A Sermon on Every Page

A Sermon on Every Page

Jazzmine Bankston can't express how much she loves the English Department.

Jazzmine Bankston realized God’s plan for her on a Sabbath morning. And it didn’t involve medicine.

A second-generation Adventist and a pastor’s daughter, Jazzmine was encouraged by her parents to study medicine or dentistry for a career. Enrolled at the community college in her hometown of Killeen, Texas, she struggled through science class after science class, feeling that her best wasn’t good enough to succeed in her chosen profession.

“I think my parents equated being financially stable with being happy,” she says. “Pastors don’t make much money, and they wanted me to be happy.”

The last straw came when she committed herself to skipping church and studying for a chemistry test all Sabbath. She had her books out to study when her mother came in to check on her, wondering why she wasn’t getting ready for church.

“I told her, ‘Mom, don’t bother me right now, I have a chemistry test I have to study for because if I don’t, I’ll fail.’ I was really mean to her, and she was so calm about everything.”

After her mother left, she started to study, but her mother’s words came back: “Just remember that God is watching you, and it’s His day. You should be worshipping Him, not your school.” Jazzmine looked at her books, and then broke down crying and put her books away to join her mother at church.

But if she wasn’t made up to be a doctor or a dentist, what was she supposed to do? She remembered the day years before when she had decided to be baptized.

“I was a good child, but it never really clicked for me what being a Christian meant,” she says. Living in Beaumont, Texas, she remembered watching her friends get baptized, only to see no change in their behavior a few weeks later. She felt baptism was supposed to be important, but obviously it wasn’t. That’s when Jazzmine vowed never to be baptized.

Then a friend loaned her a copy of A Voice in the Wind, a book by Christian author Francine Rivers. It told the story of Christians living as slaves in the Roman era, and how they were challenged by the culture around them. She finished it, then read the second, and then the third book in the series. At the end, overwhelmed by the power of the books, she burst into tears.

“She touched my heart in such a way, I broke down crying,” she says. “My father came into the room, asking me if I was OK. He was literally shaking me, afraid someone had done something to me. I said, ‘No Daddy, you don’t understand.’ And then I told my Dad, ‘I want to be baptized.’ And then my Mom came into the room and we were all crying.”

That’s when Jazzmine realized that Christian literature could have a profound effect on people.

“I felt like I was reading a sermon on every page,” she says. “She [Rivers] is a big reason why I am an English major.”

She remembered her dream of someday being a writer when she struggled with science classes in Killeen. She eventually told her parents that she wanted to be an English major, and her desire to teach and write books. They resisted at first, but finally agreed to let her enroll at Southwestern Adventist University as an English major. Now when they come to visit her on the campus, they see how much happier she is.

“I cannot express how much I love the department,” she says, pointing out Drs. Karl Wilcox and Susan Gardner as having a profound effect on her. “I’ll spend hours talking with them. They understand me and my love of literature.”

“My main goal in life is to bring others to Christ,” she says now. “If I can’t do that, then there’s no purpose in my life.”

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1 Comment

  1. DADDY
    May 10, 01:14 Reply
    We have and always will support you sweetheart, Daddy.

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