Be open to new possibilities and opportunities. Ministry is always growing and changing and it will never be what you expected. Be open to how God will use you to further His Kingdom.
–Katy Wrona, Mobile District of the United Methodist Church, Mobile, AL
Take time to soak in all the changes, to adapt, to know the city, meet people, and find a place of worship. When I got to my site I was excited and ready to start, but taking time to acknowledge everything is also important. The first few weeks (or months), don’t forget to breathe, take it all in, and don’t rush to get started in all that you have to do. Remember that you were called to go and serve and that taking your time to adjust is OK. Everything will start to fall in place at its own pace.
Being on “mission” in this program can feel more like justice work or service-providing, rather than “ministry.” Don’t give in to this myth! You are doing kingdom work, filled with kingdom love. Pray for the eyes to see it as such. “The important thing is not how much we accomplish, but how much love we put into our deeds every day. That is the measure of our love for God.” – Mother Theresa
–Tyler Smoot, Northcott Neighborhood House, Milwaukee, WI
Enter your new placement site or country with a set of new eyes, open and eager to see where the Holy Spirit is already working.
I have learned that Russian hospitality is spectacular and not to be taken for granted. I have learned that exploring my faith involves lots of different people, that God is different for everyone, and to always ask questions. There will always be stereotypes of all people, so be open minded when people want to discuss them. I have learned that talking about racism isn’t a simple conversation but one that must be explored.
Never turn down an invitation to share a meal with someone. Take time to do all the things that locals do. Go to a restaurant alone when you begin learning the language, it will be tough, but you can do it. Smile when someone is frowning, try all the foods, and become a part of different groups. Be honest to yourself about how you feel. Lastly, remember to take time for yourself and regroup. Living abroad can be draining and sometimes “you time” is a necessity.
Enjoy the journey!
Sincerely, your colleagues of the 2014-2016 Class of Global Mission Fellows