After moving from La Paz to Upland, freshman Mariah Hurst is continuing her pursuit of faith, friendship and purpose at Tayor.
Hurst grew up in Bolivia, a small country located in central South America, with her two older sisters, her mother, and her father. She went to a German-run school until second grade, then transferred to Highlands International School, an institution her father helped start.
She also attended a church called Iglesia Biblica de Mallasilla, which was partly started by her father. Hurst said she loves the church because of its diversity, strong community and bold faith.
As the daughter of missionaries, Hurst said she feels blessed to have grown up in Bolivia.
“The people that I met and the experiences I had shaped me in a profound way,” she said.
While she loves the beauty and culture she experienced in Bolivia, she also had family in the U.S. Because of this, she often feels that she has a foot in both worlds — Bolivia and the United States.
Hurst came to know Christ on Valentine’s Day when she was just five years old. Since then, she has gone on short-term trips with her school, coming to form a relationship with individuals from the Tacana tribe.
On one of these occasions, Hurst was put in charge of teaching about 30 rambunctious seven and eight-year-old boys. At the end of the day she felt discouraged, but soon afterwards a few of the boys ran back up to her and excitedly asked for another story.
“This taught me that God can use you, even if what you’re doing does not necessarily match your skill set,” Hurst said.
This past summer, a trip to Colorado to attend the Summit Ministries conference caused Hurst to grow in her faith walk as well. She had struggled with doubt in the past, but during this conference she was confronted with the statement that ‘a bout of doubt can make your faith stronger.’
Hurst holds Psalm 77:11 close to her heart, and now strives to grow from every question and to turn to God to remember who God is and what he has done in her life.
Each of these people, places and events helped to shape Hurst into the person she is today and she is excited to begin her college career at Taylor and see how she will continue to change.
“I was drawn here because of the intentional community, and the way that they went about discipleship,” she said. “There was a difference between this school and others that I looked at.”
She also hopes to grow in her skill set and knowledge of multimedia journalism so she can communicate more effectively. She looks forward to publishing the truth and hopes to give a voice to the voiceless in her future career.
Hurst has many goals for the future, including pursuing excellence in all she does, pursuing great friendships and growing in her faith. As she continues to cultivate wonder and curiosity, she also wants to be inclusive and aware of others, be an avid reader and learn more about different cultures and places around the world. She is excited to start this new chapter of her adventure at Taylor and is ready to see how God continues to work in and through her.