A group of people from the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church recently traveled to the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas.  Among them were Southwestern student and LPI graduate Raquel Resendiz, as well as Insitute for Discipleship executive director Steve Wilke.

Raquel Resendiz showing SC pride back at Lydia Patterson. Photo by Great Plains communications coordinator David Burke.

The Lydia Patterson Institute serves many students from across the border in Mexico, often from poor families.

“LPI is truly transformation in action,” said Wilke. “Individual students who have the desire and determination to move themselves and their families out of poverty and into the middle class are given the opportunity. The desire to learn among the students is unbelievable.”

“I was so honored to visit LPI and know that being a United Methodist means that I am a part of their work,” he said.

Southwestern College, and the Institute for Discipleship in particular, has a long relationship with Lydia Patterson.  Special attention is given to Bishop Scholar applicants from the school.

“Each Lydia Patterson student who has come to Southwestern has enriched our campus and provided a more global perspective for our students, staff and faculty,” said Wilke.

Resendiz is one of the Lydia Patterson graduates who received a Bishop Scholarship to attend Southwestern.

“Seeing all my friends and professors made realize what a great experience I had there. All the memories and stories I gained there made me the person I am now. Being back in this environment and place reminded me where I came from and how far I have gone, and even how much is left to experience.”

The church connection is something for which Resendiz is grateful.

“In my case, without the Methodist church and God’s grace I would not be here.  I am so grateful to have the Bishop Scholarship — it made me be involved in the church, which I love, and gave me the privilege of being an example to my peers here at the college and back home.”

She also emphasizes that opportunities like Lydia Patterson and the Bishop Scholarship to Southwestern are a source of hope for students attending the school.

“All of my friends there were excited that I had ‘made it’; I was actually living the American dream.  Somehow, I felt it gave them hope that everything is possible,” she said.

“I wanted to tell them the importance of hard work, trusting God and being persistent. Everything is possible, even those dreams that do not seem like they’re affordable.”

Learn more about Bishop Scholars, or donate to the Bishop Scholar fund to help us continue making a difference for students like Raquel.

You can also read a news story featuring Resendiz about the visit from the Great Plains Conference.