Thursday, May 13, 2010

The challenges for now. =)

This is my first post of what will be many, I'm sure!

Today I finished my last final at Muhlenberg and I am now DONE with my undergraduate education! =) It's strange because in past years, when I would get to this point, I would have plenty to think about in terms of the summer, the next year of academics, which friends were living where, etc. But now, all I can think about is that I'm leaving!

For an entire year, I'll be away from my family and closest friends. I'll be serving with the Young Adults in Global Mission Program of the ELCA in SOUTH AFRICA! The process of discernment that led me to this decision was so tumultuous and so uncertain. But, when I left the YAGM discernment event back in April, I knew this placement was right for me. That weekend, I found out how easy it would be to trust the people working with the Global Mission Unit of the church. The people in Chicago and around the world working with YAGMs are so invested in the program and so committed to the vision of the church in the world.

What especially attracts me to Global Mission service with the church is their model for mission: accompaniment. Serving is not about going abroad and "fixing" what is "wrong". It's about living and serving in a new context. Learning to slow down and be present with other people who are also part of God's story. I'm so excited for the opportunity to live and serve in a completely new place. =)

SO- the challenge now has been, and continues to be the following:

Preparing my family and friends...
This has been so hard for me. It's incredibly difficult to articulate a sense of call to some people who just don't understand. Also, even if people do understand, it's still hard to say goodbye to them and reassure them that it will go quickly and I won't be completely MIA for the year.

Raising financial and personal support...
It's been so fun telling people about my awesome plans! The more I discuss it, the more excited I get!! Plenty of people have asked to be on my mailing list for monthly newsletters. I've also had some offers of financial support. The challenge though is learning how to ask and inviting people to be a part of my adventure. =)It costs the ELCA about $10,000 to send one YAGM abroad for a year. Each volunteer is asked to raise about $4,000 of support. It will be interesting. But God has led me thusfar through this process and I have faith that it all will fall together.

Basically those are my two main challenges now. Also, it's a constant struggle to keep myself in check and keep from letting my imagination (worry, mostly) run away with me! I just keep remembering the path I took to get this far and I'm constantly assured that this is right. =)

Thanks for reading!! Can't wait to travel this road with you all!!