Growing up in a Los Angeles inner-city neighborhood, Natalie Moreno was blessed with caring parents who worked hard to make a better way of life for her and her brothers.
"Coming from a poor family and having lived in the inner city for some time, I had some exposure to drugs and violence, but not nearly as much as I could have had my parents not worked to move us from that environment."
Natalie is a recipient of the racial-ethnic World Communion Sunday Scholarship supported by your gifts on World Communion Sunday.
Despite her surroundings, Natalie found comfort and joy in knowing Jesus. A member of Rosewood United Methodist Church, she started reciting the sinner's prayer at age 9, which started her Christian journey. "My joys were getting to know Jesus from an early age, thanks to my grandmother. It is an ongoing process, but it is my joy always and my peace during hardships."
Along this Christian journey, she found happiness in attending the college of her choice, pursing medical school, and having a close loving family who helped her keep focused on her life goals.
Natalie realized in her Christian walk that she could not always have what she wants. It is all up to God. When he said no or not yet, she accepted this difficult answer. She learned that sometimes this answer crushes you, it's during this process that, "God does His finest work and invites you into deeper intimacy with Him."
When asked The United Methodist Church supported her, Natalie responded, "I grew up in the UMC. It was encouraging to share and have others support and pray for my aspirations. I move forward anticipating to become a physician healer, leader, and follower of Christ."
Since receiving this scholarship, which she found through a UMC website, Natalie can now afford to go to medical school!
"The scholarship has reduced the financial burden and has allowed me to pick my first choice school, which is out of state."
While attending school at John Hopkins University, Natalie attended a conference in the fall and had a memorable experience. "I started praying in tongues and my life changed there." While in school, she works for Tierra Del Sol Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with adults with developmental disabilities.
Natalie works as an instructor helping adults pass their classes and develop skills so that they can begin working in the workforce and live independently.
The United Methodist Church should support the World Communion Sunday offering, she said, because it offers support to others who will receive an education and make a positive difference in their communities.
Natalie is now preparing herself for her future career as a doctor. She is taking courses at several different colleges. "I can easily say that the rigor at my school was extremely intense and has prepared me to take a heavy academic course load, which I anticipate in medical school."
Natalie plans to use her skills as a medical doctor to serve the marginalized in society. "My faith is what inspires me to do this and I am asking God to direct me in how he wants me to use my gifts to serve."
So far, she has been instrumental in working to help prevent suicide, encouraging her co-workers with words of comfort, and advocating for underserved individuals at the hospitals where she volunteers.
"My overall goal is to become a physician advocate and leader to support the underserved. Most
importantly, I want God to be the center and director of my career so that His will is done."
Lladale Carey, web content producer, 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.