[Masthead] Rain ~ 43°F  
High: 47°F ~ Low: 40°F
Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Cherokee woman integral part of a 'Radical Journey'

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bethany Beier of Cherokee is pictured here with Pakistani students from the Farnham Primary School. Beier spent nearly a year in Bradford, England as part of her latest Missionary Trip. She had the opportunity to learn and teach about cross-cultural learning. Photo contributed
Bethany Beier of Cherokee is not new to mission work. In 2007 she spent time in Uganda, Africa with school children learning about the Bible. Her latest trip began on Aug. 26, 2010, when she left her life here in Iowa and spent nearly a year in Bradford, England.

When most people think of missionary work, they think of countries in Africa or South America. So why a mission trip to England?

It turns out that in recent years England has had an influx of people from Pakistan. A majority of those Pakistanis are of the Muslim faith. Beier became involved with the Mennonite Mission Network's "Radical Journey" Program.

Radical Journey sends teams of young adults to explore what God is doing in the world and to get involved. The program is simply about cross cultural learning, service and spiritual information. It is hoped that these young adults can inspire other cultures along with our own.

No boundaries Bethany Beier is pictured here with some of her fun-loving students from the Farnham Primary School in England while out on a school outing. While in England, Bethany helped local churches with youth activities and volunteering in classrooms at the local primary school. Photo contributed
The team of young adults that Beier was a part of in England helped local churches with youth activities and volunteering in classrooms at the local primary school.

Beier, 22, said that she worked three to five days a week at the Farnham Primary School in 2GN, year two class, as well as in the Year 3 and Year 1 classes. Year 2 is like a first grade level of education in the United States.

"Living in Bradford, England gave me the opportunity to experience two cultures, British and Pakistani Muslim. The area in which I lived was predominantly Pakistani Muslim and my school was 99.9 percent Muslim, even though it was a British school," Beier said.

"A lot of times when I would go out, it felt more like Pakistan rather than England. Every Sunday there was a huge open-air market in our neighborhood," added Beier.

Beach bound - Bethany Beier, along with a group of girls from the school where she volunteered in England, are pictured along the English coastline during a trip to the beach. Photo contributed
She quickly discovered what she never thought she would, "I loved the Pakistani food. Another thing I liked about eating with the Pakistani friends was the fact that they don't use silverware. I got to eat rice with my hands, but only the right hand, the left hand is considered to be 'unclean,'" commented Beier.

"One thing I am glad I am able to share with people back here is that the Muslim's are people just like we are. I never felt unsafe and actually felt more welcomed by them than some of the British people I met. They told me out front that they wanted to get to know me for who I was, not by what they had heard or knew about "America" and Americans. I felt the same about them as well," said Beier.

"God taught me a lot about not judging people by a label they have been given. If I would have, I wouldn't have the wonderful friendships I have now with these people. It has been exiting to receive phone calls from them already," stated Beier.

"Because of the length of time I lived in England it was possible for me to make such good friendships. It became my own life. Shopping, cooking, having people over to my house, sharing meals with many different families, getting involved in different churches and even helping out a single mom to teach her twins how to swim," she added.

"The Muslims respected me because of my lifestyle and the way I live, which gave me the opportunity to be invited to their homes," said Beier.

Beier arrived back home on July 11 and is readjusting to life in Northwest Iowa. She works at her family's business delivering flowers from Rhoadside Blooming House. She admitted that life here is not as fast-paced as city life but she's really glad to be back home. "I like a small town were everyone knows one another," stated Beier.

Her adventure is not quite over just yet. Beier is planning on sharing her experiences with the public on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Oakdale Evangelical Free Church. She will be giving her presentation at 7 p.m. This is an opportunity for many Iowans to learn about two different cultures from one of its own.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: