Young Adult Missionaries Prepare to Serve
by Melissa Hinnen
Stony Point, NY, August 4, 2011--An intentional community of young adults is engaging in prophetic, vocational preparation for mission service. For three weeks, 26 individuals between the ages of 20 and 30 are gathered in prayer, meeting with Global Ministries staff, and participating in training sessions to become US-2 missionaries and mission interns. They will be commissioned by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries in New York City on August 18. The commissioning service, led by Bishop Hope Ward, will be webcast at 11:00 a.m. ET: gbgm-umc.org/live.
US-2 missionaries serve in ministries of justice in the US for two-year terms and mission interns serve half of a three-year term outside the US and half in their home country. According to Elizabeth Chun Hye Lee, the executive for young adult mission service, "Young adults are invited to partner with community organizations to engage in mission service. Through the program, they engage in ministries of mutuality--ministry with people living in poverty--walking alongside those in need and through the process they become agents of change."
Many of the missionaries have been influenced by mission trips that introduced them to ways they can be part of seeking justice in the world. Marjorie Hurder shared an experience from Memphis, Tennessee, "Seeing various inner-city ministries and talking to the folks that they are working with really got me energized to explore how God wants to use me now and in the future."
Brinna Kolitz is committed to bringing attention to injustice and working with families to break the cycle of poverty. When asked about a person who influenced her call to mission, she recalled a boy she met in Mozambique who asked her, "Please tell them (in the US) not to forget about us."
Thomas Kemper, who leads the United Methodist global mission agency, said, "We introduce so many youth and young adults to mission in our wonderful volunteer trips. Enthusiasm runs high for witness and service. Through Global Ministries, we can leverage that excitement and ignite their call to mission and ministry. We are thankful for our partners around the world for offering challenging and exciting placements for these young adults."
Joseph Kanyike participated in the training via Skype from Uganda. He explained that he is serving as a mission intern because "it is a call to mission, a call to action standing for and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ by advocating for social justice."
The year 2011 marks the 60th anniversary of the US-2 program, celebrating a channel of service that has enriched the lives of thousands of young men and women, and through their witness touched an immeasurable number of youth and adults.
Kemper is encouraged by the passion of young people who are called to work in communities that face challenging issues. "Through young adult mission programs, we are developing strong principled leaders. These young people are becoming ethical, prophetic Christian leaders, actively partnering in ministry to confront injustice in the world, engaging in disciplined theological reflection, transforming their own lives and those of others. They will come back changed and equipped to discern God's calling for their lives."
Melissa Hinnen is the information officer of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Aug 11, 2011