God guided me to college
Growing up in a single-parent home, and without a father, Jeron Clemendor knew going off to university would be tough financially.
The 21-year-old’s initial plan was to wait a couple of years and save up before applying to schools overseas.
God, however, had something else in mind.
“Basically, I remember one day I said to myself, ‘Where do I see myself going in life’ and God used a preacher to speak clearly to me about that direction,” Mr Clemendor said.
“The preacher’s message was about the college life and how in college the intention is to grow as a man. It felt like God was speaking directly to me to say, ‘Your next journey is college’. I was like, ‘How do I get there? Where do I go and how do I pay for it?, but God just started opening doors around me.”
Tonight at 7.30, Mr Clemendor is set to host a special benefit concert at Mount Zion AME Church in Southampton to help with paying for his second year of tuition and fees at Oakwood University, in Huntsville, Alabama.
In addition to his own musical selection, other performers will include Last Call, En Time Band and various other praise teams from Richard Allen AME Church, Mount Zion, and the Hamilton and Somerset Seventh-day Adventist churches.
“I came up with the idea for the fundraising event during my first year attending Oakwood while taking part in their Freshman Concert,” Mr Clemendor said. “It’s something my school puts on with upcoming musicians and singers and really opened my eyes to the value of sharing what I’ve learnt out in the United States to bringing it back home to Bermuda.
“I thought it would be nice for some young talent in Bermuda to play for people who haven’t heard gospel or those who are ready to hear it in a fresh way.”
Since going to university, Mr Clemendor’s faith has increased.
God has taught him the value in praying every day, not just when he needs or wants something. “I’ve learnt that prayer works,” the college student said. “It might not be right then when you want it, but it will happen when you need it.
“God has also opened my eyes to sharing my gifts with people to help others going through certain situations who need help making decisions at times.”
A little more than a year ago, he knew nothing about Oakwood University. It was actually someone at church who recommended the college to him.
He did some research and found the exact music education programme he was looking for there. Applying on a whim, not thinking he would get in, Mr Clemendor was shocked to get a call from the school’s representative the next day telling him what he would need to do to attend.
“I sent all my documents in and the next day he called me to congratulate me on being accepted,” he explained. “I got an e-mail an hour later and sent it to my mom.”
Maureen Clemendor was excited for her son, whom she adopted from a very early age, but also concerned about where the money would come from for his schooling.
“Jeron told me he had applied and I started to say, ‘What are we going to do?’, but had to stop myself mid-sentence and trust that God would work it out,” the devoted mom said. “He didn’t even have a passport to travel on, but God made a way.”
Ms Clemendor had fallen on difficult times after being made redundant from her job and had not been able to find full-time employment. To cover his first year of tuition and expenses, she decided to cash in an insurance policy and trust God would provide for the next three years of school.
“This situation has allowed us to experience God tangibly,” Ms Clemendor said. “We have had to trust fully in the word of God, where He says He will make a way out of no way.
“We had no money, but he provided the money so we are experiencing Him as provider and learning there is nothing impossible with God. We just have to believe.”
Learning about his mother’s sacrifices for his education “broke him down”, Mr Clemendor said.
“My mom has always sacrificed for me ever since I was young and really started my faith in God,” he said. “God really brought me through — even now everything has been last-minute, but He is faithful.”
Ms Clemendor and her daughter, Cindy Smith, have been looking after Mr Clemendor since he was four months old and she adopted him soon after. He did not have any male role models growing up, but admits he is thankful for the strong women who shaped his character.
He needs $20,000 to continue his education in the autumn. But equally as important as raising the money to continue his education, the youngster is hoping tonight’s concert will bless the lives of others.
“We want to save souls and maybe bring someone closer to Christ,” he said.
“The concert is really based on just ministering to people who want to be closer to God. I encourage people to come out if you need a little strength or prayer or hope. Just come out and experience what God has because it’s not only for me, but everyone else who is there to change their experience with God and bring them closer.”
• Tickets to the benefit concert, starting at 7.30pm and running until 9.30pm, at Mt Zion AME Church are $25 at the door. For more information on how you can support, call 537-3467
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