Global Mission Fellows completing their two-year terms of service in spring 2024 shared photos and memories about their time as young adult missionaries.

Catch a glimpse into the work of 10 GMFs and what they found meaningful in their placements all over the world. 

Harvest in Kamina – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Honest Baraya (sec. from left) with farmers of Kinkunki. (Photo: Courtesy of Honest Baraya)
By Honest Baraya, Kamisamba Farm

A large part of the economy of Kamina is based on traditional subsistence agriculture, fishing and cattle breeding. Modern farms are rare. Yet, Kamina lacks neither rich land, nor rivers and lakes full of fish.

The people in the photo are from the southeastern part of Kamina in a village called Kinkunki, which is not far from Kamisamba farm, where I work. They are mostly peasant farmers whose livelihoods depend on their farms. Because of their financial constraints, this rural village finds it difficult to send its children to school, which results in high rates of illiteracy in the community.

The children, without resources to attend school, don’t have any other option than to join and support their parents in farming.

However, they lack some of the basic agricultural tools that could improve their farming techniques. They usually come to Kamisamba Farm to work during harvest. After the harvest, Kamisamba provides them with seeds that help them plant their own fields to improve their crop production.

First joint young people’s retreat – Romerillos, Ecuador

Youth from the Methodist churches of Agua de Vida and Pastocalle on retreat. Mary Grace is in pink, kneeling next to the child, and Bino Bill Bright Abel is far left, behind the pillar. (Photo: Courtesy of Mary Grace Luna)
By Mary Grace Luna, Evangelical United Methodist Church of Ecuador

In my place of assignment, I am involved both in the El Sembrador Sschool and in the church (which is located on the school grounds). I direct the English program, help with the school’s marching band, teach the recorder, pianica and the lira (glockenspiel), and I am involved with the church’s music team.

However, I have never felt so fulfilled and happy as I was during this moment. This is the first joint young people’s retreat/fellowship that I organized with the new GMF, Binu Bill Bright Abel from India. This was attended by the youth of two churches, both part of my work assignment: Iglesia Metodista Pastocalle and Iglesia Metodista Agua de Vida in Romerillos. We fellowshipped with each other, cooked and shared food, and listened to the Word of God shared by my seminary Professor, Dr. David Upp. The goal was to build a closer connection between the two churches and a community of young believers.

Birthday celebration – Southeast Asia

M. Kulongwe, holding cake, experiences a birthday surprise with her community. (Photo: Nayi)
By M. Kulongwe, Sunbeam Language and Vocational Center

We all need friends, community, support and a sense of being loved. It is a blessing to have found all these through a local spiritual community in my place of assignment. This is one of the local churches in which I have spent time serving with the youth alongside the youth pastors of the church. Engaging in Bible studies together, celebrating and grieving with one another, visiting each other’s homes and learning more about our cultural dynamics has assisted in relationship building and enhancing our spiritual growth through shared stories of God’s experiences in our lives.

One of the days I will remember is July 9, 2023, pictured above. I had a role to play in the Sunday worship service. To my surprise, after the benediction, the band played a birthday song and the whole congregation started singing along, surrounding me. They showered me with gifts and prayers. I felt loved, like family, while joy overflowed in my heart on that day. With gratitude in my heart, I look forward to the continued growth and connection with them in my last days of GMF service and beyond.

HIV and AIDS solidarity movements meeting – São Paulo, Brazil

Priscille Hassa Malandji (far right) at a meeting with other faith and nonprofit representatives.
By Priscille Hassa Malandji, Communications assistant, Koinonia, Brazil

Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Koinonia’s mission has been to mobilize ecumenical solidarity and render service to historically and culturally vulnerable groups that are in the process of social and political emancipation. The organization makes alliances with Black communities that are set in urban and rural areas, with women, young people, LGBTQIA+ communities, and with people who have HIV and AIDS.

Koinonia trains young people and adolescents on gender and diversity rights and coordinates public advocacy with people living with HIV, raising awareness in churches and religious communities on health and sexuality issues, and strengthening religious actions for inclusion.

The aim of the event pictured above was to build spaces to encourage and discuss information about the combined prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as provide psychosocial support for people with HIV and AIDS, aiming to minimize the damage caused by pandemics in the outskirts and metropolitan regions of the city of São Paulo.

Bible study with children – Southeast Asia

Quyen Nguyen meets with children for Bible Study and fun. (Photo: Courtesy of Quyen Nguyen)
By Quyen Lap Bich Nguyen, Kapatiran-Kaunlaran UMC Foundation

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with children, teenagers and senior citizens. Our organization focuses on the underprivileged and marginalized, but especially the children. They have the right to learn and develop, but because of their circumstances, they are not growing in optimal conditions.

In the photo, the children are playing games after their classes. Although the conditions there are very poor, the children always smile brightly and welcome us whenever we visit. I believe that children need more attention because they are the generation that will continue the work of God in the future. We provide alternative educational programs for these children, and we also have Bible study classes with them. This ensures that they develop both physically and spiritually.

Church retreat connection – Seattle, Washington

Selfie in a Kayak. (Photo: Reagan Lyn Page)
By Reagan Lyn Page, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy and community education. In Seattle, I work as a citizen intake coordinator to help clients navigate their program eligibility and provide direct representation to support attorneys and legal advocates through the U.S. legal system.

Part of why I applied to be a Global Mission Fellow US-2 was to take part in mission that works toward positive impact, to advocate for social justice for those who need it and are experiencing injustice and working with communities instead of for them.

But leaving Oklahoma to come to Seattle, I found it was also important to find a good church community outside of work and one that matched the GMF mission. Here are a group of us kayaking on a church retreat as we spent the weekend at church camp growing together and feeling connected!

Surf workshop – Port Rush, Northern Ireland

“The joy of serving,” is how Ruel Jade Lucas Zaldivar describes the Surf Project. (Photo: Ruel Zaldivar)
By Ruel Jade Lucas Zaldivar, Surf Project

Serving people and serving the community is the way I serve my God. I am grateful for the skills God gave me to use in my ministry, especially to work with kids and young people.

It is my pleasure to meet and work with a diverse community that allows us to show our love, respect, kindness and unity.

Connecting the church in mission and engaging with the community has a big impact on me as I lead a team. In Northern Ireland, we do surf workshops while sharing the Gospel of Jesus as we believe that “Real Life Awaits.”

The spiritual life of young people is strengthened through the balance (Sports and Workshop) of the ministry, also, they’ll grow in personal and in social holiness. Ministry has a big influence on an individual’s life, portraying the ministry of Jesus in the boat, in the sea, in the mountains, in the cities, as we see differently and serve differently.

Climate Change Advocacy campaign – Freetown, Sierra Leone

Sam Yav (standing) meets with a group that seeks to understand how climate change impacts their lives and what they can do about it. (Photo: Courtesy of Sam Yav)
By Sam Ntamb Yav, Green Scenery

I work closely with the Green Scenery Advocacy Team in organizing advocacy activities, including seminars, conferences, and some specific campaigns. I assist in designing, planning, implementing and monitoring advocacy project activities, and in organizing seminars, workshops and special lectures.

Here we work hand-in-hand with vulnerable communities to help them understand the impacts of climate change, empowering them to advocate for ways to help the climate recover and reduce practices that are unsustainable.

Church members of a newly formed district – Nairobi, Kenya

Momodu Syl Josiah (seated, center, in checkered shirt) with members of the United Methodist Nairobi District Churches. (Photo: Courtesy of Momodu Josiah)
By Momodu Syl Josiah, Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

In serving with the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance in Kenya, my focus lies within a climate policy and advocacy organization, distinct from direct church engagement. However, driven by a desire to find a local spiritual community of support, I connected with a United Methodist congregation while on this spiritual journey.

Following the disaffiliation of larger UMC churches in Kenya, including all of those in Nairobi, I, alongside like-minded believers, embarked on a mission to revitalize our United Methodist roots. Through collaborative consultation and concerted effort, we successfully planted six United Methodist churches in Nairobi. Today, these churches stand as beacons of hope, embodying the spirit of the UMC and nurturing spiritual growth within our community.

Homelessness awareness talk with Elders Luncheon Club – Clooney Hall Methodist Church, Northern Ireland

Camille Manangan (standing), speaking at the Clooney Hall elders meeting. (Photo: Courtesy of Camille Manangan)
By Camille Bianca S. Manangan, support worker, Northwest Methodist Mission

I am from the Philippines, and I serve in Clarendon Shelter, a homeless shelter in Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland. My job description involves learning about homelessness and active participation in doing support work.

I’ve learned never to underestimate the power of being different, especially in places where you will stand out. When I came to Derry, I was so afraid of being judged or profiled because of who I am and where I come from. However, I realized that if I don’t step into a lighted space I will forever be in the dark – unseen and unheard.

I started sharing my ideas in the shelter and facilitating projects with the residents. Going to schools and churches to share facts about the issue of homelessness helped me to feel at home with different people, especially young children, and to create an advocacy project.

Here at Clooney Hall Methodist Church, I met with the Elders Luncheon Club to share about the rapid growth of homelessness in Northern Ireland and the importance of advocacy for housing rights and how congregations and church members can get involved.

Please pray for these GMFs and their broader cohort of fellows as they transition to new careers, further studies or another phase of discernment in their lives.

Meanwhile, the 2024-2026 class of young adult missionaries has been selected and trained for service and will soon be arriving in their placements!

Learn more about the Global Mission Fellows program, including how to apply and ways to support.