Trina Jones is just like any other Cedarville student. She is a freshman getting used to life at Cedarville. But Jones has a unique back story.
Jones grew up in the foster system and is the first student to attend Cedarville on the Students from Foster Care Scholarship. This is her first semester.
Jones entered the foster care system when she was 2 years old and stayed in the system until she was 18 and became legally emancipated.
Her mother was disabled and she only met her father once, so she first entered the system in kinship care until she was 13. She went back and forth between different relatives and moved around to several states, including Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia.
She went to five elementary schools, two junior high schools and four high schools.
She was in her first foster home for only two weeks. Jones said her first foster mother would leave her at home late at night or would be gone for a few days at a time.
“So they reported her and took me out of the home,” Jones said.
She stayed in the second foster home for three-and-a-half years. Jones said that foster mom was mentally abusive and would call her names.
“She was just real mean, so that kind of affected me a lot, but then I was saved when I was 17, it was like God completely changed my mindset on who I was in him. And it didn’t matter what other people think,” Jones said.
Jones experienced the biggest change when she was 17. She had been invited to a church to watch a showing of “To Save a Life,” which drove her to tears. She was crying on the bathroom floor when the pastor’s wife came in. That day, Jones accepted Christ.
She became involved in church – A House of Prayer (AHOP) in Xenia. One day, Jones came to Cedarville’s campus to pass out fliers for the church’s college ministry. Jones stayed for chapel and said that in the middle of worship time, God told her she was supposed to attend Cedarville.
“And I doubted it,” Jones said. “I was like, ‘Lord, there’s no way. I don’t have the money.’”
Jones said every doubt that could possibly come to mind did.
“And then, by the second song, the Lord told me to look down front and look at the guy in the suit and go talk to him.”
The man in the suit was Cedarville President Dr. Thomas White.
Jones said she walked up to him and said, “The Lord wants me to come here. I don’t have any money. I’m going to apply.”
Jones said Dr. White answered, “Ok, apply and we’ll figure stuff out from there.”
So she applied, was accepted in November and received her scholarship in December.
However, that wasn’t the only major change to come into Jones’ life.
Jones met two people at her church on Feb. 2, 2013, who would become her adoptive parents.
Jones said because she was the only person they knew who didn’t have plans for Thanksgiving, they asked her to stay at her house and take care of their dogs.
“And I never left,” Jones said.
She stayed with her new family until she moved out in June to get her own apartment before coming to Cedarville.
“So all in two years, I got parents and a full ride to one of the biggest Christian universities in Ohio,” Jones said. “The Lord is just really working in my life. It’s evident he is.”
Jones is majoring in social work and hopes to one day open an orphanage in Xenia.
She is very clear about who deserves the credit for the good in her life.
“I really feel that this story should be focused on God and what he’s done in my life, not on how I’ve overcome situations and stuff because it’s really God that helped me overcome everything,” Jones said. “I’m here because God wants me here.”
Jones said she wants her life to be an example to others that even when they are going through trials, God still loves them and is working in their lives.
“And I know that’s cliché to say,” she said, “but my life is clearly an example of God’s grace and my faith.”
Kate Norman is a junior journalism major and a copy editor for Cedars. Kate hopes to attend graduate school in Scotland and wants to live and work overseas one day.