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A Family Away From Home: The Impact of a Scholarship

Morgan Chinnock, March 13, 2007
Lidia Dima, a student from Romania, has wanted to be a nurse ever since she was baptized into the Adventist church at the age of 18.  She has long dreamed of returning to her village, Banesti, to build a church.

Lidia came to PUC in 2005 not knowing anyone and not knowing much about the college. For the first year, she felt lonely and even considered dropping out of school several times, but she says her goals kept her here. Then, she says that God began to help her with her loneliness.  She discovered a radio station that the St. Helena Adventist church broadcasts. They played the song “Be Still My Soul” every morning as she was getting ready and gave her courage for the day. She also met Karen Widmer, who invited her to go on walks and even to spend New Years Eve with the Widmer family. This friendship showed Lidia God’s care for her.

Lidia has also struggled financially since she entered the nursing program. Even with two on-campus jobs, there were many times she didn’t know how she would make the next payment, but she trusted God and watched Him provide for her every need, often at the last minute. Lidia even had enough to send $200 a month to her family in Romania, who cannot work at their construction jobs during the winter months.

At the end of her first year at PUC, Lidia went to the awards colloquy feeling like “God was cooking up something,” but she was shocked at the abundance of the Hilary Blount R.N. Award. After colloquy, Milli Stelling approached Lidia with tears in her eyes and introduced herself as Hilary’s mother.  Since then, Milli and her husband, Rob, have invited Lidia to their home for Sabbath afternoons, called to check up on her and helped her get a drivers license. “Money was a real need, but the biggest thing I needed was human touch,” says Lidia, who has not seen her family for nine years. “I didn’t just get a scholarship—I got a family.”

Lidia has learned to depend on God for every need, and she wants to continue even when she starts making money as a nurse. She also wants to help other people. “I am planning to create scholarships in my village,” says Lidia. With the money she will make as a nurse, Lidia can also accomplish her dream of building a church in Banesti.  As she looks at her past and to the future, she states without question, “Scholarships are not a waste of money—they can bring eternal results as well as earthly ones.”