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Fast food workers went on strike today as part of a series of actions and efforts demanding corporations and employers to pay a livable wage of $15 to their employees. You can check out my recent article regarding this topic HERE!

About a couple of month ago I watched a Huffpost Live segment with panelists from fast food workers that supported and were active in the campaign for $15. One of the panelists described to the host that $15 is not some random number but a calculated amount that accounts for the cost of living. The fast food workers are seeking livable wages and right to start a union.

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A component of the US-2 missionary program is to raise funds to support the missionary work, and the at-large board of Global Ministries through your financial support.

Help Me make my annual goal of $3500 for my second year into my mission. You can DONATE here! And you can always donate, by clicking GIVE NOW at the right hand corner of your screen. Your support allows missionaries like me to be placed around the country, support their work, and live into the ministry of Christ as much as possible.

Any amount, even just a $1 (apologies for sounding cliche) will go a long way.

Also, send me an email (msai.gbgm@gmail.com) if you donate letting me know and I can recognize you in a future blog.  Thank you for your support!

If you cannot contribute financially, your prayers are always welcome and certainly provide the spiritual support I need from day-to-day.

In other news, expect some awesome new posts in the pipeline.

Sneak Peek/Preview of upcoming posts: Yes, sometimes Mission is….. Dancing.

Here is the article I wrote regarding low-wage workers seeking moral, livable wages for Global Ministries:

http://www.umcmission.org/Learn-About-Us/News-and-Stories/2013/August/0826-Low-wage-Workers

I was inspired by the one-day strikes occurring in cities across the nation demanding higher wages. This article is very timely as this week fast-food workers are expected to go on strike on Aug. 29th. A day after the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom  and just before the Labor Day.

I stood on the corner of Wilson Ave. and Sheridan Road surrounded by a group response where this past Monday a shooting occurred involving 5 individuals, 4 injured and 1 dead in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Though in my neighborhood, it’s a couple blocks away from where I lived.

A community organization and other groups gathered its members in response to this Monday’s past shooting and to take a stand against violence in the community. A few folks from Ceasefire, a group trying to prevent violence spoke about the incident and the important of offering a helping hand to our neighbor and working together against violence. It was a eerie feeling in the air as we all stood in circle where the shooting had happened in front of the Uptown Baptist Church steps. On the ground, etched dried water stains on the sidewalk pavement that possibly had  blood pools as an article I read on the shootings stated.

We prayed over what had happened and wishing God’s protection for all of us.  Amidst it all a speaker from Ceasefire reminds us that “this affects everyone…”

A  woman talks about his boyfriend, Darius who got shot and eventually died from the incident when he was going to buy her food. Her eyes filled with sadness and pain as she starts to cry in front of the group of on-lookers. A guy nearby holds her and tries to comfort her.

How does a missionary respond to violence in his/her backyard…….

I think this is a difficult question to answer. Initially when I heard about the impromptu gathering via. email from ONE Northside, a community organization covering different neighborhoods in the Northside to fight injustice and building power, I thought it would be an opportunity to stand in solidarity with individuals from the neighborhood.

All I can think about as the appropriate response to this egregious violence and the end result of a slain individual from this incident is presence. Through my plethora of missionary knowledge, “ministry with..” and being present was all I could do. To the hurting individual who lost a person she deeply loved, to a community feeling unsafe and fearful of violence….all I can do is remain present.  To offer nonverbal consoling love that God’s Love is greater than the sum of us and the violence here.

During the brief gathering, a pastor addressed as Pastor Tim (which I would identify as a neo-prophetic voice) made a poignant point to tell us that that God hear us. That was the take away message I took from his short speech and prayer.

Chicago is known for its violence. Family members and individuals would remind me about the violence that happens and to be careful before I even moved here. This time, the violence hits close to home literally as it’s in my neighborhood.

At this time, I will keep Chicago in my thoughts and prayers for an end to violence, to those mourning and for those who fear, healing and comfort.

Please keep Chicago in your prayers and the violence in our communities.

In Christ,

Mistead

 

Updated Information: The individual who I discussed in this post passed away four days after the incident. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers!

I ask only one thing, LORD: Let me live in your house every day of my life to see how wonderful you are and to pray in your temple (Psalm 27: 4)

Today one of the songs that I heard from a movie came up in my mind. It’s such a wonderful song so I thought I would have a Youtube video of the song and lyrics here for you to listen & read.

The song is called ” I Need You to Listen,” by Marty Haugen. Marty Haugen is a American composer of liturgical music.

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They asked each other, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24: 32)

The 2013 Nexus Conference was held in Chicago, IL. In its  first conference of ministry-based initiative to strategically network Korean-American ministries in their specific ministry endeavors was held in Wheaton College from July 10-13, 2013. A ministry that seeks to connect the English-speaking disciples of Jesus Christ who are of Korean descent and/or serve the Korean UMC.

I was honored to have Global Ministries invite me to engage, connect, and grow from the new development of Nexus made possible by work and ministry of Transgeneration Ministry (TG) and the Center for Korean-American English Ministries.  It was a pleasure to be welcomed  within the Korean-American community and witness their bold, inspirational project to building the connection and relational aspects within United Methodist Church for Korean-American communities. I got to worship, co-facilitate a workshop, and witness a new infrastructure starting to develop.

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Being held in Wheaton College, it brought me back to memories of being on a college campus. Some areas of the Wheaton College campus made me think of the Stamp Student Union and Memorial Chapel at my alma mater, the University of Maryland. The day was pleasant, the skies were blue, and grass was green. It felt like a summertime storybook.

In my co-facilitation and my missionary presence in the workshop, I got to hear Liz Lee, the Executive for Young Adult Mission Service of Global Ministires speak so eloquently about mission grounded in scripture, the historical landscape of mission and a contemporary assessment of mission in today’s world. The workshop was entitled Holistic Mission and Mission Opportunities Today. These kinds of opportunities to attend events like this always serve as a helpful reminder to my missionary service and what it truly means to be in mission. Missio Dei, God’s mission and not our own. And fairing out that my US-2 colleague reminded the US-2 cohorts of 2012 yesterday was the first day of our second year of mission service.

In Nexus’ theme, “the cross and flame, ” representative of the Methodist insignia, the Nexus mission takes from its Wesleyan heritage wanting to connect disciples of Jesus Christ to Transform the World.

If you want to check out Nexus UMC, click here for more information!

This month dates my one year into the US-2 program. When I embarked on this journey and  I decided to vigilantly examine the faithful witness of God in Chicago. Some I have discussed on this blog, others still remain to be written with deep-seated reflection of life in ministry. I would like to revisit those moments and share them with you later.

What I can say in my one year of ministry service is this…… missionary work is emblematic of prophetic voices (and vice-versa). I think that the UCC (United Church of Christ) said it best, “God is still speaking…” and using missionaries as vessels, humans made in the image of God, from dust to dust, to be witness of God’s compassion, grace, and love and along the way be transformed through the process is well, quite extraordinary  and holy.

It was the billow-underbelly desire to know God in the most intimate parts of my creation that I decided I wanted to be missionary. I think God speaks, sometimes I listen, most times I don’t.  It’s the wall us Christians keep running into, a sentiment that keeps us from knowing the full love of God and what God has to offer to us.

It’s certainly difficult to hear God! I totally understand, but I think  to actively listen to God could potentially lead to a life of service, ministry, and grace. I think to actively listen-in a real way- to God is life-transforming. It could shudder away all doubts and fears. It could be an incentive to move from faith to faith with works.

It’s been a persistent struggle in my life to actively listen. In my interpersonal relationships lately, I have been working toward actively listening to folks because they matter to me and I do care.

…….So after a year of service, I need to ask myself at this pivotal moment  (and pose the same question to you)…Is God speaking to you? And we are actively listening?

(internal lamentation) “Where should I go from here, my God who is compassionate and understanding?” Who is omniscient and knows the desire of mankind. Please reveal yourself to me.