January 3, 2012 | 8:36 a.m.
By Nicole Finsaas '14
Those who have seen televised Miss America pageants know that contestants must be beautiful, talented, and intelligent. Bethel alumna Huldah Omesa ’11 is certainly all of those. But Omesa has something more: a kingdom-inspired vision.
Recently, Omesa was crowned Miss Africa Minnesota, competing on the platform of eradicating extreme poverty. While this may seem like distant dream, she already has plans in action to help those in Africa struggling with poverty. “If I can empower them to empower themselves to create sustainability and growth, then they can create opportunities in their community through micro-financing,” she says. Omesa is already working to build a computer lab and library in her mother and father’s home villages in Kenya.
Omesa immigrated to the United States when she was five years old and recently graduated from Bethel with a triple major in international business, intercultural studies, and reconciliation studies. Beginning fall 2012, she hopes to further her education at New York University, pursuing a dual master’s degree, and she will compete in the Miss Africa U.S.A. pageant in November. She says her motivation to achieve and give back comes from her family members still in Kenya who struggle with extreme poverty every day.
“I’m blessed to be here and to have the opportunity to go to school and have all my needs met,” she explains. “So what can I do in return? This pageant was the extra push to initiate my project.”
Omesa credits Bethel with helping to ignite her passion for eradicating poverty. “My four years at Bethel definitely created a different person from the person who entered Bethel,” she says. “I am stronger. I have more confidence. I am able to critically think through things. But most important, I am a stronger person in my beliefs as a Christian woman as well as someone who is able to accomplish anything. Bethel was able to cultivate and nurture all those different aspects of my life, not only academically, but socially and spiritually.”