Saturday, July 20, 2013

Traveling, Training and Tying Up Loose Ends Pt. 1

Before I begin this post, I just want to apologize for immense amount of time that has passed since my last post. True story, my computer died after five long years of writing, browsing and rocking out. RIP Macbook, I will never forget you.

On the bright side, my family has come together to repair a slightly used computer for me to take abroad. Talk about clutch! This will certainly make life easier when it comes to keeping you updated via my wonderful blog.

SO, what have I been up to? On June 15, all volunteers of the Young Adult Service Corps met up in New York for a two-week training session that covered everything from cross-cultural understanding to the power and necessity of prayer. There was even karaoke involved. The majority of the training took place at Stony Point Retreat Center, however we took frequent trips into the city.

Some highlights: During our first week in New York, we took a trip to the headquarters of the National Episcopal Church where we met with the leaders of our church. Here is a photo of me with the Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori. Incredibly humble, incredibly inspiring in words and demeanor.

Another day in training, we took a visit to the Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York. The historic building and its grounds were stunning. The large brick structure sits on 26 acres and overlooks the Hudson River. In an Ashevillian sense of irony, it also lies just across the river from a Vanderbilt Mansion. The monks there were extremely welcoming and inspiring. It was refreshing to meet people who were living out their relationship with God to the fullest extent. These monks are allowed no possessions and they make no money. They live to serve God and their community. They live very modest lives that are very different from our own, and yet they are fulfilled. I hope I can achieve this type of fulfillment during my mission and beyond. Here is a picture of our group outside the monastery.

Team Asia looking mighty dapper.

In short, the training session was amazing. It was great to catch up with all the volunteers that I hadn't seen since February. One thing that stood out over the training was the amount of spiritual growth that each individual had sustained since our last meeting in Florida. Much like myself, everyone had grown up so much just from returning to their homes after discernment weekend and talking through their call to mission with family and loved ones. Discerning this call was no easy task. Think about the difficulty of actually living out this call! Looking around at training, I appreciated the transformation of each person in the group. Then I asked, "Who will we be a year from now?" The answer frightens me and exhilarates me at the same time. Who will I be a year from now? How will this program change me?

I can't wait to find out.

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