Kunce, Michelle

Country: Brazil
Advance #3022787 DONATE NOW
Serving At: Shade and Fresh Water
Home Country: United States

Michelle Kunce is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. She is the international partnership promoter for Shade and Fresh Water in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

A native of Atlanta, Michelle is a lay member of Tuckston United Methodist Church, Athens, Georgia. She earned master’s degrees in nonprofit management and leadership at Rothberg International School, and in international development at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in special education and early childhood education from the University of North Georgia.

Mission is no stranger to Michelle, who has volunteered in Mexico, Brazil, England and Africa.

“My calling to mission,” she said, is deeply rooted in a spiritual journey that has unfolded throughout my life. A combination of personal experiences, the development of my faith and a profound sense of purpose have shaped this calling. The motivations behind my decision are diverse, encompassing internal spiritual convictions and external influences shaping my perspective.”

Grateful for the blessings and opportunities she has received, Michelle recalled her spiritual formation. “Growing up in a strong community of believers,” she said, “I experienced the. transformative power of love and empathy from an early age. As I navigated through my life, these fundamental values became integral to my worldview, prompting me to contemplate how to use my life to serve others.”

As a teen volunteer, she learned about the challenges faced by marginalized communities, sparking a desire to be an agent of positive change. Participation in volunteer programs outside the U.S. introduced Michelle to diverse cultures and broadened her understanding of global issues.

For eight years, she volunteered across northern Brazil with Shade and Fresh Water, a national network of after-school programs sponsored by the Brazilian Methodist Church.

“These experiences,” Michelle recalled, “kindled a passion for transformative, community-driven initiatives, fostering my commitment to empowering at-risk youth and creating positive, lasting change in their lives.”

In her spiritual journey, she said, “Mentors and role models have played a pivotal role in shaping my understanding of service. Their exemplary lives, characterized by selflessness and a deep sense of purpose, guided my path. Through their wisdom, I learned that dedicating one’s life to the well-being of others brings true fulfillment.”

Michelle’s pursuit of missionary service crystallized as she encountered various crossroads in her professional and personal life.

“Each juncture,” she noted, “presented an opportunity for reflection on the alignment between my skills and passions. The realization that I possessed unique gifts and experiences solidified my sense of mission, affirming that I could use them to contribute to the flourishing of communities. The support of spiritual leaders, friends and fellow believers affirmed my calling, reinforcing that mission service is not a solitary endeavor but a collective response to the call to love and serve one another.”

As she applied to become a missionary, Michelle recognized that “the teachings of compassion, justice and love found in my faith serve as a compass, guiding me toward communities in need. The transformative power of service, witnessed through the stories of
those who have dedicated their lives to mission work, inspired me to step beyond the familiar and embrace the challenges and joys of a life devoted to serving humanity.

“As I embark on this journey, I carry with me the lessons of gratitude, compassion and the unwavering belief that, in service to others, we discover the true purpose of our lives.”