Good morning, my name is Wendell Manuzon and I am a third year student at RJC.
I came to RJC with no idea of what I was getting myself into. I only had a few close friends who were attending RJC and I didn’t have a long connection to the school beforehand. During this time my perspective was limited and I didn’t have a good sense for what was in store for me in the future. What would happen when I walked through the doors as a student for the first time?
Coming to RJC was definitely a big transition and I remember how on registration day I was surrounded by so many new people. Even though it was a new place, I could perceive a sense of community and peacemaking that was present in the space. The inclusive and welcoming greetings that I received from student leaders and staff were overwhelming. I was blown away.
During my time at RJC, my understanding of myself, the world, and God increased significantly. I realized that I am a leader in my community and that my actions and words have an influence on others. An example of this was the first day of my Grade 10 retreat. I invited a classmate to come and join us, but she didn’t, so I went to sit with her. I was amazed when all of my classmates got up and joined. It’s relationships like those that have provided me with a base of support, encouragement, and stability.
Before coming to RJC I always thought that the world was big, but in reality the world is not as big as you think. RJC helped me make connections that built a sense of community across cities, provinces, and countries. During the Alternative Learning & Service Opportunities (ALSO) trips, I’ve come to realize that what we see on social media is different from what we see in real life. Unlike what the media shows us, the world is filled with problems like poverty and oppression. RJC showed me that people are looking for support all over the place, and we can offer it. Even if it’s just doing our little, it can make a huge impact.
This year my ALSO group went to Calgary. We got to visit the Calgary Chin Christian Church, which is connected to an ethnic community in relationship with Mennonite Church Alberta. We gathered together to share a meal and sing songs together. We also took time to get to know one another and learn about our stories and histories. I found that I was able to make real connections with people that I had never met before. It felt like we were part of one big extended family.
Another thing that happened during our ALSO trip this year, was a visit to the Banff Food Rescue. This organization gathers discarded food from grocery stores and makes it accessible to people experiencing poverty. Our group helped chop vegetables, organize products, run deliveries, and prep boxes. We were told that RJC students did about 3 months worth of work in just a few hours.
These two opportunities taught me important lessons about my faith. I learned to do my little, and to use my efforts to try and make a positive change in the world. I learned that poverty is not uncommon, and we have a responsibility towards others. I learned that by getting to know someone and their story, we can find that we have more in common that we might realize.
I had no idea what to expect when I first came to RJC. I never would have guessed that my sense of self, the world, and God would grow in the way that it did.
I now feel more confident in who I am, where I belong, and the impact I want to have on the world.
This reflection was written by Wendell Manuzon and delivered at the 2022 Graduation Baccalaureate Worship Service at Rosthern Mennonite Church on June 26, 2022.