Patrick O’Neill, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil (2001-2003)
I can’t think of a time when I was more challenged in my faith, emotionally and mentally. I learned much from poor Brazilians but what stands out most is their hopefulness- there’s a saying in Brazil that the poor often use “hope is the last to die” Through their struggle for a dignified life this saying is lived out and because of their faith in God and indomitable spirit of hope they can continue to struggle. I find myself very hopeful for the future of the organizing poor and for my own future, and much more rested in the faith in God as a loving and concerned creator.
Katie (Eberhard) Mulembe, Zambia (2004-2006)
My mission experience opened my eyes and my heart to so many things I had never known before. After walking with the poor and experiencing the presence of God so vividly among them, I can no longer overlook injustice in the world. I have to do something about it, I have to be a vessel for God’s peace and justice.
Kimberly Hopwood, Jamaica (1995-1998)
My mission experience has affected my attitude toward material things; it cured me of the American preoccupation with having lots of stuff! I still live simply and my family is okay with that. Mission has expanded my capacity to love.
Mission included the best and most trying experiences of my life. But God does not call the equipped; God equips those He calls.
Kristie Raney, Guatemala
It is going to take the rest of my life to fully understand the impact of Guatemala and its people on my life. At the border of Guatemala and Mexico, I climbed into the bus heading North to the USA after having said my farewells to the people I LOVE SO DEEPLY. As the bus drives away, a man approaches me an obviously having witnessed the dramatic separation at the border asks me, “Are you a nun?” I dry my tears and smile, “No, but I AM a MISSIONARY!”
Dan McNeil, Russia (1992-1995)
Working for a social service organization in Siberia was a time of immense challenge and growth. I have never been so stretched in my life. The experience continues to challenge me, to make ideals real and my faith alive, to trust in the Gospel message, to live simply, and to give of myself in the spirit of service.
My mission experience inspires me today to serve, to try to live with others in mind, and to use my income as an expression of my faith.
Claire M. Dignon, Guatemala (1991-1994)
My life has been altered forever. I have an undying love for the simplicity and humbleness of the Latino population; I now see God in small and basic ways and know that the true path to Him is filled with struggles and small joys.
Megeen White, Zimbabwe & Zambia (1991-1993)
These three years changed me in many ways. My faith became more central to my life (dependence on God); I began to live more simply; I became much more aware of how global issues impact local communities and the new friendships formed changed who I was as I entered into the stories/life of many wonderful, hospitable and loving people.