My CLC Story: Jacob Davis
The Gilmer Christian Learning Center changed my life. It’s as simple as that. From the time I walked through the doors of the CLC as a high school sophomore who hadn’t regularly been part of a church fellowship in several years. Personal circumstances and inner tensions, meanwhile, darkened my worldview and raised doubts about the faith I had grown up being taught to believe. At the time, I hadn’t regularly been to church in several years, and the many stresses and pressures clouding my life overwhelmed me. I was nervous the first day I entered the CLC, but I quickly came to know it as a second home.I learned more than I though possible through my classes at the Christian Learning Center. I was taught about the Bible and Christianity in a way that was more thorough and penetrating than I had ever experienced in any of my childhood Sunday School classes. The gentle yet potent teaching about the substance of Christian belief challenged my many doubts. Moreover, my teachers, Sid Webb and Mandi Call, were wise and caring guides, and they lived out their teachings in the way they interacted with their students. They projected a picture of God into my life that was so much bigger and so much more loving than anything I had ever dreamed before, and they taught me to use the gifts and talents God had given me for his glory.
I graduated from Gilmer High School in 2002 and pursued my bachelor’s degree at Reinhardt College. While at Reinhardt, I was involved in campus ministries and took up a youth ministry position at a small church as I finished college until moving to Louisville, Kentucky to pursue a master’s degree at Southern Seminary. I finished seminary two years ago and became a pastoral intern at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, where I still serve in various ministries. By God’s grace I have been able to teach, mentor, counsel and journey alongside many people and speak the truth of Jesus Christ into their lives. Even today, I can look back and see the groundwork for my current ministries in the lessons I learned at the CLC and the example set forth by my instructors there.
I stop by the CLC occasionally when I visit Ellijay. I step through the doors and find the same loving, enriching environment that I knew over a decade ago. Thought the staff and students have all changed, the caring, challenging dynamic of the CLC lives on. Caleb Land and Jennifer Colson engage their students wisely and lovingly with the gospel of Christ, and I have seen how God uses the Gilmer Christian Learning Center even now to spread his gospel to the students of Gilmer County. This is a powerful ministry that has changed the lives of generations of students in Gilmer County, including mine, and I pray that it will continue to do so for generations to come.
My CLC Story: Andrew Hilerio
It all started in 9th grade when my brother, Joseph, told me about CLC and what it was and I was interested. He said “In CLC you learn a lot about God and read about the Bible, and they go over it and help you understand it more.” So in 10th Grade I signed up for a CLC class, but the thing was that I wasn’t living my life with Jesus. I wasn’t reading the Bible at all, I was finding other things to make me happy besides Jesus, like girls, music, and other worldly things, but something was missing and I didn’t know what.
I met someone in that first day of class, his name was Kyle Mize, and he was a nice, funny, and very helpful. He made me see things that I wouldn’t have known of, if I didn’t go to CLC. The second person I met there is Mr. Caleb Land, Kyle knew him, but I didn’t. Kyle introduced me to him; he’s an amazing, kind, and helpful guy. I knew God is working in my heart, because at church each Sunday I went I started to feel something, when the Pastor asked for people to come up and receive Jesus as your Lord and savior, I felt like I should go up there and receive him, but I didn’t because I was scared. I looked around at people I was scared of, I felt like I would be judged, so I didn’t go.
Every time I went to CLC I felt better and I knew God was working in me. On March 20, 2012, I was in CLC and I was having problems in my life. Kyle told me we should ask Caleb for some help, so we did. I told him what was going on and he said “The only way to find happiness in your life and in your heart, and instead of other things, is to get saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.” Then I told him how I felt like going up and being saved at the church and he said “You don’t have to be saved at a church you can be saved here right now, this second, but it’s up to you.” I thought for a few moments and I said “Ok, I want to be saved”, and I was saved that day, and my life changed for the better. I found my happiness, I started to read my Bible, and I started doing things with the church, and CLC is something I would never forget. It changed my life for the better.