ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Mission Network) – Alora Canty was in the middle of her multi-year FBI application, when Mennonite Voluntary Service caught her eye.
Canty grew up in a world of colorful cultures and diversity in Texas. Stories of cross-cultural experiences, told by her parents or international friends, inspired her to work for something larger than herself.
Canty chose the FBI. After getting her bachelor’s degree in political science, she completed her master’s degree in intelligence studies. The soon-to-be MVSer was halfway finished with the application process when the FBI told her she needed more life experience.
“They told me to go away for a year,” she said.
So Canty put her FBI application on hold to explore what she always wanted to do, but hadn’t. In high school, Canty had served with DOOR Discover in Chicago with her youth group from Landisville (Pa.) Mennonite Church. Her service experience with DOOR planted a seed in her life. Afterward, she applied for several service programs, including Youth Venture, offered by Mennonite Mission Network. But the timing wasn’t right. Still, “I had a nagging sense that I should do service,” Canty said.
When the FBI encouraged Canty to gain life experience, she decided that it was time to serve. After looking at the six service possibilities that Mission Network offers, MVS was the best fit. Working with the MVS directors, Canty chose to serve in New York City at the World Vision offices. There, she is able to feed her cravings for cross-cultural learning and work toward greater goals.
In this role, Canty works to influence global policymakers to support humanitarian issues. She supports the efforts made by the humanitarian and advocacy advisers at the World Vision offices in New York. Her ongoing role is to help organize special events at the World Vision offices. Currently, she’s working on a campaign called Child Health Now - Global Week of Action. This campaign urges policymakers to take into account, the millions of children who do not live to see the age of five, due to preventable causes.
When Canty began her time with MVS, she intended to work with nonprofits for one year and then continue to pursue her FBI career. However, Canty now says that she will lay down her FBI application for good and continue her work with international nonprofits.
“One of the many things I've learned during my service term is the clear distinction between a career and a vocation,” said Canty. Before MVS, Canty admitted she was chasing a career. “Now I see the love I have for cross-cultural exchange, the skills I gained in school, and the joy that humanitarian work brings.” She noted that the most powerful way these gifts can be used is "to continue to build Christ’s kingdom."
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Mennonite Mission Network, the mission agency of Mennonite Church USA, leads, mobilizes and equips the church to participate in holistic witness to Jesus Christ in a broken world. Media may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.