"There is one thing that motivates me every day—to make a difference in people's lives. I see people struggle, especially single mothers, innocent babies, and families who don't have shelter. I never knew that in the United States there could be people who are homeless," says Tre Kumungo, Advance Global Mission Fellow (Advance #3022247).
My father worked as a pastor for the Evangelical Free Church for 18 years. Now both my parents work as missionaries, my dad as a leader of ReachAfrica, which is an organization with the mission to plant churches across unreached areas in Africa. My mother works with young uneducated girls in the DR Congo, teaching them practical skills they can use to earn a living. I have four siblings; two sisters and two brothers.
My dad was inspired by the available opportunities found in English-speaking countries, specifically the United States. He urged me to continue my studies abroad. I began studies at Daystar University in Kenya. Meanwhile, I had submitted my USA visa application, and after a year, I received a notification letter to proceed. Eventually I enrolled at Ottawa University in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, I discovered and decided to attend a United Methodist church not far from my apartment. There I met three US-2s on a mission trip with the church.
|Tresor Kumugo, Global Mission Fellow US-2, gives a Generation Transformation presentation to a congregation in Florida. PHOTO: COURTESY TRESOR KUMUGO.|
One of those US-2 friends had served in South Africa for a year and a half, and she told me about her experience living as a foreigner—facing language barriers and the anxiety of living in a new culture. That resonated with me because I was going through the same situation. She encouraged me to join the program, and I felt that my call was geared toward immigrants, having relatable experience.
I started work in 2016 as a Global Mission Fellow US-2 in St. Petersburg, Florida, as a citizenship/immigration services coordinator with United Methodist Community Ministries/Suncoast, the outreach program of the Gulf Central District. This program provides students seeking citizenship with assistance in the process. After a year, I moved to the program's housing-support department. We are providing houses for the homeless and those with low-income. We also help them budget and repair their credit, so they can better provide for their families.
I'm humbled to be part of this journey, to help people understand that God loves them and still is in control. Not long ago, I received a call from a woman who was crying because she would become homeless in two days. She didn't know what to do. I collected all her information and talked with her, giving her a word of hope to keep her calm. We helped her find a place to live and she was grateful. While my contribution seemed small, it was humbling to support her in her time of need.
Tresor ("Tre") Selenga Kumugo, Global Mission US-2 serving with the Florida Conference, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
This article first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of New World Outlook magazine, General Board of Global Ministries. Used by permission.
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