In 2009, I went to Argentina on a study abroad program. I was so challenged and transformed by that experience that I asked my advisor if I could fit in another study abroad program, which ultimately led me to Costa Rica. These experiences challenged my prejudices, expanded my understanding of Latin America, gave me access to theologies from the Global South that I was desperately hungering for, brought me closer to suffering and injustice and helped me open myself up to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.
That's when I fell in love with intercultural, transformative, holistic education.
In 2012 when I was a part of the impromptu pilot of the Cohort of Missioners, I knew we were on to something. This service-formation program for young adults had all the best parts of my study abroad experiences, but was even better because it was longer, involved hands on service and incorporated young adults from Central America as well as North America. It was enough time to realize that living in community isn’t always sexy and that solutions to communal or national problems are not going to be quick. Additionally, our group wasn’t just North Americans, speaking English and asking each other for the answers when we had a question. The group was North American and Central American.
Six years later, the Cohort has grown. To date we’ve had 27 young adults through the program. We’ve had participants from all five Central Americans countries, as well as the US and Canada.
While this has been a small piece of what I’ve worked on the past several years, now I’m finally dedicating all my time to this program. As the coordinator I’ll help each country ensure that they are effectively implementing the program, teach one of our formation quarters, accompany volunteers, facilitate quarterly learning trips to the different Central American countries, work to improve recruitment and consult with other places in the world that are considering starting similar programs.
Everything that I do is working towards helping these young adults, from both Central America and North America, to discover God’s intense love for this world, the deep injustices present in the communities where they serve and learn, and their own unique vocation.
Neither Isra, my husband, nor I would have predicted a few years ago that we’d both be involved in education. Isra is working at a local high school giving classes is social sciences and loving the opportunity to get a closer view into the public education system in Guatemala and the chance to interact with students, something for which he has an incredible knack. He believes that the students he teaches have a right to a quality public education and is doing everything he can to be a part of guaranteeing that right.
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