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Sep 15, 2017 | Paulette E. Martin

Texas Hispanic to Serve in The Episcopal Church’s Young Adult Service Corps

Aspen Gomez, 24, grew up around non-profit organizations and spent most of her free time helping others.  Her father, an activist and the Rev. Ed Gomez, was the executive director of El Buen Samaritano in Austin and is currently the vicar at San Pablo/St. Paul’s, Houston. When she learned about the Episcopal Church’s Young Adult Service Corps through her parents, Gomez did not hesitate to apply.

Gomez, along with eight other young adults between 21 and 30, have made a spiritual commitment to one year of international mission and will and serve in communities around the Anglican Communion. Gomez is the first member of the Diocese of Texas to be part of YASC.

Beginning this month, Gomez will serve at Hogar Escuela in San Jose, Costa Rica. The program of the Episcopal Diocese of Costa Rica offers support to mothers who are heads of household and need assistance with their children while they are at work. 

“I was completely overjoyed to be selected,” Gomez said. “I’ve always wanted to serve abroad and felt so honored to have been chosen to do so.”

“YASC is an opportunity to live out your baptismal covenant, to seek and serve Christ in all people and love your neighbors as yourself, even the ones you haven’t met,” said Grace Flint, program officer for YASC.

Along with their daily duties, each YASC missionary is required to write a blog detailing their service, reflections and adventures to encourage others in their host dioceses as well as at home.

Gomez, a University of Houston alumni, served as a bilingual matching specialist for Big Brothers, Big Sisters—a nonprofit organization that provides mentors to at-risk youth. She was also a volunteer for the Houston Food Bank, helped FEMA during Hurricane Ike and worked with the youth department at Ripley House. She said the process of applying to YASC wasn’t an easy one.

“The application contained several essay questions that were very thought-provoking and centered on our thoughts and experiences of multicultural work,” Gomez said.

Once she was accepted to the program, she attended a week-long discernment program in New York with the other YASC missioners to make sure the program was right for them. Each YASC missionary has to raise $10,000 to cover half of their annual expenses while in the program and their fundraising first began with their bishops’ permission.

“I talked with Bishop Doyle and explained what I will be doing in Costa Rica,” Gomez said. “He thanked me and donated very generously to my campaign.” 

Gomez also visited churches, sent out emails and letters to friends and family to raise the needed funds. She created a gofundme page, but still needs help meeting her goal. To learn more about Gomez and her mission in Costa Rica or to help meet her $10,000 goal, visit: www.gofundme.com/Aspen-GoYASC.

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