Trusting in God’s Guidance

January 22, 2024

As Michael Carey ’27 contemplated his future, he wasn’t sure if college was even part of the picture. He thought it was possible that his vision of becoming a pastor could be fulfilled through internships with his church, where he’s already been preaching for a few years. As he prayed, however, Michael sensed God calling him into a season of preparation, during which he could refine his skills and ready himself to meet that calling.

Michael’s attempts to find the right school were challenging. The first few he considered were expensive, far from home or both. “I didn’t want to pay for an education in a place where God wasn’t calling me,” Michael shared. “And I didn’t want to put the financial burden of an expensive education on my mom.”

Michael is a triplet, so determining the next steps and their financial implications was significant for his family. “I trusted God’s guidance,” reflected Michael, “but I wasn’t seeing the open door. It was a tough season, and I didn’t know what to do.”

Michael wanted to remain near his home outside Albany, New York, but didn’t want to give up on finding a college that shared his values. He didn’t want to compromise and remained firm in seeking the place God was calling him to. “I think sometimes God doesn’t give clear answers right away, because He wants to grow our faith.”

I’m seeing so many benefits of growing in my faith and my calling and growing in an understanding of the world I live in.

Michael Carey ’27

As Michael dreaded making a college decision that he wasn’t sure he could afford, God was already at work. Upon arriving home from a visit to another institution, Michael received a letter from Houghton University. It was an acceptance letter that included his financial aid package. Michael could hardly believe it was real. “I was awarded a Founder’s Promise Scholarship. I looked at my mom and said, ‘Can I be reading this right?’”

Two months into his first semester, Michael is learning how to balance his academics and his social life. He loves people and has quickly developed a diverse group of friends who join him in a weekly Bible study. Michael also participates in and helps lead a small group study for young men on campus and occasionally goes home to preach in his home church.

Michael is already seeing the benefits of a liberal arts education. “J.L. Miller [Chair of Religion and Associate Dean of the Chapel] told me Houghton’s goal is to shape well-rounded pastors who are able to understand the times they live in. I’m seeing so many benefits of growing in my faith and my calling and growing in an understanding of the world I live in.”

The Founder’s Promise Scholarship is a last-dollar tuition scholarship offered to incoming students who are eligible for federal Pell grants. In its inaugural year, 33% of incoming students received the Founder’s Promise Scholarship, equating to an affordable education for 90 aspiring scholar-servants like Michael. Houghton’s strategic plan highlights a continued emphasis on and commitment to access and affordability for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, a commitment played out through the Founder’s Promise Scholarship.