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Waxahachie, TX

September 14, 2018 | Mikayla Heldt

As a missionary kid, Jo Ann was born and raised in Northern Asia. She had always dreamt of attending college in the United States but worried about how it could result in financial pressure for her parents.

Fortunately, Jo Ann was recently awarded the Ashcroft National Youth Scholarship allowing her to attend Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) this fall without as many financial worries.

“Receiving this scholarship was super cool because it gave me the opportunity to be able to go to a solid school without my parents having the extra financial burden,” she says.

The Ashcroft Scholarship was named after J. Robert Ashcroft, who served as President of four Assemblies of God (AG) colleges and was also the National Secretary of the Assemblies of God Department of Education. It emphasizes the importance of not only academic achievement but involvement in extracurricular activities and Christian services. The scholarship also focuses on evident Christian character and trying to pursue a relationship with Christ daily.

While serving with her parents in Northern Asia, Jo Ann participated in various humanitarian projects, such as bringing backpacks, books, and clothing to poor areas, taking rice and oil to remote villages, and more. She even taught English to many living in the impoverished regions.

“I was always really heavily involved in my parents’ ministries,” Jo Ann says.

Because of her family’s ministry, Jo Ann was at a different church every Sunday, so friendships weren’t able to be solidified. When the family wasn’t helping with churches, they were isolated from other Christians. Jo Ann wasn’t always able to have the same resources that Americans have on hand.

“Corporate prayer and corporate worship was not something that was readily available to me,” she says.

But despite the struggle of living a constantly transitional life, Jo Ann was able to use this time to strengthen her one-on-one relationship with the Lord.

“I try to stay on top of my prayer life…I really try to focus on making my relationship with God stronger, that way whenever I am in an isolated situation, there’s always someone I can depend on,” she says.

The amount of missionary kids (MK) that attend SAGU is a blessing to Jo Ann, who feels comfort in knowing that there are other students who understand where she comes from.

“There’s a large MK community that we all understand the basics of what each other went through,” she says.

She also loves that she can finally get plugged into a church.

“To be able to be involved a church, to be able to actually have worship and prayer, that’s what I was super excited for.”

Jo Ann plans to double major in Child and Family Studies and Church Leadership with an emphasis on Kids Ministry.

“Once I graduate, I plan on being a missionary myself in Northwest Africa,” she says.

Though she’s only been at SAGU for a short time, Jo Ann says that her college experience has been great so far.

“I’ve loved being able to already make friends and settle in…Everything’s been so amazing.”

To learn more about the J. Robert Ashcroft National Youth Scholarship, click here .

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at

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