Below are excerpts from essays written by two young people from Thomson.
Jacobi Crawford read his essay during Black History Month at Springfield Baptist Church in Thomson. He is the son of Marion and Elizabeth Crawford.
Jacobi recently was awarded a scholarship to Tuskegee University.
His girlfriend, Jalecia Hill, is a first-year student at Georgia Military College in Augusta. She is the daughter of James and Janice Hill. She read her essay at Mount Aldred Church in Briar Creek.
Man changed his life and lives of others
One of the main ingredients to transforming lives and impacting communities is having someone in your life that can do just that. Well, let me tell you about a person that has not only transformed his life and become an impact to the community, but he has been a transformer and an impactor for many. He was born Dec. 3, 1963, in McDuffie County. He is a father of two sons and one daughter and a husband to a beautiful wife. He has one grandson and three granddaughters. He became motherless at the age of 8.
This man is not famous; he has not set any world records; and no he is not rich. But through Christ this man has transformed his life and become a strong father, husband, mentor and productive citizen of McDuffie County. He is now working on the battlefield for the Lord trying to transform the lives of youths in this community.
He tells his children constantly how he wants them to take advantage of all the opportunities before them. He reminds them of his favorite Bible verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).
Some of you have probably guessed by now that this man is none other than my father, Marion Tyrone Crawford.
Transforming lives and communities through Christ takes determination.
However, a strong will is not always enough; you also have to be kind of hard on yourself. Determination implies that your willfulness is balanced by discipline.
As my father lost sight of discipline, balance and strong will, he was eventually hit by reality and went back to something he was taught at a young age. He was taught about a savior named Jesus. And through his words, he learned that God is omnipotent -- or "almighty" -- such that no part of creation can escape his influence or authority. He saw that God -- through his Spirit -- is omnipresent, such that no part of creation can escape his presence. And he understood that God -- perceiving all things -- is omniscient, such that no part of creation can escape his knowledge.
Yes, like Marion Tyrone Crawford we have two choices, being in the will of God and being outside the will of God. That decision is up to you.
-- Jacobi Crawford
Student finds comfort in Bible verse
I am Jalecia Hill, a freshman at Georgia Military College in Augusta.
I am like any other college student, facing challenges every day. Whether it's work, grades or financial aid, I do my best, as I keep God as the head of my life. When times get tough I lean to the word of God. Proverbs 3:5 -- "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart: and lean not unto thy own understanding" -- is a passage I cherish in my heart.
Going to school and working four to five days of the week can be a challenge for any young person. As a freshman in college, I thought that the schoolwork and teachers were going to be the same or at least similar, but I was on a whole different level. As the work got more difficult, I had to learn quickly to get closer with God if I wanted to achieve my purpose in life.
But my challenges did not begin in college. In high school I wanted to be active in everything. In my first two years, it was effortless to maintain grades, play sports or participate with a club. Later, my participation started to decrease because of other issues in my life.
In October 2009 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When our family received the news, we all had our own way of dealing with it. Most of the time, I kept my feelings inside and didn't want to talk to anyone. I was upset and angry at first. I was having questions such as why me, and why do I have to see my mother go through this? I blamed cancer for many things. I could ask my mother to come to an event at school in which I would be recognized but she sometimes would be in so much pain that she could not move.
Philippians 4:13 says: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." That Bible verse helped me to see that as the challenge got harder we as a family had to get stronger. And then I began to have a new outlook on the situation. I began to understand that God wanted my mother to go though the hardship so that she could encourage others.
There were nights when I felt I had enough of holding back. I would lie in the bed and cry myself to sleep, asking God to help me get through another day. I know God would not put more on me than I can bear. He was with me to the end.