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.

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Mission Crossroads 7 and its mission allowed me to commit to serving without feeling as if I were a part of some traditional machine that participated in the colonization and subjugation of people of color. When I stepped off that plane a decade ago, I stepped into a whole new world. As I walked through the airport, I saw pictures of Kenyans on advertisements. ere were pictures of elected officials, and they were all Kenyans. It was not until I exchanged my money that I realized why all of the imagery was shocking to me. ere on the Kenyan currency were pictures of black faces. In all of my 25 years on this earth, I had never seen a person of color on currency. At that moment, as I looked at the Kenyan currency in my hand, I realized how white supremacy in America had impacted my mind. Prior to this experience, it had never occurred to me that a person of color could be on something of value like currency. Immediately, I felt a sense of pride and joy. I was in a place where people of color were liberated, self-sufficient and in control. Never in my life had I been in place where people of color possessed the power to govern themselves. is moment of excitement, however, was only temporary. My passion for human and civil rights led my supervisor to place me with the Green Belt Movement. is grassroots environmental organization was founded and led by the late biologist and anatomy professor Wangari Muta Maathai (1940–2011), the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (2004). Her environmental and political work promoted and supports sustainable development, democracy and seeds of peace and hope in Kenya through the empowerment of women who have experienced gender-based violence. e Green Belt Movement employs women to engage in ecological conservation and peacebuilding through the planting of trees across Kenya. rough the Green Belt Movement more than 30 million trees have been planted across Kenya. During my YAV service working with Dr. Maathai, I became very aware of the internal struggles for power in Kenya and of external players who instigated clashes and feuds for the purpose of controlling Kenya's natural resources. In our partnership, I spent time traveling with Dr. Maathai to African Union conferences, where many leaders across the continent expressed similar concerns about foreign governments like the U.S. and Britain controlling local government leaders. e perception I had when I arrived in Kenya of people of color controlling their own destiny was no more. It was apparent that North American and European white supremacy had its tentacles wrapped around this continent too. Impacts of capitalism and colonization upon the Kenyan people were indescribable. e inability of native people to develop wealth from the natural resources of their land was reminiscent of sharecropping systems in America. e beauty of this country stood in the shadow of a people's quest to escape poverty by assimilating to North American and European culture. ere on the East Coast of Africa, in a country called Kenya, I saw the common struggle of African people throughout the diaspora. ere in the cradle of civilization, I became acutely aware of my calling to social justice ministry. My year of service in Kenya had a profound impact on my life and has shaped my ministry today. I met phenomenal people and great leaders, but most of all, I walked away affirmed by God, the ancestors and the people of Kenya, confirming that I was going in the right direction. My prayers had been answered and my season of discernment provided clarity for the journey ahead. The Rev. Hodari Sadiki Williams is pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in College Park, Georgia. Micah McCoy During his YAV service, the Rev. Hodari Sadiki Williams volunteered at an orphanage for babies infected with HIV/AIDS, many of whom had not felt the touch of their mothers and fathers after birth. CONTINUE THE LEGACY Learn more about the YAV program and encourage young people to apply: youngadultvolunteers.org My year of service in Kenya had a profound impact on my life and has shaped my ministry today. I met phenomenal people and great leaders, but most of all, I walked away affirmed by God ….

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