Millennial Missionaries: How this Generation Is Impacting the World
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AREQUIPA, Peru -- Each new generation gets measured against their parents and grandparents in a number of areas, including faith. The difference for Millennials is they're growing up in an age of non-stop news and social media.
According to research this generation scores low on attending church, praying and making religion a priority; but it's not all doom and gloom.
A Globally Minded Generation
When it comes to Millennials, millions remain deeply committed and active in their faith, it's just they're doing it their own way.
"This generation is the most globally engaged generation that we've seen. They're the most cross culturally prepared generation, many would call them the first "Global's Generation." Two out of three of them have passports already by the time they're university students...They're so globally engaged already they're ready to answer the call to missions and to go," said Tom Lin, director of Urbana 15.
Every three years the Urbana Conference brings together Intervarsity USA and Canada. Students meet and investigate God's call to world evangelization.
Urbana 15 Director Tom Lin sees a growing interest in justice and compassion-related missions.
"Millennials care holistically about communities and so not just bringing the message of the Gospel or message of Christ, but living it out. So it's both word and deed. We're seeing Millennials much more interested in committing to these types of holistic mission," Lin said.
Impacting the People of Peru
In 2014, couples Katie and Jeremy Daggett and Jaclyn and Jake Blair felt called to missions and moved to Peru.
They fit right in the Christian Urban Development Association (CUDA), one of the organizations goals being to overcome cycles of poverty.
"Christian urban development, that Christian word on the front end is really important. We do all of it because we believe what Jesus did 2,000 years ago is what gives us motive and purpose and really hope, in this context where we see wealthy and poor in the same city, where we see someone who is doing really, really well and is very established and then someone who is on the edge of dire poverty. Really that situation presents some unique opportunities and we try and address those with CUDA," said Jeremy.
Jaclyn, Katie and Jake also put their medical backgrounds to work in a local hospital, developing a diabetes program. Jeremy helps teachers improve their reading program success by starting libraries in local schools.
"One of the things that looks like as the kingdom breaks in is that young kids read better and have better opportunities for the rest of their life. That's part of reconciliation for them...that's part of mission work for us," said Jeremy.
As all four use their skills to improve life for the Peruvian people; they individually focus on simply building relationships.
"When you look at Jesus' life and what he did and how he made disciples, he focused on a few guys and he poured a lot into them and from there on they changed the world, just a few guys. So when I think of my call to make disciples, I want to have a quality influence on a few people and then those people can have a quality influence on a few more people and then growth is then exponential," said Jake.
"Sometimes it means walking down the street, going to the market, running errands, going to the center of town and trying to meet people. Sharing some of who I am, starting to learn who they are and eventually moving that forward in terms of sustaining an important relationship," Jeremy added.
A commitment like this for a young adult brings a number of challenges, from starting over in unfamiliar surroundings to raising children away from family.
"Being here we've had to learn a new language and a new culture and in reality we feel very ill equipped to serve the people here. Really what happens is through our weakness Gods strength is shown and when things happen for His glory we know that it's him and not us," said Jaclyn.
"I think one of the main ones is being away from family. Luckily we have the technology to Face Time or Skype with our family as much as we want and get to see them. Now that we have a child, and that is our parents grandchild we have here in Peru, away from them, that does make it a little harder as well," said Katie.
Despite the challenges, these couples remain passionate and hope to continue their call to missions.
"I feel like God's call for us here could be the call for any Christian in the world and that is to be a part of God's mission of blessing people and bringing people to know him better," said Jaclyn.
"Our prayer is for the kingdom to come and for God's will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Now we find ourselves in Arequipa, Peru, so our prayer specifically is for his kingdom to come and his will to be done here in Arequipa as its being done in heaven," said Katie.
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