Heather Waldschmidt's desire to be a missionary or a high school Athletic Trainer is an outgrowth of her close-knit family and her Christian faith.
Growing up as an only child, Waldschmidt says her parents have always been very supportive of her. She learned early in life to appreciate their advice because she values their life experiences and recognizes that they will not always be around. But Waldschmidt has another family —The United Methodist Church.
"I was always surrounded by a big support system of friends from church. I grew up singing in the children's choir and helping at church. I spent time with adults a lot and learned to be mature at a young age from watching them and losing several friends to cancer and accidents early in life," says Waldschmidt.
"The United Methodist Church gave me a lot of non-blood related family members and mentors to support my faith and life choices. I chose to be in a field where I can help people because of listening to bible stories and serving others with my church family. Because of the church, I want to be a person who shares God's love with others and helping them physically and spiritually. I enjoyed being able to help others in the church and being a friend to those who did not have a lot of friends in school," she continued.
Waldschmidt knew that she would need to attend college to accomplish her mission. This meant finding scholarships from various sources.
It was no surprise to Waldschmidt when her mother found information about The United Methodist student Day (UMSD) scholarship during their search for scholarships. Waldschmidt applied for the scholarship and again, her United Methodist family came through for her. She received the United Methodist Student Day Gift of Hope scholarship.
"The scholarship has allowed me to attend a top private liberal arts Lutheran university where I get one-on-one time with professors and feel like a person and not just a statistic. I can reach my potential, challenge myself, and get a well-rounded education while being in a place where I can make memories and friends to last a lifetime," she said.
Although Waldschmidt is busy with her studies, she continues to find time to participate in her faith community at Northern Hills United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas. She is also president of the Texas Lutheran University chapter of the United Methodist Church's Wesley Foundation and part of the leadership team for Campus Ministries.
In addition, she is involved in community service and has been involved in three mission trips to Haiti. She believes that the church should support the United Methodist Student Day scholarship because giving to UMSD demonstrates one of the ways that the UMC is impacting United Methodist students and creating leaders who will transform the world.
Elsie Cunningham, freelance writer, UMCom retiree, now living in Jamaica
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.