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5 Core Values

2. To strategically invest in the next generation

Funding a Dream

By Kirk Noonan

Challenges. Alaska is full of them. So much so that many world-class adventurers trek there every year to test their skills, endurance and mettle against the majestic and equally rugged landscape. Doing so takes courage, unwavering faith, determination and an ability to embrace short-term objectives while keeping a steady eye on long-term goals.

Melia McDonald is not yet an adventurer, but she has the DNA to be one. She just finished high school. Served as vice president of the National Honor Society. Played outfield for her softball team. Earned the second-highest score in the Academic Decathlon. Volunteered at kids camps during summer breaks. Led worship and even preached for her youth group at Fairbanks First Assembly of God.

Sure, she admits, she has enjoyed every academic pursuit and extracurricular activity. All of it, she says, is part of a working tapestry she hopes will play a part in her goal of becoming a missionary — who specializes in children’s ministries — to Africa. Though she’s only 18, she knows that great visions have challenges.

The main one for her is money. For months she wondered how she was going to pay for an education at Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo. Tuition, room and board are costly by themselves, but traveling back and forth from Springfield to Fairbanks is not an inexpensive proposition either.

“I plan to go into full-time ministry immediately after college,” she says. “My goal is to not have something like money prevent me from doing what I feel I am supposed to do.”

Cash-strapped families with children wanting to go to college are nothing new. But in an effort to help such families and develop the brightest and best future leaders of the Assemblies of God, the AG Trust has created the Riggs Scholarship Fund.

“The fund is named after former General Superintendent Ralph Riggs who was an early advocate for higher education in the Fellowship,” says George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the AG. “In the years to come it is our hope that the scholarships will be a major resource for AG students to attend Assemblies of God schools.”

McDonald is one of the first recipients.

“It’s hard for me to describe how much the scholarship means to me,” she says. “I am still in shock that a girl all the way up in Alaska would be given such a scholarship.”

As part of the Fellowship’s goal to strategically invest in the next generation, the
Next Generation Fund has also been established. It will help young ministers who have attended an AG college or university by paying a portion of their school bills each month.

KIRK NOONAN is managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.

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