By Stephanie Plotas
This question has been on my mind for years, and as I approached my graduation in May 2013, I had to ask myself what this would look like post-college. Graduate school? Campus ministry? An entry-level job? AmeriCorps?
These options all seemed plausible and worthwhile, but none completely matched the yearning of my heart—to integrate my Christian faith with the pursuit of justice. Since high school, when I started participating in one-week mission trips, I wanted to find a career path that would allow me to seek justice in my everyday work. I wanted to switch from the perpetual “honeymoon phase” that accompanies one-week trips and experience the ups and downs of social justice work on a daily basis.
December 2012, at the Urbana Student Missions Conference in St. Louis, MO. Amid 16,000 participants and hundreds of mission organizations, I stopped at the Global Ministries booth and learned about Young Adult Mission Service (YAMS) and the US-2 program, a domestic faith and justice centered mission service program for adults ages 20-30. I applied and soon after traveled to New York for a three-week training along with 28 other young adult missionaries commissioned this August. Shortly after the training I moved to Tucson, Arizona to begin my service with my placement site, Iskashitaa Refugee Network, as a US-2 missionary of The United Methodist Church. This was the perfect match for me because I identified with Iskashitaa’s mission, which is to assist refugees on their journey of adapting to life in the U.S.A. through food-based programming.
Through July 2015, I’ll work with Iskashitaa as Food Justice Coordinator. My primary role will be working with the food preservation workshops and to serve as a faith-based group liaison. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with refugees from various countries. I also look forward to helping build and strengthen connections and partnerships between Iskashitaa and area churches, all while increasing my understanding of food justice.
As a Battle Creek, Michigan native, this is my first time in the southwest part of the United States. I’m thrilled with the chance to live in a different part of the country. The joys and challenges of experiencing new cultures and new people while pursuing justice will be invaluable to my growth as a person and as a Christ-follower. I’m thankful for the warm welcome I have received and I’m excited to begin learning from and working alongside the people of The Desert Southwest Conference.
Learn more at http://www.iskashitaa.org.