Joseph Bradley, a mission intern with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, initially served with the Cambodia Mission Initiative in Southeast Asia, and then with Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) in Southeastern Michigan.
Mission interns serve half of their three-year terms in international assignments and half in domestic settings. Joseph was commissioned in October 2009.
The Cambodia Mission Initiative represents the collaborative work of five Methodist mission organizations, and is moving toward an autonomous Methodist denomination. JFON is a church-based, grassroots program that welcomes immigrants into communities by providing high quality legal and educational services. It has roots in the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and operates through local or regional networks of professionals and volunteers.
From White Oak, Texas, in the Texas Annual Conference, Joseph was raised in the First United Methodist Church of Ore City, the congregation in which both his mother and grandmother grew up. He became familiar with all aspects of church life and was drawn to the concept and reality of ministry. "I thought at the time that it would be pulpit ministry," he recalls, "but as I got older I began looking more at mission work."
Joseph attended Lon Morris College, a two-year United Methodist-related school in Jacksonville, Texas, and then enrolled in the University of Texas at Tyler, before going on to the University of Houston, and completing his academic work in mid-2009. Along the way he served as youth director at his congregation in Ore City, as a local pastor in 2004, and as youth director in churches in Jacksonville and Katy, Texas.
"My call to mission was a direct result of being at a United Methodist junior college," he says. "Through the church careers program and with the help of the chaplain, I started breaking down my gifts and grace, and what I was passionate about. I view things on a very global scale, and have always been conscious of others.
The part of the gospel I see most clearly is that in which Jesus talks about going into the world and helping others."
Participation in volunteer mission trips helped Joseph to confirm his call.
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