Young Adult and Campus Ministry

Why Serve 2010: Telling My Story for Me, Sharing My Story for Us

November 10, 2014
Young Adult and Campus Ministries
Gerlene Gordy, or GJ, is a member of the Navajoland Area Mission.
Ya’at’eeh! My name is Gerlene Gordy also known as GJ. I am Native American, an enrolled member of the Navajo Tribe, currently residing in Window Rock, Arizona. My clans are One Who Walks Around born into the Salt Clan. My maternal grandparent’s clan is Edge Water, and my paternal grandparent’s clan is the Mud People.

I was given the chance to take part in Why Serve, and as I come out of it, I believe it has not only provided me with more knowledge, but it has also given me a stronger faith community. I gained the support I needed outside Navajo Land and in doing so; I also gained the resources to accomplish all that I want to accomplish. What I learned at Why Serve is that the opportunities are endless.

During and after the conference, I met and talked to people my age. We talked about the struggles we each face, including: lack of respect, lack of church education, and lack of opportunities for young adults. Collectively we made a great diverse group, not everyone suffered the same problems, but we all had something to offer one another and we all have something to offer the church. I learned that just by being there, sharing our stories and sharing our culture, we were all doing God’s work. “God’s work done in God’s time”.

As young adults we have so much to offer the wider church, especially as we move forward in time and technology. In some ways young adults serve as a major hub for communication. Aside from our knowledge of advancing technology, we are also growing up in a fast-paced multitasking world, which is molding us into open minded, enthusiastic dreamers. I dream of working with all my friends in the future, I dream of everyone being connected like a web, helping, sharing, and supporting one another as we walk with and carry out God’s will.

During Why Serve, I took part in workshops on Seeking Healthy Mentoring Relationships, Intergenerational Tension, and Discernment through Story Telling. These topics stood out for me because of real life personal experiences. Working with youth is a passion that I hope to live out. I have experience working with at risk children in a highly populated city, and various non-profit organizations. Because of my life experiences, I hope to work with children and alleviate their physical and emotional distress. Based on previous positive conversations with people who had been in a church youth group, I believe creating one would really be a great building block to introduce youth to church. By providing opportunities for youth to be heard and educating them about the church, we can all learn, and by teaching about respect we can all feel whole.

My walk with Navajo Land Area Mission has been one full of great happiness, and my experience at Why Serve has changed me for the better. I went in with the thought of telling the story of my church, and I walked out with renewed thinking. I need to tell my story, to help everyone understand me, and help all in return, including myself; to help grow people with stories, help myself grow by telling my story.

Filed under: Why Serve

The Rev. Shannon Kelly

Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries and Camino Project Grant

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