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David and Michelle Mallard

David and Michelle Mallard remember the day their son received a phone call from the Columbia International University Financial Aid Office informing him that a significant institutional scholarship was available to help pay for Daniel’s education.

“Daniel put his head down on a desk in our sitting room and tears filled his eyes,” said Michelle. “He was overwhelmed that God would be so good to provide that for him.”

As part of the very first soccer team ever fielded by Columbia International University, Daniel would go down in the record books as the first CIU athlete to score a goal. Daniel earned his bachelor’s degree in Teacher Education in 2016, and is currently at CIU working on a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

Meanwhile, David and Michelle’s daughter Esther was the recipient of the 2015 CIU McQuilkin Event where dozens of eligible high school seniors compete for a full-tuition scholarship.

“It’s neat to know that the school would want someone like Esther,” David said. “Esther is very much a behind-the-scenes leader. Her faith is deep. She is very mature for her age. Yet she does not promote herself.”

David Mallard adds, “We couldn’t have done it without these scholarships.” Their thanks goes out to every CIU scholarship donor. Michelle said. “It made the difference in (our children’s) ability to attend CIU.”

Sam and Flynn Senseney

Brothers Flynn and Sam Senseney are extremely grateful for the help of donors. “We have had a financial burden on us because of my mom passing away and now my dad passing,” Flynn said. “Scholarships have not only helped, but have also been a source of encouragement. They have caused me to rely more on God.”

Sam Senseney, a freshmen at CIU, is thankful that his professors want to know him. “They want to get deep,” Sam said.

That is what Sam has needed from those around him at CIU after his back was broken in an interstate traffic accident in South Carolina in 2015 — the accident that took the life of his father and injured his older brother Flynn, now a senior at CIU. The accident came about a year after their mother’s death. Even though Sam has healed from his injuries, he still has a lot of “why?” questions for God.

As for his older brother Flynn, a senior, life’s hurdles could have blocked him from continuing at CIU, but he returned and looks forward to graduation and serving the Lord with his life.

Sam expressed his gratitude in this way, “I don’t know if ‘Thank you’ would do justice. I don’t have a dad looking out for me right now for finances. You’ve helped me out, and I appreciate it.”

Alanna and Doran Batterman

“Used by God to refresh our spirits!” As Columbia International University alumni Michael and Darilyn Batterman minister in Africa, their children Alanna and Doran, study at CIU.

“We are grateful that CIU still has a missional focus, and since both Alanna and Doran have missionary hearts, we believe that CIU is an excellent place for them to pursue their higher education, with others coming alongside who will nurture that missionary heart.”

“Quite plainly and simply, we could not afford to fully fund Alanna and Doran's college education, especially with both of them being in college simultaneously,” the Batterman’s email continued. “We have prayed for years for the Lord's provision for their higher educational needs when that time came. And because they both have a heart to minister the gospel globally, we are particularly thankful for financial donors whose gifts we pray will prevent a delay in getting them to the mission field.”

The Battermans say that as they raised Alanna and Doran, they fervently prayed that they would have a heart for the lost and would be zealous for world evangelization. They want CIU’s faithful supporters to know that they are a part of the answer to those prayers.

“May you be refreshed even as you have been used by God to refresh our spirits!” is the message they have for scholarship donors. “May our God abundantly supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! God bless you for being used by Him to help make it possible for our children to be educated at a school that will nurture their hearts and help prepare them for future ministry.”

Lydia Lorenson

Impact Story

Lydia Lorenson’s spiritual guide died of cancer when Lydia was 12 years old. That guide was her mother.

“So in middle school and all through high school, I was just wandering, living in the world and not seeking God,” said the senior from Maryland. But during her senior year in high school, God broke through when relatives invited her to church. Lorenson said. “That’s when I turned my life around.”

With a new life in Christ, she needed new direction. Relatives who were CIU alumni recommended she enroll at their school.

“I saw that CIU has a Psychology major. I excelled in that,” Lorenson said. Now Lorenson wants to assist those who are experiencing the same kind hurts that she experienced growing up and give them hope through Christ-based counseling.

“I have a heart for counseling, for people being led to the Lord for healing,” Lorenson said. “Spreading the word that God and His love is so much greater and more fulfilling than anything else this world offers. God gave me a testimony to speak that boldly.”

“I would not be (at CIU) today if God had not instilled in me the faith that I needed my freshman year and provide an incredible amount of money for me to stay here,” Lorenson said. “My junior year, I did not need to take out any loans.”

To the scholarship donors, Lorenson adds, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

A hundred times, thank you. “I have nothing to give back, but I can promise my commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I want to be used by Him in any way. I am immersing myself in what CIU has to offer so I can take that to the world.”

Malcolm Campbell

Impact Story

When Malcolm Campbell’s mother drove him from their home in Chicago to enroll at Columbia International University, she was making a huge sacrifice. The single mother of 13 children believed so much in her seventh child getting a CIU education that she scraped together $7,000 to get him started at the school he strongly wanted to attend.

“She really wanted to make that sacrifice for me,” Malcolm said referring to both the money and the willingness to drop off her son hundreds of miles from home. “It was hard for her. She always told me and my siblings that she wanted us to make our own decisions and live with them, even if that scares her. So she took that risk, she really did.”

Because learning disabilities brought challenges for Malcolm, he had to work hard his first couple of semesters to bring up his grades to qualify for certain scholarships, which he did. He also earned money working in the Dining Hall, and somehow found time to play on the CIU Rams men’s basketball team.

Consequently, Malcolm is grateful for scholarships funded by CIU donors that has freed up some of his time, as he works toward completing his bachelor’s degree in Church Ministry.

“That’s a lot of stress and pressure off my mom and it took a lot of pressure off of me, and it really renewed my trust in people who care and want to support you,” Malcolm said. “If it wasn’t for my scholarships, I would not be in school.”

Malcolm is engaged to be married, and after completing his undergraduate work, plans to study for a master of divinity degree in CIU Seminary & School of Ministry. Then he says he wants to go back to Chicago and plant churches and youth centers to help children “who are not blessed with the resources I have been blessed with.”

“The need for strong Christian leaders in Chicago is great,” Malcolm continues, noting the city’s deadly crime rate and corruption. “The city is plagued with immorality, brokenness, and death. But the Lord can redeem any situation, He truly can.”

Esther GeeVarghese

Esther GeeVarghese, who is working on a Master of Divinity degree in Chaplaincy, has had the desire to be a missionary from a very young age.

It’s a dream that could have been snuffed out anywhere along the way of a very hard family life. She mentions domestic violence, including torture and even being kidnapped, but keeps the details guarded. After her parents divorced, she became familiar with poverty. Her own marriage, arranged by her India-born parents, ended in divorce. She is raising an eight-year-old daughter on her own.

Esther says it is these experiences that will help her relate to people as a missionary. Not the type that goes overseas, but the kind that ministers as a hospital chaplain.

“I feel like with all the varied experiences I’ve gone through, I can relate to people at so many levels,” Esther said.

“I can relate to abuse, I can relate to sexual mistreatment, I can relate to verbal abuse and neglect. I can relate to poverty, extreme poverty. I’ve relied on borrowed clothes and food stamps. I went to work at age 15. I can relate to living with a single parent.

I can relate to being a single parent. Esther has worked a 30 hour per week job while studying at CIU, enough to get health care benefits for her and her daughter. But without faithful donors who have contributed to three scholarships that have helped with her tuition, earning her degree would be very difficult.

She has a message for those donors. “You make a huge impact on students, because if it weren’t for your kindness, I would not be able to attend CIU full time,” Esther said. “I think I speak for many when I say that. So I thank them from the bottom of my heart for making my dream possible.”

Flynn Senseney

Flynn Senseney grew up in a broken home. That was hard enough. But then his mother passed away in April, 2014. In July of 2015, Flynn, his two brothers and his father were traveling in a car on Interstate 26 in South Carolina, when they were involved in an accident. Flynn’s father was killed and his brothers were seriously hurt.

He admits that life’s hurdles could have blocked him from enrolling, and continuing at Columbia International University, but instead he says, “The Lord has guided me to CIU.”

“We have had a financial burden on us because of my mom passing away and now my dad passing,” he said. “Because money is tight and focused on my brothers’ medical attention, scholarships have not only helped, but also been a source of encouragement. It has caused me to rely more on God.”

Flynn has a message for the scholarship donors that are helping him stay at CIU.

“To all the donors, I say ‘many, many thanks.’ I am greatly appreciative and will strive more and more to do better than I did before.”

As for the future, Flynn’s plans are to possibly go to seminary, with the end goal of becoming a missionary pilot to help serve other missionaries and most importantly, the Lord.

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