Central Christian Church had the unique and genuine pleasure of hosting Kearstin Bailey, a Global Ministries Intern, (GMI) this past week.
Global Ministries is a cooperation of the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ (Central Christian Church) formed to work towards world justice, reconciliation and peace by joining with global partners to accomplish these goals.
Kearstin, upon graduating from HeidelbergUniversity in Tiffin, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, applied for and was accepted as an intern with Global Ministries. Her first assignment was Budapest, Hungary.
During her two years in Hungary, Kearstin served in several capacities. One was the Kalunba Social Services Association. The service is a holistic, non-profit, supported by global church partners.
Approximately 250 refugees come through the center each week for various needs such as housing, language classes and educational programs to get assistance in learning the skills necesary to improve their lives.
“The people I worked with were mostly from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia,” Kearstin said.
She also worked with the Roma Mission. Kearstin compared the Romas in Hungary to the Native Americans in our country, finding their needs very similar to those of many of the tribal residents in America.
“I worked at an after-school program where along with Hungarian volunteers, I taught English, lead craft time to encourage creative expression and provided a supportive environment for young people to help them grow and develop,” she said.
“Some of what I have learned through this experience in Hungary is that diversity is important for growth – race, age, socioeconomic background, language, gender expression and theology. We need to not only seek diversity in our own communities, but then go one step further and have a dialogue about diversity,” Kearstin said.
That is exactly what we did at Central Christian Church during Kearstin’s stay in Dallas. Several speaking engagements to hear about Kearstin’s experiences abroad and knowledge in the field of refugee resettlement were attended by members of Central and the community where there was conversation and dialogue.
Kearstin was honored at a Salaam Supper Friday evening and joined by Lily Heine of Refugee Services of Texas. Ms. Heine talked about what we can do here in Dallas to help the refugees. Volunteers have the opportunity to meet and greet a new family and walk with them through their journey.
Central also hosted several small get-togethers with Kearstin such as The Disciples Women’s Taco lunch in the church Fellowship Hall, giving the women the opportunity to visit with Kearstin in a small group for one-on-one conversations.
We were truly delighted with her graciousness and sweet, open spirit and we were inspired by her dedication to her missionary calling.
Kearstin is originally from Ohio and this trip was her second to the LoneStarState. Her first visit was spent in the border town of McAllen, a very different atmosphere from Big D. We tried to make her stay a “not all work and no play” visit. While here, she had a car tour of Downtown, a walk around WhiteRockLake and she had the opportunity to enjoy some of our popular and anticipated foods like Asian Fusion and, of course, Tex Mex. Sunday afternoon she attended an early Thanksgiving dinner of turkey and dressing at Central.
Kearstin’s next assignment will be Greece.
“I will take another GMI placement, this time with the GreekEvangelicalChurch,” she said.
Kearstin is an example of young people working to make our world a better place for everyone. We are fortunate to have dedicated young adults like Kearstin and programs such as Global Ministries.