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They Say, “Home is Where the Heart is”

As Christmas approaches, college students are reminded of home. When people think of the word “home”, many things may come to mind. Some people think of the place where they grew up. Others are reminded of the family and friends most dear to them.  Often times, people are uncertain because they do not know what home means to them. Some have not experienced what it is like to live in an environment worthy of being called a home. Others have lived in many wonderful places that they do not refer to a specific place as home. Some may not spend Christmas in their homes, because they do not have a place to call home. The concept of home is something that can be created wherever people reside. With a little intentionality, relationships can be developed and homes can be created.

What does a home consist of?

“Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” Ephesians 1:3-6.

Moving is a natural part of life, and encourages one’s walk with Christ.  Few people realize the mark that they leave behind as they travel from one place to the next. The Christ-like impact that people leave behind can be inspiring. Through Christ-like communication, a positive relationship can be made on the lives of others.  Though saying goodbye is difficult, people’s hearts for Christ have the opportunity to grow. As Christians, people have the ability to share with others the personal relationship they can recieve in Christ. A value held within the home may consist of changing the lives of people one holds dear. This is accomplished through intentionally building relationships. Homes are created by structuring God-given relationships that pursue to point one another toward hope in Christ. As Jesus says in Matthew, “Make disciples of all nations.”  Relationships are accomplished through time spent sharing the gospel and the love of Christ. God encourages His children to create homes in places all around the world. As the Christmas season slowly comes, keep in mind that home can be with family, but it is also with those who seek to honor Christ. Most importantly, home is where a community demonstrates love like Christ portrayed His love on the cross. Sometimes homes are just for a season, but the Lord is always in control. People can trust Him to guide them through all seasons because, ultimately, a Christian’s true home is found in the grace and love within Christ. If people can remember this simple truth, freedom is produced as they transition from one home to the next.  God is sovereign, and His promises are always true. He has a plan and a purpose for the lives of His children. Though life may take them from place to place, there is purpose in every move. The love that is shared in every place does not change, and it is that love that constitutes a Christ-like home.

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Christmas Banquet 2016!

On December 3rd, Toccoa Falls College will host the annual Christmas Banquet at the Classic Center in Athens, GA. The event is a time for students to de-stress from the last full week of school, and relax among friends while celebrating Christmas. There is much anticipation for this upcoming Christmas Banquet as all of the tickets have been sold out. The Campus Life division of the Student Government Association will host the banquet. Heavenly Dacus, the director of Campus Life, expressed her excitement for spearheading this event.

“I’m excited for the Christmas Banquet, and to be in charge of something that brings so much life to the TFC community. It is definitely a different feeling being in charge of a party instead of attending. It definitely takes away the mystery of the night, but I am honored to be able to bless my student body by putting in the work. I also genuinely love working with my team, so I am very thankful.”

This is not the first time a Christmas Banquet has been held in the Classic Center. It was also held on December 7, 2013. This particular time became a historical event for the students of the college because it allowed dancing to be sanctioned. While the banquet is a normal event hosted by TFC, it was the first event where dancing was fully sanctioned. The event was a great success while drawing in a greater following where more lasting memories were made. “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” –Bob Hope

A couple of TFC alumni were asked about their thoughts on their past experiences with the Christmas Banquet and have expressed their opinion that dancing being allowed at TFC.

Dr. Bill Quarterman, class of 1976, and current head of the Department of Counseling and Psychology remembers general events within TFC, such as music skits, speakers and games. Dr. Quarterman says, “It would be a great thing to incorporate” toward allowing dancing at TFC events.

Shari Jalovick, class of 1981, is the wife of current history professor, Dr.David Jalovick. She remembers how hard of a time she experienced picking a dress for the banquet. However, Mrs. Jalovick grew up in an environment where dancing was allowed, line dancing to be specific. If anything, she claims that she would still enjoy the dancing as a student.  

Semi-formal attire is preferred for this event, and all classes are welcome to be a part of the banquet. There will be activities for all students after the banquet, such as exploring the city of Athens. SGA will provide information for key landmarks of Athens to visit that night. SGA is excited for students to come out and experience a beautiful night in Athens! 

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Rest: An SMF Worship Night

On Wednesday night, the Student Missions Fellowship of Toccoa Falls College hosted a worship night. Providing an intimate setting where the students had an extra opportunity to gather for corporate worship, it was a much appreciated event.

Since the doors into Gate Cottage’s large inner room were not yet open, students accumulated in the small hallway and spilled out into the driveway outside; it was a large and congested crowd. A palpable energy exuberated, indicating everyone’s eagerness for the event to start. Once the doors were opened, everyone flooded into the room.

An abundance of seats were set up, semi-circled in the middle of the room. As everyone suffused into the room the seats were filled up so quickly that soon some people had to stand around the edge of the room—there was such a turn out!

Music played and boisterous conversation ensued as everyone waited for the event to start. S’mores were available—as well as coffee—for consumption. People began to line up to indulge as they waited for the worship to begin.

The event was initiated with the declaration of a theme for the night: “Rest”. It was explained that after questioning some students, rest was a common theme among what students felt like they needed; therefore, the whole night was determined on helping people to relax and release their burdens to God. For those who felt like they were busy, they did not have much time to cultivate their relationship with God. The night was an opportunity to reinvigorate their stagnate devotion.

Music began, and everyone sang together. The small and intimate atmosphere of Gate Cottage reverberated the many voices, allowing one to hear the collective voice of God’s children singing. It was a beautiful sound!

After two songs everyone was invited to break off into groups and pray for each other. As many grouped together, singing continued. It was a blessing to witness the student body come together to worship God as others lifted each other up in prayer.

As all of this went on in the background, students had the opportunity to participate in various booths that were set up as additional modes of worship. There were five booths, each with a specific focus.

One booth had paper and pens. Here, one was encouraged to write down what was keeping one from truly and fully resting in God. After honestly writing down a personal answer, one vulnerably taped it to the wall. Gradually, the wall became increasingly populated by the answers of students earnestly seeking rest in God.

Another booth had “Eternity Ropes.” These “Eternity Ropes” were hemp strings that had a small section with black tape on it. The rope as a whole represented eternity, and the small section of black tape represented our lifetime—small in comparison to infinity! Here students meditated on their life as it related to its short, conditional quality and compared that to eternal life with God.

Closely related to the ambition of SMF, a third booth had pictures of interns and their place of service listed on it. At this booth, students had the opportunity to pray for Toccoa Falls College interns. Also, jars were set on the table where one could donate money.

The fourth booth was a small table with many slips of paper spread over it. These pieces of paper had promises of God written on them with the accompanying Bible verse. All of the verses related to one’s identity in Christ and students meditated about who they are in Christ. Since there were multiple slips of each paper, students could take one of the promises that particularly ministered to them so that they could continue to think about it.

The final booth was a comfortable corner with blankets and pillows. Paper and markers were available here for students to write with. As they meditated on rest, they had the opportunity to write down what came to mind and place those prayers and thoughts in a glass bowl.

Keep in mind that as one attended each booth, the unified voice of students singing and the compilation of many unique prayers echoed in the room. This audible praise from God’s children helped propel one deeper into a heart of focused worship.

With a final song and an exhortation to continue to rest in God—especially by placing the last portion of the semester into God’s hands—the worship night ended. Everyone left feeling spiritually refreshed and encouraged by the corporate worship. It was a blessed time of fellowship together as the core values of Toccoa Falls College were demonstrated among the student body.

 

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Toccoa Falls College presents The Jungle Book

This Thursday will be opening night of this semester’s Toccoa Falls College Theatrical Society’s production: The Jungle Book.  A large number of TFC students have dedicated their time, effort, and talents into making this semester’s production an even bigger success, and continuing the tradition of the Theatrical Society.

Bagheera: captured by Mark Westlund

Bagheera: captured by Mark Westlund

This semester’s play is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s famous work by Monica Flory. The play retains all of the fun and liveliness from popular adaptations, with a few more ties back to the original work. For example, this adaptation will elaborate on the content and importance of jungle law, as outlined in the jungle book. As well, this adaptation will feature characters that appeared in the original work that audience members might not be as familiar with, such as, Tabaqui the Jackal. The Jungle Book will be family friendly, at times funny, at times dark and intense, and heartwarming all the same.

The Jungle Book will star Gavin Brain as Mowgli. Gavin is 11 and the oldest son of the Brains, a contributing family to TFC. This semester’s play will also star students, Cameron McIntyre as the bear Baloo, Keojah McBryde as the panther Bagheera, and alumni Robert Mayo as the tiger Shere Khan. The entire team, cast, and production has put in countless hours to make this play a success. When asked about the play and what things she has enjoyed most from this experience, Keojah McBryde answered, “It’s been really fun getting to know all of the new cast members.” Indeed, the theatrical society gained a huge turnout of incoming students. “We’ve had a lot of laughs and a lot of bounding time”, McBryde finished.

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Shere Khan: Captured by Mark Westlund

This year’s production is due to the leadership of students, Angela Warfel and Abigail Dority, two MKs with an extraordinary vision for this production and a vigorous drive to carry it out. Upon interviewing the directors, Abigail Dority was able to share one of the rewarding things about directing a play. “One of the most rewarding things is being able to take my ideas for something and seeing it executed the way I want it to be done. Everybody has different views. Somebody else would have read this script and thought of totally different things than I did. Seeing something portrayed the way I visioned and having it come to fruition has been really cool.” The vision will be grand, as the play will be performed on a beautiful jungle set, which was designed and built under the leadership of Keven Jensen and Karely Velez. The directors are excited to see everything come together. “This definitely takes a lot more work than I expected, but it was easier because I had Angela as my co-director,” Dority admits. “She and I work really well together, so it wasn’t quite as hard as I was expecting it to be. It’s been really fun.”

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Mowgli: Captured by Mark Westlund

The Jungle Book will be this Thursday and Friday at 7:00 PM, and this Saturday at 3:00 PM at The Pointe Church in Toccoa. Tickets are $5 for students, $7 for adults, and $3 for children at the door. If you buy early in the Student Center, every ticket is $1 off. Doors open half-an-hour before each show and the show lasts about an hour and a half. Come out and prepare yourself to delve into the warm, dark, heart of the jungle.

All photos by Mark Westlund.

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Portraying the Life of Christ through Spiritual Formation

Toccoa Falls College seeks to pursue the body of Christ within each student. Spiritual Formation director, Chris Stratton, shares his journey with Christ and his love for developing a community that desires to shape and form the life of Jesus within His people.

Growing up in a family full of Asbury College alumni, Stratton believed it was only natural that he attended as well. Stratton felt like he had a positive experience having his father as a pastor. He was able to fully understand what it looked like for a family to be in ministry. He also experienced the Christian community in different contexts. As a basketball player, he said, “I was not really at college, just to study.” However, Stratton was able to be a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that has permission to operate within high schools as a club. Their purpose is to share their love for Jesus through their athletic performance.

Stratton learned about TFC in connection with Brian Shelton, who attended his father’s church in elementary school. For the previous sixteen years or so, Stratton worked as the managing editor for the Catalyst, a publication for Foundations of Theological Education. On discovering the book Prevenient Grace, by Brian Shelton, Stratton decided to take the opportunity to reconnect with Shelton while requesting he write an article for the Catalyst. After talking with his wife, Michelle, she discovered a job posting online for a position as the head of Spiritual Formation. Stratton understood what the position was required of and became interested in gaining a position that shared responsibility in both pastoral and academics.

Now, as the director of Spiritual Formation, Stratton’s heart was stirred toward the excitement of spiritually investing in college student’s lives. He states, “TFC is not the church, but college plays a key role alongside the church in both the education and formational processes of Christian students.” Christian college students experience life together in the everyday, and grow together into what the Lord desires His people to be. Together, students can be shaped into the life Jesus has for His people. Stratton also mentions that Jesus seeks to mold His people through small groups as they come to understand what salvation looks like.

A specific goal the Spiritual Formation Department seeks to implement is to further invest in building relationships while being a part of the campus community. Relationships continue to be the central focus at TFC because Stratton desires to create a community context where Christ’s image is portrayed in His people. His first year at TFC, he was focused on building a team. Therefore, the Grace Chapel leadership team grew to insure that the central Christian practice of worship was implemented in the community.

As the Spiritual Formation Department moves foreword, they seek to focus on observing where Toccoa Falls has developed within its small groups. Stratton asks, “Are they playing a formative role in our lives as followers of Jesus?” The purpose of barnabas groups is to build a team that serves together as the body of Christ. Furthermore, barnabas groups are dedicated in mentoring relationships to inform and nurture each college student in their spiritual life. Stratton desires that Toccoa Falls College pursue to embody the life of Christ in one another.

Paul says to the church of Colossae that he labors with everything in himself. With this in mind, Stratton perceives his role as the director of Spiritual Formation to labor at TFC, where people can create a context where Christ life can be formed within His people.

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Looking Outside the Frame

A new Toccoa Falls College student organization, Looking Outside the Frame has flourished under the leadership of Samara Spence.

Looking Outside the Frame is a photography-focused student organization on the campus of Toccoa Falls College. Officially notarized by the Student Government Association in September, Looking Outside the Frame has quickly developed an active role on campus. The organization’s mission is “to enable photographers to develop both passion and skill for photography by taking risks and engaging in communities around and beyond them.”

Picture taken by Abby VanWye.

Picture taken by Abby VanWye.

Samara Spence, a sophomore at TFC and founder of Looking Outside the Frame, developed an interest in photography and was inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York. Spence loves that people are the focal point of the popular photography project. Through Humans of New York, Stanton highlights everyday people and their stories. It is a simple concept with a huge impact. Spence said that photography can be used as a method of anthropology. She desires to authentically portray people and their lives through Looking Outside the Frame and its photographs.

 

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Picture taken by Samara Spence.

Spence also enjoys nature photography. When in nature, she feels as though she can experience God and learn more about His character. “I find peace; all my worries are washed away with the sounds of the wind against the trees and water running down a stream.” Spence photographs moments like these so that she can look back and remember them. She hopes that the members of Looking Outside the Frame can experience and share the beauty of nature through photography.

 

Spence wanted to start a student organization because she was looking for a way to grow as a leader and build a community. While she experienced some difficulties when implementing Looking Outside the Frame, Spence views these bumps in the road as learning lessons.

Working with people is difficult, yet beneficial.  Spence has learned when to stand firm on an idea and when to compromise. She said, “ I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone. And as much as you like your idea, sometimes, you should let it go if other people don’t agree with it.” Strong communication is crucial to an organization’s health. Spence has developed in both speech and listening skills. She has found it important to portray respect even when it is difficult. She said, “Leading a group of people will always be a challenge for me, but it is a learning process.”

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Picture taken by Jenalee Hinkle.

Through the commitment and work of Spence and other Looking Outside the Frame leaders, the organization has quickly developed a significant presence in the Toccoa Falls College community. The organization is actively meeting and taking advantage of many photography opportunities on and off campus. A strong bond is growing among the members. Being surrounded by students with similar passions yet unique perspectives has been rewarding for Spence.

Looking Outside The Frame meets on Tuesdays at 9:00pm in the Student Center lounge. The organization is not exclusive to skilled photographers. Anyone from the Toccoa Falls Community is welcome to attend. Photojournalist, Jim Loring, will be hosting a workshop on November 29th. Also, Looking Outside the Frame will be providing an opportunity for students to display their photographs and art on December 2nd. More details regarding these events will be advertised in the coming weeks.

Photographs taken by students are showcased on Looking Outside the Frame’s Instagram account: @looking_outside.the_frame. The account posts weekly themes, not to only connect but challenge followers. Participants  are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and use creativity.

 

 

*Featured image taken by Levi Cornelius.

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A Backpacking Trip on the AT

As required by the Outdoor Club, each of its leaders must coordinate an event for its members to participate in.

So last weekend Terik Thacker—one of the leaders within the Outdoor Club—had his debut in organizing and leading an event for the club. He decided to arrange a backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail. Other than to enjoy the natural scenery, encouraging company, physical exercise, and adventure, Terik’s declared purpose for this hike was to teach people how to participate in an overnight backpacking trip so that in the future they would have the ability to go on one without assistance from experienced backpackers.

The hike took place on October 28-30. Altogether, six people embarked on this venture, equipped with gear, food, and other paraphernalia necessary for surviving outdoors for three days. On Friday evening, the group drove to Lake Winfield Scott, where they camped for the night.

In the morning, the group packed up their gear and began the hike. They planned to hike for five miles to arrive at their next destination: a camping spot along the Appalachian Trail. As the day progressed—with splendid weather accompanying the hikers on their excursion—they enjoyed themselves as they pushed on toward their goal.

They reached the campgrounds much earlier than expected, but there was no complaining as some began to take naps, others talked—everyone simply enjoying the environment and unique opportunity to interact with each other. Here they camped for the night; but before surrendering to sleep, the hikers enjoyed stargazing for several hours from their exceptional overlook.

One would think that backpacking for three days would produce plenty of excitement—but the next morning, our backpackers from the Outdoor Club experienced a disappointing misfortune. The group’s original plan was to end the hike at a parking lot a mile ahead, where they had previously placed a car. This car would be used to transport two people back to where they began the hike, where they would retrieve the bus and then return to pick up the rest of the group.

But as the hikers continued on that last day, they discovered that they did not have the keys to the vehicle parked up ahead of them! Thankfully, Ryan Smith offered to run back to the bus and drive back to rescue everyone. With his weighty backpack, Ryan rushed back to Lake Winfield Scott and recovered the bus. Everyone returned back to TFC safely on Sunday—it was an adventurous trip, indeed!

If one would like to get involved with the Outdoor Club, it is open and available to all who are interested. It is a student sponsored on campus club that hosts events for all students. Its ambition is to provide authentic outdoor experiences for those that attend the exciting events offered.

Many events are hosted by the Outdoor Club. For example, this weekend they are going skydiving. Though other events are being discussed, nothing absolute has been determined. If one is interested in joining any of the future trips that the Outdoor Club may host, an email is sent out that explains the events and how to sign up to participate in them. Kayaking, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing—these are all possible trips that the Outdoor Club may host in the future. Get involved and stay involved! TFC has a lot to offer.

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Beyond Malibu: My Summer Camp Experience

Student, Steven Buffington shares his incredible, summer experience with Beyond Malibu below.

I told Rick Masters that I wanted to do mountaineering for my internship. He told me that he had something in mind, but that it was a great challenge. Part of what motivated my desire to work for YoungLife this summer, at first, was a tiny bit of personal ambition, but mid-way through the summer God quickly changed what was left of that. I realized that no matter what your major is at school, camp is still all about the Gospel and the camper.

The journey to Canada began at the beginning of the spring semester in 2016. Ryan Smith and I both had to save up and fundraise for plane tickets to multiple trainings out in Seattle, Washington. The Camp Ryan and I were working at was a mountaineering camp called Beyond Malibu (A YoungLife camp). The camp is an hour ride from any kind of civilization and takes campers up into the alpine of the Canadian, coastal mountain range. Now, just to give you some context, this is not your typical hike up Stone Mountain. This is climbing and descending around 6,000 to 8,000 feet from sea level to summit and back for seven days. The routes require everything from ice axes, to glacier crossings. It is not just a Sunday stroll on the good ole Appalachian Trail.

My personal, camp experience started about a month earlier than all my other co-guides. Unfortunately, I could not afford a third ticket out to Washington. So, I scheduled all of my finals a week early and bought a one-way ticket to Seattle-Takoma airport! It was like I was traveling the world again, but this time I was couch hopping from one friend’s place to another taking a giant backpack and a small backpack with only the things I needed most for the summer. I would later have my mom mail my favorite board shorts and t-shirt that I missed so dearly. Most of the time pre-camp was spent in Bellingham, Washington where my hostess/best friend Meg treated me to brunch at a different place in town almost everyday.

I would come to lead four trips and three different routes during the summer. The routes names are Frankenstein, Sun Peak, and Zion. The groups I guided were from Bellingham, Washington, Idaho, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Decatur, Georgia. Each of them grew me in many different ways. Two big lessons were overcoming fear and having a servant’s attitude no matter what. Learning to conquer a fear is a must when taking seven to ten eighteen year olds into the alpine. We had one group where we were in the middle of a lightning storm on top of a granite slab around midnight. Imagine being on top of Stone Mountain and lightning would strike right on top of you for four hours. Also, you would have a whole group of teenager’s lives in your hands. The second lesson is just as hard, but not quite as frightening. Learning to love a kid when they are dropping the f-word every five minutes and complaining about how hard the trip is may not be the easiest experience. These opportunities are where you can truly show them the love of Jesus.

The greatest thing about working for YoungLife this summer was seeing their model for sharing the Gospel. At Beyond Malibu you serve, you cater, and you pursue. All for that sweet moment of a kid opening up and spilling their guts out about their life. In other cases, you hear them say they do not believe in God. Trust me the honesty in those statements is so sweet because the kid is being authentic. These happenings are opportunities for us as guides to relate and share our own experiences while displaying Christ as Lord and Savior. Sometimes you have to turn the other cheek for entire weeks. Some weeks you may not reach a single person, but the moments you do, it is treasured forever. That is what makes camp so sweet!

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An Interview with Toccoa Falls For Life

At Toccoa Falls College there are numerous campus clubs which assist in highlighting the various heart cries and passions that the Lord has uniquely positioned inside of each student here. Below is an interview of Seth VanHorn, President of campus club Toccoa Falls for Life, providing insight into the heart of the club itself, its purpose, goals, and upcoming events.

Could you explain the general overview of Toccoa Falls for Life?

Toccoa Falls for Life is a student organization that is centered around the Pro-Life movement. Our hearts are to foster a community on campus that values human life no matter what stage it’s at and sees that all life is precious. We also have a desire to give students more than the knowledge of what it means to be a part of the Pro-Life movement by providing proactive events where they can step into this belief for themselves. We want to help people realize that if this is what they say they believe in, that a baby is a human life at conception, then something has to be done about it.

Do you have a specific missions statement for the club?

There are three key words in the statement that we filter club behavior and choices through. Those are: awareness, action, and advocacy. Awareness is about creating an environment that is aware of what the Pro-Life movement is as well as what it involves. Action, once you understand what’s going on, how baby’s lives are being taken unjustly, the fact that something must be done comes into play. And advocacy, this is essentially what the previous two words are pointing towards. We want to be advocates for the babies who can’t do anything for themselves, for the mothers who are in crisis pregnancies and need help, and those who are faced with the difficulties of wondering if they should get an abortion.

What was your motivation for starting the club?

I have a story that’s similar to most, I grew up Pro-Life because my parents were. I thought that to be a Christian you had to be Pro-Life, so I said I was but didn’t really know what that meant. It seems like a good idea to support babies, you know? As I got older I became frustrated with my views regarding the sanctity of life. People would start talking about it and I’d get frustrated and argue, but I didn’t know what I was arguing about. I realized my frustration was stemming from apathy. I was telling people I believed life begins at conception and that abortion is murder, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. That’s when I realized I needed to get involved. If I’m saying this is the worst social injustice that’s ever faced anyone in the history of the world – statistically more lives have been ended through abortion than anything else – then as the body of Christ we can’t sit by and not be actively engaged. That was convicting to me so I wanted to provide a way for students to get involved with the Pro-Life movement at TFC.

You had an event last Friday, October 21st. Can you talk a little about it?

On Friday we got involved in a movement with an international organization called Forty Days for Life. They create prayer vigils across the world, uniting Christians to go and pray in front of abortion clinics nonstop for forty days straight. Our event was in partnership with them, we signed up for a shift to go spend two hours in front of an abortion clinic in Greenville. It was a cool time to spend with some other students from TFC in prayer for the Pro-Life cause. We prayed for preborn babies, that God’s hand of protection would be over them, for mothers who are currently or will face an unplanned pregnancy, those who are dealing with the grief of abortion, for abortion workers themselves, and for our nation as a whole to be reawakened. There were only a few others there from another group who were all Catholic. When we got there I asked if we could pray with them, so we prayed a Rosary with a specific lady. We went through about fifty hail Mary’s. I could tell quite a few people were uncomfortable from our group, not exactly sure what was going on. The cool part was, afterwards, she asked to pray with us and we all went around in a circle praying. It was cool to see the body of Christ, the universal church, coming together as one body united for a particular cause regardless of different traditions and theological views. That was probably the most impacting part of the night for me. The event ended with a little bit of worship.

Do you have any upcoming events?

We’re hoping to hold an apologetics training course where you can learn how to articulate your beliefs and argue effectively that a pre-born baby is actually a human life. That will be sometime in November so be on the lookout for that.

What would you say to people who are skeptical about Pro-Life?

I don’t have all the answers, but I would love to discuss this issue and hopefully find answers with you. In regard to being skeptical about Pro-Life, I think that comes down to looking at the core of what the Pro-Life movement actually is: valuing life. We look at life and say regardless of size, level of dependency, location, etc. human life is important. Defending innocent lives and looking out for the vulnerable matters. I think something a lot of people miss is that the Pro-Life movement needs to also be Pro-Woman. When people think of Pro-Life, often they see old Christian haters, holding signs that say “God hates you” or “you’re going to hell for having an abortion,” but the Pro-Life movement needs to be a holistic environment that looks out for the lives of mothers too. If we’re going to say that these babies need to make it to birth, then we need to provide for them afterwards whether its adoption or helping a mom get back on her feet. It’s about valuing human life no matter what.

What does it look like to be a member?

If you want to get involved we’d love to have you. We have a group of officers, and next semester we will put out information about officer positions. Treasurer, secretary, community outreach, whatever it is we have a spot for you. If interested, contact with me or Sydney, the Vice President, we will keep you in the loop of when we’re going to do things or have events. Anyone can join. We’re also on Facebook, Toccoa Falls for Life.

 

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Murder among the Mateys

This Saturday, the TFC Philosophy Club and the TFC Theatrical Society will be teaming up to bring you this year’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater: Murder among the Mateys. This year’s Halloween dinner theater will take you to the high seas as participants will interact with the pirates and solve a heinous murder. Meet the crew of the Jaded Jewel, engage in humor, enjoy great food, and dress up in your best pirate gear. Meet Captain Redbeard and his scurvey crew. Meet Governor Napier and his royal family, who despise pirates. Put your detective skills to the test in this interactive set.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theater is a tradition that was started last year. Over a hundred attendees gathered to interact with 1920s mobsters and capture a murderer. This year hopes to be another success, with Philosophy Club President Amber Reynolds at the stern. General Coordinator, Rosse Karely Velez, has been the go-to girl in the process of making this year’s events happen, overseeing props, set, and actors. This year’s event is also due to the efforts of students such as Keegan Murphy, in charge of costuming, and Amber Reynolds in charge of evening’s dinner with the help Dr.Gary Elkins and Paula Elkins. The actors have taken up responsibility for coordinating themselves and have been preparing for weeks while having fun getting to be pirates. Actress Renee Morris commented on the process that has been invovlved in putting on this event; “The cast of Murder among the Mateys is unique because one is not just affiliated with the Philosophy Club or the Theatrical Society. Everyone joins to have fun and be entertained by the students of TFC. One of the actors comments,”I have the privilege to be a pirate with some talented people I didn’t know before this production. It’s been fun to play a pirate and see everyone enjoy the production by playing around with different accents, calling each other pirate insults, and getting to play a character that we might no totherwise be able to portray.” The cast is geared up and excited to put on this production for the student body for the second year.

Saturday’s events will take place October 29th at First Alliance Church in Toccoa – that’s right across the street from Walmart. The doors open at 5:45, and the program begins at 6:00, so don’t be late! Tickets are $3. The Philosophy Club will be selling tickets in the Student Center during lunch and dinner hours this week. Tickets will be sold at the door, but the club asks that you purchase your tickets early so that they can assess the attendance. This year’s attendance will be capped at 100 and last year saw over 100 participants, so get your tickets soon!

A homemade dinner and dessert will be served. Come dressed in your best pirate gear, but if you don’t have a costume, you’re still wholeheartedly welcome to come.  There will be two contests where participants can win prizes: one for best dressed and one for best solution. So buckle your boots, strap on your sword, get out your thinking caps, and join Murder among the Mateys for an extravagant adventure.

Murder among the Mateys

October 29th, First Alliance Church Toccoa

Doors Open: 5:45 – Program Starts 6:00

Tickets $3

Dinner served, Come dressed in your best pirate gear!

For Questions, Contact: amberreynolds@tfc.edu or rossevelez@tfc.edu

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2nd Annual Coats & Cans: Battle of the Bands

The Justice Campaign held its 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands: Coats and Cans Drive on Friday night. Going off of the success of last year’s event, the Justice Campaign team hoped to raise money and awareness for this semester’s cause. Furthermore, they hoped to present ways that students can get involved, and gather for a fun evening of music and community. Admission was granted to the event with the donation of clothing and/or canned goods. Attendees were treated to coffee and snacks made by the members of the Justice Campaign as they waited for the battle to begin.

Cody Towe

Cody Towe: Captured by Abby Van Wye

The cause of the Justice Campaign for 2016 is for refugees. This call towards injustice comes with the current attention surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis. While the student body longed for ways to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the overseas struggle, the Justice Campaign sought to offer practical ways to fight injustice. Co-Senior Manager of the Justice Campaign, Renna Varano, shared her heart regarding the Coats & Cans: Battle of the Bands event. “With the donations, students can get involved. If they don’t have time, that’s okay,” she encouraged. “These donations are going to great causes that will help refugees get on their feet and establish themselves here. My heart behind it is that people become more aware. This is an event where we want to shed light on this situation and have a fun event for the students.”  Certainly, everyone on the team was ready to have fun and spread their cause. Callie Langston, a first year who eagerly joined the Justice Campaign team, commented, “I’m excited to see all the bands participate. It’s very exciting to see college students get excited about things. I like watching others be excited. It makes me excited.”

Dr. Chris Vena & Keith revealing their scores

Dr. Chris Vena & Keith: Captured by Abby Van Wye

The night saw four bands perform: Wakefield, Blankets, Two and a Half Beards, and The Luke Bagget Band. The night began with Wakefield, featuring Seth Renicks on acoustic, cajon, and vocals with James Hutton on keys and vocals. They opened with a cover of Macy Grey’s I Try and received a score of 22 out of 30 from the judges. After a word from the speaker, the band Blankets performed, featuring Cody Towe on acoustic and vocals with Alex Hurtsellers on acoustic, electric, and vocals. After jokingly changing their band name last minute to the Chris Vena experiment to appeal to the judge, the band captured the audience with their indie acoustic version of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, scoring 24 points with the judges. Next up, the lively boy-band, Two and a Half Beards, played their set. The group featured David Ramirez on keys and vocals with Trey Worsham on bass, Jordan Bisignano on drums, and Alex Bisignano on acoustic. They left the crowd singing along by opening with Rude by Magic! and finished with Georgia Florida Line’s Cruise. They scored a whopping 28 points with the judges. The Luke Baggett Band didn’t actually feature Luke Baggett, but featured Seth Banks on vocals and acoustic. They wowed the audience with their voices, and the judges tallied their votes. After the Luke Baggett Band received a score of 26 out of 30, the prize of T-shirts, gift cards, and a golden duck tchotchke went to Two and a Half Beards.

Trent Delouch

Trent Debouch: Captured by Abby Van Wye

Interlaced into the competition, the Justice Campaign offered more ways for students to get involved in their cause. They raised money by selling T-shirts and raffling prizes. The Justice Campaign also invited Trent Deloach to speak at the event. Trent Delouch is an alumni of Toccoa Falls College and currently the pastor of Clarkston International Bible Church. Delouch brought to the groups attention some of the problems that refugees face overseas and struggles they face when they land right in our backyard. He alighted the audience as to how life isn’t easy, even for refugees who manage to make it to America. The Clarkston International Bible Church seeks to come alongside refugees and offer them a friend in America and any type of support that they may need. Karissa Glass, with the TFC Clarkston Refugee Ministry, offered students a way to get involved with the things that are going on in Clarkston.

Ultimately, it was mission accomplished considering the goals of the Coats & Cans event, but there is still much to do and plenty of ways to get involved. “We’re going to be having events throughout the year,” Varano commented. “We’ll be going to Clarkston and we will be working alongside Trent and the other ministry on campus, the Clarkston Refugee ministry. We’ll be doing whatever needs to be done. We want to help the refugees out in any way that we can. However if students want to get involved: if they want to join the team, come to meetings, or come to events.” TFC is excited to see what the Justice Campaign will do towards their cause this year.

All photos captured by Abby Van Wye

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“All Things for Him”- The Perspective of an Athlete.

Kaitlin Weidner, pictured as the first girl on the left, is a junior at Toccoa Falls College from Corry, Pennsylvania. She has been a volleyball player her first two years at Toccoa Falls and is continuing to play during her junior year at the college. She is a Cross Cultural Adult Education major who wishes to serve overseas with the Alliance.

Kaitlin explains that she wished to become a volleyball player since she was a little girl. She would practice often on her own while throwing the volleyball up the stairs. She patiently waited for the ball to bounce back down so she could pass it up the stairs again. Her mom was a volleyball player in high school and Kaitlin finally won her chance to play in the 10th grade and has played from them on.

Her attendance at an Alliance church and her pastor attending TFC benefited the path that led Kaitlin to the college. Other people from her camp came to Toccoa Falls, and she was interested in the excellent missions program.

When asked what her favorite part about being an athlete was, she replied, “It is fun to represent TFC in other places. The team and the coaches are like a little family.”

The volleyball team at TFC always demonstrates outstanding character. After many games, a parent from the other team or a coach frequently comment that the team always has a smile on their face no matter the score. They never get angry with the referee, and many have mentioned they can easily see the character in the team. Kaitlin says, the team always encourages each other no matter how they play.

Besides being an athlete, Kaitlin was asked how volleyball has allowed her to glorify God. She confidently states that she is able to use the talents that God has given her in order to invest and reach out to others. “Athletes can be considered an unreached people group, and in this way I am able to connect with them through a sport.”

In relationships with her teammates, she is able to connect with others in ways that she normally would not have obtained. “Being an athlete isn’t my whole life.” Volleyball is not Kaitlin’s identity, but through volleyball, she is able to invest in other relationships.

While being an athlete, maintaining schoolwork, and obtaining a job; there can be a lot of stress and pressure. Kaitlin explains that even though she doesn’t get too much sleep, she knows it will somehow always get completed. She frequently smiled as she mentioned that there is little time to be apart of other things during volleyball season. However, she tends to procrastinate more during the off-season saying, “I have plenty of time”. She quickly realized that it is important to stay on top of her schoolwork because it can easily slip away.

However, volleyball has been connected to Kaitlin’s spiritual life as well. Volleyball has shown her that she is incompetent on her own. “So many times when I believe that I can’t do something, God gives me the power to help me do it. I am helpless on my own.”

A significant feature that makes the Toccoa Falls College Volleyball team unique are the devotionals led before games. A team member is always in charge of leading a devotion for the entire team. Furthermore, they will sing and worship before games. While ending their time glorifying the Lord before entering the court, the team will throw their hands together and cheer, “All things for Him.” Toccoa Falls College’s Volleyball team always pursues Christ in the manner that the game is played.

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TFC Homecoming Weekend

On October 7th and 8th, Toccoa Falls College hosted a homecoming celebration. To promote fellowship, many activities and events were available to the alumni, family, and students that attended.

Festivities began with a cookout style dinner provided at the baseball pavilion. People first passed through the pavilion to acquire food, and then—because of the gentle rain—progressed to a nearby marquee to sit around the blue and gold cloaked tables set up under it. The blended group of young and old—of student and alumni—produced energetic conversation as everyone ensconced in the tent.

Satisfied from food and conversation, people wander to the nearby soccer field to watch the women’s soccer game that had begun during the meal; even though the rain had not ceased, homecoming participants were not hindered from supporting the Toccoa Falls College woman’s team as they played against Trinity Baptist School.

During the sporadic rain that accompanied the impressive game, the stands and sidelines were alive with cheers from students, alumni, and family that came to support the game and from conversations among old, seasoned friends.

The half time at the soccer game saw the recognition of four senior players: Jessica Smith, Naomi Horton, Katy Koser, and Sydney Vanhorn. Even with the rain that had begun to intensify, the ladies walked out to the center of the field with their families as their hard work and accomplishments were recognized.

The rain had stopped before the second half began. Our ladies contended with Trinity Baptist, but they emerged through the game with a satisfying victory for TFC.

Following the TFC women’s triumph was another soccer match that placed TFC and Trinity Baptist’s men’s teams against each other. The TFC men played hard and gave everything they had—it was an electrifying game!—but Trinity Baptist won.

After the soccer games, people began to migrate to the intramural field by Grace Chapel for sweet treats. A massive tent was set up, under which was an abundance of delicacies. Boiled peanuts, cotton candy, fried Oreos, Coke floats, popcorn—this was just a sample of what was available. Alumni, students, and family enjoyed themselves as they fellowshipped and indulged.

The long awaited announcement of the homecoming queen occurred in a ceremony that followed the delicious feast. Everyone assembled in the athletic center, where Mandy Silker heralded each representative. Regan Paul, Briana Koser, Dania Morales, Heavenly Dacus, Arin Harrison, and Kaitlyn Koser—accompanied by a father, brother, friend, or significant other—all walked out to the middle of the gym floor as Mandy introduced them.

Hannah Gibson, the previous homecoming queen, appeared last to crown the new homecoming queen. After opening an envelope that revealed who was nominated, Mandy announced that Dania Morales was elected queen! As people cheered and clapped, Hannah crowned Dania. Dania received an abundance of congratulations from people as they left.

Thus, Friday’s homecoming activities were concluded. They were continued on Saturday, which witnessed remarkable weather.

Most of the day was left to the leisure of participants, but everyone began to congregate at Gate Cottage for the anticipated duck race at 1 pm. After depositing one’s pre-purchased ducks at a tent by the bridge, people began to sit along the edge of the creek to watch the race. The race began once all of the ducks were assembled and dumped into the creek. It lasted for some time, as the river flowed weakly and a strong wind blew; but after some assistance from the race organizers as they pushed the ducks along, the race concluded. Respectively from first to third place, Lisa Reed, Sarah Blackaby, and Roy Reed won the race. They were awarded Walmart gift cards and large rubber ducks.

Later that evening a team of alumni played the TFC men’s basketball team in a heated basketball game. It was an exciting game, with a diverse group of spectators supporting the teams as they competed with each other. After two halves, the TFC men’s team won.

For many, the festivities ended with the competitive basketball game; but for some the celebrations continued at a rave that was launched at the baseball pavilion.

Participants arrived on scene to see strobe lights—blocked by paint splattered banners—placed around in a circle and setting the mood. Two tables were set up: one with glow in the dark paint and glow sticks—where people could decorate themselves—and one with snacks and water. As music played, people danced amid the strobe wreathed circle. It was an invigorating event, and an exciting conclusion to the enjoyable homecoming weekend.

Altogether, homecoming was a special event that saw reunion and celebration—all who participated were blessed by the restoring atmosphere of positive community and amusing activities.

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Battling Defeat During Midterms

It’s here! It’s that time of the year where it becomes progressively harder and harder to persevere. It’s that time of year when professors and parents are giving constant encouragement to “finish strong.” It’s that time of year where assignment after assignment comes due. It’s midterms week.

Before fall break, it is very academically, and emotionally, difficult for students. There is a great deal of pressure and stress involved with finishing final assignments and preparing for the first break of the year. Students lose sleep, and drink more coffee to keep them going. With everything that they have to do, it is easy to give into feeling defeated. It is easy to focus on this one week of academic strain and lose sight of the big picture. God has given each of his children strength for every moment. Anything one could ever need, they already have in Christ. He has given his children enough strength, enough patience, and enough perseverance to overcome anything they may face. With all the anxiety this time of year causes, it is easy to be consumed by defeat. It is difficult for students to juggle the greater amount of responsibilities and obligations given to them. With the high level of stress that accompanies this week, it is even more important to remember to keep one’s eyes set on things above, not on things below. As soon as one is consumed by anxiety, crippling defeat is not far behind.  An anonymous Toccoa Falls College Sophomore wrote a short piece of poetry concerning this week.

 

“Dear defeat,

It’s been a long battle between the two of us. You knock me down, and I’ll recover, then you’ll knock me down again. You haven’t given me a moment’s rest. You’ve come at me with everything you possibly could, but I will not be undone. I am in the palm of the one who crafted the heavens and the earth. You have no power over me. The things you attack me with are temporal. They are ultimately meaningless. You have lost. By the grace of my God and my King, it is YOU who are undone.

Dear defeat, you have been defeated.”

Battling the feeling of defeat is a primary part of spiritual warfare. Once a student stops fighting and succumbs to defeat, it is so much easier to fall into depression and despair. This principle applies not only to midterms week, but in all areas of life. God calls us to “fight the good fight of faith.” We as Christians are to “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Timothy 6:12). God has called his people to live courageously and fight with strength and perseverance. This spiritual battle is challenging. After all, if it was easy, God would not have encouraged His people to fight with courage.

It is the midpoint of the semester, fight to finish well! Fall break is in sight, so fight the good fight.

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Meet the Ladies of the Homecoming Court 2016!

This year, the seven Toccoa Falls College women were honored to be picked by their peers to
represent them at homecoming. The freshman, sophomore, and junior representatives as well as
the four senior candidates for Homecoming Queen are honored to be a part of the legacy of
Toccoa Falls College.

picture by: Mark Westlund

Regan Paul is the Freshman Representative for Toccoa Fall College’s 2016 Homecoming Court. Regan is from McDonough, Ga. She is currently pursuing degrees in both cross cultural adult education and TESOL. She enjoys missions work and being outside. Coffee and Hiking are also things that she enjoys. Regan reports that the most important thing in her life is forming relationships with people. She loves to connect with people and share with them the grace and love that Christ has shown her. She wants it to be known that everything that she is today is because of Him.

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Briana Koser is the sophomore representative. She is currently pursuing a degree in both Music and Bible and Theology. She is currently on the TFC Women’s soccer team, the publicity head for Toccoa Falls for Life, and the Choir Chaplain for the TFC choir. She is also a member of a chapel team. She enjoys as she terms a ‘connoisseur of all things science fiction”. The interest even lead her to create and independent film this past summer entitled Dead sound. While TFC was not the school she expected to attend, she has come to view it as strangely wonderful. The genuine people searching after the Same God full-heartedly have made TFC her unexpected home.

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Madison Coulter, known to her friends as Madi, is the Junior Representative. She is well on her way to earning a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is from Franklin, NC, but feels at home anywhere in the mountains. She is currently working as the Assistant Resident Director for Fant and Letourneau Halls. Madi enjoys playing with cats, using essential oils for made-up ailments, and reading picture books to kids.

By: Mark Westlund

Dania Morales, soon to be Dania Ramirez, is a senior nominee for Homecoming Queen. She is thankful for her time at TFC and how it has formed her. She reports that she gets to marry her dream guy this December and that she has loved the journey God has given them together. The main lesson she is taking from TFC is to pursue character. She reports that she has learned that her life is not about her but about Christ. She is thankful that is true. She is passionate about leading worship and prays that attitude spills over into how she lives out her daily life.

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Hevenly Dacus is a senior Homecoming Queen Nominee and is currently pursuing a degree in Counseling Psychology. Currently, she is the Executive Campus Life Chair, is part of a Worship Arts team, and works as a tutor for Academic Services. The things that she is most grateful that TFC has taught her are the positive effects of learning. She has learned to love learning for the sake of learning, how to give an account for why she believes what she believes, the power of random dance parties, the simple courage of fighting for those she loves, the importance of humility in showing love, and what the priceless honor of gaining fiercely loyal friends feels like. After graduations, she hopes to get a masters in leadership development in order to facilitate success in leadership teams in ministries and businesses.

By: Marcus Westlund

Arin Harrison is a senior Homecoming Queen Nominee and is currently pursuing a degree in Counseling and Psychology. She serves as the Executive Chair of Community Partnerships for SGA. She is a master in the arts of passenger seat dancing and singing in the shower. She also can make any stick into a lovely home decoration. In the future, she hopes to receive her masters in psychology. Arin has a great passion for building strong, local communities and sees that helping individuals who suffer with mental health disorders in one of the best ways to impact communities for the better. She is so thankful for the friend, professors, and mentors who challenged, encouraged, and loved her and ultimately prepared Arin for the future.

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Katlyn Koser, known to her friends as Kay, is a senior nominee for Homecoming queen. She is currently pursuing a degree in Counseling Psychology. She reports that Toccoa Falls College is a part of her family stating that this college was the place where her grandparents met. She loves the community that Toccoa Falls fosters and seeing college students pursue Jesus in all of their endeavors. She is thankful for all the wonderful people here who continually show the love of Jesus. Katy is currently a part of the Women’s Soccer team, of the Counseling Club, the SGA senate. In her spare time she enjoys going on adventures with loved ones, naps, dancing always, and appreciating the little things in life. God continues to transform her life as she learns at Toccoa Falls College, and she counts herself as blessed to experience the Gospel oriented community of TFC.

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All four nominees have demonstrated care for others and a deep conviction to love God and to love others. They are humbled by the love they’ve received at TFC both because of their nomination and their experience as a whole. This week you’ll have the opportunity to share your voice in who should be left as this year’s Legacy.

Here’s the link to vote: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfsUUH2w9LH23cKYmhEaAj8aUWypVc0qta8TqB8d7Kj8esSqQ/viewform

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The Survey Says…TFC Family Feud

Just when the nights began to turn a little chillier, an abundance of eager TFC students gathered in the Student Lounge for a night of friendly competition playing Family Feud.

Friends gathered in the dimly lit room, taking seats on the outer edge to chat while those organizing the game finished up some last minute arrangements for the anticipated Family Feud challenge. As the room began to fill with people, the teams—which had been organized before the event began—could distinctly be recognized, united by identical outfits or outrageous costumes. They prepped together, secretly strategizing or simply talking away the imminent stress.

Gameshow host Thomas Floyd initiated the games by explaining the general rules of the game. Afterwards the first round began, facing off the Homewreckers with Hoprah. With the first question “What might you do to become a sumo wrestler?” the two competed to win the round. Homewreckers put up a valiant fight against Hoprah, but after three more questions and a round of Fast Money Hoprah seized the victory.

The next round the enthusiastic team Hoprah—with their socks and sandals and wacky shirts—faced Fant Plus One, a quintet of ladies clad in plaid. After a provoking round that ended with the challenging question “Name something a mad golfer would do,” Fant Plus One pulled just ahead of Hoprah and won the match.

Disappointed but still upbeat, Hoprah surrendered, leaving Fant Plus One to be challenged by the Vicolserhorns—a group of ladies dressed as grannies, with powder white hair. With an entertaining round of questions accompanying the humorous rivalry, the Vicolserhorns trumped Fant Plus One.

The subsequent round pitted the victorious Vicolserhorns against the Brown Family. It was an interesting round, where both teams struggled to triumph over the other; but at the end of the round the Brown Family lost, propelling the Vicolserhorns to a second victory.

At this point in the game the audience began to dwindle because, as teams began to leave, so did those supporting them. Also spectators who had come to investigate the festivities began to leave as well, satiated from their observations; but many supporters lingered, not only interested in seeing the outcome of the Family Feud competition but also because of the tense atmosphere as the Vicolserhorns transitioned into their third round and another possible victory.

The next round featured—of course—the Vicolserhorns; but this time they faced Two A Squad. The round was tense, with the mood further exacerbated by difficult questions such as “Name a fictional character who doesn’t wear pants.” When the round was over, the score revealed that Two A Squad had won. The Vicolserhorns were disappointed, but sat down and watched till the end of the game, the possibility of winning conceivable.

Two A Squad went into the next round facing the Red Birds. With challenging questions, the two teams struggled to beat the other. At the end though, Two A Squad won. The Red Birds were frustrated, particularly team member Clay Ogle, who expressed that he was astonished that the responses “food” and “shelter” were not considered correct answers to the question “What one thing would you want to have on a deserted island?”

Two A squad then entered into the final round, were they confronted the Sour Patch Kids. Both teams did an excellent job, but the scores at the consummation of the round revealed that the Sour Patch Kids got squashed.

After quick calculations to determine whether Two A Squad or the Vicolserhorns were the winners, Two A Squad was declared to be the winners! The team celebrated together as they posed for pictures and were awarded Chic-fil-A gift cards—the prize for winning the thrilling TFC Family Feud contest.

One thing was evident throughout the entirety of these games—good sportsmanship, encouragement, and joy reigned supreme. The audience cheered on the contestants, and the team members supported each other throughout the games. “Good answer!” was yelled by friend and foe alike, further emphasizing the positive atmosphere. Reflecting the values of TFC students, this event surely represents the qualities any future TFC event that will be featured will possess. Join in the fun next time if you missed out, TFC students! You will not regret it.

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Currahee Military Weekend

In the Northeast Georgia Mountains, Toccoa offers much more than hiking the falls or gazing upon the scenery at sunset. Toccoa, Georgia offers history, community, and an authentic experience of a small town.

Maybe making a trip to McDonalds at 11:00 p.m. on Big A Road or taking a leisurely drive to Walmart on a Friday evening are the “exciting” events in Toccoa. Perhaps the citizens of Stephens County experience the word “fun” at the high school football game or driving the “biggest and baddest” truck around. However, the city of Toccoa is a meaningful town that welcomes home veterans who have fought for the country.

This upcoming weekend, downtown Toccoa will host the annual and fun-filled Currahee Military Weekend from September 30- October 2. Come enjoy a weekend full of history food, and fun as Toccoa celebrates a plethora of military history. Currahee Military Weekend is a series of events that celebrate the history of the paratrooper that trained at Camp Toccoa in WWII. The event encourages others to remember the 17,000 men that attempted to accomplish the paratrooper training in Toccoa where the Northeast Georgia Mountains reside. Even though 5,000 men completed the training, there remains excitement as citizens welcome the reunion of paratroopers that come to the yearly events. Currahee Military Weekend is about remembering those who were sent to Europe in 1944 and thanking the men of Camp Toccoa.

The weekend starts off with the yearly Hangar Dance that is held at the Toccoa-Stephans County airport. Many Toccoa Falls College students enjoy a time of dancing and dressing in vintage costumes. The camaraderie of people and the dancing offer a wonderful experience to kick off the fall weekend.

Other events include the Chamber of Commerce Barbeque, Currahee Challenge, Memorabilia Show, WWII veterans book signing, the Veterans Parade, reenactments at the military camp, and the displays of vehicles and planes. The fun does not end on Saturday. A special service will be held on Currahee Mountain on Sunday evening. Curahee Mountain offers a beautiful view of the Georgian Mountains and a stunning, glow at sunset.

Toccoa Falls students also participate in the Currahee Challenge each year. The Currahee Challenge is a 5k/10k run or walk up and down Currahee Mountain. The Currahee Challenge is also called “Three miles up and 3 miles down” and will be held on Saturday, October 1st. Registration will begin at 7:00 A.M. that morning. The 5k run/walk will be held at 8:00 A.M. and the 10k run/walk will be held at 9:00 A.M.

Take the opportunity to check out the Currahee Military Museum at the Toccoa train depot. There is an overabundance of history in Toccoa that many would not imagine. Glass walls protect military uniforms and artifacts of veterans. Hundreds of metals display countless stories of history, and a giant parachute hangs on one of the ceilings throughout the museum.

For more information check out http://www.cityoftoccoa.com/currahee-military-weekend.cfm

Don’t forget to come and participate in the weekend’s events and support the return of the veterans!

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Summer Bucket List

As the masses descend upon the great sandy shores of unfamiliar beaches or besiege the family dwelling with sleepy eyes and the urge to binge Netflix, the time will pass by faster than one might think. Instead of achieving a state of mindless spontaneity, consider this time a chance to explore the unexplored. Enjoy the unknown, and even reinvent the known. I am writing to all who would like to participate in a new kind of fun, a renewable bucket list. A summer “put drops in the bucket,” instead of kicking it.

The following are some ideas to help the summer become an experience to remember:

  • Disc Golf! Even if you cannot throw the discs far, disc golf can be a great stress reliever spending an hour or two chucking objects toward a goal. As for the discs themselves, a surprising amount of people are getting into the sport, and because of this, discs can be found almost anywhere. The discs on the lower end are only a few dollars and would last long enough to determine whether or not the player wants to put a little more money in. Also, courses are generally free and expansive. It has never been a better time to play a new up and coming sport!
  • Star in your own movie! With a good majority of Americans having access to a smartphone and almost a century worth of film ideas, why not make a small movie? First, grab a phone (most shoot HD video), grab a friend, and spend a couple hours in varying locations making stuff up as you go. Next, upload it onto a computer, download a free editing program, and go to work putting in wacky transitions and anything else that could be fun. Finish the product and show it to friends. Laugh, learn a new skill and love the experience.
  • Host a dinner party! So sports are not your thing. Maybe making a movie is too much work. How about hosting a get together with friends and food? Gotta have a break from the beach every now and then, right? What’s better than food, movies, and AC? (credits to Kinsey Whittet for the idea)
  • Servanthood through recycling knowledge! Have you ever wondered how recycling material works? I mean really, what happens? When we toss our cardboard Triscuit boxes, or our electronics away how can they be reused? Maybe, this summer would be a good time to gather up a bunch of recyclables around the house and set up an appointment with a local recycling plant manager. You could possibly see a tour or at least learn a lesson in understanding how recycling works. Its worth a shot, and I am sure that someone out there would be willing to share the process to an interested college student. You never know, by having the knowledge you could really be making a difference. If not, then at least you recycled!

As the summer continues, take the time to focus on building relationships with those around you and exploring God’s creation. Summer is a wonderful time to make memories with the ones you love. Having the opportunity to share a fun idea with a friend may make their day. Relaxing on your summer vacation is great, but remembering the moments of sitting by a bonfire or fishing with your family are the best of memories. The summer bucket list could become a trend for every summer.

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Faculty Spotlight: Professor Griffin

Well-known and loved by many at Toccoa Falls College, Professor Joyce Griffin has been teaching at TFC for 18 years. The college asked her to become a professor after she had returned from living overseas as a missionary in Argentina. At first, Professor Griffin was an adjunct professor, but she eventually moved into a full-time.

When asked for her favorite passage of Scripture, Griffin had a hard time choosing—because she loves the whole Bible, of course! However, she was able to narrow it down to two passages. Currently, Psalm 23 is very special to her. Throughout this Psalm, God reveals Himself to be a loving shepherd to His people, instead of a harsh judge. God has been using this truth in Griffin’s life lately, as she has been going through a study on the Psalm with the girls in her Barnabas group. The second passage that Griffin chose is Philippians 4:4-9. These verses have been a comfort to her throughout her life, helping with anxiousness, correcting her thinking, and helping her to rejoice in various circumstances.

Next, Griffin gave three interesting facts about herself:

One time when she was riding in a tiny plane, the engine failed. The pilot was forced to crash the plane in a field. Luckily, everyone was ok, but  it has become quite the story to tell!

Second interesting fact, when she was little, she was locked inside a men’s restroom at a campground in Quebec, Canada. The other people in the restroom only spoke French, so it took some time before she was able to escape.

Lastly, she  reveals that she was once a co-star in a three-act Christmas play for a church in Argentina—her office is in the World Missions building, in case you want an autograph.

Griffin says that her favorite part about working at TFC is the students. She loves being able to build relationships through mentoring, teaching, and everything else involved in working with students. Ask her what her least favorite part about teaching is and she instantly answers “grading papers!’. Griffin’s craziest memory at TFC involves some students from her department. One year, the seniors had thrown a Christmas party for the professors in the Global Ministries Department. Legend has it, that the student impersonations of the professors and the White Elephant gifts went a little crazy that night.

Professor GriffinGriffin offers these three pieces of advice for students at TFC:

  1. Take your classes seriously and learn everything that you can. Even if it does not seem applicable now, it will build character and life skills.
  2. Make relationships and invest in them. Learn this now, so you can do it in the post-college world.
  3. Get all kinds of experience while at TFC. Figure out who you are as an individual in God through these experiences.

It can definitely be said that many TFC students  are very grateful for Professor Griffin’s work. Her love for Christ and for students shines in all that she does. She loves to laugh, which is fitting because she makes her students laugh as well. She is a joy to have as a professor, mentor, and friend. Thank you, Professor Griffin, for serving the Lord the way you do! Simply put, you are fantastic, and your ministry at TFC is beyond valued by all!

 

 

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In Honor of Mothers Everywhere

When one thinks of a mother, words such as caring, kind, and wise usually begin to come to mind. Mothers play a huge role in the lives of their children, and this does not stop when the children start to grow up.

College students often find themselves completely flustered by situations faced by adults every day. For some, cooking is a prime example of this. Recently, one TFC student found herself with three large pots of beans, when she only intended to make one small pot for herself. Though stuck in a sticky situation, this college student knew exactly what to do. It was time to call in the expert: her mom. A mother’s advice seems to be able to fix most everything. In the case of the excess beans, this superhero mother’s solution was quite simple: freeze them in Ziploc baggies and save them for later. Good mothers are always there to help out their children, even with the tiniest of crises, such as having cooked enough beans to feed the entire school.

Moms are special people. From day one, many moms are ever-devoted to caring for their children. They give and give, and expect nothing in return. When they do not feel good themselves, they can often be found taking care of others. If something is wrong, a perceptive mom will know right off the bat. Usually, she will also know just what to do to help fix it.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for people to take their mothers for granted. Sometimes, a mother’s love can be misinterpreted as over-protective or nosy. Instead of shoving a mother’s questions aside as insignificant, it is important to value them and answer them fully.  Mothers desire to be connected with their children, and it is hard for a mother to let her children grow up.

With that in mind, college students should remember that the occasional phone call to keep mom up-to-date can make a huge difference.

It is also important to note that a mom does not have to be a biological mother in order to be a mom. Many of the world’s greatest moms are not the biological mother of their children. These women are very special individuals who deserve just as much honor as any other mother.

In Proverbs, there is a description of what a godly woman looks like. This description is found in the latter half of chapter 31. This chapter is a good reminder of all that goes into motherhood and it shows that the job description is not easy. The Proverbs 31 woman is hard-working and valued by all those around her. Verses 25-26 say, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” This is an excellent description of what a good mother is for her children; she has much wisdom to impart to them and her words are kind and loving. Verse 28 says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her.”

Though it is easy to do this on Mother’s Day each year, it is important to recognize that mothers deserve this year-round.

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Praying for the SMF Interns

Every year, Toccoa Falls College sends out a group of interns who go overseas to do mission work. Often times, these students are cross-cultural majors, but in some cases other majors go overseas as well to fulfill their internship requirement. Every year, these students raise support, they raise awareness. They leave the comfort of home and family. They leave their friends and they go where the Lord is sending them. Every year, they come back with stories of joy, of growth, of pain and trials, of sorrow, of rejoicing, and ultimately stories of the Lord’s goodness in their lives.

This year is no different. The semester is coming to a close and as students are turning in the last of their papers, studying for finals, and preparing to leave this place for another year, there is a group of students who are also preparing to leave for the summer to go and serve where they have felt led to go.

There are over twenty interns this year, and they will be dispersing to go all over the world. Some are headed to the Middle East while others are headed to Thailand and some are going to Bosnia and others to various other locations. Some are going for the summer, and some are going for a semester abroad this coming Fall.

These interns have been working hard all semester to raise money through various Student Mission Fellowship events and sending out their support letters. Many people have given financially to support this group of interns, and the interns are overwhelmed by these people’s generosity. However, the interns still need support, but the support they need now looks a little different. They need people’s prayers and encouraging words. So many people have gathered in prayer for these interns, but it doesn’t need to stop now. The prayers need to continue and overflow throughout the summer and coming semester.

Prayer is powerful. Students are encouraged to commit to praying for an intern this summer and let the intern know that he or she is being prayed for. This is an incredible opportunity for the body of Christ to gather around their very own who are about to go out into the harvest. It is an exciting time, but a scary time as well.

Here are a few prayer requests for the interns:

  1. Strength for the journey.
  2. The Lord’s provision.
  3. Peace and confidence.
  4. Adapting to a new culture.
  5. Building relationships and sharing the love of Christ.

 

If anyone is interested in learning of more specific prayer requests, go and find an intern and ask them how you can be praying for them. There is a wall in Woerner Missions Building where pictures of all the interns have been hung up and each intern is holding a sign of their intended destination. One can take a look at the wall and see where students will be in the coming months.

In addition, next Wednesday, May 4th, is the last SMF of the semester. Dr. Crosby, a cross-cultural professor at Toccoa Falls College, will be speaking and he will be commissioning the interns to go out this summer to serve the Lord. At the end, there will be a time of prayer for the interns. All TFC students are encouraged to attend and be a part of this commissioning service whether it is as a friend to an intern, someone who supports missions, or someone who simply has a heart for people and wants to send the interns off with prayer and a hug. All are welcome. It is sure to be a special night.

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Taste of Toccoa

Taste of Toccoa hosted its 26th anniversary providing an evening of food, fun, and friends on April 28th.

This historical occasion offers different foods from local restaurants for people to enjoy. The event was hosted from 5 to 8 P.M. to bring the community together and share the experience of Toccoa life. The downtown area of Toccoa was closed off to set up booths, rides, and entertainment for both locals and visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of Toccoa. Taste of Toccoa helps advertise for small town business, coffee shops, and restaurants. On a beautiful, sunny day in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, people certainly took pleasure in an evening full of good food and friends.

Taste of Toccoa’s operation is fairly simple. As one walks into the downtown area, booths are set up for people to buy tokens for fifty cents each. After buying tokens, one can use them to buy food, coffee, or dessert at the different catering businesses and restaurants. At the end of the day, the tokens were counted and entered into a competition. The booth that received the most tokens wins a prize and the money is split between the city and the business.

Attendees were able to vote at the WNEG radio tent for their favorite foods. Businesses were challenged to bring their best spring menus. Eight different awards are offered every year to the favored food companies. As the voting was taking place, one of the volunteers at the tokens booth explained that she loved the event every year as she watched people interact and enjoy the different activities.

While walking past young children with funnel cakes and fellow college students curiously looking for food, everyone seemed to delight in the camaraderie that was built around the community.

Faith Newey, who is Toccoa Falls College’s Director of Leadership and Service, was helping with the Rotary table. Rotary is an organization of businesses that help with community needs. Faith explained that she has been coming to Taste of Toccoa since she was a student in the 90’s at Toccoa Falls College. She has enjoyed each year and loves to see all the people interact with each other.

Another table called the Stephens County Food Bank, Inc. provides non-perishable food and canned items for those in need. Also, connected with the Toccoa Soup Kitchen the volunteers explained that the organization has helped feed the hungry for over 25 years. Not only were tables meant to advertise food, but encourage the community to help others in need.

Taste of Toccoa is a fun, historic event that symbolizes the importance of community life. Interacting with one another allows people to grow and experience their culture together. One evening out of each year, people are given the opportunity to observe small town businesses while enjoying one another’s company. Taste of Toccoa truly fulfills a loving community inspired to help one another.

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Meet Martha

Hello there!  I’m Martha Mae, and I’m just tickled that you’re here. It isn’t often that I get visitors this far out. But if they do make it out here, nobody leaves with the bout of melancholy they came in with. You see, I just have that special knack for advice givin’. My mama had it, and so did her mama, and well, here I am with the same skills. I always seem to know just what to say to make a soul feel better.

Oh, but there I go, rambling along, but you don’t know nuttin’ about who I really am. I guess the first thing you oughta know is that I moved here from Savannah, GA. I was the prettiest girl in Savannah… Well, at least that’s what daddy said, but then mama would always shoot him a look that let him know she didn’t ‘ppreciate losing the contest. Anywho…

I make the best dang peach tea and pecan pie that will ever grace your taste buds. My pie has won blue ribbon at county fair for the past three years now. My mama and nana have taught me all their household runnin’ secrets. I’ve been married for nearly 50 years now. I’ve worked with people my whole life in different job endeavors, always following dreams. I love to paint and draw overlookin’ my back crick.  I’m just a regular ole southern gal still looking for adventure.

My kids are all grown now trying to give advice to little kiddos of their own. My husband spends his days fishing and cracking some smart aleck jokes in the rocking chair next to me. I’ve got some life under my belt and I want to share it with you, youngins.  It’s time my advice givin’ skills were put to good use.

I say all of that to let you know a little of who I am and why I can help you. All you have to do is ask; I won’t tell nobody your name or who you are. That’ll all be our little secret. So, come and sit a while with me on my porch and I’ll try to help you the best I can with what the Good Lord gave me. I hope we can learn a little from each other.

If you do decide that you would like to contact me to advise you in your time of need, honey, you can reach me by e-mail at: ComeToMartha@gmail.com.

I would love to help you. After all, these grey hairs aren’t just for show. Where else would you find this much knowledge in one place? Come back soon!

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Owning A Local Business

Victoria Head gave insight into what it is like to own a local business and left advice for aspiring business owners.

Toccoa native, Victoria Head, owns local bakery, Victoria’s Sweet Treats. Started in 2013, “Victoria’s” is relatively new; however, it continues to grow. Running her own business has given Head much experience and insight. In an interview, she explained that it has been both difficult and worthwhile.

Head said that the most difficult aspect of owning and running a local business is the management of both time and resources. While Victoria’s is rapidly increasing in popularity, it has a very limited staff.

“As the business has grown, it has been challenging to keep up with the demand in the space I am currently in with the staff I currently have. It requires long hours just to keep up with the orders and then on top of that, there is the ongoing need to manage the business’s finances and supplies to be able to continue operations.”

Head compared owning a business to having a child in the sense that “the work is never really done.” She said that the list of things needing to be prepared or accomplished seems endless.

Owning and running a local business has been rewarding for Head. “Knowing that a product or service you provide brings joy and happiness to someone else is a great feeling.” While encouraging those who aspire to own a business, she reminded them that it is a commitment. One must be willing to give one hundred percent effort.

Head also advised future business owners to become very familiar with their community and customers. She said, “If you do that, your customers will keep coming back and that is what keeps a business going.” Connections are crucial to businesses, especially in small areas.

Head believes she has followed her calling by opening her own bakery. While owning a small business is not easy, she has found it very gratifying.