A new Young Adult project sponsored by the Short-Term Mission(STM) team has been formed. Angela Sudermann, former Coordinator of STM, submitted a Palmer grant application a few years ago, and funds were received to support young adults who are members of American Baptist congregations, and who want to serve on the mission field for a minimum of six weeks. In 2020, STM is delighted to inform everyone that God has sent five young adults to “Go & Serve” in Hungary, Mexico and Spain. The Trailblazers, as they are fondly referred as, will be the salt, light and hope alongside The Goods, Myers and JAMI partners for six weeks. They will leave the comfort of their US homes and travel thousands of miles and discover new countries, cultures and meet God in many places. We keep them in prayers.
Here are their initial reflections:
“During my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to complete my senior capstone by teaching elementary students for a week in Caye Caulker, Belize. It was my first time traveling outside of the United States and really embracing another culture. I loved talking with the families and learning about the history of the island of Caye Caulker.
I knew I wanted to continue to travel, and if the circumstances were just right I might teach abroad one day. During the summers of 2016 and 2018, I went on mission trips to Guatemala and Peru. These mission trips developed a passion in me for experiencing new cultures and sharing stories with people that have different life experiences than
me. I began to see how Christians are all connected around the world through the love of Jesus Christ. As I completed my fourth year of teaching, I felt drained just going through the motions each day. I remember sitting down one morning and boldly praying “God, show me where you want me. Do you want me to continue teaching second grade? Do you want me to apply for other teaching jobs in Ohio? Do you want me to teach abroad?” Not even two weeks later, a series of events that were completely out of my control led me to believe that God was calling me to missions. Last June while volunteering as a counselor at Camp Kirkwood, I met Hannah Witmer. Our conversations led me to complete an interest questionnaire. In less than 24 hours, I received and email and was encouraged to attend the Hear the Call conference in August. At the conference, I received better clarity as to where I felt God was leading me to serve in partnership with International Ministries. I am very excited to be working with JAMI missionaries in Spain this fall. It has been clear from the beginning of this process that God is completely in control, and I am willing to go where He leads.” (From Kadie Henry)
“Moving from Ohio to Cape Cod, Massachusetts 3 years ago changed my life more than I could have imagined. I went from spiritually frustrated and almost bored to constant growth and learning. I have been out of my comfort zone since the day I crossed the bridge for the first time and through this have had tremendous growth with God’s wonderful guidance and the amazing people around me pointing out and helping to strengthen my potential that I was never able to see in myself. It has recently become my goal to create a young adult community within Brewster Baptist Church! So this opportunity to be a part of a mission based young adult community has popped up at the perfect moment as I’ll be able to share with my peers my experiences in the mission field and opportunities where they can get involved in ministry as well. I am so appreciative to those who have encouraged me to apply/accept this opportunity and really looking forward to my time in Mexico later this year. ” (From Sarah LaFollette)
“My senior year of high school I had an amazing opportunity to be apart of the ABCCR 4 Ten program. I was thrilled to be able to travel to Costa Rica on a mission trip. I remember being nervous but excited to see what God would do for me. We had an amazingly eye opening experience in Costa Rica. I learned all about the mission field and what it means to be a missionary. I think my favorite part of the trip was when we where stuck in traffic and the missionaries there told us all about how to become a missionary and what signs to look out for if you think missions is something you would be interested in. When I heard about the opportunity to be apart of this Young Adult group I knew I couldn’t let it go by. I am ecstatic to see the work that God is doing in Mexico and I am thrilled to see how God can work through me while there. Hopefully this time will allow me to determine if the mission field is where God is calling me to be.” (From Jessamine Greuter)”
“Growing up being proudly American Baptist, I remember hearing a speaker at the national youth convention that emphasized missions in our own backyard. To me, that was a sign that I really shouldn’t travel unless I had something significant to offer. As we now prepare to leave the country, I realize that anything and everything I have to offer will come from God’s abundant love. He has equipped me up until this point. Between receiving a call to youth ministry, an education, domestic service opportunities, and a soon-to-be husband, I can’t wait to see how God will use it all to bless the people of Hungary! What a blessing to have yet another opportunity to serve through the help of my denominational family! I am so looking forward to taking this journey alongside Anthony – and my ‘trailblazing’ friends! – as we ‘go into all the world’ to share Christ!” (From Leta Williams)
“Nearly 4 years ago I was born into this world with new eyes and a heart restored by Christ.
Before Christ called me to Himself, I remember the stages of Gestation in darkness, realizing that there was more to life than just cold materialism. Then desiring to gain deeper answers, encountering spiritual opposition as I grew closer, seeing what my former life was responsible for, admitting how broken I was, and eventually, telling Jesus I trusted Him and that I was ready. I opened up the dusty bible that was sitting on my shelf for two years!
Since I have been raised in Christ, there has been no turning back. With God’s divine timing, and interplay, I’ve been amazed at his restorative work in my life, answering of prayers, healing, divine timing and guidance.
By the gift of the Holy Spirit, I have been given renewed communication, and richly blessed my development of the fruit of the spirit. God has blessed me greatly when I am least worthy. I trust His judgement and wisdom. He is worthy.” (From Anthony Ratzel)
The dictionary defines “Trailblazers” as “A person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder, a pioneer in any field of endeavor. A person who marks or prepares a trail through a forest or field for other people to follow.” May Anthony, Jessamine, Kadie, Leta and Sarah be our American Baptist blazers in the various locations God is sending them to. We know they will humbly bloom where seeds have been planted.