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Why I’m Doing Mission Year

We love to hear what inspires people to give a year committed to community, justice, service, and simplicity. If you are a committed team member interested in sharing your story, talk to Shaunie! And if you are considering Mission Year, we hope these stories will be the words you need to take the next step. You won’t regret it!

DeMyron Haynes 

I am a sophomore at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The reason I am doing Mission Year is because I am absolutely passionate about community and what do I have to lose? God has given me the opportunity to go and do something I love. And I trust He will provide afterwards, so that’s why I am going.


Chad Pickett

I am 23 years old, and I grew up in Lenexa, KS before heading off to Winfield, KS to study history at Southwestern College.  Since graduating I have moved back to the Kansas City area and am looking forward to heading to Atlanta this fall with Mission Year.

Sometimes in life God sends a bright neon sign to show the way; other times it is more like a dimly flickering candle.  Almost a year ago, God placed a neon sign directing me towards Mission Year.  I, however, didn’t respond and tried to block out its rays while attempting to follow my own plans.

As my plans began to fall apart in the following months and God’s continued to shine through, I finally submitted to His plan and applied for Mission Year.

Ironically, I have always had a heart for service, especially in urban settings, and have been discovering over the past few years how fulfilling community is so it seems odd that it took me so long to apply. As I look back on the past year though, I know that these months of running from God’s plan for my life have allowed me to discover how to become more reliant upon Him instead trusting in what I can dream or do.

As September draws nearer, I can confidently say that I am not just doing Mission Year because it sounds exciting or interesting, but because I have chosen not to ignore God’s direction for my life and am looking forward to how He will teach me, refine me, and use me during my time with Mission Year.

Denise Lee

I am 24 from Union City, CA. I’m doing Mission Year because I want to encounter God in every person I meet.

Growing up, I’ve always had the heart to love people and especially because I knew how much God loved me, it made me want to love others that much more. My hope was that if I faithfully loved God and others, people would begin to see God’s great love and not my own.

I also love meeting others and learning about life. Everyone has a story to tell that enriches another, and I can’t wait for all the stories I’ll be hearing.


Craig & Erin Umland

My name is Erin Umland. I am 25 years old and my husband Craig is 27. We met at a college age ministry in Madison, WI.

I am originally from a suburb south of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and my husband is from a city 2 hours north of Madison. I am a registered nurse at the University hospital here, and my husband is finishing up his undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies this spring. We currently live in Madison where we met and love it here.

The verses Luke 9:23-27 keep sticking out to me as I process why Craig and I chose to do Mission Year. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

My life right now is safe and comfortable.  I live on a lake, make a very good salary, have the opportunity to go back to school for free, have awesome health insurance. I’ve also found ways to fit in with the Christian culture of my home church in Madison.

I feel like God is asking me to lose this comfortable and safe life to follow Him. There is so much I love about my life right now. I have a great view, amazing groups of friends, a church that is challenging, but I know something is missing.

I feel like all of these wonderful parts of Madison and my life are actually a wire fence. I can see Jesus as a spectator, but he hasn’t been invited in to my yard. I wouldn’t call my yard super neat— but I haven’t invited this stranger in because…what would he do to it?

Who else have I kept out that he might invite in if I end up inviting him? The passage ends with Luke 9:27, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” I feel like the choice to do Mission Year would be inviting God and His kingdom into my yard.

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