By Elinor Keck, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Pastor Brandon Blair, senior pastor of Langston Baptist Church in Conway, S.C., will come to Campbellsville University to speak at the university’s chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Ransdell Chapel, 401 N. Hoskins Ave., Campbellsville.
Blair is a graduate of Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, N.C., and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He and his wife, Tristan, were married in 2009. Together they have three adopted children: Southern, Willow and Gunner.
“Pastor Brandon Blair has an inspirational testimony and often speaks of his time in the military,” Jamie Lawrence, executive director of ministry and church out reach at Campbellsville University, said. “We are blessed to have such an upstanding young pastor to share with our chapel gathering.”
Blair grew up as a pastor’s child in Angier, N.C., constantly surrounded by gospel truths. About that time, Blair said, “I knew a lot about the Lord, but I was living for the world.”
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Blair enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Blair said he had never considered the military before the 9/11 attacks. In 2003, Blair headed to boot camp in Paris Island, S.C.
Upon arrival, Blair was given a testament from The Gideons International. According to its website, The Gideons International exists “as an advocate for the lost, to bring them the saving knowledge of the Word through not only placing and distributing Scriptures, but also through personal witnessing and by associating together for service.”
“On many nights, I read the pages of that Scripture when soldiers were given time to read or write letters. The Scriptures brought me a lot of peace,” Blair said.
Blair served in the infantry as a machine gunner in two wars, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and completed two combat tours. In 2006, on his final tour, Blair was handed a second testament from The Gideons which he placed in his left chest pocket.
In August of that year, Blair was shot in the chest by a sniper.
“I begged the Lord to spare my life,” Blair said.
Blair was taken to a hospital to find that God had answered his prayer and he had suffered no internal bleeding from the gunshot wound.
A friend from Tennessee came to visit him and, a week after his visit, his friend was shot by a sniper and passed away. Lying in a hospital bed, struggling with his friend’s death and with nothing to distract him, Blair discovered the testament was still in his pocket.
Blair read Psalm 40:1-3 which says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
Although Blair had known about God from a young age, he gave his heart to God in that moment.
“I told God I would serve him from that day forward,” Blair said. “Before I was shot, spiritually, it was all head knowledge. After I was shot, it was true surrender. I was all in for the Lord.”
In August 2006, while fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, Blair received the Purple Heart for his combat wounds. In 2007, he was honorably discharged from the military.
In 2008, Blair began serving in full-time ministry. Blair served as a youth pastor for 11 years and as the senior pastor for Loveland Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, before moving to Langston Baptist Church.
“The Word of God changed my life,” Blair said. “Just the Word was enough. I often say, ‘The military gave me a purple heart, but God gave me a new heart.’ I may never know the Gideon that made the Testament available, but I do know his reward is in Heaven.
That Scripture changed my life forever.”
Chapel is designed to provide opportunities for corporate worship and exposure through various informative speakers and presentations.
The public is invited to all chapels this semester.
Chapels are televised on WLCU (Comcast Cable channel 10 and digital channel 15), streamed on Campbellsville University’s Facebook page and can be found at http://bit.ly/3RWyanO.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.