"My [home] church – Cascade United Methodist – and the United Methodist Church in general, have been so supportive of me," says Chloe A. Garden of Atlanta. "I learned many of my Christian values from the wonderful teachers and mentors at my church. They surrounded me with love and support.
"They gave me an avenue to pursue singing. They provided a place for to give back to my community. They even provided a venue for my Girl Scout Gold Award project. The United Methodist Church provided opportunities for me when I was in my confirmation class. And, of course, The UMC has given me this wonderful scholarship."
Now a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chloe has a younger sister.
"I was really blessed while growing up," she recalls. "My parents sent me to a Christian school and kept me very active in my church and in community organizations. I was always busy with clubs at school, varsity volleyball, club volleyball, singing in choirs at church and school, and doing community service."
Math and the arts are Chloe's two loves. She was a founding member of her school's mathematics club and competition team. While an attention disorder could have created a major roadblock for her, Chloe persevered.
"I have had to work really hard to keep up with my classes," she admits. "But in many ways, I have been inspired to work even harder to prove that I would not be defeated by this issue."
Attending Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, while in school, Chloe feels fortunate that one of the colleges she visited told her about applying for a World Communion Scholarship. She went to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministries website and researched various opportunities for scholarships and loans.
"I feel so blessed to have been accepted to my dream school," Chloe says. "But attending MIT is so expensive. My parents and I have been on a faith walk to fulfill this dream. We haven't always known where the money would come from, but we stepped out on faith. This scholarship was an answer to our prayers."
'To God be the glory!'
Why should the church support the World Communion Sunday?
"Students like me," says Chloe, "are trying to pursue higher education so that they can be role models for others and change the world. This can only happen if they can afford to attend college. It is wonderful when you don't have to worry about how your tuition will be paid, but instead can just focus on learning.
"I work at school and have applied for every scholarship that I can find," she continues. "I am so grateful that The United Methodist Church has invested in me! I am planning to become a computer engineer. MIT has provided so many opportunities for me to experience cutting-edge work in my field."
Her faith remains central to her being.
"My faith goes with me in everything that I do," Chloe says. "We need people of faith in every profession and walk of life. We need people of faith to bring their moral compass to what they do and to reach … others to help them achieve.
"I am the social chair for the Gospel Choir. In this role, I plan activities and outreach for the choir. I hope that we bring others to Christ through the sound of our voices."
Chloe wants to make her mark on the world.
"I approach everything that I do," she says, "with the thought that others are looking at me and how I respond to the challenges of the world. I know that if people see me conduct myself with integrity even under pressure, they will ask where my inner strength comes from. I will always tell them, 'To God be the glory!'"
This future computer engineer and entrepreneur has big plans.
"I hope to use my skills and knowledge to develop smart technologies for those who are most in need," Chloe says. "Computer engineers can have careers in many different areas. We can work in the healthcare industry, environmental planning and even disaster relief.
"I can't wait to see where God leads me!"
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, former general church content editor, United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee.
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.