A Moment for Mission
"By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness… to guide our feet into the way of peace." — Luke 1:78-79, NRSV
An only child, Tori Pedersen spent most of her childhood in Omaha, Nebraska.
"My parents always emphasized the importance of family," she said, "and that has become something I value very deeply. My family was always very supportive and encouraging of anything I wanted to do, and they have helped me grow into the person I am today."
As a child, Tori went to church, but not every Sunday. Then she discovered The Water's Edge Church, a United Methodist congregation in Gretna, Nebraska. "It wasn't until I found The Water's Edge," she said, "that I truly started to develop a relationship with God. I have found a love for serving, and it has motivated me to look into nonprofit work in my future. So much of who I have become is due to finding my place in The United Methodist Church."
Today, Tori is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She finds it serendipitous that as she searched for faith-based scholarships for United Methodists, the first one that showed up was the Gift of Hope, supported by the United Methodist Student Day offering.
"This scholarship," she noted, "has eased a great financial burden. Going to college was never a question for me, but how I would pay for it has always been a question. This scholarship has given me the freedom to pursue my dreams."
Loving God, thank you for your blessings. Teach us to give light to those who sit in darkness. Guide our feet into the way of peace. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Last Sunday After Pentecost/Christ the King — God of Creation, we come this morning, bringing our humble gifts, celebrating the reign of Christ, our King – not just in the kingdom that is to come, but in his reign in our hearts. What could we withhold from him, who is our life, our light, and our redemption? More than our money in the plate, help us to give our whole selves, all in for Christ's ongoing work of compassion and healing. Help us to make our loyalty to his reign known in our giving and also in our living. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. Colossians 1:11-20
Youth need to feel valued by the church, Gift of Hope scholar Tori Pederson said. "The relationship you build with God and fellow Christians throughout your childhood is priceless," she asserted. She added that supporting United Methodist Student Day shows the church's commitment to youth.
Tori's faith has instilled in her a moral compass. "It has given me a sense of security," she explained, "knowing God is always with me. It has also motivated me to do work that serves my community and the people around me."
She cherishes the Bible study that has eased her transition from home to college. "I hope to be able to give this same experience to other students," she said. "Long-term, I want to plan benefit concerts, work with nonprofits and stay active in the church. My passion in life is people and building relationships. I believe all of these are ways to use my interests to build a career that is centered around my passion and glorifies God."
— Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom