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MRC’s Olivia Longoria Returns from Mission Trip to Mayotte

Olivia and Lucas Longoria (pictured top, middle-left) with other members of the Apostolic Youth Corp and residents of Mamoudzou, Mayotte.

Volunteering and helping others is an integral part of MRC Management Analyst Olivia Longoria’s life, who works out of MRC’s Middletown, RI office supporting Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport Code 45 Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department programs. This passion to effect a positive change in the lives of others was clearly evident during a mission trip that Olivia and her husband, Lucas, recently returned from in the country of Mayotte.

Mayotte is a French territory located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeastern Africa between Madagascar and Mozambique. The country consists of two islands—the main island, Grande-Terre, and a smaller island, Petite-Terre. Olivia and Lucas had the opportunity to visit both islands from June 9th through the 19th, spending most of their time in the capital city of Mamoudzou, as part of the Apostolic Youth Corp (AYC).

View over the capital city of Mamoudzou.

Aerial view of the islands of Mayotte.

The AYC, which coordinates annual trips to approximately 15 to 20 destinations both domestic and abroad, is a branch of the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). Both Olivia and Lucas have worked in youth ministry for the last 8 years and currently serve as youth pastors in their local congregation. Lucas is also a licensed minister for the UPCI.

For Olivia and Lucas, this was their first trip with the AYC working to provide much needed evangelism assistance, helping the residents of Mayotte with establishing and expanding their own congregations, and serving within the country’s local communities.

When asked what inspired her and Lucas to take part in this year’s AYC event, Olivia said, “To get out of our comfort zone, gain a new perspective and learn that there’s more to the world than what we’ve previously seen, while also being able to help reach communities in need and connecting them to the gospel.”

Street views from the capital city of Mamoudzou.

One of the more notable projects that she and Lucas assisted with while in Mayotte involved setting up a new building for a small church in its infant stages, which included painting, removing debris, and cleaning and organizing classrooms for the children to have Sunday school.

Olivia and Lucas working alongside other members of the AYC to clean up a new church located in Mamoudzou.

Olivia and Lucas pictured with children and congregation members of Mamoudzou.

This incredible experience is likely one that Olivia and her husband will never forget. The positive contributions of their work with the AYC have not only helped benefit the lives of others but have had a life-changing impact on the couple as well. “We recommend everyone take the opportunity to travel to new places and experience a different culture,” says Olivia.

She concludes, “I am a strong believer that burden follows exposure and there is a perspective shift that happens when you take a trip like this. Gratitude flows more freely for the things around you that had previously been taken for granted once you realize how the majority of the world lives.”