Pathfinder Scholarship Changes Life

May 02, 2017

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to say that phrase with no doubt in my mind it was true. 

But the experience of being bullied, being called fat and living with problems at home all sent me the message that the opposite was true. The pain was overwhelming. All the negativity flowed into my mind, buried my happiness and killed my joy. I felt alone. Useless. Unloved. I screamed at my Creator for all the pain in my life and asked Him why it was happening to me. I fell deep into a pit of darkness.

At the age of 11, I became a mean, rude and hateful person to almost anyone I met. I believed no one knew my pain and I was alone in it all. I degraded myself, calling myself names I knew broke God’s heart. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw this disgusting, ugly girl staring back at me.

With nothing but silence around me, I could hear the pounding rage in my chest. I cursed God, cursed myself and then remained silent for the rest of the night. I didn’t want anyone to know that inside I was a monster.

My middle school years were rough, but at the end of eighth grade my life changed when I attended the Oregon Conference Pathfinder Fair. I had a strong desire to attend a boarding school in Days Creek, Ore., called Milo Adventist Academy. I was about to be a high schooler, and, quite frankly, I wanted to get away. I filled out my name on a slip of paper and put it in a box at the Milo booth for a scholarship. 

When it was time for the awards to be handed out, I sat with my club, rocking back and forth as the Milo people walked up with their box of papers. They pulled out a name for a scholarship to a round of applause as the kid received his paper and then sat back down. Another paper was pulled; another name was called that wasn’t mine, and my head hung down. There went my chance.

But then no one went up to receive the scholarship. I quickly shot a prayer up to God, saying, "OK, God. If you want me to go to Milo, then they will pull my name." No doubt; pure belief it would happen.

I watched as a piece of paper was pulled out, opened and my name was read. My heart stopped, and I jumped up. My prayer had been answered. I was going to Milo. 

I was worthy in the eyes of Someone greater than my fears.

After four years, I am still here. Milo became my safe place, my haven. Things started looking up as I attended Milo. I’ve met some cool people and made some great friends, and I could feel my relationship with God strengthen over time. 

Even with this new fresh start, I still fought with the darkness that ate at my heart. It wasn’t until my junior year that I started to figure out who I truly was. I began to shed the quiet and tough shell, and I started to become … myself. I started to know my gifts and my personality, regaining the joy and carefree spirit I had as a kid. I began to love me for who I was, knowing that my true beauty came from my heavenly Father.

God took my mess and created a message. Because of Him, I can look in the mirror and tell myself: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am worthy. I am a child of the one true King.

For more information about Milo Adventist Academy, visit

Listen to Abby’s complete testimony.

Abigail Alcantara, Milo Adventist Academy senior class president