The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) program is reliant on coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a YAGM coordinator, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship. Andrea and Luke Roske-Metcalfe are YAGM coordinators in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Here Andrea provides a snapshot of some of the young adults’ work.
During November and December, I visited all my Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers at their work sites. Before they arrive (and even sometimes after they’ve been here for awhile), these volunteers often have very romanticized notions about what it means to be a missionary of the ELCA. This is often also true of their friends, families and supporting congregations.
We don’t tend to imagine that they spend their days carrying large quantities of condoms from place to place on the subway, or setting fires in dry, open fields or pushing wheelbarrows full of small children around the streets, shouting over and over the name of a lost dog.
But, indeed, that is what they do, at least here in Mexico. Let me explain. Kyle works for Casa de la Sal, an HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and educational organization in Mexico City. He spends his days giving workshops to people of all ages, dispelling myths about HIV and AIDS (both of which are much more prevalent here than they are in the U.S.), and teaching the basics of safer sex.
Ian works on Rancho La Troje, an organic farm and permaculture education center. The day I visited, he and the other farm hands were doing controlled burns to prevent wildfires from sweeping across the hillside.
And Kent works for Caminando Unidos, an alternative education center in Cuernavaca. The center’s dog had run away the day before I visited, and the curriculum there is very hands-on. The staff wanted to teach the children responsibility and the value of looking out for one another. So half the school, everyone from babies to staff in their mid-20s, went on a dog-hunt! Kent piled the four youngest in a wheelbarrow, and we were off. We didn’t find the dog that day, but those kids took care of one another, and they took care of their dog in the only way they knew how.
These are only three of my volunteers this year, but suffice it to say that all seven of them are serving their communities in ways that they, their supporting communities, and even I could never have imagined. They are living and learning and loving alongside God’s people here.