Growing up in Baldwin County in Alabama, Kristen Curtis had a great life despite the fact that her father, the Rev. Joe Curtis, a United Methodist pastor, battled a deadly disease that affected the entire household. The Curtises were a close-knit family. Kristen — along with her mother, a psychometrist in the local school system, and her younger sister, Erin — became a support system for Joe.
Through her father’s illness and death, Kristen said, “I never felt a lack of love and support from my biological and church family. It was in this time of hardship that I gave my life to Christ and began a personal relationship with him.”
The United Methodist Church has been a part of Kristen’s life since the second grade. A member at Robertsdale United Methodist Church in Robertsdale, Alabama, Kristen had many opportunities to attend summer and youth activities. She was very familiar with the church, but it took a family tragedy for her to realize what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
Now a senior at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Kristen felt the call to be a servant in the church. She plans to follow the path of ordination to be a deacon or an elder in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference. “I am not positive what I will be doing beyond that, but I am confident that God will show me the next step when the time comes.”
Thanks to her attendance at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Kristen was able to take advantage of the Gift of Hope Scholarship supported by the United Methodist Student Day Sunday offering. “This scholarship has allowed me to have the opportunity to attend a United Methodist-affiliated college and gain connections within the church,” she said. “Without scholarships like this, I wouldn't be where I am today. Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to focus more on school and less on the debt I am accumulating.”
While at Huntingdon College, Kristen has used her leadership skills by coordinating a contemporary worship service, being a member of the Orientation Leadership Team that welcomes new students and starting a campus organization called 4LIFE with her roommate. 4LIFE promotes life in all forms. She also was a team leader in a community-service project, Service Over Self in Memphis, Tenn. She led youth groups from all over the United States to repair inner-city homes. She traveled to China to experience cultural exchange in college classrooms.
“Through these experiences,” Kristen said, “I have learned more about who God is and how to love others more effectively.”
— Lladale Carey, Web content producer, 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.
Originally published by UMCGiving.org.