by Nathan Welsh
CLEVELAND, Ga., TMNews – First year Master’s student, Hayden Fleming, grew up in an atheist home but after accepting Christ, began to share the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Raised in Jacksonville, Fla., Fleming shared: “I was raised in a house that didn’t believe. It wasn’t until about my senior year in high school that I actually gave my life to Christ.”
One thing that helped influence him to Christianity, was switching from a public school to a private Christian school. During his sophomore year of high school, he received a Gideon Bible which gave Fleming comfort after reading it. However, it wasn’t until he visited a church that the Gospel was explained to him more clearly and he surrendered his life to Christ.
Finding support in the church
“I had a family that adopted me in spiritually,” said Fleming. “I began the discipleship process at that point.” This family was primarily responsible for involving Fleming in missions.
Not only did the family pay for his passport, but they also helped him raise money for his first mission trip. After spending a couple of summers on mission trips, Fleming was called by God to quit his job and move to Honduras.
He shared, “I didn’t know for how long, but it ended up being only a month-and-a-half, or two months.”
Overseas to the North Georgia Mountains
During his time in Honduras, he assisted three different groups that came down to do mission work. “The first one I knew. The second two I didn’t,” Fleming stated. Through these groups, he was able to learn more about Truett-McConnell.
When he returned from Honduras, he called the college and to his surprise was directed to the President, Dr. Emir Caner. “I told him I was, at the time, twenty-one years old. I had no plans. I only had a thousand dollars to my name. I had no residence and I had nothing lined up.”
Caner replied that if the Lord wanted Fleming there, He would work it out.
God did work it out for Fleming; he was not only able to attend Truett, but also played shortstop for the baseball team. Fleming recalled: “Lo and behold, it worked out. I came up and got my Bachelor’s Degree in World Missions.”
Heading into the Master’s program
After taking a year off of school and serving part-time at a local church, Fleming realized: “There’s a necessary component of theology and just diving deeper into these topics that’s needed.”
He approached the Master’s program with a willingness to learn, not just to have an education for education’s sake. While he knew that having a Master’s degree could assist him with obtaining more work in ministry, another component he recognized was the Godly faculty that the college employs.
“It’s like an all-star lineup of professors,” Fleming explained. “Not only are [they] knowledgeable about their subject matter, but they’re also living out their faith and it’s evident.”
Looking to the future
Fleming is currently focused on schoolwork. He also loves spending time with his wife Joy, who also attended Truett-McConnell and played soccer.
According to Fleming, his wife is the “real athlete of the family. She’s a superstar.”
Their future plans are not concrete right now, but he recognizes that they are in a season of waiting for what the Lord will provide. “With my missions background, teaching overseas would be something I’d be interested in,” Fleming shared. “Church planting is also a recurring thought.”
Regardless of what his next steps hold, Fleming is eager to serve the Lord in any capacity.
Nathan is a senior Christian Studies major and a freelance writer for the college.
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