Katrina Canfield [BA, 2001] isn’t fearless, but she’s not scared either. The Anderson resident believes so strongly in helping others that she’s decided to spend a year witnessing to people in the inner city of Atlanta, America’s 17th most dangerous city, according to the 2006 report by the Morgan Quitno Press, a company that rates city safety [Editor's note: Katrina most recently served Anderson University as resident director of Rice Hall].
It’s not that the statistics don’t faze her, it’s just that she isn’t going let them stop her from doing what she believes is right.
“My husband and I are always interested in doing mission work,” Canfield said. “When the opportunity arose we felt it was something we were called to do. To work with inner city missions. I’m not sure what to expect, it will definitely be a learning experience. It can be a little bit overwhelming, but we’re really excited.”
Katrina and her husband, Troy, are quitting their jobs and leaving their old lives behind to start something new in Atlanta.
They’ll be in a new city, living with another married couple as part of their mission trip through the national group Mission Year and will likely find themselves part of a small minority.
“I think it will definitely be challenging,” Katrina said. “I’ve been on mission trips before, but those were only for a short period of time like a couple of weeks. We’re going to have to adjust to a totally new culture. We’ll be the minorities there and will probably be more aware of being white than we’ve ever had to before.”
Katrina doesn’t let those factors stop her either because she loves experiencing new things and taking on new challenges. That’s why she has enjoyed going on mission trips all over the world from the slums of Jamaica, to Guatemala, to China, where she taught English.
“I think just anytime you are introduced to a different culture it makes you aware of yourself,” she said. “Our view is so small. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives in America and forget there are other people out there (who need help). I’ve been blessed to experience a lot of different cultures. I love to get to know people’s stories.”
Katrina and Troy will live in the inner city to make connections with neighbors and community members and to help them with physical and spiritual needs. Mission Year is a non denominational Christian mission group that helps people in cities all across America.
In order to help her prepare for her mission starting in September, Katrina began helping out at the Christian Center Rescue Ministries a couple of weeks ago. She hopes her experiences working with poor and homeless people will give her some added perspective when she goes to the low-income inner city of Atlanta.
Katrina knows she’s taking a risk, but she hopes the experience is one that changes her life for the better.
“I just kind of always felt in my heart that God wanted me to do some sort of mission work,” Katrina said. “And my husband felt the same way and it just seemed like OK, this is the time to do it. To some people it might seem dumb to quit our jobs and let go of financial security, but going on this mission is something we felt we couldn’t not do.”
She joined Mission Year because she fully believes in their motto: Love God. Love people. Nothing Else Matters. She’s letting her actions prove that.
--Gabe Khouli is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Story re-published with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.