Faith and Family: Natchez woman changes career to answer God’s call
Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 31, 2014
NATCHEZ —Vivian Toussaint was in high school when she first heard God calling her to the ministry.
“I didn’t fully understand it then,” Toussaint said.
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Her lack of clarity about the call led her to not answer it.
Toussaint, a Pelahatchie native, had made a plan to become a lawyer, so she decided to follow that plan.
“At that time, I knew women lawyers, but I didn’t know any women pastors,” she said.
Toussaint carried on with her plan and after getting a bachelor’s degree at Jackson State University, she studied law at Tulane University.
Toussaint spent 10 years practicing law with Legal Services, representing economically disadvantaged clients. Since 1999, she has been the prosecutor for the Adams County Youth Court.
She is currently the director of the Adams County Veterans Services office, but will be leaving that post in July to attend Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. She will also be the pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Austell, Ga., during her studies.
Toussaint said she considers her years practicing law and serving veterans as a form of ministry. She says it is now time to serve from behind the pulpit.
She has known that for more than two years.
“I got to the point where I could find no peace in my life,” Toussaint said. “I spent a lot of time reading the Bible, praying and seeking God’s guidance.
“His response was, ‘I already told you what the plan for you is.’ At that point, I said yes, and I felt better than I had in years.”
Toussaint admits the idea of leaving behind the life she has created and the town she has lived in for 25 years at age 50 is a daunting task.
“I go from excited to terrified,” she said.
But Toussaint said she knows she is making the right decision.
“The idea that I’m actually going to walk in my calling is what quells my nerves,” she said. “And the opportunity to share God’s love with people as a part of what I do every day.”
Toussaint is a member of St. John United Methodist Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Street. She says St. John has loved her and nurtured her throughout her time in Natchez.
“I will miss this church dearly,” Toussaint said.
St. John pastor, the Rev. Jimmy McClinton, said the church will also miss Toussaint, but is happy to see her answering God’s call.
“She has that special gift for ministry that she can use to offer help to someone who is in need spiritually,” McClinton said.
McClinton is certain Toussaint will be an asset to the United Methodist Church.
“She’s a loving person, and she’s the type of person who is easy to talk to,” he said “We are praying for her success as she reaches into this new field. I know it’s going to be hard, but as we told her, her church is always with her.”