A senior interdisciplinary studies major at North Central University who was nine credits from graduating passed away early January in his residence hall due to natural causes.
Parents Steve and Trina Pennington traveled from Alabama to North Central after hearing the news that their son Micah Pennington, 22, passed away. North Central hosted Micah Pennington’s funeral service in the F.J. Lindquist Sanctuary Jan. 18, 2020.
“We were in the middle of driving through a tornado when we got the news about Micah,” said Steve Pennington to the North Central student body during a Wednesday chapel service that celebrated Micah’s life. “I couldn’t see the road because of the rain and my tears. We have wept almost non stop since we got the news. Our hearts are shattered into 1,000 pieces.” He continued, “Yet when we came here [North Central]—your kindness has just overwhelmed us.”
On Jan. 11, 2020, President Scott Hagan notified the student body, faculty and staff of the death at North Central through an email announcement. He wrote that senior Micah Pennington died of natural causes in his dorm room in Carlson Hall. Briefly after the student body was notified, Hagan and the Resident Life staff conducted a prayer and student support meeting in the F.J. Lindquist Sanctuary at North Central.
“We’re overwhelmed in a lot of ways,” Steve Pennington told the student body during a chapel service held Jan. 15. “He went to sleep on Friday night and somewhere in the night, he opened his eyes and there was Jesus waiting for him, probably with a couple of fishing poles.”
Steve and Trina Pennington serve as missionaries for the Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM). They currently serve as the Area Directors for seventeen different countries in East Africa and the Indian Ocean Basin for LIVE DEAD Africa; a branch of the non-profit organization LIVE DEAD, that plants churches globally.
Steve Pennington described to the student body how Micah was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago, and how last year he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.
In an interview, Micah’s older sister Priscilla Burr said that she admired Micah’s positivity in the face of his medical challenges. “[Micah] loved life so much,” Burr said. “That even though he had a lot of physical pain, he didn’t let that hinder him from doing anything.”
During the Jan. 15 chapel service, President Scott Hagan presented Steve and Trina Pennington with Micah’s diploma along with his cap and gown.
“Micah was a senior and was 9 units from graduating,” said President Hagan to Steve and Trina Pennington. “And so he’ll be listed in graduation this year. But I wanted to give you his cap and gown as a gift from us to recognize his accomplishments at this university.” He continued, “We just wanted to give you and bestow Micah’s diploma, he earned it.”
Trina Pennington described how Micah grew interest in North Central in 7th grade while attending a youth convention in Michigan.
“At that time Micah said, ‘I think I’m gonna go to that university,'” said Trina Pennington in an interview. “And then you fast-forward four years in his 11th grade year he started looking at colleges, and North Central was the top on his list.”
Micah Pennington was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and grew up most of life in Kenya, Ethiopia, and the United States.
“Growing up overseas was very adventurous; we’d travel a lot,” said Burr. “But I think the biggest thing for us was just helping our parents in ministry. And we’d always help with children’s ministry and Micah was always one of the first to help. And he had a very giving and serving heart over there.”
Micah Pennington served on the youth leadership team and worship team at Real Life Church in Roseville, Minnesota.
At the Jan. 18 funeral service, the lead pastor came and shared his memories.
“He genuinely cared about people. There was never any judgement, just love for those around him,” said Jim Gooden, lead pastor at Real Life Church. Micah also worked for housekeeping at North Central.
Micah Pennington’s final resting place will be in Kenya.
“The biggest thing is that he loved people and he valued people,” said Trina Pennington. “He loved children, he loved babies, and he loved important people. It didn’t matter to him if you had a status or position, he loved and valued every single person and he found the good qualities in every person.”
The family requests any financial donations be sent to:
Micah Pennington Scholarship Fund AGWM
1445 N. Boonville Avenue Springfield, MO 65802 (417) 862-3420