Mississippi College Students Spotlight Faith
January 15, 2014
During his senior year as a high school football player in New Orleans, Christopher Litton took a strong hit to the back of his head in a game with the injury breaking the back of his skull.
Christopher’s doctor insisted he would never play sports again. At first, the teen grew angry with God. But the Mississippi College student believes the Lord wanted his life to take a different direction. “It was at that moment I surrendered my life to the ministry.”
Today, Christopher is a MC senior who will graduate in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with a minor in communication. His MC diploma will give him the skills to continue his ministry at Roseland Park Baptist Church in Picayune. The 22-year-old Louisiana native will work on a master’s at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Litton and 2013 Miss Mississippi College Courtney Parella of Grenada shared their testimonies reflecting their personal journey to Christ when they recently spoke to President Lee Royce and other Baptist leaders visiting the Clinton campus.
Each shared from the heart as they examined their lives, their struggles, God’s help and how Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College guided their paths.
A 2010 graduate of Archbishop Shaw High School, Christopher expressed serious doubts he could pay for his college education. “My family didn’t know how we were going to financially afford MC, but we felt this was the place God was leading me. We prayed for God to provide in the years to come and He certainly has.”
Through the cooperative program supported by Baptist churches and working with the Community Service Center on the Clinton campus, he received assistance to finance his Mississippi College schooling, Litton told Education Commission leaders. “But by the grace of God, I’ve never been behind on a payment.”
At the meeting in early January, he thanked the Education Commission for making it possible for him and other students to attend Mississippi College. It’s certainly a special place for Christopher, who met 20-year-old elementary education major Grace Dennison of Tallahassee, Florida. After his graduation in May, the couple will marry.
Courtney Parella’s faith journey took different twists and turns.
Coming to Mississippi College seemed to be a good fit for the Kirk Academy graduate because she was a freshman when her sister was an MC junior. But her first two years as an undergraduate took some challenging detours. “I didn’t really give the school or people here a chance because I didn’t trust God,” Courtney said. “I was in a hard place in my life where I struggled with things that I’m not proud of.”
After judges selected her the 2013 Miss MC, Parella made it her mission to reflect what a Christian should look like. It was in a Bible study at First Baptist Church Jackson in September 2013 where MC Office of Christian Development assistant director Beth Masters encouraged her to dive into the book of John. “After the 21-day challenge of reading John, I realized I didn’t know the Lord like I thought I did, but desperately wanted to.”
In September, “I submitted my life to Christ and became a new creation. I was baptized three months later and haven’t looked back since,” Courtney said. “I would never have the relationship with Christ that I do now if it weren’t for Mississippi College and all of the people here doing the Lord’s work and showing His love to people like me. I am so thankful for my school.”
A communication major, the 22-year-old Deltan hopes to work for a public relations firm or perhaps land her dream job as an ESPN sportscaster. She’s active with the Homeless Ministries program in downtown Jackson.
Living in poverty on the streets, America’s homeless are often people that society rejected, Courtney said. “Although most of them have done bad things, they are still God’s creation, and they deserve our love and respect.” They “need to know the Lord as much as people we minister to in other countries.”
Photo: Mississippi College students Courtney Parella of Grenada and Christopher Litton of New Orleans, who offered their testimonies to President Lee Royce and other Baptist leaders with the Education Commission.