Like a Chess Piece
by Brian Beise
A baseball player since the age of five, Jonathan Carter ’12 was convicted of a drug offense before his twenty-first birthday. During the two years he worked through his sentence, he accepted Jesus Christ. He is now a junior at Covenant and is passionately pursuing excellence in his studies and as catcher for the Scots baseball team.
"I’d been to church my whole life,” says Jonathan Carter ’12, “but I started using drugs when I was thirteen. I had felt God, but I didn’t accept God.” After high school he did not apply to Covenant, but enrolled at another college, where he continued to play baseball and develop a dangerous lifestyle. On April 18, 2006, still in his freshman year, he was arrested for possession of cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana with intent to distribute.
He was sentenced to 90-180 days in Caldwell Probation Detention Center. “You see guys picking up trash in jumpsuits and the vans with the bars? I was there for 118 days. I remember thinking, ‘dogs are treated better,’” he says of the humiliation of being processed for detention. That period was followed by twelve months’ minimum stay at the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian residential home for troubled youth. Today, Jonathan speaks of his sentence with a measure of joy. “That’s when the Lord started weeding out all the deceit and mischief, constantly tearing things away from myself. I don’t have a problem telling it,” he says, “because this is my story. This is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Two years after his arrest, Jonathan was released from the youth home. He decided to return to college, and when he visited Covenant, he felt God grab him “like a chess piece,” moving him across campus, into one providential encounter after another, until he was convinced he had found his college. “It’s great to see how the Lord has worked in his heart over the years,” says head baseball coach Doug Simons. “It’s also great to see how God is using Covenant College and our baseball program in his sanctification process.”
Jonathan is now pursuing excellence as a catcher for the Scots baseball team and studying hard to earn a degree in elementary education, with concentrations in math and science. “What’s fun about teaching Jonathan is that he’s just really, really interested and enthusiastic about learning,” says biology professor Dr. Richard Nelson.
After graduation, Jonathan hopes to be a middle school teacher. “I like teaching,” he says, “and I like kids, and middle school is where I started to act foolish, so I’ll be able to relate. The Lord has worked with me this whole time. I know to whom much is given much is required.”