Members of the Presbytery,
My name is Ryan Mullennex. I am a 2018 graduate of Davis & Elkins from Beverly, WV, and I’d like to invite you to walk with me on the next step in my journey of faith. I am excited to share with you that I have accepted the call to serve for one year as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Tucson, AZ during the 2018-19 season.
The YAV program is a non-profit program sponsored through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to engage young adults ages 19-30. Participants give a year of their life in mission through a Christ-centered year of service focused on promoting community engagement and leadership development through its focus on its five core principles, which are intentional Christian community, leadership development through faith in action, simple living, vocational discernment, and a cross-cultural mission that seeks to explore the complexity of God’s creation.
As part of this mission, I will be living with three other people over the course of the next year in intentional Christian community while also focusing on those that the broader community and society have abandoned. While there, I will have a full-time job with the Abundant Harvest Cooperative.
The AHC works directly with a network of more than 150 low-income farmers in the greater Tucson area who sell their agricultural products through a communal table at weekly Farmers’ Markets. Market customers are often vulnerable community members seeking healthy food and education about ways to use it. The Abundant Harvest Cooperative’s mission is to contribute to local food security and food justice by helping operate a farmer’s market, providing educational assistance, and coordinating events to raise community awareness of healthy sustainable food options.
Why do I want to do this? I have several reasons:
- A unique experience that very few get the chance to take part in
- Help discern God’s calling for the future of my life
- Learn unique perspectives from marginalized groups through a Christ-centered lens
- Help develop skills and wisdom to help me understand the complex functions and mechanisms guiding our country, and ultimately, our world today
- To continue building upon the ideas and experiences I learned while on a college-sponsored trip to Nicaragua during my senior year at D&E
This year is intentionally crafted to be life-changing and transformational, both for me and the communities that will welcome me. It will involve living outside my comfort zone and what is familiar to me. It will expand my worldview by focusing on others. Most importantly, it will involve journeying in faith and trusting God in previously unknown ways.
What do I hope to gain from this unique experience?
- To engage in servant leadership as outlined by Jesus’ teachings and to develop a greater understanding of what it means to see the world through a Christ-centered lens
- A richer and fuller perspective of the world and, more importantly, the issues plaguing this country today
- Look at issues such as globalization and border security and how this affects marginalized groups, while also looking into the adverse effects of secularization on our society and how this helps to further create systems of inequality
- A greater appreciation and understanding of God’s creation and my role within it.
As part of this year of service, I will be expected to keep a blog (tucsonyavblogr.wordpress.com) and keep interested community members up to date on this unique journey that very few get the chance to experience. So, if you feel God’s call to do so, please help support this amazing program through prayer over the next year, and if you are so inclined, through a financial gift. I am required to raise $4,000 to participate in this program, and any support from my local community will be welcomed.
Thank you for your consideration and your prayers.
After reading this, if you feel inclined, you can send funds to the Tucson Borderlands YAV office. Please specify that the funds will be going to support Ryan Mullennex.
Tucson Borderlands YAV
400 E University
Tucson, AZ 85705