Young Adults from Nine Countries to be Commissioned for Mission
By Melissa Hinnen
- "I wanted to be part of a system that would address injustice with the call of Jesus Christ in my life."
- "With the help of the girls who showed me what it was like to have a relationship with Christ, I understood that I had worth and I had purpose because God gave it to me."
- "My friends and I stood up to colonialism in my country, and some of my friends were killed. When I came to the US, I wanted to continue working for social justice so here I am in the US-2 program. I depend on God for the rest of my journey."
- "One night God exposed each of my doubts [about entering the program] as a fear. I felt God's assurance that this program is right for me. I am excited for what God will teach me."
- "God does miraculous things through people, and here I am as a Mission Intern."
As part of their training, 36 young adults are sharing how God is calling them into mission. For three weeks, they are preparing through prayer, Bible study, cultural training, and community-building to become young adult missionaries for The United Methodist Church.
Leading them in Bible study, Thomas Kemper told the group that he does not believe he would be the general secretary of Global Ministries if he had not had the opportunity to serve as a young adult missionary. He said: "You need to be prepared for your life to be changed. I don't know what will happen to you. Be as open as possible to the new experiences that will happen to you. Let it influence and change you. It will bless you whatever you do after that."
Two of the young adults are participating in the training through Skype. They are from Africa University and were unable to obtain visas. During the training, the young adult missionaries are writing letters to congress to advocate for young people to be able to come to the US to attend the training.
The class of 2012 will be commissioned as Mission Interns and US-2s on August 3, 2012, at 7:00 pm at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. The commissioning service will be webcast. US-2s serve in the United States for two years. Mission Interns serve for three years, approximately half of the time abroad and half of the time in their home country. The class of 2012 represents nine countries and will be serving in 17 countries and ten annual conferences.
Whitney Peters will be commissioned as a Mission Intern to serve in Nicaragua. In her blog she wrote, "Our groups hails all the way from California and spans the entire United States. There are people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, South Korea, Philippines, Ukraine, and Peru." She continued, "Each of us is here with a different background, different theologies, and different encounters with God, yet we all share this calling from God to work for social justice…learning how to have a ministry of presence."
The commissioning service will be led by Bishop Minerva Carcaño and will take place as part of a three- day conference, "Celebrating Young Adults in Mission: Living Stones for Transformation!" The event will bring together people who have been involved with the long-term Young Adult Mission Service programs of The United Methodist Church. These growing programs have sent and supported more than 60 years of US-2s and 35 years of Mission Interns.
Elizabeth Lee, executive of the Young Adults Mission Service office, says: "The conference will provide a sacramental occasion to celebrate and remember the impact the programs have had on participants, communities, and the church; witness the commissioning of new young adult missionaries; highlight programmatic developments; and offer opportunities to support young adults in service and engage in mission."