Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A New Journey Begins

I was so excited to write this blog and now that I've sat down to start I am overwhelmed! I am blessed to be part of a program called Young Adults in Global Mission  (YAGM) through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). There are eight countries that YAGM sends young adults to serve in for a years time. This past weekend I met 65 other YAGMs in Williams Bay, WI for a time of discernment, interview, and placement.

The weekend had an interesting start for most of us with nearly every flight to Chicago cancelled at least once. My 7:05 AM flight to Chicago was cancelled as I was waiting to check in at 5:45 AM. Instantly, I called the appropriate people with YAGM and decided to reroute to Milwaukee via Minneapolis. By the time this was all figured out, I had to run through the Omaha airport (soooo huge!), rush through security, and just barely make it on to my flight. While waiting for the instructions to turn off all electronic devices I texted everyone who needed to know I made it on the flight and my dear friend, Jess. Jess lives in Minneapolis and I wanted to let her know that even if we could not see each other we would be "close". As soon as we landed I turned on my phone to see several messages from Jess telling me to call her and not get on my next flight. It turns out Jess worked her magic while I was in the air and arranged for me to ride with Jenna B, her friend, classmate, and future YAGM. After arguing with Delta about not getting on my next flight I left the airport and was greeted by Jess. What a wonderful start to my weekend! Jenna B came to pick me up from Jess's apartment and we were off. We started as strangers but after a five hour drive it was like we have been best friends for years.

I continued to meet wonderful people all throughout the weekend. It is beautiful to be in a room full of 65 young adults who desire to make a difference in the world. We aren't going to just sit in that room and talk about it...we are going to go out and do something! Sure, we will not change the world in a year but we will make a difference. Even if the difference is just within ourselves. Heidi, the program director, often said, "We are going to mess you up this next year so you can come back and mess with the Church". Take that as your warning. This next year I'm going to get messed up. I am so ready to embrace it.

I will spend the next year in Madagascar, Africa with six other YAGMs and two amazing country coordinators. If you are like everyone I have told so far I am sure you have questions. In the coming months and year I will work to answer all of those. For now, we all need some time to process.

I cannot wait to spend this year with the YAGM community, the Madagascar community, and the community I will leave back in the States. Thank you for your support! You'll hear more from me soon as this new journey begins.

Jess and I outside her apartment in Minneapolis. 

The outstanding community of young adults otherwise known as YAGM 2013-2014!