Perhaps because one of her three sisters struggles with multiple disabilities and health problems, Shaira M. Molina Gutiérrez chose nursing as a career. She is studying for her bachelor's degree at Universidad Interamericana of Puerto Rico in Arecibo.
"By the grace of God," Shaira said, "I come from a Christian family." For many years, her great-grandfather drove the bus and was the lay leader of Iglesia Metodista La Restauración in Arecibo. Her grandmother, mother and uncles have been involved in music ministries at the church. Her aunt and uncle have served as missionaries.
"I come from a family who since childhood has motivated me to continue with their example," Shaira said. She especially enjoys pantomime, dance and theater opportunities at her church.
"At the age of 13," she said, "I started taking guitar lessons with the desire to play in the church, where there was guitar, but there was no musician who touched it. Then I had the opportunity to lead worship, preaching and evangelism."
Putting God first has always been Shaira's goal.
"I've had to learn how to divide my time and set priorities, always putting God first and leaving all things in his hands because he has control of everything," Shaira said. "It has been a great joy to work in different ministries of my church and serve my community."
She credits her home congregation with shaping her into the woman she is today.
"Through the ministries," Shaira said, "I have discovered and developed gifts and skills that I have received from God. This has helped me to choose a career in the field of health. It is a field that excites me."
Because Shaira's mother had to quit her job to take care of Shaira's sister, finding money for college was difficult. Her pastor, the Rev. Manuel Quijano, told her about the World Communion Scholarship.
"This support is crucial for me to enroll in my academic program," she said. "Receiving this scholarship gives me the opportunity to finish my career in the time established according to the program of the university."
A highlight of her university studies was participating in a workshop that focused on medical emergencies. Working with actual patients and real situations allowed her to put her knowledge into practice.
"Adrenalin ran through my veins," she said, "knowing that someone's life was in my hands and I helped to stabilize and preserve his life. Where I faced different situations and my patients made me grow as a human being, I prayed for them."
Providing treatment was just part of the equation. "It was a commitment to put my faith into action," she said. "I have the certainty that science and humanity do what they can and God does the rest.
"I am passionate about the field of health, and practice hours are the best experience that can be taken within the educational process."
United Methodists should support World Communion Sunday, Shaira said, "to know and appreciate the efforts of young people wishing to educate themselves further and serve society."
Shaira believes that Matthew 28:19a – "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" – applies to everyone.
"In my case," she said, "many sick and bedridden not only have physical health needing remedy. They also have great need of God and to know the plan of salvation to their lives."
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, former general church content editor, UMCom
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.