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Who Will You Become? — Janna's Story

JULY 2017

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by Heather Reynolds Heather is part of EM's full-time IMMERSION U.S. staff team.

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?”

6 Month Mission Trips

Meet Janna! She represents one of many IMMERSION participants from The Annex, a young adult ministry in Boulder, Colorado. Janna has been connected with Experience Mission since 2010 when she served on a short-term mission trip with The Annex to Catadupa, Jamaica and then was hired to return as an EM intern in the summer of 2011.

After graduating college, Janna agreed to help lead our first (ever!) 6-Month Caribbean IMMERSION team. Being the first team often means you encounter challenges and road bumps, which pave the way for more people to follow. Janna and her team fully embraced local life on IMMERSION and her experience continues to impact her today as she pursues a career in architecture. She says,

“When I got back from IMMERSION almost 4 years ago, I worked as a project coordinator for both an architecture firm (Pyatt Studio Architecture and Planning) and a non-profit (Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative or NASHI) before attending graduate school to get my Masters in Architecture. The work that I have been involved with during each of these phases has revealed to me the power that architects have to either reinforce policies that codify inequality, inequity, displacement and segregation, or to challenge them. My mentors, teachers, colleagues, classmates, and partners at Pyatt Studio, NASHI, and at PSU have equipped me with the skills and creative thinking to challenge these realities, hopefully to the point of sustainable change.”

6 Month Mission Trips

We love seeing team members use their careers to make the world a better place! Architecture is such a practical field that many people don’t initially think could be used for missions or ministry. But seeing Janna put her gifts into action has been an incredible story to follow.

We asked Janna, as she looks back over the last several years of her life and career, how has her IMMERSION experience shaped her passions or direction?

“I agreed to lead the inaugural 6M Caribbean trip 5 years ago because I recognized it as an opportunity to broaden my worldview and broaden my understanding of what it meant to make a difference. This is precisely what it did, however, I could not have anticipated just how much it would.

IMMERSION changed my perspective so completely that returning to the same life I had left one year earlier was one of the most challenging, yet fruitful, things I have ever done.

My experience in Haiti, Jamaica, and Costa Rica (as well as materials supplied by EM, such as the book “When Helping Hurts”) solidified in my mind dignifying and productive ways to address the systematic oppression that exists all over the world.”

We love the work Janna's doing and the bigger purpose behind it. Those are some big topics and systems to tackle! We’re so proud that her experience on IMMERSION has been a part of her journey. It sounds like she's really "living her mission," don’t you think? She says,

“I have taken this mindset with me as I've formed my career in architecture. The built environment is experienced by everyone and is an incredibly powerful tool in today's political context to provide every human being with a healthy, affordable, sustainable, and culturally relevant environment. It’s especially powerful if implemented in the ways I learned about during IMMERSION.”

6 Month Mission Trips

Glad to have you as part of the EM family, Janna.

Learn more about upcoming IMMERSION terms!


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