After graduating from McKinney High School in 2007 and Texas Christian University in 2012, Whitney Peters is serving through the Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church in Managua, Nicaragua.
Whit’s “Repurpose with a Purpose” is an online auction that will be live until Sept. 22 with donated items on sale to raise money for this McKinney native as she continues her service until 2015.
“She really gets to be a part of the community she’s in,” said her mother, Cindy Peters. “She has met people from all walks of life and made lifelong friends with the Nicaraguans as well. She has never said ‘I am homesick, I want to come home’, never looked sad. She has never looked scared; she has been really kind of amazing, kind of inspiring.”
Because her favorite shopping destinations have always been resale shops and since she has learned how few possessions are owned by those she serves, the auction consists of donated items. Whitney is responsible for raising $6,800 for her mission fund by the end of her service. This goal, however, has been made much more attainable with the help of family friends and this community. “When she first left, two things happened that were kind of amazing,” her mother said. A group of families has committed itself to paying Whitney’s college loans while she is away and another friend has hosted a party to collect donations.
“All of my friends have already done so much,” her mother said. “[The auction] has been kind of fun. It is a bunch of kitschy, kind of weird things. People can also just click and donate 5 bucks or something if they want to support her. The main thing she wants is prayers and support.”
The mission Whitney is a part of also requires her to serve for 1.5 years in the United States after her 1.5 years abroad in a similar area. Despite staying in areas with no running water or electricity, Whitney has remained resolute in her passion and commitment.
“When she comes back in February, she will then turn around and go to a Spanish speaking community that is poverty stricken in the United States,” her mother said. “That’s what I like about the mission, people serving abroad, but they are still coming back and serving here. The hardest thing is, when she is talking about coming home in February, she’s not happy about coming home. She doesn’t want to leave her community there. She just loves people and wants to take care of people.”
Whitney’s first job abroad was to host, plan and schedule missionaries who want to serve in Nicaragua. She works for ACM, or Accion Medica Christiana, an independent charity that brings to the members of the community information about sanitation, access to clean water, medical clinics and dental teams. The organization also demonstrates model farming to people who cannot eat or find food to teach them to provide for themselves and show them how to use land.
“Whitney has visited those areas, so now for the next six months, she is going to go to all those little areas and kind of be a journalist,” her mother said. “She is going to take notes, interview people, take pictures and figure out where it’s working and not working and what else they need.”
While able to stay in touch with McKinney friends and family through Skype and email, Whitney has made friends with other missionaries from Norway, Canada and elsewhere. After completing a three week training session in New York prior to departing, Whitney was sent to locations around the world, living up to the mission’s motto of “everyone from everywhere.” This journey for her, however, began long before that.
“She has been touched by poverty and people in distress since she was 12,” her mother said. “And as she grew up, she always had that good heart about caring for those who were less fortunate. She knew she wanted to be a missionary. When she graduated from TCU with her teaching degree, it was a year when they were laying off teachers and not hiring teachers. She served as an intern youth minister while in school at University Christian Church and then at our church in McKinney and was biding her time until they were maybe hiring here in the school district. Then she thought ‘This is the time to do it; I think I need to join the missions.’”
Whitney has had an impact beyond those she serves in Nicaragua. Her family, with an older sister and a younger brother, too has benefitted from the story of her commitment to serving others.
“We obviously miss her terribly, but we are really proud and it has made us appreciate the simple things more,” her mother said. “We’ve actually downsized our home, simplified things, and gotten rid of a lot of things. Little things don’t bother me anymore; I don’t sweat the small stuff. It has made me more aware of the Hispanic community and made me want to learn Spanish and reach out to people here more. It has changed us all a lot.”