By MISSISSIPPI CHRISTIAN LIVING
Ice storm couldn’t stop Christian Leaders of the Future
Despite a pandemic and the after-effects of winter weather, Mississippi Christian Living’s annual Christian Leaders of the Future scholarship awards program went off without a hitch on March 2.
In partnership with Belhaven University, MCL has awarded scholarships each year since 2009. Last year, we happily piled into Belhaven’s Billy Kim International Center without a clue that COVID-19 was about to wreck everybody’s world. This year, the pandemic was old news. We were prepared.
Then an ice storm hit metro Jackson. As of Thursday, Feb. 25, just five days pre-event, Fondren Church (our 2021 venue) still had no running water. But on Friday, Feb. 26, Fondren Church Senior Pastor Robert Green sent MCL Editor Katie Eubanks three text messages in quick succession:
WATER (followed by three water-related emojis).
So the following Tuesday, we happily piled into Fondren Church — with masks, hand sanitizer, and individually bagged reception snacks — and celebrated 30 outstanding high-school seniors from all over the state.
Each year, five diverse Christian adults read student applications and recommendation letters, and score each student on their character and their writing. This year proved especially difficult, since we received more than 150 applications (approximately double the number from last year)!
Our girl winner, Meagan Gautier, attends school at Jackson Academy and church at First Baptist Jackson. She is the daughter of Chuck and Virginia Gautier. What impressed us most about Meagan was her love of discipleship, both for herself and others. When she was in seventh grade, older girls at First Baptist would take her to Bible study. Now, as a senior, she has the honor of doing that for current seventh-graders.
Our boy winner, Noah Addison, attends school at West Lincoln Attendance Center in Brookhaven, and church at Mt. Gilead Primitive Baptist Church. He is the son of Luke and Robyn Addison. What got our attention about Noah was his intentionality behind his relationship with God. He knows the best way to stand firm for Christ is to stick to the basics: spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer, and surrounding himself with the fellowship of believers.
Meagan and Noah each will receive $2,000 in their bursar account after they are registered at the college or university of their choice.
In addition to MCL’s two scholarship winners, Mississippi Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chose another student to receive a $500 scholarship. Lydia Snopek, a cross-country runner at Madison-Ridgeland Academy, experienced a physical setback this year that kept her from performing at the level she desired. But she used this season as an opportunity to lead and encourage her team spiritually. Lydia attends Highlands Presbyterian Church in Ridgeland and is the daughter of Chris and Carla Snopek.
In addition to the reception and awards ceremony, our 30 finalists participated in workshops from small business consultant Hallie Brand, who spoke about giving yourself grace while finding your calling, and retired educator Katrina Myricks, who gave finalists a practical overview of the “why”s and “how”s of growing your personal network. Our keynote speaker for finalists and guests was Robert Green, who urged students and parents alike to live for an audience of One.
We are so thankful for our partnership with Belhaven University, and for all of this year’s sponsors, for helping us honor our Christian Leaders of the Future!
Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance
First Commercial Bank
Dr. Eugene Brown’s Smiles By Design
Hinds Community College
Holmes Community College
Christian Leaders of the Future scholarship winner Meagan Gautier, second from right, with (from left) Wayne and Ann Moore, Chuck and Virginia Gautier, and Jacob Galatas.
Christian Leaders of the Future scholarship winner Noah Addison, center, with his parents, Luke and Robyn Addison.