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Strangers No More 2013 in retrospect: Leah Yoder

This summer Dutch Mennonite Mission organised  the fourth edition of Strangers No More in Guatemala. Leah Yoder from the USA joined Casas staff to go with the SNM13-group, particularly to assist in translating, however perfectly mingled in very soon as a full swing participant. She reflects here and gives her testimony.

As a participant and worker for the Strangers No More program, I found that the most valuable experiences came from spending time sharing, learning, and growing with others. Discussing different religious standpoints through the Joseph Story and sharing thoughts through analyzing the text was a beautiful experience. People from different walks of life, different cultures, and different understandings of the biblical text provided an environment of incredible spiritual growth for me.

Another aspect of the program that I appreciated came from traveling to various places in the country of Guatemala with the Strangers group. By the first week, we traveled to Antigua and spent time with the Mennonite youth, while constantly keeping our minds open to further spiritual growth. We then spent the next weekend in the beautiful lake town of Panajachel and explored the neighboring town of Santiago, while learning about Mennonite Central Committee\\\\\\\'s role in community development and peace building. The third weekend was spent in the region of Coban learning about indigenous Mennonite groups and toured a Mennonite school there. Throughout all of these traveling experiences, the Strangers group was able to share together and discuss their ideas and reflections.

I was very privileged to participate with such a wonderful group of individuals who were open and willing to help, support, and respect each other. Strangers No More was a truly unique experience in the sense that people from all over the world were able to meet and express themselves, while studying a valuable piece of scripture and traveling around the country learning about social justice. I believe that this program provides a life changing experience, expands biblical and cultural viewpoints, and is vital for the future growth of churches around the world.

Leah Yoder, USA