Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

By Susan Kim
When Rachel Russell thinks about mission, she thinks about stepping outside of her comfort zone. For her, that's not a hardship – it's an opportunity.
Rachel Russell, 2014 YPIM Design Team chair and Freshman at Mississippi State University.
Over spring break last year, Russell, a student at Mississippi State University, traveled to Costa Rica where she worked with the Rice and Beans Ministries, an organization that provides food, construction services, day camps for children and other outreach to local communities.

From working with children to swinging a hammer, Russell realized that she loves seeing new places and helping people at the same time. “To me, it's a meaningful experience. It's the best of both worlds,” she said.
Now Russell is working to ensure that other young people can receive the gifts of mission work as well. She is chairing the design team for Young People in Mission, a camp experience with hands-on mission opportunities for youth and young adults ages 12 to 24. Scheduled for June 29-July 3 at Lake Junaluska, the event has a way of changing the way you think about your fellow human beings and even about God, Russell said.

“I have realized that we are all part of God's kingdom and that we should be looking out for each other,” she said.

Ryan Calhoun, also a Design Team member, remembers clearly the feelings he had as he participated in an Appalachian Service Project trip to repair homes in Tennessee. “We built a wheel chair ramp but we also built relationships with families. You could see the impact you were making on the family.”

Participants in this year's Young People In Mission event will focus on the theme of justice as it relates to kingdom, relational, restorative, and holistic.

Calhoun, a junior in high school from North Carolina, said he hopes the experience will give young people a perspective on mission – locally, nationally and globally.

“My mission work has shown me what it really means to love our neighbor and help them, and do whatever needs to be done to find God. Mission work changes my perspective. It humbles me, makes me better appreciate what I have, and makes me want to share what I have with others,” he said.

Calhoun, who has a dream of doing international mission work, said that every time he participates in another project, it renews his hope for the world.

“Doing missions has shown me that there is kindness in the hearts of all people,” he said.

Registration for Young People In Mission is now open! Please visit to register or to learn more!

Your gift to United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction, Advance 901875, helps to empower, coordinate and train short-term mission service opportunities domestically and internationally, for young people.

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