The daughter of immigrants, Hannah Lee P. Pablo appreciates her roots and her family's sacrifices to ensure a positive future for her.
"We may not be the most affluent family," she says, "but I praise God that I am blessed with all that I have and for bringing me to where I am today."
Hannah, a student at the University of California – Los Angeles School of Nursing, is a first-generation Filipina American.
Her parents were born and raised in the Philippines. "My mom was a deaconess, graduating from Harris Memorial College. She was petitioned by Geneva Avenue United Methodist Church in San Francisco to be a church worker, so she, along with my father and older brother, immigrated to the United States. Three months later, I was born."
Adjusting to a new country and a new culture wasn't easy, but the family persevered, Hannah recalls.
"Going to church and religion was a big part of my childhood," she says, "I am thankful that my parents planted me in nurturing soil, as faith is a vast part of my life. I was a very active member of the church, and still am whenever I go back home."
Family, school accomplishments and church activities play major roles in Hannah's life.
"It was a joy," she says, "to serve as a leader in my church, being president of my youth group and working as a leader in vacation Bible school." She is also a leader in training for the Northern California Christmas Institute, an annual church retreat hosted by Filipino-American Ministries.
However, Hannah's leadership skills go beyond church. For three years, she was drum major of her high school marching band as well as president of the forensics speech and debate team. "I also had the opportunity to study pharmacology in Vanderbilt University under a full scholarship," she says, "as well as tour colleges on the East Coast. That was one of the most eye-opening and memorable summers of my life. Despite the lack of resources in high school, I am thankful for all I experienced to bring me where I am today."
Hannah was especially grateful to receive a World Communion Scholarship.
"Receiving this scholarship," she says, "enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. Without this, my family and I would be struggling to pay for my college expenses. I am very thankful that God has used this scholarship to enable me to carry out his purpose for my life.
"The United Methodist Church," Hannah continues, "has been a big part of my upbringing. I understand how God works so amazingly in our lives, so that in everything I do, I want to praise and serve him. My faith is the sole reason I get up every morning and go about my daily life. I know that God has a purpose and plan for me."
At first, college was tough for Hannah.
"During the beginning of the school year," she says," I was severely homesick and felt that I didn't belong here at UCLA. I applied to be a mentee in a Filipino mentorship program, and I met people who have given me a reason to call UCLA home."
This summer, Hannah will be a student volunteer at UCLA UniCamp. She will work with underserved youth, mentoring them about health, fitness, and nutrition. "As a volunteer," she notes, "I have to raise $480 to help send these kids, many who are living below the poverty line, to camp. UniCamp gives these kids an amazing and unforgettable experience, providing them with the resources to change their lives and an opportunity to dream big and succeed."
Hannah encourages others to support the World Communion Sunday offering because it has made a big difference in her life.
"The church should support World Communion Sunday," she says, "because the money collected is invested in the future leaders of the church and the world."
Faith remains central in Hannah's life. She lists her goals – to graduate with a Bachelor of Science with a major in nursing, pass the NCLEX exam, become a registered nurse, return to school to become a pediatric nurse practitioner, go on medical missions to different countries, maybe pursue a career in youth ministry and, ultimately, make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth.
"Where God calls," she says, "I will answer, 'Yes, Lord, here I am!'"
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, 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.