Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Orientation has come and gone.  I feel so ready and so completely unready all at the same time.  Ready to finally embark on this journey that had been the vision of the last 2 years, but still wondering how I will even begin to figure out what accompaniment, God's mission, solidarity, and the several other values that I now hold so dearly to my heart look like on the ground.  

We hop on a shuttle to the Chicago O'Hare airport at 6am to board a flight headed to Seoul, South Korea before landing in Kota Kinabalu on the 23rd.  One week of Orientation in KK and then we are off to the big city of Kuala Lumpur for 2 weeks of intensive Malay language classes.  Tonight I go to bed filled with the blessings that this week has been and the support of the loving communities who have stood alongside me through my life.  Thank you for filling me.  

This past week we heard so many inspiring words it is hard to share just a few, but these particularly struck me.   

“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.

I want to repeat one word for you:
Leave.

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”  Donald Miller
     

Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the state of Sabah (on the island of Borneo to the East), which is where I will be spending my year. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

New Beginnings

Hiya family, friends, and those friends I haven’t met yet! It’s so good to have you hear with me.  Lately I have been feeling a lot like eggs, the scrambled sort--kind of all over the place, doing the best to serve the situation at hand.  Today, marks the end of one crazy summer. 
This past year I graduated Gonzaga University with an Economics degree looking forward to embarking on a year of mission with a program called YAGM with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  I found out about this program after my sophomore year and have been drawn to it ever since.  This blog is dedicated to that adventure.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  This summer I spent working as a backpacking guide in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado at a place that has become more of a home than anything else.  And I was excited for another summer of ministry: working with kids, getting into silly shenanigans, blessed conversation, great hiking, and powerful worships.  
At the end of the first week of camp I found out that my house burned down in the Black Forest Fire.  While I am not sure my family or myself are necessarily removed enough to write with perspective on the event, the outpouring of support we felt is hard to communicate.  Community, and more than that, family, became larger than life in that first trembling week which was so much guess work.  And while some days are still difficult, I can’t imagine a better place to be than camp that has always enveloped me in love and been so instrumental to how I see myself today.  And so an amazing summer continued full of good people who taught me more than they will ever know.  It seemed like a blink of an eye.  
            And now that brings me to present a girl sitting in a Starbucks in Chicago mulling over the past, the present, and the future.  As we have sang many times already this week, I invite you now to walk with me: “Hamba Nathi mkululu weku, Come walk us the journey is long.”