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Who Will You Become? Emily's Story

JUNE 2017

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by Heather Reynolds Heather is a full-time member of the IMMERSION U.S. team at Experience Mission.

At Experience Mission, we are passionate about seeing people make missions a lifestyle, not just a one-week or six-month experience. Our IMMERSION program gives young adults the chance to go, but also the challenge to come back and make a difference in their home context.

We’re proud of our growing network of young adults who are choosing to live boldly. If you're considering joining an IMMERSION team, we challenge you to ask the question, “Who will I become?”

Africa Mission Trips

Meet Emily! Like many people who join an IMMERSION team, Emily had jumped into college classes after high school before quickly feeling like the traditional route might not be for her. Although it felt like a big risk and very counter cultural to take time off from school, she pressed pause and stepped away from her normal routine for six months.

Her team had the opportunity to live and serve in the countries of South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho in southern Africa, and although each place held it’s own joys and challenges, it was their final community that made a lasting impact. Emily tells the story best.

“During the last leg of IMMERSION, I was learning sustainable agriculture practices in Lesotho–growing food alongside young adults from surrounding villages. While knee deep in dirt, I started daydreaming about what it would look like to pursue sustainable agriculture in my own community in Western Michigan.”

Emily and her team spent six weeks farming, leading VBS programs and living in rural villages alongside the staff at Growing Nationsin Maphutseng, Lesotho. The ministry and work of Growing Nations seeks to address people’s physical needs (growing food for their families amidst the challenges of poverty, drought and erosion) as well as address their spiritual needs by introducing them to a God who cares for them and has equipped them to be stewards, not victims.

Africa Mission Trips

What started as a small seed in Emily’s mind while farming in Lesotho, soon grew into a lifestyle and a passion that would shape the next several years of her life in the U.S. Emily lives and works full-time on a farm throughout the year. She helps introduce others to the concept of eating fresh and local produce through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm Share program. She says,

“Since returning home, I have been working with a growing web of individuals to renew food systems through restoring land. I’m learning to truly embrace simplicity and hard work as a lifestyle, while exposing my neighbors to the joys of eating locally and responsibly.”

We love seeing team members pursue their passions and believe our connection to the physical world can go beyond simply understanding more about where our food comes from. Throughout the IMMERSION program we hope all team members have the opportunity to better understand their relationship with Creation and what it can teach them about our Creator. For Emily, the task of farming has become spiritually impacting, as well.

“I’m humbled to be taught by the elements and alchemy of photosynthesis—forcing intimacy with nature, oneself, and fellow farmworkers. The beauty in farming lies in the understanding that ecology and community go hand in hand—work that is both sacred and liberating to be a small part of. I have my host sister in Lesotho to thank for helping me understand this connection that fuels much of what I do today.”

Emily’s career path may be unique, but it's a great example of how God can shape people through the experience of IMMERSION in the most beautiful, unlikely ways.

We’re so proud of the work you’re doing in the world, Emily.


More IMMERSION Stories

When Necessary, Use Words
These last several months have been quite the adventure, full of unexpected twists and turns, and yet full of so many sweet moments that I will forever cherish.
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Lesotho: A Mountain Kingdom
The fact that I get to know the God who created this world on a personal level is surreal, and leaves me humbled. How can one look at the beauty of this earth and not believe?
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