One of the many ways I am being remade this year is the process of becoming a global citizen. This shows up for me in my day-to-day life in various ways, but one of the most consistent times is when watching or reading the news.

I was traveling for the last two weeks without internet access, and for the first time in months I was not reading the daily headlines. Then, one day my fellow YAGM Rachel Swenson read us the BBC Headlines. Here is a short breakdown of the headlines that day:

1. South African President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home: For those of you who don’t know about this story, check out a background here. Essentially, the President of South Africa used a huge amount of government money to revamp his home for new “security measures” like a swimming pool. I have been discussing this story with my community for weeks now.

2. Malaysian plane missing: The instant I heard about MH370, my first thought was “Is Katrina flying back to Malaysia from Thailand today?” Katrina is a dear friend and fellow YAGM serving in Malaysia. My thoughts jumped, in rapid succession, to the other 9 YAGMs in Malaysia, and then immediately to their host communities, their churches, and their loved ones who might be affected.

3. Conflict and Peace Talks in Israel and Palestine: These stories never cease to make me think of Kevin, Kaitlyn, Abigail, Sarah, Nate, and Chelsey- the YAGMs serving in that area. As a Jewish person with loved ones in Palestine, I am finally starting to try to gain as much information as possible from both sides of this conflict. It is a daunting task full of heartache, but also there are glimmers of hope.

4. Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, and conflict: These stories make me think of Pastor Miriam, the country coordinator for the Central Europe YAGM Program. They also make me wonder how this will affect the YAGMs in Hungary. More pressing, however, is how the citizens of Ukraine are being affected.

5. House full of immigrants discovered in Texas: As an Arizona native, immigration is something I have been hearing about my entire life. Now, I hear about it from my fellow YAGMs in Mexico and their communities. It is an entirely different story being told than the one the media in Arizona tends to tell.

Eight months ago, if I was reading the BBC headlines, I would think about the international stories as affecting others, people who had no bearing on my personhood, and people who rarely had any lasting impact on my thoughts or prayers. I would have heard these headlines and not even flinched.

Last week, these headlines caused me stress and heartache. I was worried about my friends, of course, but also worried about the people all over the world affected by what happens every day in this broken humanity.

Now, I read headlines and pray and worry and wonder and dream of a better tomorrow. I no longer think of these stories as affecting others, but as affecting my brothers and sisters in this world we live in. We are all God’s children, and there is no excuse for the way we treat each other or ignore each other’s pain and suffering.

I am becoming a global citizen, and it means I will never react to the news the same way again.

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