As he was growing up, both of Ricky Blue’s parents were addicts.
As he was growing up, both of Ricky Blue’s parents were addicts. “We often didn’t know where our next meal would come from,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘If God loved me, why would he put me in this situation?’”
One of the low points in Blue’s life came in the seventh grade when his father lost their home in Luling, La., due to gambling. As one door closed, another opened when a friend invited Blue to attend Luling United Methodist Church.
Embraced by a new family
Beginning with Blue’s first visit, the congregation embraced him.
Members of the church’s United Methodist Women group took turns bringing Blue to church each week and making sure his life was on track. These acts of kindness, including assurance he had food each day, deeply nurtured Blue’s faith journey. Throughout his high school days, the church became his extended family, filling the roles of mom, dad, uncles, brothers, aunts and mentors.
“Thanks to my home church,” Blue said, “I began to understand that God had a purpose for me and the rest of my life.” He eventually felt God’s call to become an ordained minister. Facing a process of possibly 10 years to become ordained in The United Methodist Church, Blue faced the awesome challenge of financing his education.
“I was discouraged because my biological family couldn’t help me,” he said. “That’s when my church family stepped in again and made a difference in my life. My church, with less than 100 members, raised $4,000 for me to attend school.”
The gift of love and support, masterminded by the congregation’s UMW, gave Blue what he needed to begin. In addition to support from the Luling congregation, he sustained his goal with a Gift of Hope scholarship made possible by contributions to the annual churchwide United Methodist Student Day offering. “I pray that the people of The United Methodist Church will give to this scholarship fund that encourages and supports new leaders for the church,” he said.
Moving forward in faith
Blue works at Troy (Ill.) United Methodist Church, where 100 students are active, thanks largely to his leadership and a corps of volunteers. Blue is a certified candidate for ministry in the Illinois-Great Rivers Annual Conference.
His dream is to be appointed to a retreat ministry that will enable him to reach out and minister to other young people.
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Student Day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The special offering provides scholarships for qualified United Methodist applicants.
When you give generously on United Methodist Student Day, you support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. Give now.