Some of the newest members of the Global Mission Fellows US-2 class of 2014 during missionary training in the Philippines. Photo: Rachel deBos.
US-2: Spiritual and Vocational Discernment
Part 1: Awakening Purpose and Leadership
By Julia Kayser Frisbie and Laura K. Wise*
This article is the first of a two part series taking a holistic look at the US-2 program; an opportunity for leadership development, spiritual formation, and vocational discernment.
Amy Brown was unsure of what to do next. She had finished college. She knew that she wanted to put her faith into action, yet she wasn’t sure that seminary was the next step. After a period of discernment, she answered the call to missionary service and applied to become a US-2 through the General Board of Global Ministries. The program is now called Global Mission Fellow (GMF) US-2 and is part of the United Methodist Generation Transformation program.
The US-2 mission opportunity led her to Detroit where she began serving with the NOAH Project. A nonprofit organization operating out of Central United Methodist Church Noah offers social services to people who are homeless. At NOAH, Amy found her calling in connecting people with resources she explains, “Whether that is connecting homeless people with housing, or whether that is connecting suburbanites with their homeless brothers and sisters, helping them realize that all of our stories are interconnected.”
Over time, Amy grew attached to the city. “During my US-2 term,” Amy says, “I fell in love with Detroit. I felt a connection to the community and didn’t want to leave.” After her two years of service concluded, she enrolled in Detroit’s Wayne State University for a Master’s in social work. She continued to work at NOAH part-time as she completed her studies. Once she graduated, NOAH brought her on as a full-time employee. Today, 10 years later, she is the Executive Director.
“It has been a journey to come in as a US-2, learn the ropes of the agency, and now be running it,” Amy reflects. “I never would have guessed this is where I would be ten years later, but I absolutely love it, and know I would not be here if it weren’t for the US-2 program. They (Global Ministries) put me in a place that was much different than I expected and helped connect me to the community… the program has been an essential part of my development as a leader.”
US-2, A Vocational Discernment Opportunity
Amy wasn’t the only US-2 to fall in love with her placement site and to be hired full-time after completion of the program. . Tara Miller’s term as a US-2 at Mary’s Place in Seattle ended in 2013. She is now working there as the rotating shelter coordinator. Jenna Van Laningham served as a US-2 from 2000-2002 at the Community Food Bank in Tucson,. She now works for one of the food bank’s partners, the Primavera Foundation where she coordinates faith-based volunteers. Harris Tay was a US-2 from 2006-2008 at the Wesley Community Center in Dayton, Ohio. He went back to serve as the center’s Executive Director for several years and now works for the West Ohio Annual Conference.
These alumni are a testament to the impact young adult mission service has on the individual and in the communities they serve. While many US-2s have been a strong fit within their organizations, and have gone on to work full time with their placement sites upon completion of the program; many others have used their service as a time of exploration by digging into the root causes of injustice and how they intersect with their lives. The program gives young adults the chance to tie together faith and justice while discerning their vocational calling. Service as a Global Mission Fellow is an opportunity for young adults to connect with US based organizations where they are able to learn and build connections. Motivated by faith, young adult mission service often leads to an awakened sense of purpose and can spur a career in the non-profit sector, just like in the case of Amy Brown.
Applications for Global Mission Fellows are available! There are only a few weeks left to get your GMF application in by Jan. 31, the second application period. Apply now!
*Julia Kayser Frisbie is a writer and Laura K. Wise is a young adult missionary serving as a mission communicator with Global Ministries at its New York City headquarters.