2 years. It feels like a long time at the beginning but gets quickly shorter as each week and month fades away. When I started, I was extremely confused. How else to describe a jump back into a highly regulated corporate work setting from a fluid one. Overloaded. Just another word in my missionary lexicon!
While confusing and overwhelming, the past two years have been a blessing- yes perhaps it is cliché to name it such in a place where blessings are served alongside coffee at morning meetings and yet to name it otherwise would not be speaking the full experience into being.
My childhood understanding of the word blessing is something that is given or bestowed by God and therefore must be something really easy. I don’t know why as a child I thought God never gave us hard things. Blessings, as I understand them now, are not necessarily hard, nor are they easy but they definitely are God inspired and God filled.
My time at Global Ministries was heralded by the first international training of Global Mission Fellows in the Philippines, Amanda getting married and moving on, to a visionary presentation by Thomas Kemper about the exciting direction Global Ministries is committed to moving in for the 21st century. A reality – that in new life, there is also death. It is easy to connect the dots in my own career, young as it is and connect big events like this. It seems that transitions follow me wherever I go or I follow transitions. The chicken & the egg or the egg & the chicken. Circumstantial evidence…and yet.
Blessings. One of the most impactful things I value from my time at Global Ministries has been getting to know the support staff that are the backbone and the flesh of our organization. I remember getting emails from people here like Lidia, Lily, Giusy, Alberto, Virginia, Ate Becky and of course Liz. Being able to share fellowship, to laugh and joke around to office, to get to know daughters, mothers, and families has been a blessing. On communications side- so many feels! I will miss Connie always hitting my cubicle when she walks by and her gruff exterior that hides a joyfully compassionate diligent person committed to this organization.
It was hard balancing on the precipice between Mission & Evangelism and Communications & Development. I can name the obvious and say that we were really bad at evangelizing the communications development and were really bad at communicating to the M&E team as well…and yet Blessings persist, and we got better as time went on.
I have been Atlas, feeling the weight of low Global Mission Fellows US recruitment numbers for 2015 most heavily on my shoulders. Unlike Atlas, I let myself be crushed and when Hercules came along in the form of two new Mission Advocates and added recruitment responsibility for Alejandra Padilla, I gladly gave up holding the entire heavens to just holding up one corner of it!
I have been Homer, telling the epic tales of GMFs serving with in the US and internationally. I have told stories of success, then redefined that success so people of the United Methodist Church understand who we are (partners included), what we do and what our GMFs are\do and are capable of. Ageism is real, and the aegis of Ageism is hard to dismantle.
I have also been Odysseus, lost at sea and trying to find my way home. Still processing my three years of Mission Intern service figuring out what it means in my life today. Making my way home – wherever home might be, while rediscovering who I am (albeit I hope with way less destruction than that epic poem)
I have grown a lot the last two years – to hear my Filipino friends tell it I have gotten very fat. Blessings abound in my life from the hospitality, acceptance, grace and love you have inspired in me by how you welcomed me when I was a stranger, and gave me a “supercool HP laptop that almost never works right” when I needed to work J . I have learned so much about work ethic, commitment and most importantly how to live the vision in a way that transcends the sometimes drab corporate world & administrative functions. You have been my community and I thank you.
Yes, I will still be Alice, watching through the looking glass and living vicariously through all of you, especially the GMFs that keep posting pictures!! Way to go!
My time since I joined Global Ministries has been like a ship. I have been getting my sea legs in different oceans. Anchor crosses mean many things. While I have two already, you colleagues, partners, missionaries…you- my community are my third anchor cross, acting as a sea anchor that keeps my ship pointed into the waves, ready to face the next steps with an open heart, a quick smile and trusting that God’s blessings will herald me into my next steps in this journey I call…20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!
But seriously. I love you all. May you find your sea legs wherever God takes you.
Solidarity in Christ,
Young Adult Mission Service Programs
General Board of Global Ministries
New York, NY