Anna Kitchens was registered for classes at Kennesaw State University, ready to pursue a degree in Art Education. She had her future all planned out, but then she heard God’s voice.
Halfway through her senior year of high school, Anna, a pastor’s daughter, began her own relationship with the Lord. In that newfound relationship, Anna began to feel a certain uneasiness about her decision to attend Kennesaw State.
“At first I thought well I’m already committed to it, I might as well go through with it,” Anna said. “But my dad mentioned Emmanuel and at first I had said no but applied just because and received a phone call saying I got accepted.”
Being a private school, Anna thought at first that she couldn’t afford to attend Emmanuel, but was surprised when she heard of the scholarships available to her.
Three weeks before the semester began, Anna decided to attend Emmanuel and took her first visit to campus. There was just one thing, Emmanuel didn’t have an Art Education major.
Anna began as a Music Education major and changed her major three times before settling on a general Music degree with a minor in Psychology.
She might have taken a roundabout way to get to Emmanuel College, but to Anna, coming to EC is the best decision she’s ever made.
“Honestly from the first time I came to campus, it was home,” Anna said. “I was always shy in high school but God has really done a number in me with my social skills. My first year here, I had my one or two core friends that I talked to, but it was the best.”
What was unique to Anna was the fact that at EC she was surrounded by likeminded people.
“I had never been in a place where I was surrounded by Christians like this, people that believe in the same God as I do,” Anna said. “God placed so many people in my life to help build me up and make me steady in my faith so that I could figure out my relationship with God, away from my family, away from what other people were telling me.”
At Emmanuel, Anna has had the opportunity to study the bible for herself and discover who God is in her life, something she considers a blessing. Her core group of friends has also expanded, as she continues to step out of her comfort zone and get involved on campus.
“Like the Bible says, Iron sharpens Iron, that’s been my life while I’ve been here.” Anna said.
One of the things she finds unique about Emmanuel is the relationships between students and professors, and it’s these relationships that Anna credits for the growth of her faith.
“I’ve been around the same faculty members all four years,” Anna said. “Dr. Boucher was my advisor, and just having conversations with her when I changed my major multiple times, just being able to sit there and her have the discernment of the holy spirit to give me wisdom and guidance without being too pressing. “
Anna compares the relationships within the Music Department at Emmanuel to that of the New Testament picture of what a family should look like.
“I feel like the professors in my department try to orchestrate that picture within our department,” Anna said. “I don’t know a whole lot about other departments on campus, but I bet it’s probably the same way.”
Unlike many college seniors, Anna has a plan for after college that she formed while on a mission trip this past summer in Tanzania with EC Serve.
“This past summer, I really felt it confirmed in my heart that I’d do missions,” Anna said. “I went to Tanzania in June and that’s where I fell in love with mission work. We worked in a house where they took in people that were in prostitution and trained them how to make money for themselves without doing that.”
How will a Music Degree help Anna in her pursuit of doing mission work?
“Honestly, more than people would expect,” Anna said. It’s less about the music theory and the classes I’ve taken and more about the impact the professors have had and the one-on-one time, just talking things through and being able to think critically and with their input. Just being a part of the music department family has been a catalyst for being open to what God has to say which has made a big impact in my life.”
After college, Anna will be traveling to Puna, India and taking part in an internship program where she will be working with a family that works in ministry.
“It’s completely illegal to convert people to Christianity there if you’re not a native and ordained in their church system,” Anna said. “So the missionaries there that I’ll be working with train their ordained national pastors so they’ll be able to convert people. From what I understand, the Pastor’s wife who I’ll be under works with women in prostitution as well which is kind of what I would like to do. We’ll be in and out of the streets as far as that’s concerned.”
Until then, Anna stays busy involved in plenty of activities on campus including singing/playing keys in the Worship Band that performs each Tuesday for chapel and travels on weekends. She also works as the work study to Pastor Chris Maxwell and Ms. Sherri Carey.
How does she juggle it all?
“I have a calendar beside my bed and I have to write everything down or else I’ll forget it all,” Anna said. “I think the biggest thing for me, since I am a visual person I visualize blocks of time I have in my day and what each day will look like. I have to take it day by day or else I will get stressed out. I used to not do that and was stressed all the time, never knowing when anything was due because I worried about the next thing. I think I finally got to the point where I let Jesus take control.”
What advice would Anna give to students hesitant about coming to Emmanuel?
“I would say just be open to listening spiritually to what God is saying,” Anna said. “There’s nothing in my life that God has told me to do and I’ve followed through with that I regret, but there are a lot of things that He’s told me to do that I haven’t done or have ran from that I do regret.”
Anna believes if you listen to the Lord and do whatever he calls you to do, you will be eternally blessed.