A missionary is called to a specific area, not always where they were presently located or familiar with and not always where they would necessarily choose to go either. For me, I was called to Harford County, Maryland after graduating college in Virginia and having grown up in Howard County, Maryland. This place was foreign ground to me, a place that I had never visited before or ever imagined myself choosing to move to. When being sent as a missionary, however, it is part of your role to make this “new territory” your home by learning the culture, integrating in the community, and building relationships with the people. I learned that the best way to do this is through diving in head first; and that is exactly what I did.
In Harford County, I was sent to do work at Fallston High School and take lead in the area wide Capernaum ministry (which is designed to serve kids ages 13-21 that have mental, physical, and/or emotional handicaps). One place, yet two totally different sets of audiences. This made for a great challenge, having to learn the “language”, values, and needs of each community. Fallston is a middle-class, suburban, and predominately Caucasian high school. Its culture is very much centered on its performance and achievement along with its vibrant school spirit, high involvement, and “proud tradition of excellence”. Fallston is known for their highly competitive athletics and their many other clubs offered. Capernaum offers a range of people from all different walks of life with so many different maturity levels, social capacities, and strength sets. It is always – more... unpredictable, full of energy, and allows people to be themselves. Being in these two opposite communities has stretched me to learn how to love and serve people right where they are and just as they come. It has given me more compassion for people and has opened my eyes to see the need for love and the Gospel in ALL people. Mostly, it has taught me to offer steadfast love and abundant grace that can only come from the Lord. – less