As Heath Pearson sat in his closet of a room, he, oddly enough, knew this is what he wanted for his life.
He was sharing a home – a homeless shelter – with eight other men. He made no money, and continued that way for nearly two years of his life, but it was an opportunity to serve.
It’s a hard concept for most people to perceive. Giving up worldly possessions is a big sacrifice. But for Pearson, his other life wasn’t working for him.
After a short time in college, Pearson had given up on schooling – and his faith – and with no where else to turn, he ran.
“I think I was an angry, confused person, disappointed with life,” he said. “I was a frustrated 21-year-old. Done with church, done with God, done with everything.”
He moved, and tried to start a new life. But something wasn’t right. Something kept nagging at him to change. So, he came back home to Marion, Ind., where he connected with a trip to Thailand. And suddenly everything just clicked.
“My experience there for that month just turned everything around,” Pearson said about his time working with an orphanage.
Upon return, he moved to California to work with the homeless, but eventually found himself back in Indiana, in that closet where he found his calling to be a pastor.
Originally, he just did music for the church that operated the shelter in Marion to “earn his keep,” as he explained. But that soon turned into filling in for pastors in the area.
“I don’t know. This ability to teach just kind of emerged,” said Pearson who had received his certification along the way.
Later on, the then-pastor of Coffee DeVine in Huntington asked him to fill in, and he just stayed and eventually helped to open the 509 Church, also in Huntington. But that still wasn’t enough for him. Something was still missing, and he soon discovered it was his education.
“I just decided if I’m going to do this the rest of my life I need to go back. I need to finish,” Pearson said.
He enrolled in Huntington University and set off to complete his degree in communication studies.
“I got in and took it really seriously,” said Pearson, a 2010 graduate.
At Huntington, he found a new will to succeed. It better prepared him to serve at the 509 Church, but even more so, to continue his education at Princeton Theological Seminary.
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