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Posts Tagged ‘US-2’

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.

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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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This past weekend, I spent some time with Joe Hopkins (US-2 Alumni) for an interview about the Young Adult Missionary Service (YAMS) program specifically the US-2 missionary program at a local CBS  studio in Chicago. Joe Hopkins recently completed his term of service in July as a US-2 missionary for Chicago and is currently attending seminary at Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS). I succeeded Joe as the US-2 missionary in Chicago, but also as the Worker Center Network Assistant for Interfaith Worker Justice.

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