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This is what happens when God goes to work.

Trendalle Lawson's Story

Every summer for the past five years, Trendalle Lawson had worked the local college cafeteria not far from where he grew up in Due West, S.C.

Cleaning. Prepping food. Working the register. The job didn’t seem very special at the time.

But the people? That was a different story.

His boss, Randy Moore, believed in getting to know his employees personally. Trendalle struck up a relationship with his son, Dylan, too.

The teenager would spend a lot of time around the cafeteria every day, and Trendalle quickly became his “big brother.” They’d hang out. Play video games. Watch movies.

A big brother

Dylan was the first to invite Trendalle to NewSpring. But Trendalle wasn’t interested.

During his childhood, Trendalle’s mom had forced him to dress up for church Sundays and Wednesdays. He’d suffered through the preaching for two, sometimes three hours. He never really got anything out of it.

“I was just there because I had to be there,” Trendalle says.

NewSpring? It was too big, he would tell Dylan. Not my thing.

Sudden death

When Trendalle’s mom got sick with breast cancer during his senior year in high school in 2010, he brushed it off. Denial was easier.

But three years later, after a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, she died. It was a shock, and it was sudden. Coming just weeks before final exams at Spartanburg Methodist University, his family thought it best not to reveal how quickly her health was declining.

The loss devastated Trendalle. She was his rock. With no relationship with his father, his mom was everything to him. Through the pain he questioned why God would let this happen. He felt empty, confused, and alone in the world.

Back at work the summer after her death, Randy invited Trendalle to NewSpring again. And so did Dylan, now himself an employee — relentlessly, week in, week out. They both saw that Trendalle was adrift, lacking purpose. They knew he needed Jesus.

Finally, Trendalle gave in. “Sure, Why not?” he told Dylan. “I’ll go.” He knew something was missing in his life.

A message of hope

When Trendalle heard the message that first day at NewSpring, it was understandable. It clicked. And the atmosphere was amazing. So Trendalle kept coming.

And a few weeks later, at the end of a service — feeling a mixture of excitement, nervousness and strength — he got up to declare Jesus his savior.

By his side, was Dylan, who had never given up on his “big brother.”

Trendalle now sees the amazing way God used the people and the circumstances in his life to reach him. Trendalle’s February baptism, which fell one year to the day of his mom’s death, seemed like the divine exclamation point.

As a volunteer now in the Fuse student ministry, Trendalle’s passionate about being changemaker in somebody else’s life.

“I feel that what I do there can put them on the path of righteousness,” Trendalle says. “I’ve been in that position, so why not be able to help?”

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