Begun in 1913 by a Methodist woman in El Paso, Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI) is a United Methodist School that has educated and formed generations of young people for service in the world as agents of love and transformation.
Each year we remember that Advent is a season of anticipation. We anticipate the coming celebration of Christ’s birth, and we anticipate Christ’s return—the time when God will restore all things through God’s own loving presence. In Christmas, we remember that God chooses to be with us, and that God’s presence truly changes lives.
We get to join God in changing lives each year through our Christmas Offering. This year, led by Bishop Robert Schnase and joining with the Rio Texas Conference, we have chosen to change the lives of young people in one of the poorest regions of our state by giving to the Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI).
Consider the story of Abigail Cervantes, a 2012 graduate of LPI. After completing the 8 years of free education provided in their hometown of Juarez, Mexico, her hard-working parents were unable to provide any further education. They knew a life of poverty and hardship awaited Abigail. Scholarships to attend Lydia Patterson Institute changed all that. Abigail was accepted and, because of the United Methodist Church, she received an education that prepared her for college. Today, Abigail is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University and has a promising career as a Registered Nurse. Her future is bright because she has received an education that matches the gifts God gave her.
Lydia Patterson Institute enrolls students from the poorest neighborhoods of El Paso and Juarez—those who are at the greatest risk of having their ambitions and gifts cut short because of poverty. As they learn, these young people are formed in Christian service and discipleship; they work each day on campus to help the school operate, providing janitorial and food services at the school. Starting as early as 4 a.m. each day, many catch a series of buses in order to build a new life for themselves. Now, here’s the amazing work God is doing through LPI: 95% of graduating seniors go to college or university with a mountain of scholarship support they have received with help from LPI. We don’t always think of education as a miracle, but at LPI, thousands of graduates will tell you what a miraculous gift it truly is.
Through our gifts to Lydia Patterson Institute, we have the power to change a young person’s life. This is what we do as Christians—we recognize all that God has done to change our lives, and then we join God in changing the lives of others. In doing so, we transform the world, one life at a time.
Please join this Christmas in making a special gift to LPI, over and above your pledged support of FUMC. You can make your gift anytime between now and the end of the year by returning the enclosed envelope to the church office, or by simply marking your check “Christmas Offering” and dropping it in the offering plate.
To learn more about student life at the Lydia Patterson Institute, watch this video about a typical day full of dedication and responsibility.