By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries
Have you ever heard someone in church ask the question, “Where are our young adults?” Many are in the world quietly, if not apprehensively, serving. This generation of young adults is one that grew up doing things. They did not learn to wait their turn to rise up for their chance. They took it.
One of the ways young adults in The United Methodist Church are serving is through a program called Global Mission Fellows. Young adults, ages 20–30, commit to serve in social justice ministries for two years. They enter into new communities, understanding the challenges and assets through relationships with the long-term goal to overcome systemic oppression. Fellows partner with community organizations internationally and in the U.S. to address a variety of issues, including migration/immigration, education, public health, and poverty.
One of these fellows, Reeba Imola Webster Bennett, is a young woman from Honduras who is serving in Uruguay. For those unfamiliar with the geography of Latin America, Honduras is located on the Atlantic side, due south of Alabama, in Central America. Uruguay is also on the Atlantic side but much further South, below Brazil.
Reeba is tasked with whatever duties are needed by those in the area she is assigned. She hoped to work with children and youth but was assigned to a shelter for people who did not have permanent homes. Much like what happens in shelters in the U.S., there are people there who made poor decisions regarding substances. There are people in the shelters who suffer from mental illnesses. Also, much like in the U.S., there were people who lived paycheck to paycheck, and one day the paycheck stopped.
Reeba befriends people, listens to their stories, and offers words of hope. She conducts weekly meetings with prayer, scripture, and a time for reflection. The people at the shelter share their stories with Reeba and one another. This time of fellowship sustains them as they leave the shelter.
We can support the ministries of missionaries working around the world, including young adult Global Mission Fellows, by giving to the Advance # 01138A.
Interested in becoming a Mission Fellow? Applications are being accepted for the 2023-25 cohort for the U.S.-2 track. Interested candidates can learn more here.
Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Jesup, also serves as Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.