Hello! My name is Grace Longo and I am so excited to serve as a Mission Youth missionary this coming year! I would love to invite you to walk alongside me on this adventure and join me in making a difference for Christ. Not only in the lives of those I will be ministering to, but maybe most especially in my life and walk with Jesus!
God has called me to serve our brothers and sisters who are in the deepest, most desolate, and what seems to be the most hopeless situations. The most specific place he has called me to serve, and where I will be spending the majority of my time, is in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. This year will be filled with service and spiritual formation so I can more effectively share God’s impact in my life as a missionary for Christ right here locally! I have a pretty crazy and in-depth story about how Jesus has transformed my life and how this specific call came about. I would love to share it with you sometime, but for now, here is a small glimpse into that story.
All my life I have always known that whatever my path ended up being, I wanted to work with and help people no matter what. Connecting with people on a deep level has always been one of my greatest joys, and where I could fully use the gifts God has given me. Little did I know that this love for connection and encounter with people would lead to this journey I am on now.
“I cannot believe this place is 30 minutes from our house.” These were the first words I spoke to my dad after coming home from my first time being in Kensington.
The first time I served there, I knew my life would never be the same. I have never seen anything like what I saw. The amount of brokenness and horrific things that were in front of me physically made my heart hurt in a way I will never be able to explain in words. The only way to explain this place is that it is a third world country that is only 30 minutes from where I live, and that is completely overlooked and forgotten.
This incredibly strong compassion was placed on my heart that day that I have never felt before. This deep compassion and genuine love for the people we encounter has been stirring my heart since that day and continues to be the driving force that is sending me on this mission. There is a deep gratitude that comes from being in Kensington that is like nothing I have ever known before. And most of all, even in a place of such desolation and despair, I have never experienced more joy. Kensington and the people I have encountered there have transformed my heart and changed my life in ways that I never could have imagined.
And now I have an opportunity to go back there and truly show Jesus’ Love for them. And you do too if you are called to join me as a supporter in this mission!
Mission Youth Philly’s mission is to truly encounter people through conversation that eventually leads to prayer and a true connection that will never be able to be forgotten. It is not looking at the people on the streets as our charity case, or in any way below us, or turning away in pride or disgust. It is seeing the eyes of Jesus through the eyes of these souls…the people who are too high that they can barely stand up straight, the women who are barely dressed as they wait on the corner to have their dignity stripped away, the teenagers that are dealing more than they are home, the woman with so many needle scars from injections that her arm is ripped to shreds, the woman who is so thin from lack of nourishment that all you see is skin and bones, the little kids that just want attention and love and will do anything for it…all of them, Jesus. Every Last One.
This mission is not to fix them and the situations they are in, but to love them where they are. To show them that they are deeply loved and cared about and sought after. To bring back dignity simply through a conversation. That is the mission. That will change more lives than just a plate of food alone. To feed the bodies and the souls, that is our call as missionaries.
To not just talk about Jesus all the time, but to be Him. As a missionary this is one of the greatest and most important things I have learned, and what I strive for: To be Jesus to the people we encounter, before His name is ever spoken. To love as He loves, listen as He listens, serve as He serves. It is not me alone that can love the people we serve and give them what they truly need. It is only Jesus who can love them perfectly and speak to their heart in His profound way. My greatest desire, and the fuel to this fire and call to the mission is this: To truly, genuinely, authentically, deeply love people and point them to the love of God, not by what we say, but what we do and how we live.
“Live with Jesus, so that you may live for Jesus.” – Mother Teresa
The Vision: To Create a Culture of Encounter with Christ while serving our brothers and sisters in Kensington. This will be lived out in the following ways:
Please prayerfully consider being part of my support team to help make this vision become a reality!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for being open to help me along this journey. Know that you will be in my prayers!
God Bless You!
P.S. If you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will keep you updated on our work in Kensington and my spiritual journey. Also, please always feel free to email me with any prayer requests you may have!