Seeing Friends

One of the best things about being home as long as I have been is I have seen lots of friends from the past who I haven’t seen in a year or more.

About a week ago I was online rather late (a product of many of my shifts at work ending at midnight) when a good friend from college messaged me on gchat. I thought he was in England but in fact he was in New York and was coming up to Boston for the summer the very next day!  He needed a place to stay for the week before his apartment opened up; it was not hard to invite him to stay at my house for the week.

It is a small miracle that we have found ourselves in the same city at the same time. He has traveled even more than me in the past two years. A short list of places he has been includes Trinidad, Guatemala, Rwanda, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom. While we often spent long stretches in college not meeting up, over the course of 4 years took a number of classes together and usually maintained contact of some kind. While we come from very different backgrounds : he is a Jamaican pentecostal from New York City and I am a Evangelical New England-bred suburbanite, our faith was our unifying factor at a school that in a word is unspiritual.

It is great to shoot the breeze with old friends from school. Reminiscing about old classmates, professors and little things that only attenders of the school would know is lots of fun and we did that all week, often going to bed sometime after 1 AM each evening . But the really great thing was to discuss how through our experiences and travels our faith has grown, matured and changed. We are not the same people from years past and it was fantastic to  flesh out what we believe and why we believe it now. At the same time we were able to be honest with each other about struggles, doubts and annoyances we had with our respective faith traditions and how we have wrestled with those things.

Let there be no doubt, I am ready to head to Europe and embrace all that God has for me there but I wouldn’t trade moments I’ve had at home with friends like I’ve had this past week for anything in the world.

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Why not do something different?

I was in church yesterday morning. While I was chilling in my pew I overheard two ladies talking to themselves about one of their sons graduating from college this week. The excitement of that event was tempered with their exclamations that “there are no jobs out there! Nothing!”

As I sat there listening (eavesdropping?) all I could think was why not do something different? I thought about my experience in the two years since I graduated college and thought, wow things have turned out pretty awesome for me. Thanks God.

Here is how I see it. The Mormon’s, proud purveyors of an angel named “moron”i, actually got something right. All their young adults go on a 1-2 year trips overseas to serve. Now I’m not about making things that aren’t doctrine mandatory, but I would recommend doing a one year stint abroad to any budding high school or college graduate.  This terrible economy just makes you have less of an excuse not to do it.

I think too often we are pigeonholed into doing what we think we should do and not what we want to do. For example a lot of my friends are slaving away in grad school, thinking that’s what they need to get the good job to bring in the big bucks. Now that’s great and works for some, but for me, totally unappealing. I like to learn and I know I’m going to enjoy teaching but academia as a whole, I’m not a huge fan.

Now a lot of people (I think) act like myself going to South Africa was this big huge thing. Christians think I’m really dedicated to God or something and my secular friends wish they had an excuse to travel like that, but mostly think I’m crazy. This is how twisted society has made our perceptions of what is acceptable for young adults to do.

Let me put it this way which I think will make sense to both Christians and non-Christians alike. I did an unpaid internship for a year in another country. I served God and people. I took academic style classes, learning about my religion and how it relates to the world. I learned about multiple cultures and how to interact within them. I found out more about myself as a person. I ran with zebras. I parlayed my year abroad into another more job-like experience in the Czech Republic (which starts in August).

Now seriously. Why is the option I describe above seem to be so strange/extraordinary to so many? It should be Plan A for just about everyone. So that’s my piece. If your worried about getting a job find an opportunity for a year or two overseas. Work with a ministry, join the Peace Corps. Just don’t let society prevent you from doing what you know you want to try.

Czech Stuff.

It’s been a while since I wrote about actually going to the Czech Republic so here is an update on where I am with things.  Much of this information will go out in an email to my supporters soon so sorry for any repeat info.

I’m on the second half (and supposedly easier) of my visa paperwork. It involves applications, getting things notarized and making copies. It’s not fun. Hopefully though if I stay motivated, I’ll have it done and mailed on Thursday. Please pray that I get it done properly and that it all goes through, thank you.

I’m expecting this week to get an update from my church on how things are going in the decision making process on whether to partner with me or not. I am not expecting a final yes or no this week but it would be cool if an affirmative happened at any time. My support continues to get closer to 50% and I have enough to cover my travel insurance, travel to CA for training, and my international airfare as well which is a huge blessing. Another 2,000 in the next two months would cover almost all my training which would be great. Please keep my support needs in prayer as God continues to provide.

I have briefly been able to talk to some teachers who will be with me in the Czech Republic next year via Facebook. Some are new like myself,while others are going to be entering their 5th year as teachers. It’s weird to think where might I be in 5 years? It has been very cool to talk to them and I’ve already met a runner like myself which is cool.

This new burst of interaction is making me very excited and I can’t wait to get over there. Traveling and the logistics needed to travel are not things I find very fun or exciting but once I get over there I think it will be great. Thank you for praying, reading, and supporting.