COVID-19 NBA Response Grant Supports College Students Needing Financial Assistance

It was Sunday morning, after service I was talking with a couple of teenagers in our congregation, we were catching up and then the conversation shifted to the pandemic.

I asked one of them, “How is school going?”

His answer caught me by surprise.

“I am not going to study this semester, my parents are not working all the hours that they used to, so I need to work more hours to help them.”

I replied, “The Lord will provide. I will be praying for you.”

Listening to the young adults discuss how they were working less hours due to the pandemic and how some had lost their jobs completely got me wondering what other hardships young people within our church could be facing during the pandemic. It was sad for me to hear that they couldn’t continue studying because they didn’t have the money to do it. I’m always motivating them to study, but I didn’t think I had the financial resources to help them.

Every time I or the people of the church face challenges, I always turn my eyes to my helper, the Lord. The Lord says in his word:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber. — Psalms 121:1-4 (NIV)

This Word fills me with hope, so I lift my eyes to my Father that is in heaven. He is able to create everything from nothing! After praying for several weeks, I realized the National Benevolent Association was giving grants for youth.

We applied and received the grant and were excited to give our college students a surprise! It was so amazing to see God acting through the NBA. During one Sunday service we asked the college students to come to the front. We began to give thanks for them and the way they love and serve the Lord in the church. After that, I said, “I have something that God wants to give to you through the National Benevolent Association, a grant for college expenses!”

Each of them received an envelope, they were surprised because they had never received anything like that. When they opened the envelopes, they began to laugh and look at each other. They were very happy and grateful. At the end of the service, they gathered and shared how they planned to use their money.

I am thankful that I lift up my eyes to the Lord, because He sees everything down on earth and lead me to a generous organization that helped us. NBA was the answer to my prayer. Thank you for letting your lives be used by God.

Below are messages of thanks Yolanda Estrada received from youth who got grant money. They have been edited for length and clarity.

“I would like to thank Pastor Yolanda Estrada, NBA and Bethel-Garland Church for such a wonderful offering! I thank God for this great blessing that He has given me through you all. I am a Music Education Major at the University of North Texas and here I have learned many things about how to be a great musician and educator. Thanks to this offering, I was able to cover my expenses for the remainder of the semester including gasoline, and various accessories that I needed for my instruments and my classes! Blessings!” —Esteban

“2020 was a very difficult time for me and my family financially. The family business came to a complete halt and is in the process of starting up again. This impacted my college finances greatly, I thought I was not going to be able to get through the semester but thanks to the grant from Iglesia Cristiana Bethel and the NBA I was helped immensely. I am able to continue my education even in these hard times. I am really grateful to be a recipient of this grant, thank you so much!” —Adriel

“Hello, my name is Enrique. I’m currently in my second year of college at Eastfield located in Mesquite, Texas. I am majoring in Business. I have been attending Bethel Church for almost 13 years and I’m so grateful to be part of the church. I currently help with the sound system and I really enjoy doing it. I would like to thank the people at National Benevolent Association for giving me this grant; it has helped me so much in the midst of COVID-19 and me not being able to work. I have been able to focus more on school and use this grant to help pay for expenses as needed. I’m happy and thankful knowing that people care and help others. Thank you for your generosity and may God bless you all.” —Enrique

“I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the help that you were able to provide to the college students of the church. Being able to receive the student grant allowed me to buy books that were much needed for my classes, and that was a huge blessing as college books can be expensive!

I am working on my degree in Criminology at Texas Woman’s University and being so close to finishing my degree, all the help I can get to push through is much needed and greatly appreciated.” —Shelsey

“I am thankful for the financial support I have received from my pastors. Not only has this helped me financially, but it has given me motivation to further my education. I know that more doors will open for me.” —Erick

“I am thankful for the grant my pastors gave to me for school. I’m studying cardiac sonography and used the money to purchase textbooks as I lost my job when the pandemic hit.” —Andrea

“I am currently a student at Texas Tech University learning architecture. I am ever so thankful for receiving such a grant that will be used to help me with college expenses. I paid for my tuition, parking and for my meal plan with the grant. Thank you for the grant that has helped me immensely. It was a great surprise.  God is good!” —Timothy

“I cannot thank you enough for the help that was offered during the uncertain times of this pandemic. The past year, year and a half, have been surprising and unexpected. With the unemployment, social distancing protocols, and item scarcity, ordinary life became difficult. My family has been affected by the hard times, but because of God’s grace have we been able to stay afloat. My time at school has not been impacted and am still on track to fulfill my goal of becoming a CPA. Your assistance helped alleviate some stress and I am grateful for the people in my church and the people who provided this assistance to my church. Thank you, I hope to be this considerate in the future when I can help.”  —Edgar