Changing contexts, changing lives: international GMF program catalyzes growth for young adults

Tariro “Tarie” Salim Nyamudeza, an International track GMF, who is currently serving in Hong Kong at Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW Limited). PHOTO: TARIE NYAMUDEZA

By Adam Bowers and Sara Logeman
November 30, 2022 | ATLANTA

What’s it like living and working in a different country, following God’s call to mission wherever it may lead? Young adults in the International track of the Global Mission Fellows (GMF) program know first hand! Now that applications are open for the Global Mission Fellows International track, just as we did for fellows in the US-2 track, we checked in with fellows currently serving around the globe.

The GMF program places young adults, ages 20–30, within community ministries combating systemic injustice in Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia for two years of service. By connecting the local and global church in mission, fellows make an impact as they grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Embodying Global Ministries’ commitment to send missionaries “From everywhere to everywhere,” four fellows describe their transformative experiences abroad and what led them to apply to the program.

GMFs “see differently” through the eyes of new people and cultures

International fellows must serve outside their home country, which exposes them to new cultures and broadens their understanding of what it means to be a Christian in different contexts. This is an important aspect of the GMF experience – shaping the first part of the program motto “see differently, serve differently”.

Venus Mae Gatdula, who is originally from the Philippines and is now in the middle of her service at the Cambodia Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Siem Reap Province, has seen the importance of learning about her new context:

Isabelle Mbako Matshik is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is now serving at The Surf Project in Northern Ireland, where remnants of “The Troubles,” a political conflict that lasted from the late 1960s through 1998, still shape religious life:

You’re never alone as a GMF

Though new contexts accelerate personal growth, it can be challenging to find your footing, especially when very few people can relate to your experiences. That’s why the GMF program places importance on growth in community – not only in the new communities fellows find at their placements, but also through connections with their cohort (other GMFs going through the program at the same time).

Venus has found a family and support system in her GMF cohort:

Serving in community advances personal and spiritual growth 

Global Mission Fellows serve with a community organization, embedding themselves into an existing ministry. While there are certainly challenges, all four GMFs we spoke to were energized by their communities and the opportunities they’ve had to learn and grow.

Tariro (Tarie) Salim Nyamudeza, originally from Zimbabwe and now serving at Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW Limited) in Hong Kong, is most excited about how her work connects her with her community:

Working in children and youth ministry, Isabelle has learned about her strengths:

Jolainne Thowinson De Hoyos, originally from Colombia and currently serving at Junta Unida de Misiones in Argentina, sees the potential in her placement:

Venus appreciates how accepting her community has been, giving her room to grow:

So, will you join them? 

There’s only one way to find out if you’re being called to serve as a GMF: completing an application online. Tarie explains why she applied to the Global Mission Fellows program: 

The application deadline is January 12, 2023. Apply now to become an International Global Mission Fellow. 

Adam Bowers is a content consultant for Global Ministries and UMCOR. Sara Logeman is the content strategist for Global Ministries and UMCOR.