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Finally Home at MNU

Despite a troubled home life, John Caldwell never despaired; instead, he followed God’s call on his life and found a new place to call home at MNU.

Homeless at 15, adopted by a church at 17, finally home at 18—that’s the chaotic, glorious story of John Caldwell’s journey thus far in his young life. A freshman youth and family ministry major from Springfield, Mo., John can testify to God’s unfailing love.

A child of divorce and neglect, he bounced around from one relative’s home to another throughout his teen years. It wasn’t until he moved in with his mother in Springfield that John started to heal and hear God’s calling on his life.  Despite all that upheaval, there was one common thread in John’s life: God kept giving him opportunities to lead worship at local churches.

A gifted singer and musician, John taught himself how to play the piano.

“I played by ear before I knew how to read music and pastors always seemed to notice that quality in me,” he says. “One after another, they asked me to help lead worship. It was such a blessing to praise God in that stormy part of my life.”

John’s path to MidAmerica Nazarene University started in the summer between his junior and senior year of high school, when Rev. Jeremy Henderson of One Life Church asked him about his plans for college.

“I told him I didn’t think college was an option for me because I knew I wouldn’t be getting any financial support from my family,” John recalls.

Pastor Henderson encouraged him to fill out an application for admission to MNU.

John visited the campus in the fall and returned in the spring to compete in several MidAmerica Xtreme (MAX: a regional competition for Nazarene youth) events—namely, speech, drama and music. He impressed the judges and took home two gold medals.

“I fell in love with MNU and wondered if I’d ever be able to attend school here,” John says.

When he returned to Springfield, a letter from MNU was waiting for him. “It wasn’t my acceptance letter,” he says, “but rather a scholarship letter, saying that I was eligible for $9,000 a year. I was excited, but I also knew that $9,000 would only make a dent in the annual cost of MNU. I praised God and asked him to keep the miracles coming.”

His financial aid letter came next, revealing that almost $29,000 was available to him. Finally, his acceptance letter arrived.

“I just stood there looking at that letter and couldn’t believe my eyes,” he exclaims. “Those letters were like one miracle after another – like God was revealing His will for my life and opening the door to MNU.”

Since arriving at MNU, John has jumped into his Pioneer experience with both feet! He joined the Choral Union, raised support for student scholarships during the MNU Phonathon, landed a major role in the fall play, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” helped with worship at a local church through his introduction to ministry class, and led worship at the freshman chapel service on campus.

“I feel like I’m right in the center of God’s will,” John says. “And it wouldn’t have happened without my pastor asking me about college, without MNU staff members working hard to find me enough financial aid to attend school, or without the countless people donating to the scholarship fund.  Without all that support, I don’t know where I’d be today.

“God has taken all the bad stuff in my life and He’s using it for good,” he added, “because of God’s grace, I finally feel like I have a place that I can call home."

Summer 2018 Accent Cover image
This Issue

Summer 2018

Recognition: Amazing accomplishments, noteworthy events. This is Accent Summer 2018.

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