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Here is the final installment on my reflection for my missionary service.  It’s a video.  I would like to dedicate this video to all YAMS (Young Adult Mission Service) staff at Global Ministries. Enjoy!

It’s been great blogging these past two years for you. Since I have finished my service I will no longer be updating this blog.

http://youtu.be/XaTqApSQYc4

Thank You!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3: 16-17)

When I accepted the opportunity to be young adult missionary, formerly known as the US-2, I expected I would complete my two year service and move on to a new chapter. I had no idea that this experience would implore and challenge me to be in mission even after my service ends. Mission is for a lifetime.

When I started to formulate and hone in on my call to mission story, I described it as three-tiered cake: baptism, confirmation, and mission. I felt that mission was the unfolding and unwinding of my faith journey in action.

Baptism is where my family and friends join together to affirm they will raise me up in the faith community and God’s prevenient grace in the particular act. Confirmation is when I affirm my baptism and understand the catechism of the Christian community. Then mission, the final frontier  towards God.

In light of this US-2 experience, I would say: Generation Transformation is a baptismal experience for young adults in the church. It sets us up for months to years of service in ministry with* then calls upon us to carry this endeavor to the world beyond our service.

It’s a cyclic cycle where I thought my last tier was mission, but I am re-baptized by this experience to go forth and live mission outside the program.

That’s the challenge there. Everyday I live, every breathe I take and every sunrise and sunset I shall see by God’s grace and will, how am I living into the life of Jesus Christ?  How I am releasing the captives, feeding His sheep, setting the oppressed free, and proclaiming the good news?

That’s the work we have to do my friends. It’s a testament of our faith in works. Our lives renewed for a purpose. Prophetic voices made real in the world.

It’s been a two-year journey of self-discovery, introspection, and growing in faith. I have a couple weeks left of my missionary service. I officially end my service on July 11, 2014 as a Global Mission Fellows – US-2.

There has been laughter, tears, growing pains, joy, and dancing, over my mission service but through it all… God Is Able. God Is Able to Heal, Protect, Love, Provide, & Save. That was the theme of the Harambee¹ conference based on Ephesians 3: 20 I attended this past week. I believe the theme “God Is Able” should be the ubiquitous anthem or mantra for missionaries all over the world. It sums the work of missionary service very well. Missionaries are the vehicle to which God is building His Kingdom.  Missionaries are masons building the Kingdom of God. Kingdom builders. Plaster by Plaster. Brick by Brick. Making disciples for the transformation of the World.

And after my years of service, the most important message and take away I can offer to you all is that of grace.

My family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ, grace is the final word. It’s the final word I can garner to sum up my US-2 experience. Grace is the powerhouse propelling us into the self-hood that God calls us to be. It brings about the uniqueness of ourselves purposed for God. A professor from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Mark Teasdale said it well when he said, “grace is the empowerment to be able to move in the presence of God . The empowerment to please God, to be able to honor God and to live into holiness that God call us to.”

Mark Teasdale then continues to add, that [Grace is] “God empowering us to live according to God’s calling.”

Mission is grace. One of the interesting things I heard before I even moved to Chicago was spending time at Stony Point Center in New York for a few weeks of training with my fellow missionary class and hearing the phrase, “offering and receiving grace.” It was a relatively new term for me. I am not sure if it’s  just in missionary circles, or Methodist circles, but it spoke to me regardless. With better understanding of grace through the Global Mission Fellow program, from staff at Interfaith Worker Justice to Global Ministries, and all the people I have met along the way, I have a fuller appreciation of the term offering and receiving grace.

Missionaries in our world are offering and receiving grace simultaneously through the power of God. It emboldens and empowers individuals to seek and move in the presence of God. A presence of abundant love and peace. A presence of holiness.

Prayer: Gracious God whose love reigns over the whole world, provide us the opportunity to live fully into the people you call us to be. To be restored and renewed by the Holy Spirit when we fall short and in spite of ourselves. Our communities are hurting, our congregations are dwindling in size and there seems to be a lost of hope. There is talks of schism within the church, the Body of Christ. Deep suffering. Our world seem to be in chaos and disarray. But God you are truly able to as the scripture said to do anything. Please heal us. Let your love pour out into all our hearts so we can find reconciliation with other people,  ourselves, and most importantly with you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Go forth and offer and receive grace so you may ever be moved closer to the presence of God.

¹Harambee is a Youth Conference sponsored by BMCR (Black Methodist for Church Renewal) to develop skills that will increase their spiritual life, improve their leadership abilities and teach them the value of their interpersonal relationships.

To learn more about the young adult missionary program within the United Methodist Church, visit http://www.umcmission.org/gt

To donate to my advance, go to my missionary profile  and click “Give Now”

 

 

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Check out my article in the Northern Illinois Conference’s publication, Reporter.

Here is the link!

Please continue to pray for my ministry as it comes to a close next month, and for the Holy Spirit to guide me in the next stage of my life.

I appreciate everyone’s support this far.

It’s been a while since I posted on my blog. Many wonderful opportunities have come my way.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Attended a BMCR annual meeting in St. Louis, MO
  • I attended an FTE retreat for vocational discrement
  • I am working on Imagine No Malaria with the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC)
  • Attended a Global Ministries for the NIC

I had the opportunity to go to Black Methodist for Church Renewal in late March. They held their meeting 47th meeting in St. Louis, MO. This meeting brought clergy and lay leaders of African and African-American together to discuss the  concerns of African-American and African within the denomination, have workshops, make decisions on leadership for BMCR and so forth. It was a wonderful opportunity to network and meet other African-American and African within the denomination.

I was mainly there to table and promote Generation Transformation and young adults missionary. As a missionary, we need more people of color within mission serve that are not at the receiving end but the ones who go out and serve.  The ones galvanizing communities to live in the abundant life Christ sought for all of us. Any mainline protestant denomination needs to work on bringing more people  of color within the church and creating spaces where people of color are at the table. Racism still exists and unfortunately despite being The Church, the church does not go unaffected. It’s still a social institution influenced by cultural, social, political and historical realities and acts in light of it.

I think my missionary role plays a key significant into the history of mission work when you’re able to see people of color serving. Not to mention of direct African descent. When we’re able to see black missionaries, black District Superintendents, and even black bishops, and where we’re able to see the African-American and African at all levels of church structure and polity, I believe it helps us live into the Church Christ calls us to be.

One of the major themes in my more than a year and half of service is about creating narratives. Creating narratives, specifically black narratives that seem to challenge and counter-interact our traditional beliefs. When you enter a new space, and instead of seeing a white missionary, you’re able to see a black missionary from Africa serving in Asia or South America, or Australia or wherever have you.

It connects in the scope of a black liberation theology and re-imagines our ideas of mission, service, race, and God. This challenge is paramount if we seek to understand the mystery of the Gospel, but not for our own hubris but rather for the glory of God.

We’re not able to do this by ourselves, but with God all is possible. If I can tell you another thing from this 2-year service, it’s not about me or you, but about God. At the end of the day, are we propelling the mission and the work of God or do we stand in the way? If you’re in the way, I recommend you step aside because God’s work will be done regardless.

 

We’re now in the month of November and we’re gearing for the holiday season. Like last year, there will be Black Friday actions happening across the city.

Here is a recent blog post I wrote for the Methodist Federation for Social Action that I encourage you to read and get involved in.

The application for the Global Mission Fellows is online now. Apply Now!

The Global Mission Fellows, under Generation Transformation by Global Mission Fellows send young adults in the U.S. and internationally to serve a two year mission service. Under the core values to engage in local communities, connect the church in mission, and grow in personal and social holiness, the US-2 missionary program has been revamped to reach more young adults into mission.

If you want to do mission work for two years, and you’re trying to discern your calling, this program can offer some direction and growth in your faith.

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