Hannibal – Gospel singer Lynda Randle appreciates the mission of Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU), having benefitted from Christian schools herself.
However, Randle, the keynote speaker/singer at the 72nd annual HLGU Booster Banquet Nov. 22 learned some hard life lessons before finding Christian schools.
She shared a video of her life-story book called The Cab Driver’s Daughter. It tells how her parents divorced, and her mother and older brother moved from Washington, D.C., where her father continued to drive a taxi, transporting senators and dignitaries and common folks.
One cab ride, her father heard a radio broadcast and accepted Jesus as savior. The couple reconciled. In the ensuing years, six more children were born, including Randle.
Randle failed ninth grade, getting “32 Fs.” Her parents sacrificed to pay tuition to a Christian school.
“It was life changing. I wouldn’t be here today if that had not happened. I’m a testimony of God’s goodness. My parents didn’t have the money to send me to a Christian school,” Randle said, although she was intimidated early being “the only chocolate kid in a vanilla choir.”
Eventually, she graduated from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va., and began singing. For 14 years, she toured with the Gaithers, after meeting Gloria at a 1989 women’s conference where Randle sang. Gloria Gaither told her husband, Bill, who later gave the tour offer.
“There are two people you cannot say no to – God and Bill Gaither, in that order,” she said.
“I’m thankful for every opportunity to sing for Jesus. My Dad had said ‘if you don’t mean it, don’t sing it.’”
She means it. As she began singing, there was an accompaniment malfunction. She stopped and said “Let’s start again I want it to be excellent for the Lord.”
Randle said HLGU patrons “can get an excellent investment.” She interspersed life stories – including losing her mother 10 weeks earlier – with songs.
Her husband Michael is a pastor at Mosaic Bible Fellowship in Kansas City. Their daughter Patience recently graduated from Anderson University and their daughter, Joy, is in a Christian high school in the Kansas City area.
“Don’t take lightly spending time with your kids and with the Word of God,” she said. “I don’t know what they will do tomorrow, but I know today they love the Lord. What you do to teach your kids is not done in vain.”
“I want to see people on fire for God. That’s what I want for my kids. I’ve told my kids they are cut from a different cloth – the blessings of God will drive your life.”
The HLGU concert choir sang back-up as she sang ‘He will carry you.’
She appreciates different contemporary Christian music – her brother Michael Tait sings with the group Newsboys, but she wants more people “to get back to the basics (in Christian music), or as my Dad used to say ‘music that will stick to the spiritual ribs.’”
Randle will perform in London on New Year’s Eve.
Bryce Kelly and Reid Echelmeier, both HLGU students, gave testimonies of God’s hand on them at the university.
President Anthony Allen encouraged the crowd of approximately 400 to take Randle’s message to heart and invest in HLGU.
“Hannibal-LaGrange is one of the most unique institutions in America. There is no institution I’d rather be a part of than this one. I’m motivated each day to make a difference in the lives of our students,” Allen said.
Earlier in the day, HLGU broke ground for a new science and health building to replace one damaged in the May tornado.