Moving around as part of a military family wasn't easy for Louisiana Tech University student Adrianna Iennusa.
"Growing up in three different places, not knowing where to call home was difficult," she says. "Making new friends everywhere I went was certainly a challenge for me while I was missing all my old friends."
One of those moves involved evacuating the family's home in Chalmette, Louisiana, in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.
Despite those challenges, Iennusa persevered.
"My mother always said that I hopped out of the womb ready to be self-sufficient and she couldn't be more correct. Even with my dad constantly traveling with the military, I was able to become a stronger young woman and learn to provide emotional support for my family."
Iennusa found her emotional support through music.
"The one thing I could always count on was the joy of music and how it made me feel a part of something so much bigger and more wholesome than myself. I always knew that music would somehow find the words to support me when my own voice could not," she says.
It's the reason she chose music education as a major. "I wanted to teach children and teens that music has a healing power that is beyond any imagination and 'when words fail, music speaks.'"
Iennusa, who attends Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Slidell, Louisiana, says the church also played an important role in shaping her future.
"I was able to participate in many great music and arts activities, which only amped up my love for music even more. With these ministries, I was able to do the one thing that made me feel closest to God, as well."
She says her United Methodist Student Day Gift of Hope Scholarship lessened the burden on her family and encouraged her to pursue a music career. By contributing on United Methodist Student Day, she says, congregations are not only supporting students financially but also emotionally.
"They are providing hope and a future for yet another student," she says. "The joy a student experiences when they receive a scholarship from The United Methodist Church reassures them that their church and God has faith and confidence in them to do great things."
Iennusa already is doing great things. She has taken on several leadership roles on campus, including serving as treasurer for both the National Association for Music Educators and honor society Lambda Sigma. She also devotes time to philanthropy and community service.
"I will continue to participate in personal journeys on mission trips where I can be reminded about what Christian service and love is all about, as well as serve others in the process," she says.
She hopes one day to be a high school chorus teacher so that she can share with students the impact music can have on their lives, even in the most difficult times.
"To me, music is a gift from God. For that, I owe him all the glory."
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.