I’m not even there yet but. . . I’m feeling at peace. Este momento. This is the moment. The past seven months have been spent questioning “Is this right for me at this time in my life?” “Will this challenge me?” “What would if look like if I did x, y or z instead?” “How can I be the best version of me?”
Last July I returned home under duress: Moving back after 4 years away wasn’t ideal as a 22-year old hungry for the world. My dreams were too vast for my small town surroundings, and I struggled to find a way to make my love for New Wilmington and my love for exploration coexist.
Then a light went off one morning in church as I was making notes in the margin of my Bible. A friend from Westminster was giving her “moment for mission” announcement after having served a year in New Orleans, LA and preparing for another year in South Korea as a (Y)oung (A)dult (V)olunteer through the Presbyterian Church (USA).
I’d always known I had a heart for volunteer work since my first mission trip when I was 14. It showed me how love is a universal language across cultures and continents; It made me understand what it means to be a Christian in a tangible way. So as I was searching for something that would align my passions and gifts with a career – something fulfilling and challenging in whatever that calling may be – the YAV program kept coming back to me week after week after week. It took me months before I could move forward (because I eagerly started the process a tad too early!), but after various applications and difficult decisions, deferring graduate school and pursuing this hopeful desire, I flew down to Arkansas to be interviewed for my international site choices: Northern Ireland/Scotland and South Korea (I’d already completed interviews with Boston, New Orleans and Asheville). It was a moment for trust, patience, and faith. I rested my mind in the surroundings of the beautiful, albeit rainy Ferncliff Camp, and found comfort in the support of fellow YAV applicants and alumni that were slowly becoming another family of sorts.
To my utmost surprise and excitement, I was selected for the Northern Ireland/Scotland team for 2015-16! I will be working part-time in a local congregation, and part-time with community service and non-profit organizations within my neighborhood (Belfast or Glasgow). Once I am officially placed in a country, I will have A LOT more official information about the specific work I will be doing as well as information in regards to fundraising for my year of service (minimum of $4,000 raised per international volunteer for a year of service).
For those unfamiliar with YAV or programs of a similar nature, the easiest way to explain what I’m doing is to think of it like the Peace Corps, except it’s 1-year long, funded by the Church instead of the government, and has a strong emphasis on building a faith-based community within the volunteers’ home and neighborhood while making connections to my home country and church. For more details about the program, here is the YAV website:
Never did I think I would be so fortunate to keep returning to a place that has changed so much in my life, with a chance to turn the tables and make a difference in others’. The UK has become another sort of home that I’ve been continually lead back to, and I can’t wait to see how my roots overseas will become fruitful during this next phase of life.
Este momento. This is the moment. Thank you so much to everyone who has already been an incredible support system during this process; I can’t wait to start this adventure and share my stories with you!!