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Young adult mission journeys set for 2024

Children playing with a parachute.

Young adults, ages 18-35, seeking short-term, cultural immersion experiences abroad can join an upcoming UMVIM Discover … Mission journey.

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United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is scheduling their Discover … Mission journeys for young adults seeking short-term international mission experiences. In January 2024, two groups will travel abroad, one to Mexico and one to Puerto Rico. This is a perfect time of the year for young adults on winter break from their university or college.

From January 2-8, 2024, Rev. Tammy Kuntz, UMVIM coordinator for the North Central Jurisdiction, will lead a small group of young adults to serve with Manos Juntas Mission in Rio Bravo, Mexico. The team is forming now, and interested young adults should attend a Zoom gathering on Thursday, August 24, at 7 pm Eastern (click this secure meeting link). This will be a time to learn about the mission, understand the team’s expectations, and ask questions. Contact Tammy at [email protected] if you cannot attend or have further questions.

Rev. Kathy Dickriede, Missions & Community Engagement Director for the East Ohio Conference, is taking another group of young adults to Puerto Rico from January 5-15, 2024. The team will do construction work and participate in worship, relationship building, and discussions with young people from Puerto Rico and around the world. Young adults will travel to the cities, mountains, and beaches of Puerto Rico as they learn and share life together. Planning is underway, so contact Kathy at [email protected] if you are interested.

Several other Discover … Mission journeys are scheduled for later in 2024 and 2025. Review this list and fill out the online form if you have a desired country or if there is an ideal time of year for you to travel, and UMVIM staff will be in touch. It’s never too early to start planning.

Formerly known as Mission Discover, Discover … Mission is structured so young adults from the United States work with and learn from young adults from another country. “The intent,” says Rev. Tammy Kuntz, “is for this mission journey to be an intentional cultural immersion. So, it’s not just a mission trip, where you’re doing a construction or medical mission project, but these young adults interact with other young adults in these countries.”

Building equal relationships with others, respecting the community’s needs, and honoring cultural differences are at the heart of Discover … Mission journeys. It’s a perspective on mission engagement that UMVIM leadership is centered on moving forward, especially as the program restarts post-COVID. Tammy explains, “We try to use the term ‘mission journey’ now instead of ‘mission trip,’ because being in mission is part of our faith journey now. This is who we are as United Methodists, who are as Christians, as we live and work and play in the world.”

Rev. David Newhouse, former Director of Discover … Mission and retired elder living in Michigan, reiterates the importance of discovery in these journeys and the refocus of mission engagement that’s more partnership than service. “The whole concept of the program was that it was a discovery experience, whether it’s to discover relationships, discover more about your faith journey, and discover how to be in mission with others and not just to others.”

Discover … Mission journeys are designed to help young adults grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ as they discover God’s purpose and determine what’s next. This faith formational piece of Discover … Mission journeys goes hand-in-hand with maturity as growing leaders. David notes, “We’ve had several people over the years who participated and found their way into theological training and pastoral leadership. My daughter became a deacon, in part, because she discovered that calling while she was part of this program. But beyond ordination, some young people have become lay leaders and taken on roles in the church.”

Youth serving on a mission journey to Bolivia in 2006.
Discover … Mission was previously called Mission Discovery. Although the name has changed slightly, the program is the same. These photos are from a mission journey from 2006 to Bolivia. Discover … Mission has been taking young adults on mission journeys for over 30 years, beginning with the first trip to Zimbabwe in 1992. ~ photo courtesy Rev. Tammy Kuntz

Going on a UMVIM Discover … Mission journey takes advance planning, so some fundraising will be necessary to cover the costs. Team leaders for Discover … Mission journeys are equipped with the resources and experience to help young adults with fundraising ideas and other details in preparing for the experience. Both Rev. Tammy Kuntz and Rev. Kathy Dickriede have led multiple Discover … Mission teams over the years and are ready to help.

There are some scholarships available. Jody Pratt, VIM Coordinator for the Michigan Conference, explains that young adults from a Michigan United Methodist congregation going on a Discover … Mission journey for the first time are eligible for a $150 scholarship from the Michigan Conference. Applications must be submitted at least 60 days before the trip begins. Click here to download the scholarship criteria. Jody also adds that young adults should speak with their district and local church leadership to explore if additional financial support is available for mission journeys.

Rev. Tammy Kuntz also says that there are UMVIM scholarships available for Discover … Mission journeys. The Rollins Scholarship is specifically for young adults of color. For information on each scholarship and its criteria and to review the application, review this web page.

Discover … Mission is the young adult short-term mission program of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM), a grassroots movement of United Methodists seeking to put their Christian love into action worldwide. And there is a UMVIM journey available for everyone. Each year, UMVIM gives thousands of United Methodists, from ages 18 to 80, an opportunity to engage in short-term missions, whether local, national, or global.

Those individuals interested in joining an existing VIM team or a congregation wishing to send a group of people to a particular VIM project site, review VIM’s global project list on this web page and then contact Jody Pratt, VIM Coordinator for the Michigan Conference, with questions at [email protected] or 616-292-4908. There are VIM projects in Michigan, throughout the Midwest, and around the world, and she is glad to help you sort through the options.

Last Updated on January 31, 2024

The Michigan Conference