Where do I start? This has been such an incredible year. I am graduating college with my bachelors, went to California for the first time, lived in my first apartment, have a wonderful job and an adorable dog, and I have fallen in love. To top it off, my dream of being able to do service work abroad is becoming a reality. I have been accepted into the Young Adult Service Corps which is an extension of the national Episcopal Church's global mission work. Now, now, I know what you're thinking. I know that the word "missionary" has all of this residue left over from the Crusades, colonization, Native American history, etc. However, here is the difference. In the Young Adult Service Corps, the focus is works, not words. The goal is to reach out and help our neighbors and build partnerships and understanding, not to proselytize. The goal is to share ourselves with one another and to experience the grace of living in community together. And that, my friends, is exactly what I am going to be doing. Specifically, I will be doing this in South Africa near Cape Town. I am going to be working with an organization called HOPE Africa (check out their link in the side bar!) that is a grassroots effort started in the Anglican Diocese of South Africa to offer support to people in and around Cape Town. HOPE Africa has it's hands in all different types of programs; they offer education and technical training, day care services, soup kitchens, and have a program called "Back to Eden" that teaches women about small-scale farming to feed their families and sell their produce at market.
I will be gone for 12 months, but I will have access to the internet which brings me to why I've set up this blog! I want to have a way to keep in contact with all of you and a way to give you updates about what I'm doing. Currently, I am in the process of starting to get everything together for this journey. Just three days ago, I got shots for Typhoid, Polio, and Tetnus all at once (OUCH!), and I am anxiously awaiting my passport to get here. I am also working to soak up every day in Oklahoma while I'm still here. I have always been set on moving away, but I know that I am going to miss this place. Just as I am going to miss all of you.
I want to thank each and every one of you for the roles that you have played in my life in shaping who I am today. All of you are how I got to be here and I am so grateful. A thousand times, thank you!