Hope Stephans doesn't know where her future will lead, but she has faith that she'll find her path by following Jesus.
The daughter of a pastor and children's ministry director, Stephans attends Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. Though she's an only child, she said she has always had the support of a large extended family, amazing friends, and mentors from her church, Dearborn Hills United Methodist in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
Stephans received the United Methodist Student Day Gift of Hope scholarship.
"I am so grateful for the scholarship I received as it helped make my choice university more affordable. The experiences and opportunities I have been able to have at college are invaluable to me. … The people I have met and the experiences I have had are enriching my life and helping me be better equipped for the future," she said.
While she's uncertain of her career path, she hopes to make a difference on campus through leadership roles, tutoring and sharing her faith with others.
"I hope the way I try to live my life for Jesus and the ways in which I try to encourage and uplift others makes a positive difference to those I encounter, no matter how seemingly small. … I am excited to share my faith and the hope I have in Jesus with others in the future in any way I can, no matter where my career leads."
Stephans herself has been encouraged by her church and the Gift of Hope scholarship, and she urges her fellow United Methodists to continue to support the Special Sunday offering.
"The scholarship I received has eased some of the financial weight that often comes with attending a university. My college experience has been one I would not want to trade, as it has grown me as an individual and helped me begin making steps toward accomplishing my future goals," she said.
"Having this sort of opportunity has been a big blessing in my life, and if more people can be blessed by such scholarships in order to help them reach their goals and have enriching experiences, then the support of such scholarships seems absolutely worth it to me."
Gifts on United Methodist Student Day help students like Stephans pursue their education and answer God's call.
"I do not know exactly what the future holds for me, but I trust God has big plans for me, and I am excited to see where he will lead me and how he will use me in the future," she said. "For now, I am trying my best to follow him, even when it can be hard, because I know he will always come through."
Julie Dwyer, general church content editor, 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.