Each year, though the MCC Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program, more than 50 young people from Canada and the U.S. serve alongside MCC partners around the world. Meet one of them.
Name: Malcolm McDermond
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Pa. (Engage Community Church and Grantham BIC Church)
SALT assignment location: Chapagaun and Lele in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley. I am working with the Rural Institute of Community Development as a research assistant to a new nutrition project.
“The opportunity SALT has given me has broadened my horizons and understanding...”
Why I applied to SALT: I wanted to put my faith into action and live out what I believe. I recently graduated from Messiah College with a dual degree in sociology and anthropology and biblical and religious studies. I am very interested in other cultures and other faith traditions, and an opportunity to serve with MCC Nepal seemed like the perfect intersection of my personal beliefs, interests and desire to serve and learn. I am currently 22, and this will be my first year out of college.
In the first few months: I've seen how MCC works to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth in the everyday. I've been building relationships with fellow MCC staff and service workers and I've had the chance to meet many new Nepali friends that feel like family. I'm in a place now where I am seeing how my and my friends’ and family’s support of MCC throughout the years has and is impacting people around the world.
Also, I've been learning about the complex issues of development, racism, classism, sexism, health, peace and so much more that are all part of the intricate web that is the world in which we work, serve and live. In short, the opportunity SALT has given me has broadened my horizons and understanding by exposing me to the complex issues of the world firsthand. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Joys: So far, I've really enjoyed the moments I get to spend with my host family. Even though there is a language barrier, I still relish the moments in the kitchen when we cook together, or the times sitting and talking over a cup of tea or the morning walks through the village as I gaze in wonder at the immense Himalayas that hover overhead.
Biggest challenge: Language and the language barrier. I enjoy being sociable and not being able to talk to someone easily makes life very challenging.
When it comes to my faith: I've been seeing more and more that faith is something that is working itself out in me. Right now, the most I can say about my faith journey is that I must be humble and patient as I see God transforming my heart to reflect God's own heart and using me to embody the gospel 's message of good news to the poor.
To anyone who is considering SALT: I would say do it! But, I would also say be certain you have a humble heart to learn. We aren't professionals. We make mistakes. We don't know everything and oftentimes the people we are working with know much more about the cultural context and needs of a community than we do.
Learn more about SALT at salt.mcc.org - we're accepting applications for 2014-2015, so apply now or send this to friends or family who may be interested.