Hello human friends! So, lots of my non-Presbyterian peeps have been asking me “So you’re doing what?” “Woah, why are you going to do that?” “Isn’t it cold in Scotland?” “Wait, do they speak English there?” (Ugh, WHY ARE Y’ALL LIKE THIS???)
The YAV description of what YAVs do is as follows:
- Volunteer alongside local partners in sites across the United States and the world.
- Engage in root causes of poverty, reconciliation and holistic witness to the Gospel.
- Participant in intentional Christian community with fellow YAVs and local partners.
- Explore vocational discernment to articulate your passions, label your talents & live into God’s call.
My pastor, Craig, asked me to share how the Holy Spirit is working in my life with my congregation. I think it expresses in words some of what I’m expecting out of my year and what brought me to this point. I attempted reading this in church a few weeks ago, however, I turned into a blubbering hot mess (as I get older, I’m getting a lot more emotional, but that’s a blog post for another day…)
Discern (verb.) – to perceive or recognize, to distinguish with difficulty by sight or with other senses.
This is a new word that has been added to my vocabulary these past few months. “Discerning or answering God’s call.” What the heck does that even mean? Should I be listening for some ominous voice yelling my name? “EKAMA GO DO THIS THING!” I’m not going to lie, the notion of God actually speaking to me makes me feel uncomfortable. I mean, who am I that God should be speaking to me?
This notion that I’m not good enough to receive God’s words has been almost shattered as I’ve entered into this journey to become a Young Adult Volunteer. I first heard about the YAV program almost 6 years ago at Triennium. I thought “cool,” I’d love to serve for a year and do some community service for a year. As time moved on and I thought more about ways I could serve my community and programs that could help me achieve this goal, the YAV program was always one of my options.
I think that being able to serve someone is both a privilege and a responsibility. A privilege in that it is something special that not everyone can do. And a responsibility because I am in a privileged position in society. I’m a part of the most educated 1/3rd, I have support both socially and financially from my family and the many communities that I am a part of. I believe that my privileges grant me a responsibility to serve. I can hopefully serve those who are different from me. And also serve those who are members of the marginalized communities that I share something in common with. But most importantly, I can serve those whom I have the ability to help.
That I am at this place in my life, and I have this opportunity HAS to be a God thing. It has to be God, literally knocking right on my forehead, “EKAMA GO DO THIS THING!” No other explanation makes sense. It’s not that I think this will be a really cool opportunity, it probably will be. Not that I really want to travel, exploring the world has always been something that I’ve been passionate about. Not that I want to see how to merge my passion for social justice and my personal and professional lives, if I can do that, it would be awesome. It HAS to be that God is calling me to serve so that I can be able to do some of these things. Getting into that mindset has been a huge turning of my world.
I’ve literally grown up in this space. Trinity is my home. It is here that I have grown deeper in my faith. I have asked myself “what does it mean for this millennial to be a follower of Christ in 2016?” “Is being a Christian something that’s even important for me, and some of the goals I have for myself?” I’m not sure what the answers to these questions are, and I’m also aware that I may not ever get these questions answered, or be able to vocalize them in a way that will feel good enough to share with others. But I feel very comforted knowing that I get to spend the next year, in a new place, and try and find some answers. And not only that, I’m entering this amazing YAV community, of other like-minded young people, exploring these questions together. That’s totally a God-thing.
Society has kind of created this space for young people to transition into adulthood (Here’s a list of famous people who’ve taken gap years). It looks different everywhere. It could be a backpacking trip to a new place, lengthy community service commitments, military service. I think especially because of perceptions of young people, these spaces are super important. I’m excited (and equally terrified) for my YAV year. I’m excited for this space to explore what the universe has in store for me.
I’ll leave you with another summer-themed playlist. There’s some keys, Collins, and some new stuff I’ve been introduced to this summer. Enjoy!!