Janice "Ke'alohi" Worthington traveled more than 4,500 miles to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor.
Raised in Oahu, Hawaii, she now attends Washington & Jefferson College in western Pennsylvania, where she's earning her undergraduate degree.
The World Communion Scholarship recipient said The United Methodist Church has supported her on her journey.
"My church has always stood behind me in all that I've done. They celebrated with me when I decided to move to Pennsylvania, and (they) check in on me to make sure I am doing well. They also have helped me navigate the bridge between scientific theory and Christian beliefs."
Worthington's mother is United Methodist, and her father's family is mainly Buddhist. She said she was raised in both communities and that has helped her "to become the open-minded individual" she is today.
Growing up, she attended Wesley United Methodist Church every Sunday and was actively involved in the community.
"I was a lay leader, which was my first public speaking job. I also went to any Buddhist events that my great-grandmother requested I attend because it was an act of respect towards her. I grew up in the typical Hawaiian way, living in a big community and enjoying the beautiful land that Hawaii is known for.
"My father also made sure I was educated in Hawaiian history and a variety of Hawaiian arts. My parents pushed me to receive the best possible education and have supported me in all that I did and continue to do," she said.
Worthington said it was a blessing to be raised in "such a diverse and loving community," and she has enjoyed sharing that culture with those around her in college.
She's also enjoyed experiencing new things for the first time. One of her most memorable moments was the first time it snowed her freshman year.
"I had seen snow before, but we got a white Christmas like the ones I saw on the TV while growing up as a kid. My roommate at the time was also from Hawaii and she lost her marbles when it snowed, because she had never seen snow before. It was funnier than the first time she saw a squirrel."
Being so far from home has had its challenges, but Worthington is grateful for the opportunity to pursue her education.
"It's gotten harder the longer I have been away, but I've received so many amazing opportunities here. This challenge has taught me my priorities and how to handle making hard decisions," she said.
She's also grateful for the World Communion Scholarship money and encourages United Methodists to continue to support the program.
"(The fund) helps so many students who are involved in The United Methodist Church to pursue the education of their dreams. We all have plans, but the key aspect is finding the support to help us achieve those goals. I can't stress enough that every little bit helps."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, United Methodist Communications
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God's children. The special offering provides World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.
When you give generously on World Communion Sunday, you equip gifted, qualified students from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be. Give now.