At commissioning in July of last year, my fellow fellows and I were asked to announce one thing that we would be giving up as we became young adult missionaries. Some of the things given up included winter for one of the missionaries moving to Tucson, Arizona, feelings of inadequacy for others, and the comforts of home for myself. However, I may not have entirely given these up, considering that I just returned from a trip home, spend at least two nights per week talking to friends from North Carolina, and have on average seen friends or family once a month since moving. Life is Detroit, MI hasn’t been entirely comfortable, but I still enjoy many of my home comforts that I claimed I was going to give away.
As I reflect on my time as a global mission fellow, there are a few things that I realize I have given up:
- Misconceptions of those who are experiencing homelessness as lazy, unable to make good decisions, etc.
- The picture of Detroit as a crumbling city
- My old belief that all missionaries were blue-eyed, blond-haired, and only in the business of soul-saving
- Ignorance of issues plaguing the most vulnerable populations in our country and world
And there are so many more. My beliefs that Detroit was a scary city, falling apart at the seams, made me incredibly nervous to move here. Now that I’ve been living and working here for seven months, I know that this city is vibrant and home to thousands of individuals who are proud to call it home and make it great. Prior to working at NOAH (Networking, Organizing, and Advocating for the Homeless), I had some pretty embarrassing ideas about our brothers and sisters who do not have stable homes. By giving these up, I have gained relationships with the guests at NOAH, and know not to judge anyone by where they’re at in life. These misconceptions of mine made it hard for me to be excited about moving to a new home, difficult to proudly claim my status as a young adult missionary, and blind to how the world mistreats those who it should tend to with great kindness.
Some may say that giving up is an option you shouldn’t choose, but I disagree. There’s nothing wrong with giving up, as long as you’re giving up beliefs and ideals that are holding you back.
NOAH (Networking, Organizing, and Advocating for the Homeless)
GMF US-2, Class of 2015