Planting Seeds That Bear Fruit: How One Scholarship Changed a Student’s Journey

At Southeastern Seminary, the support of Great Commission donors keeps tuition costs low and funds life-changing scholarships like the Mercy Scholarship, which provides tuition funding for qualified Master of Divinity students. Because of the generous support of donors, Mercy Scholarship recipients like Charles Haley have been able to receive seminary training and are now faithfully serving churches around the world.

In the following article, Charles shares how receiving the Mercy Scholarship profoundly impacted his family and set him on a path of ongoing Great Commission ministry.


Receiving the Mercy Scholarship was a profound and timely blessing for me and my family. Because of that blessing, I am now pastoring a local church, having been well equipped to serve during my time at Southeastern.

When I sensed God directing me to pursue my MDiv at Southeastern, I quit a full-time teaching job so I could be a full-time student. At that time, I was single and was working multiple jobs to make ends meet. During my first year of school, I met Lindsey and her daughter, Scout, and Lindsey and I got married in 2019 — the same year I was called to pastor Hickory Rock Baptist Church in Louisburg, NC. In the fall of 2020, as Lindsey and I were expecting our second daughter, I learned that I would no longer receive some of my external school funding. I felt overwhelmed with worry and fear.

During that time, I was also trying to help my church navigate through the ins and outs of COVID-19, online worship, and what felt like a million other things. In order to continue my MDiv, I realized I would have to take on an extra financial burden, and I was beginning to worry that it was a selfish thing to do to my growing family.

It was during this season of questions and unknowns that I received an email from Southeastern notifying me that I had qualified for the Mercy Scholarship. I submitted an application, and I had no expectations about receiving it. I had only just heard about the Mercy Scholarship and didn’t know if it would cover enough of my tuition to remain in school. It truly was a situation in which I was forced to wait on God and see what he would do.

If I was going to finish school, I had to trust that he would provide the means for that to happen. To my amazement and as an answer to my prayers, I learned that I had received the Mercy Scholarship and that it would cover the entirety of my tuition for the academic year. I was overwhelmed by God’s kindness. For my family, this was nothing short of God’s blessing and confirmation for me to finish my degree.

Without the Mercy Scholarship, I do not know if I would have been able to finish my MDiv. The generosity and graciousness of donors allowed me to continue my theological education and training and, in turn, helped me to become a better pastor to my congregation. Through the training I received at Southeastern, I am better equipped to preach God’s word faithfully, to counsel my church family with compassion, to love my wife and lead our children, and to share the gospel with those who are far from Christ.

The generosity and graciousness of donors allowed me to continue my theological education and training and, in turn, helped me to become a better pastor to my congregation.

Because of the Mercy Scholarship, I am now pastoring and discipling a local church to love God, love one another, and love the lost. My ministry at Hickory Rock is a testimony to the charity and grace of the dear brother or sister who gave to make the Mercy Scholarship possible, and it is my prayer to bear fruit at Hickory Rock — fruit that this generous donor has helped to begin.


To learn more about eligibility requirements for the Mercy Scholarship as well as other scholarships and financial aid opportunities at Southeastern, visit



Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the fall 2023 issue of the Great Commission Magazine of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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