Guissell Brenes’ time spent volunteering in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the most recent of many experiences that allow her to better relate to and serve others.
Guisell first connected with Resonate Global Mission, then Christian Reformed World Missions when she joined the Cohort of Missioners program in Costa Rica in 2014. Then, from January to March 2016, she had the opportunity to visit and serve in North America for the first time in her life.
“We are always looking for new ways to become more reciprocal in our volunteer program,” said Lisa Sochaki, CRWM’s volunteer coordinator. “There are many volunteer needs right here in North America and people from Central America like Guisell have unique skills and perspectives for these roles.”
Much of Guisell’s service in West Michigan was in partnership with the Micah Center, which recently started a new initiative to prevent wage theft for migrant workers in restaurants. Guisell was part of a team that established initial connections with workers and checked if they were being treated fairly.
“Guisell had great intuition when it came to meeting a person and deciding how they would react to our questions and approach,” said Gema Lowe, who works with the Micah Center. “She immediately had a connection with many of the workers because she is Latina.”
She immediately had a connection with many of the workers..."
Guisell and Gema found that almost all of the workers who spoke up were being underpaid, but they didn’t know what they could do about it or were too afraid to speak up. This is a situation that Guisell was familiar with as many immigrants to Costa Rica face similar injustices.
“As I lived in Costa Rica, I saw great inequality in rights for immigrants,” she said. “I learned more about the service of missionaries, which sparked an interest in me to serve and feel more love for my neighbors.”
Guisell also spent some of her time in North America sharing what God is doing in the CRWM Central American Cohort at churches and colleges. She hopes that she will continue to be involved in ministry at the Cohort and may one day be able to host some of the young people she met in Michigan if they decide to join the program. In the meantime, she plans to finish her studies in clinical psychology, back in Nicaragua.