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College freshman has big plans for her future

Marin Ehrmantraut is just beginning college at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, but already she's thinking several years into her future. Her goal? To earn a doctorate in occupational therapy. Marin sees this career path as a way to serve God, she said, "by helping people reach their full potential in life when they are struggling to complete certain tasks. I will share God's love and care with them through my work."

When Marin was 8 years old, her dad became a pastor. Today the Rev. Mark Ehrmantraut is senior pastor of McCabe United Methodist Church, Bismarck, North Dakota. Years of moving from one church to another taught Marin valuable lessons about cultivating friendships. "I loved making friends in each of my new towns," she said, "but it was very difficult to leave those close friends behind."

She credits The United Methodist Church with giving her "a heart for service and missions." During high school, she served on the Dakotas Annual Conference Council on Youth Ministries. In college, she co-leads the youth group at First United Methodist Church, Fargo, North Dakota.

  Marin Ehrmantraut on one of her mission trips. Courtesy photo.

"I really enjoy helping middle- and high-school students learn about God and deepen their faith and mine in the process as well," Marin said. She loves participating in mission trips, a favorite way "to spend time with and serve God without distractions."

Marin is grateful for adult leaders on the conference Council on Youth Ministries, who "encouraged us in any way they could," she recalled. "One of those ways was informing us about scholarships that could potentially help us as we pursue higher education."

Receiving a Gift of Hope Scholarship, she noted, "helps me to pursue my educational goals and continue learning so that I may serve God. With the help of this scholarship, I attend Minnesota State University, which gives me a lot of opportunities to share God with others. I am a freshman this year."

The United Methodist Student Day offering doesn't only help students financially, Marin said. It also "helps congregations to be aware that we have not lost our faith or given up on church while we are in school but, instead, are active and thriving in our church lives because our congregations are helping and supporting us."

Along with her role at First Church in Fargo, Marin "acts as a leader through other opportunities as a preschool teacher, student employee at the wellness and fitness center on campus and a well-engaged student in class." She added, "I strive to be a good leader and example for my friends and peers on campus, especially when I know that my youth and little kids look up to me as a role model."

Marin plans to earn a doctorate and become an occupational therapist. "At some point," she said, "I hope to incorporate hippotherapy (therapy with horses) into my treatment plans when I am established in my career. I have also dreamed of doing mission work or serving in the Peace Corps."

Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retiree from United Methodist Communications,

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants. 

When you give generously on United Methodist Student Day, you support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. Give now.

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