Wesley Alumni Update

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Everyone always says, “Wesley is a place where friends become family” and I can’t even begin to tell you how true that statement is. When I first started coming to Wesley, I was a very shy, quiet person. However, through Freshley and this community, I began to flourish. Because of Wesley, I was able to find myself, strengthen my relationship with God, and gain friends that I can call my family. It’s through these connections that I ended up meeting Carlee Hetico, a Wesley Alumni, who was then able to help me acquire my new career. I have now been able to use the leadership skills I learned at Wesley at my job which helps me to do my job well and understand people better. Throughout my time here, these are the two most important lessons I learned: To put my full trust in God, His plan is much better than mine; and time is a gift generously given to us and nothing should ever be taken for granted.

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Hi, my name is Jack Ladd, and I am a pastor in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, appointed to Wakulla UMC in Crawfordville. This is my fifth year as a pastor and my second appointment. The Wesley at UCF Foundation played a vital role in my call and discernment to get me where I am today. This campus ministry gave me the structure, but also the freedom, to learn, grow, and lead. I came to Wesley at UCF, as many students have because a friend invited me. I was looking for friends and community, and I got so much more. UCF Wesley was far more than a Tuesday worship gathering. It became central to my life as a college student. I found myself studying on the couches, taking a break in the office, or catching a chat with a staff member as often as I could. Everyone accepted me for who I am, and this provided me the affirmation I needed to thrive as a growing leader in the community. This is the kind of pastor I aim to be, one that accepts people as they are and offer the structure and the flexibility to thrive as a gifted and loved child of God.