The Contagious Power of Transformation

Before his junior year of college at Cedarville University in Ohio, Caleb Kanoy could feel his world unraveling at the seams.

Larry and Caleb stand together smiling for the camera.
Larry Matthews left and Caleb Kanoy right at Cedarville University in Ohio

“I had a lot of hurt and pain, and because of that, I had completely rejected God in my heart,” Caleb says. “But I was still able to put on the facade of a Christian young man. So I played that game for a couple of years, but behind the scenes I relied heavily on alcohol, women, and drugs — everything that did not glorify the Lord in the least bit.”

Alcohol had quickly turned from something fun into something to get by, and his breakup with a long-term girlfriend felt like the final straw. Unsure of who to turn to, Caleb called Larry Matthews, a Navigator at Cedarville whom Caleb had been meeting up with over the past year. Larry encouraged Caleb to pray and hold onto the Word of the Lord, and suddenly, everything started to change.

Watching the Power of Transformation Happen

“I cannot tell you when or how it happened, but my heart was changed,” Caleb remembers. “I found a Bible that I hadn’t touched in years and I just started reading — I couldn’t get enough. I knew there was something going on inside of me. I wasn’t the same person. But what I didn’t realize is that other people could see that I was different.”

Though Caleb had been involved with The Navigators for a couple of years, that fall semester of his junior year was radically different. Around Thanksgiving, he felt called to share his testimony with a Navigators Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Bible study. To the other cadets, Caleb explained how he had been living a double life and shared how God had transformed him. Little did he know that the Lord would use his story to spark a chain reaction.

“Caleb sharing his testimony about what God was doing in his life at the Bible study that Sunday night broke everything open,” Larry says. “It was like turning on a light switch.”

Immediately after sharing his testimony, two students shared with Caleb how they similarly struggled with living double lives. “I said, ‘Well, let’s meet for lunch,’” Caleb recalls. “So I started meeting with those two weekly. And then I shared my testimony again at another Bible study, and two more people asked if they could start meeting too.”

How Sharing Your Testimony Displays God’s Power of Transformation

More and more students started to notice the changes in Caleb’s life and wanted to see the same kind of positive changes in their own lives. “I started meeting with as many young men as I could possibly fit in a 24-hour day,” Caleb says. “Soon, through prayer and testimony and time, five men became 10, and 10 became 20. Now, there’s a Bible study of 40 young men meeting on Saturday mornings, all struggling with the same things.”

For Larry, who has worked with The Navigators for over 38 years, seeing Caleb’s heart change and the impact on the students around him was a rare sight. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and this doesn’t come around very often,” he says. “Transformation, yes, but how other students responded to Caleb was probably the most visible work that God did!”

Now, as Caleb wraps up his time at Cedarville as a senior, he continues to meet with other students to empower them and walk alongside them in their walk with Christ. Whether it is in college or beyond, he hopes that the Lord will continue to use his story and life to lead others to Christ. 

“My goal is to glorify the Lord, serve Him, and spend time with Him.” Caleb says. “I want to be someone who loves the Lord with all my heart and loves to serve others, and that is going to be incredibly important for the rest of my life.”

How To Prepare Your Personal Testimony

Sharing how you came to know God personally is one of the most powerful ways you can help friends grasp how much God loves us. This resource outlines the power of your story and how you can share Christ with others in an authentic way.


  1. Thanking the Lord for your faithful ministry to ROTC Folks like Caleb, Larry. Praying that he can hook up with like-hearted ones, after the Campus.

  2. Leaders go first!! Caleb is a powerful leader. His vulnerability and Larry’s discipling will be used mightily for generations to come … at Cedarville and beyond. Thank you for sharing this story.

  3. Glorious, that’s how the Spirit works, we are drawn to Him and as we become the New Creation, we love His word which is Truth! <3

  4. Praise God! Will be praying 4 brother Caleb and his friends! Larry great job investing in Caleb! Isaiah 60:22

    1. I’m really touched by the story of Caleb indeed God is great as a student I pray to God to help me to him more and later let everyone know about Christ Jesus.

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