After earning a bachelor's degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, Chasity Jones set her sights on becoming a psychologist.
But as life often happens, God intervened.
On a mission trip to Cambodia, Jones, then 22, felt God's calling to become a missionary. Someone told her about the Global Mission Fellowship (Advance #13105Z). "A missionary named Esther Gitobu … suggested that I apply for the Global Mission Fellows program and see how I like it," Jones recalls.
Global Mission Fellows are young adults, ages 20 to 30, who sign up to participate in graduate-level work. Each Global Mission Fellow strives to address the root causes of oppression and alleviate human suffering while serving in partnership with community organizations within the United States.
|Global Mission Fellows work within an assigned community for two years. PHOTO: HECTOR AMADOR.|
At first, Jones said, influences within her life kept her from completing the application. God continued to nudge her heart, though, and she said the second try was perfect. "It's so God's timing," she continued. "I was supposed to be in this cohort with these people. I applied for an international position because I thought God is calling me back to Cambodia. I could feel it; I know in my spirit; I know it! Then I was told I was going to Seattle."
Global Mission Fellow face many challenges during their two years of ministry. "After three weeks," Jones recalled, "I'm crying on the bus to work because I didn't have a car. I'm also coming from a suburban area where everyone has a car and there's no public transportation. I had to take several buses to get to work. There were so many adjustments, and it's the biggest city I've ever lived in.
"I was challenged in the most unbelievable way," she added. "My faith was challenged and tested – and in some of the most painful ways." But after two years, she sees how she has grown. "I've never loved myself as much as I do now," Jones said. "I've noticed in my relationships and my friendships, there's so much more depth because I'm able to love myself and love other people way more than I ever thought I could."
Jones sees a bright future. She plans to continue serving others through her passion for social justice and politics. She credits being a Global Mission Fellow for helping her find not only herself, but also her life's calling. Jones advised the next group of Global Mission Fellow US-2 cohorts, "Embrace, invest and stand in solidarity with the community you are serving. I think that will produce the most beautiful fruit. Also, be prepared to be challenged in some of the deepest ways. Remember who you are but hold where you are coming from with a loose grip."
Marcy Heinz, senior communications manager, for Global Ministries.
The Advance is the accountable, designated-giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The Advance invites contributors to designate support for projects related to the General Board of Global Ministries. Individuals, local churches, organizations, districts and annual conferences may donate to The Advance. One hundred percent of every gift to The Advance goes to the project selected by the giver. Gifts to missionaries support the entire missionary community.