from his church to Mexico. While he hopes to continue participating in short-term missions, Garrison knows his calling is to the local church: “That is where I feel like the Lord has put me,” he said.
Whether it’s local or foreign missions, or local ministry, Garrison loves to see believers working together. “Mission trips get you plugged into a group of people; it’s just something special when you do ministry with a group of believers.”
Life as a graduate
Garrison loves where God has placed him. He is able to learn, work, and to do ministry, all at the same time. Compared to being an undergraduate, Garrison says that, “besides the workload, there’s a major difference. You’re at a different stage in life…I still hang out at campus activities at times, but you’re definitely not hanging out with your friends and just goofing off.”
Looking back at how God has moved in his life, Garrison reflects on how far God has led him: “I went through the program, graduated, and the Lord opened up a ministry opportunity. The Lord definitely wanted me to come here and I absolutely love it.” He expects to graduate with his Master of Arts in Theology in December 2015 or May 2016.
Charissa is a senior English major and freelance writer for TMC.Return to News Archive