Leith Anderson Scholarship Winner Profile
Scholarship Gives Young Family Hope
By Sherri Huleatt
Congratulations to Mark Abbott!
Several years ago, Mark Abbot and his wife of nine years, Alyson, were given the most heartbreaking news of their lives: their doctor informed them that they were unable to bear children. “When we first got that news, it was like our world, hopes, and dreams had crumbled,” wrote Mark. “I’ve spoken about the sovereignty of God, sung songs about it, even preached a time or two about it, but this time God was asking me if I was really going to believe it.”
Although devastating at the time, God used this heartbreak to shape a new goal for Mark and Alyson—to adopt.
At the same time, Mark was feeling a tug on his heart to return to seminary to pursue his Doctor of Ministry. Although this sounded great in theory, the cost of adopting a child within the United States is well beyond what most families can afford; add to that the expense of pursuing seminary and you may very well sink yourself into decades of debt.
But Mark’s faith was never shaken. “I know that no matter what happens to me in this life, God has a way of taking the bad things that happen and using them for good,” he wrote. And he couldn’t have been more right. Mark was recently awarded the Leith Anderson Scholarship—an $18,000 scholarship that will allow Mark to earn his DMin for free through Knox Theological Seminary.
Mark was shocked when he heard the news. “This was a gift from God,” he wrote. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime to earn my doctorate for free.” With this scholarship, Mark and his wife can follow through with their adoption plans without the additional financial burden of paying for seminary.
Knox’s DMin program also allows Mark to pursue his degree on his own time and keep his day job—something many seminary students have to sacrifice while attending school.
Mark is incredibly passionate about music and serves as the Minister of Music at Cherokee Avenue Baptist Church in Gaffney, SC. He received his Master’s degree in Church Music from Southern Seminary in 2009, and intends to put worship at the forefront of his Knox studies as well. “I really look forward to learning more about how the local church can spread the Gospel in this culture without compromising its values, traditions, or the Gospel itself,” he wrote.
In addition to preparing for his new educational journey, Mark and his wife are now in the final stages of the adoption process and are on the waiting list for a child to be placed in their home. “I’ve stopped asking why and started trusting that His plan is better for me,” wrote Mark. “His plan is better than any plan that I could come up with on my own.”