Mission Crossroads

SPR 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/932333

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Page 7 of 23

6 Spring 2018 I don't place a higher value on either, or think that one reason is more noble than the other. However, historically well-meaning Eurocentric Christians have been disruptive and/or destructive to many cultures and communities around the world. In fact, I remember thinking, "e last thing the world needs are more missionaries." As orientation continued, I was grateful for the intentionality of emphasizing that this was a partnership with various communities around the world. In the traditional sense, we were not missionaries; instead, we were partners. erefore, none of us should assume the role of "going to help someone" but rather go with the hope of partnering with others. is understanding of the YAV program I t has been 10 years since I stepped off an Ethiopian Airlines flight and placed my feet on Kenyan soil. However, the impact of my Young Adult Volunteer (YAV ) experience has le me feeling , at times, as if it were yesterday. I don't remember how I came to know about the YAV program. I vaguely remember filling out an application. What I do remember is my interview with Phyllis Byrd and my excitement about the possibility of serving for a year on the continent of Africa. I vividly remember her stern and stoic demeanor and my desire to convey how much I needed this experience. In 2007, I had just finished my Master of Divinity degree at the Interdenominational eological Center of Johnson C. Smith eological Seminary. I knew upon graduating that I was not ready for parish ministry. I felt the spirit of God calling me into a season of discernment and service. Deep inside me was a need to experience life outside the U.S. As an African-American male in America, I had grown weary of the capitalistic, racist, white supremacist country my ancestors and I had called home since our captivity. I needed to walk on the continent of my origin, breathe the air and experience the spiritual presence of my African ancestors. So I began the process of preparing to journey to Kenya. Unlike many of those who participated in the YAV program with me, I did not come from a church or family with an abundance of resources. It was challenging for me to raise the money needed to support my journey. However, I remember the excitement of my community and the sacrifices many people made so that I could serve abroad. When I arrived at the orientation in Chicago, I remember, I looked around and saw only two other African- Americans. Immediately I felt out of place. I was dismayed that more African- Americans were not taking advantage of this opportunity, or perhaps they couldn't because of the expense. In conversations with others it became apparent that other participants were involved in this immersion experience for different reasons. Like me, some were going with hopes of gaining something and acquiring a deeper sense of purpose. Others were going because they felt the need to do something good for impoverished or marginalized people. Called to serve Reflecting on a year of YAV service in Kenya The Rev. Hodari Sadiki Williams Micah McCoy The Rev. Hodari Sadiki Williams arrives for a year of service as a Young Adult Volunteer in the Rift Valley of Kenya, called the cradle of civilization because the oldest human remains were found there.

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