First Discover Missions event helps young people understand missions call
The first-ever global Discover Missions event brought 80 young people from all six regions of the Church of the Nazarene to the Dominican Republic from 13-22 May for an immersive short-term missions opportunity to explore potential calls into missions.
The attendees were primarily between the ages of 18 to 24 who had expressed interest or calls to missions.
“Our goal was to create an intentionally international learning space for young adults to wrestle with their call to missions and be introduced to multiple ministries they could step into,” said Brent Hulett, director of Missions Mobilization for the denomination. “We hope this event will encourage young adults to step into full-time missions earlier in their careers.”
The students spent nine days in a multicultural setting, learning more about missions through workshops and hands-on missions experiences throughout the week. Their morning workshops included a more dynamic atmosphere, learning about how cultures mix.
In the afternoons, the students got involved in local churches and were given cultural integration opportunities in the surrounding communities.
According to Emily Armstrong, who co-coordinates the Missions Mobilization and Genesis program for the Mesoamerica Region, the goal was to give the participants an educational opportunity in the morning and a practical opportunity in the afternoons.
“One of the things we did was try to have them understand culture through an iceberg analogy,” Armstrong said. “What you can see is the top 10 percent — the food you’re tasting and the music you’re hearing. But we took them to a museum so that they could start to understand that there are things that form what they’re seeing.”
For more cultural immersion, the youth were given some money and conversation starters and told to start talking to people in a public market.
“[We] tried to help them break through some of the barriers and nervousness of starting a relationship,” Armstrong said.
Several students said they left with a clearer understanding of what missions work entails and where they might fit into that work in light of God’s call on their life. Some even felt that God confirmed that call.
That was the experience for Jeimy Navarro, a 24-year-old from Costa Rica. Navarro said that she was a bit confused when she first felt a call to missions.
“I felt anxious and frustrated for not knowing how to continue in my life,” Navarro said.
Through the Discover Missions event, Navarro said she learned more about obeying God’s call and trusting Him with her future.
“In the workshops, when we went out to the community, and when [I heard] the sermons, God spoke more into my life, helping me understand that I was in the right place and at the right time,” Navarro said. “That gave my heart peace without anxiety for the future. When we went out into the community, I understood that was where He wanted me to be in that moment and that we should appreciate each part of the process.”
A second Discover Missions event is planned for 7-19 June 2024 in Kenya.