[caption id="attachment_644" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The Attwoods: Nathan, baby Maggie Grace, Shawna, and Lauren"]
"We needed the money, but we also needed to know that there were people who cared about what we were going through, who were praying for us and cheering us on."
When I made the decision to follow God’s call to enroll in seminary, I had no idea how I would pay for it or how I would support my family while I was there. I felt strongly that if God truly called me, that God should make a way, and He certainly did. I was able to secure a scholarship from Emory University, and served a student appointment as the pastor of two churches. Still, times were tough and money was very scarce.
Words cannot describe my gratitude and relief when I went to the mailbox and opened an envelope from First United Methodist Church of Montgomery that contained two checks from what would become the Stegall Seminary Scholarship. The checks continued to come every month for three years, always just when we needed them the most.
They paid for diapers, baby food and medicine for our baby. They paid for gas to get me to seminary, for utility bills, and even an occasional date night with my wife. We needed the money, but we also needed to know that there were people who cared about what we were going through, who were praying for us and cheering us on. That envelope each month was a regular reminder that as lonely as we sometimes felt, we were not alone.
It has been nearly 13 years since I went to the mailbox and got the first check from Montgomery. Our baby is now a teenager, and I’m now serving as one of the ministers at First United Methodist in Montgomery, giving back to the same people who supported me years ago.
Our family welcomed a new baby this year. Even her life has been impacted by the Stegall Scholarship, because we would still be paying school loans if we’d had to take them out during seminary. I will always be grateful to the donors who supported me and my colleagues, and I am blessed to be able to support the scholarship for those who are now stepping out in faith and believing that God will provide. - Dr. Nathan W. Attwood, Minister of Mission and Service, Montgomery First United Methodist Church.