Words are kind of my thing. I really love words. I love to learn new words. I love to teach words to others. If I need to express something, chances are I'll use words to do so. If I don't have the words to explain something, it's either a wonderful thing or a terrible thing.
Fortunately for me, in this instance, my lack of words is a wonderful thing.
The last week has been incredible. Life-changing. Beautiful. Redemptive. Overwhelming. Blessed. Joyful. Those are just a fraction of the words I could use to explain it, and yet, I feel as though I haven't given it it's due.
For some background information, on Christmas day, I moved down to Dumaguete City. Dumaguete is a small city (just a tad smaller than Charleston population wise) with a few universities. This means it is very young, fun, and connected, which has been really great for me. I have loved every moment of living here and have already made great new friends and had fun experiences.
Lots of things have made me quite certain that this move was the right decision for me, but this last week has solidified that for me.
A couple months ago, I got an email from the Associate Dean for Vocations at San Francisco Theological Seminary. This isn't unusual; she and I connected at the beginning of my YAV year to talk about my interest in SFTS. We email back and forth about once a month and she has become a good friend (Hi, Elizabeth!). This particular email was unusual only because it said this:
The President, Dean, and the trustee I mentioned are going to be at Silliman University in Dumaguete in February. When I told the trustee that you weren't too far from there (at least as I look on a map), he wondered if you'd be interested in attending a reception or something while they are there. I know Jim (the President), Jana (the Dean), and Adlai (the Trustee) would love to meet you. Jim is both President and Professor of Public Life. He worked at Bread for the World, a Christian anti-hunger lobbying organization, before coming to SFTS. I also found out when the Tuscon YAVs visited that he was instrumental in helping to found Borderlinks in Tuscon. Adlai currently works for Bread for the World himself. Jana is both Dean and our homiletics prof. One of her books is called "Birthing the Sermon," which does my feminist heart good. :-)
Umm, yes?! Invite me to ALL of the receptions! Oh, and PS… I live in Dumaguete now! Casual. I have been over the moon about this opportunity since Elizabeth told me about it, and it has finally happened. I can't stop shaking my head at the "coincidence" that people from SFTS are in the Philippines (much less the city I just moved to) while I am here. God's time… not mine.
|My thoughts after the fact...|
Again, I am lacking words adequate enough to describe how blessed I was to spend time with these women. I shared with them that meeting and getting to know them has been beyond inspirational. To see all of these women in power positions, making lasting change in the world… it's unreal. They each have really amazing stories and have all devoted their lives to making this world a better place. Seeing on a global scale all the things that PC(USA) does really solidified for me the desire to go to seminary and join their ministry as soon as possible.
|Snorkeling and chatting with Laurie Kraus, Coordinator for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.|
|Mallory and me with YAV recruiter, Emily Miller after a beautiful day on Apo Island!|
|I didn't get a picture with Mienda Uriarte (Asia/Pacific PC(USA) coordinator), but she is so adorable I had to include a picture of her anyway.|
|Church with Dr. Jana Childers this morning (Dean of SFTS)!|
|Mallory and me with Dr. Jana Childers, Dr. Jim McDonald, and Mr. Adlai Amor, from left to right. |
Dean, President, and a Trustee of SFTS, respectively.
|For me, this epitomizes the PC(USA) and all of the social justice work they do in the world. Emily and I both took pictures of it and claimed it for Facebook cover photos, teehee. It's too perfect!|
I can't thank y'all enough for your constant love, prayers, and support you're sending from across the globe! This week has been unparalleled and beautiful. I couldn't have gotten here without all of you back home and the people I've met along the way. Thank you for being you, and thank you most of all for caring.
I know I have talked about a lot of different people, programs, and organizations in this post. All of them are equally amazing and I wanted to give you an opportunity to check each of them out! Just click on the highlighted words of whatever you're interested in checking out.
First of all: San Francisco Theological Seminary!
Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program. (<< The program I am serving with!)
And for good measure, a short bio of my sweet friend and penpal Rev. Elizabeth McCord is at the bottom of this page.