Student Stories of Impact
Meet the Students Whose Lives are Being Changed
My name is Calli and I am a senior at JBU majoring in psychology with a concentration in family and human services. Although I am a native of Texas, I have started to feel as though Siloam Springs is my true home. I would not know this feeling had it not been for the generous scholarships that I received from JBU.
Growing up, my family never had much of anything – money, food or other resources. College was not a feasible option for my future. It was not until my senior year of high school that I heard about JBU.
About six months before graduation, Hannah Bradford, a JBU admissions counselor, came to visit my school. Her warmth and charisma drew me in immediately. She passed out informational pamphlets and talked to us about JBU. After the visit, she took me and another student out to eat to get to know us better and to answer our questions because of our interest in JBU. Afterwards, she drove me to youth group at my church where we sat and talked for almost an hour. That experience touched me so much that I knew I had to, at the very least, look into JBU more.
As I read through the informational pamphlet later that night, I noticed that the major I was interested in was actually in the top 10 majors, which peaked my interest even more. I eventually convinced myself to apply. To my absolute elation, I was accepted. I did not think that I would be able to attend JBU, especially because one year’s tuition was the sum of about three years of my stepfather’s income at the time, and my mother’s medical bills were more than we could ever pay back. My mother has several serious medical conditions and has been in and out of the hospital about once a month since I was eleven.
A few months later, I received my financial aid award letter from JBU. I cried tears of joy because I was almost fully covered. It was at that moment that I made the decision to trust God – I took a leap of faith and decided to attend a college five hours away from home that I had never even seen in person. Making that decision was the best thing that I have ever done in my life.
Almost four years later, I am finishing my senior year at JBU. Because of my scholarships, I will be the first person in my family to receive a college education! My dream is to become a marriage and family counselor. After I complete my undergraduate studies, I would like to pursue a graduate degree in counseling from JBU.
My family has served in Ethiopia as missionaries for more than twenty years. My mother sacrificed day after day to homeschool four children and was an excellent teacher. The only problem was that while my mother could provide an excellent education for us, she could not give us friends. I always struggled with feeling inferior to other kids because we lived twelve hours away from civilization, and I never had a social life. In eighth grade, two of my brothers and I took advantage of an opportunity to attend an expensive boarding school in Kenya. Usually people condemn parents for sending their kids to boarding school, but for us it was a blessing.
The school gave me an excellent education, and an opportunity to make incredible friendships. The only problem was the cost of school. Homeschooling had always been quite inexpensive and fit our missionary budget. As soon as my parents sent us to boarding school they had to pay tuition for three kids and pay the plane fare to a different country. Each semester we asked God to provide, and He did. A church from Rhode Island gave each of us scholarships, and somehow we each graduated. No longer was I afraid of the “normal” kids. I had proven myself both in academic and social life, and I was ready to face college.
Now my parents face an even more overwhelming future of trying to get the three of us through college. The church that helped us through high school is continuing to contribute to our educations, and other scholarships have given us the chance to receive educations from Christian colleges. Without scholarships I would be working full time, and attending school part time. One way or another, I am determined to earn a college degree, but through scholarships I can have a strong Christian education. My vision is to use my business degree to spread the gospel in countries that are closed to normal missionaries. JBU is preparing me for that vision in a very unique way
I was in my senior year of high school, and I had my best friends, good grades and a motorcycle. Life could hardly have been easier or more enjoyable. But, it was going to end, and I hated the thought of it. I questioned why I had to go to college, where I would go to college and how I would pay for it.
My parents reassured me that God was looking after me, which helped ease my mind. Since I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, I figured that I could apply to any college and decide upon a major after I enrolled. I chose three colleges, and after not being accepted to two of my choices, I felt helpless and hopeless. My parents, on the other hand, knew that my future was in God’s hands, and that He knew what He was doing.
Reading my acceptance letter to JBU excited me, but also terrified me. How could my parents and I pay tuition every year for four years? My parents had sacrificed paying jobs to work as missionaries and could hardly pay for one year. I knew I could attain certain scholarships, but even if the cost were cut in half it would be tough to afford. I seemed to have no other alternative. We were living in the Philippines at the time, and I could not work because I was living there with a visa. I had no family in the U.S. to live with. I felt that my only other alternative would be to join the Coast Guard. For the third time, I felt hopeless. My parents, however, continually prayed and waited for an answer from God.
The answer was a definite yes. My parents and I could not believe the financial package I received. With it, I confidently knew I could attend John Brown University. Finally, I had a calm mind and a trust in the Lord.
Thinking back, I am disappointed that I did not uphold a strong character that trusted the Lord. It was a test of my faith and I failed. I have been able to learn many things at JBU, and my education, as well as my character, has changed for the better. Without the financial support I received, I would not be the person I am today. I learned to work harder and to not put work off for later. I learned from my mistakes. Most importantly, I learned to not waver in faith when difficulty arises. My faith is still not as solid as I would like, but because of the generosity of JBU and the people who support it, I have been able to trust in Him more.