I, a Bethel College-educated woman, speak from a place of many kinds of privilege, including White privilege. I received the blessings of being born to a hard-working Kansas farm family with Christian values. I experienced family as people who take care of each other. My Mennonite community will never stop loving and showing grace and mercy to this middle-aged couple who have grown children successfully launched into their own real-life journeys. My voice of privilege comes from being allowed to work in the United States, where I can spend money, save money, and share money.
My husband, Bob, and I decided to share money and time with Mennonite Mission Network’s Service Adventure program. Our commitment to a three-year term was inspired by a former mentee from Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge, Kansas. She was serving in Anchorage, Alaska, with Service Adventure, and knew I was struggling with meaningful employment. She said this would be a good fit for us. God spoke through the voice of youth and opened my heart to see life through her perspective. I am grateful for this gift, and pray that Bob and I may use it wisely to help others seek the Lord.
We are also grateful for the intergenerational relationships that have been formed through the holy experience of faith formation and community living. During the past three years, we have had the opportunity to grow deeper in our own faith as we walked beside 14 young people for 10 months of their life journeys.
The spirit of joy is a common thread woven through each of the three units we walked alongside. The fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ... against such things there is no law.” The fruits of the Spirit reciprocated from the Service Adventure participants have been experienced in a lovely way.
We cherish the memories of shared tears and laughter – and continue to share them, as we remain in communication with the Service Adventure participants who have moved on to the next steps to which God is calling them. And so, too, it is for this middle-aged couple to continue the next faithful step. Our lives have been forever transformed by our Service Adventure experiences. Though we are formally leaving unit life, we will remain in Albuquerque to be used by God in whatever way we are called.