Mission Crossroads

FAL 2018

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

Issue link: https://missioncrossroads.epubxp.com/i/1024538

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Mission Crossroads | 11 South Sudan. Faith explained, "e reason I care is because I have family all over the world. So I feel like I have to care about people." Lodia added, "I feel driven to help other people. I feel that people get too wrapped up in their own lives or in their own communities, especially in America. Like this 'America First' ideology — I don't like it; I think it's very toxic." Lodia cited another motivating factor. "My parents always taught me to help people out, to stay up to date with what was going on in the world and to watch news with them," she said. "When we'd be in the car, they'd turn on NPR. … ey have rubbed off on me; I am constantly checking CNN and BBC." ey also pointed to their Christian faith as a key part of their motivation. "I think it's important for Christians to do advocacy," Faith said, "because in the Bible, in our beliefs and values, we are supposed to treat our neighbors how we want to be treated. You can't just listen and say, 'I'm a Christian' but not do the Christian work." Lodia agreed. "Advocacy is made for Christians," she said. at faith has been shaped by Beechmont Presbyterian Church. Faith explained: "Our church is very diverse. We can see issues from many different communities, plus we are very welcoming. You come in and you already feel the love. You see people at church who work for the PC(USA), and they're talking about things they do in the world, and it makes you want to do more too because these are people you surround yourself with and you kind of look up to them." Lodia chimed in, "Everybody here is good people. You just feel comfortable being around everybody, and if you are around good energy, you just want to continue to be around good energy." One of those "good people" is the Rev. Alonzo Johnson, Beechmont's youth pastor and the PC(USA)'s coordinator for Self-Development of People. "He influences us to do good things in life and he advises us the right way," Lodia said. "at's why everybody comes to church and looks up to him." Faith added, "When he's telling you about Christianity, you don't feel like he's pushing you. You just feel like he's guiding you in the right direction. … You feel like you are talking to a friend." Having families and a church community that care about global mission and advocacy and a youth pastor who inspires them to live lives of faith and justice has shaped these young women's commitment to faith- based advocacy. I am thankful to be a part of a congregation that has invested in their lives and a denomination that prioritizes immigrant justice and working for peace in countries like South Sudan. The Rev. Debbie Braaksma is Presbyterian World Mission's Africa area coordinator and parish associate at Beechmont Presbyterian Church. Debbie Braaksma Faith and Lodia speaking at the office of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Ecumenical Advocacy Days March for Immigrant Rights P E A C E M A K I N G & A D V O C A C Y Support "on the ground peacemaking" in South Sudan through the South Sudan Education and Peace Building Project. pcusa.org/donate/E052172 Support ongoing public policy advocacy efforts. pcusa.org/donate/E865714

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