Cenaya Ward-Johns is a Global Mission Fellow (US-2) with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, engaged in a two-year term of service. She is part of the 2021-2023 Global Mission Fellow cohort. She is serving as Resident Director of Intentional Living Community and Community Organizing.
The Global Mission Fellows program takes young adults ages 20-30 out of their home environments and places them in new contexts for mission experience and service. The program has a strong emphasis on faith and justice. Global Mission Fellows become active parts of their new local communities. They connect the church in mission across cultural and geographical boundaries. They grow in personal and social holiness and become strong young leaders working to build just communities in a peaceful world.
Cenaya is a member of United Fellowship Ministries, a nondenominational congregation in Dover, Delaware. She attended Delaware State University, Dover, where she served in various roles including President of Methodist Student Association. She in addition, taught Bible studies on campus for the group S.A.G.S., Students Against a Godless Society and started the Psalm Praise Dance Team as an outlet for fellowship and ministry.
“I grew up in a Christian household,” Cenaya recalled, “so faith was instilled in me since I was young, and I am so grateful for that. Volunteering to serve was something I always loved. Serving in the church daycare, kitchen and VBS while growing up were the roots.”
In High School Cenaya lived with her grandparents.
“During that time,” Cenaya said, “my grandmother made sure every morning she read a devotion to us and every Sunday we were at church.” Cenaya admitted only calling on God when something needed fixing. “I am grateful,” she added, “that even though I wasn’t giving God the relationship he deserved, he still was a provider to me.”
College proved a time of spiritual growth for the young woman. As a first-year student, Cenaya said, “I spent the first month going to a different church every weekend to find one to call ‘home.’ From talking and connecting with people on campus, I found Bible studies that I loved. They ignited my passion for God because I didn’t feel like a outcast. Being surrounded by young people my age on fire for Christ was so encouraging.”
In the summer of 2018, Cenaya’s uncle invited her to take a mission trip with his church to the Dominican Republic. “This was life-changing,” Cenaya said. “I loved every moment of working and worshipping with God’s people. We didn’t speak the same language, but we still connected. They were so grateful for the building we did, and I was so grateful for the privilege to experience their homes.”
Cenaya sees God both as a parent and a best friend. “This year alone,” she continued, “one of the greatest lessons I have learned in my intimate time with God is that he cares about my feelings as emotions.
“I feel called to missions work because serving God’s people gives me joy. God has provided so much for me, and I just want to give it back.”