In part 1, I talked about how I found and applied to the Mission Intern Program. However, my desire to participate in a program similar to this began long before I heard about the program on Christmas Eve. Through my experiences at youth group, I developed a deep anger towards injustice and a desire to enact lasting change in the world.
I grew up in Mount Olivet UMC in Arlington, Virginia. My mother joined the church when I was born. From a young age, I attended Sunday School, sang in the children’s choir and joined the youth group when I entered sixth grade. My experiences in youth group exposed me to issues such as poverty and encouraged me to change those conditions. My first awareness of global poverty and my own privilege happened during the 30 Hour Famine when I was in sixth grade. To illustrate how our society allocates resources, our leader divided us into groups based on population size and then divided an apple between all the groups. I don’t remember the exact breakdown, but four or so people received 3/4 of the entire apple. They represented the United States and Europe. Another group received the other quarter of the apple, and the final group representing those who live on less than $2 per day received the apple peel from the 1/4 of the apple. Later on in the day, I learned that some children had never seen ice before. These two experiences shook my entire foundation because although I knew about poverty growing up, I finally could conceptualize inequality in our world.
My faith began to develop and I saw mission as an opportunity to live out my faith. Mount Olivet provided me with many opportunities to participate in mission. Every summer beginning in sixth grade, I went on a mission trip for a week. We worked with the Jeremiah Project in middle school and Habitat for Humanity in high school. A group of us went to Honduras for ten days after my junior year of high school. Each trip gave me a chance to explore how God works through us to change the world. It became clear to me that the church must lead the way in addressing global problems. As Christians, God calls us to love one another which means giving everyone access to resources they need to thrive. As a Mission Intern, I have the opportunity to be on the “front lines” working with organizations trying to fundamentally change the fabric of our world.