Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heart & Soul Service Project

Last Sunday was one of the first service projects that I took part in since being at school. It was a program that is run through the Heart and Soul Church (a church in inner-city Rochester). This program gets a group of people together and delivers bags of groceries to needy families in

homes surrounding the church. Along with giving the family groceries the group also offers word of prayer. Most of these families are not actually members of the church, but sometimes the visits once a month will eventually create a strong bond and these families may start going to the church.

I have never been involved in a service project quite like this before. Although I have compared this project to the Midnight Run on more then one occasion. I felt almost awkward walking up to people’s houses asking

them if they could use some grocerys. I know that they were on a list because they have presented the need, but it still felt odd.

This was the first time I have ever flat out asked a person “is there anything I can pray for you about?” that was a new experience for me. All but one of the five houses we went to said that they were okay and that they did not need any prayers for the day. Even though they said this, I still prayed for them.

I learned something new about myself. I never realized that I was such an observant person. I noticed small details about the house and even the person. None of those houses were in that great of condition yet many of them still had notices up that they had a security system inside. I don’t want to be judgmentally in anyway, but I am not entirely sure if there really was. I also noticed most of the houses had someone in them wearing a work shirt (Wegman’s, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, etc.).

I have not been doing as much work in the community as I thought I would be since I have been at school. Lately I have been tied up with midterms, essays galore, issues with friends (I will probably explain this in another journal entry) and obviously the new adjustment to college life in general. I hope to soon become a part of the service group called “In Jesus’ Name” that frequently goes out into inner-city Rochester to feed the less fortunate.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Letter to my Church

Since I have been at school I have tried to stay in touch with people from back home; including the congregation I have been a part of for the past eighteen years...

Last week sometime my minister from my home church asked me to write a paragraph that talked about how growing up in that church led me towards ministry. She said that it would tie into her sermon really well.

I started writing it in the mind set that I would only be writing a paragraph. It ended up being longer then both her and I expected. When I told her it was about a page she said she may end up just taking bits and pieces and paraphrasing it. I didn't have a problem with this...

About an hour after I emailed to her, I got a call. She said that there was only one thing she had a problem with; she wasn't sure she would be able to read it without crying. She had then told me how she loved it and she was planning on reading it "as is".

"This church has always been my second home. I was always a Sunday school go-er. Even though I wasn’t too thrilled to be dragged to church on Sunday mornings by my mother (in fact, I hated it). Along with this I was also an avid middle school youth group attendee. Although church was not “my thing” yet, I liked being a part of it all. Something changed my freshmen year of high school. This transformation began for me on the first day of confirmation when I began to learn about all the things I never paid attention to in Sunday school (funny how I ended up to be a Sunday school teacher huh?). When I started going to full church services I started to feel a part of the community our church holds.

I have never considered myself confident enough to get up and speak in front of a large group. Well, all of you changed that for me the first time I was liturgist. I thought I was terrible up there, but everyone came up to me afterwards and told me that I did great. Thank you for giving me this confidence. From the first mission trip I took part in to Abbeville Louisiana all the way to the most recent trip to Ecuador, this congregation has stood by me, stood by everyone. You all thanked me, and prayed for me. Thank you for keeping me going. You have entrusted so much in me, to teach you children, to serve you communion, and to serve others with along side you. I feel that all of that trust you gave to me created my most powerful trusts in God. Thank you for everything.

Part of me thought that I shouldn’t go there, that I couldn’t have possibly been called into ministry at such a young age. The following day, I heard this for the first time “I think divinity school my be somewhere in your future.” I smiled, laughed, and sort of shrugged and said something nonchalant like “Haha I’m not sure.” Shortly there after I got more and more questions and statements similar to the first. To be perfectly honest I am not quite sure why I never gave an honest response. It may have been because I am scared of disappointment. Not only in myself, but I was afraid to disappoint all of you.

God has put me on a longer path; I am first majoring in Education, because I feel as I was called to teach. And although I am not taking the direct path to ministry, I know that this congregation is here for me. After all, you are my second family. And if it wasn’t for you, I know I would not be where I am today."

Sunday morning (afternoon) when I woke up:
-Missed call and voicemail from my gramma at 8:24
-Missed call and voicemail from my mom's cell at 11:16
-Missed call and voicemail from home (a.k.a mom) at 12:12

They were very curious why I did not tell them not to go to church, because my grandmother almost didn't. My mom also told me how many people from the congregation that the letter affected. It feels weird not being there to be able to talk to them and to tell them all these things myself, but I am glad my words got to them in another way...

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Got In!!

I am very excited because last week I went to the first mandatory meeting for the mission trip to Mexico in February. Oh how I miss mandatory meetings (not really). This Wednesday will be the second meeting where the participants, all nine of us, will be bringing a letter that we wrote to send to family members and friends. In these letters we will be asking for money, some like to refer to them as donations to make it sound better. I am going to try to send a copy of this letter to my home church to see if anyone from my congregation would like to donate anything. I say this, but at the same time I feel weird asking because that congregation has supported me so much in the past and I feel strange asking for their support for a non-"that church" sponsored trip (if that made sense to anyone).

Anyways... I also put up a small decorated box (that is very pretty) in the kitchen on my floor. There are 22 girls that live on my floor so that kitchen gets quite a few people going in and out of it often. They all seem to be excited for me and were up for donating their daily spare change to the cause. I appreciate all of the donations I have gotten from them so far. And hopefully the donations I haven't gotten yet...haha. Every penny counts :)

Oh yeah... I almost forgot.
(please read in a cute baby voice)
Mommy... I love you, I am going to Mexico. Call me after you read this :)

The Next Many Years of my Life...

My mom finds it amusing how much of my life I have planned out. It isn’t that I have my life planned out year-by-year or anything; it is more of multiple years grouped together. After, graduation I plan on joined the Peace Corps (click here to read more!). Once my 27-month life changing experience is over I will hopefully begin my teaching career. A goal in my life is to someday teach back at my high school. However, I would enjoy starting out teaching somewhere down south. I have visited the south numerous times and that is somewhere I could definitely see myself living. If you know me well, you clearly know why I am saying this. And many people have expressed to me that it isn’t very difficult to get a teaching job down south with a New York state education.

Eventually…I am going to seminary. I was called into ministry, but I know He has other things in planned for my life before I get to that point. I want to go to Yale Seminary in New Haven, Connecticut. When I become a minister I would love to find a church near my hometown.

I realize that these are kind of different and spread out goals but this will basically be my life. Obviously, there is much wiggle room for certain things. You know, things like marriage, children, and the whole starting a family thing. But I do truly want to raise my children close to the area I was raised.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Viva el Mexico

My school offers awesome mission trip opportunities. Hopefully I will be able to take advantage of this and become a part of one of the many students setting off this year to various locations. Some of these places include, Ireland, New Orleans, Rochester, El Savidor, and Mexico. I want to embark on the missions trip to Mexico. I feel as if this trip would be best for my skills and influence me the greatest ways.

I added this to my application when I was asked if I had participated in church activities before. I hope it wasn't over kill:

My home church is the First Congregational Church of Branford Connecticut. I was involved with almost every program that was offered. I was (up until I left for school) a deacon since a got confirmed my freshmen year. And I have been teaching Sunday school to the 1st graders for the past 4 years. I volunteered in the church office on a regular basis and I was often the liturgist on Sunday mornings. For longer then I can remember I have been going to my church’s VBS and once I got into high school I became a counselor. Last year I become the group leader of the 2nd graders, and I plan on doing this again next summer.

Each summer my church youth group embarks on a mission’s trip. The past four years I have traveled to Abbeville Louisiana twice, to Harlan Kentucky, and to Portland Maine. All of these mission trips were construction-based trips. In Maine last year, my best friend and I led the construction crew. This up coming summer the trip is going to be to New Orleans, Louisiana. I am on the small list of returning graduates who are planning on going on that trip and I can’t wait.

There is another missions trip that my church is involved in, along with a few other churches in Connecticut and Massachusetts. This mission’s trip is an abroad trip to Guaquyule Ecuador. This summer will be the 12th trip and will be my 4th time participating. Like the youth group mission trip, this is a construction-based missions. However, this is a different kind of construction in a much different environment. We work long hours in sometimes harsh tempters and the work can be very strenuous. Moving hundreds of cinder blocks and mixing tons of cement is not an easy task. I am sure the work I have done in Ecuador will easily relate to the work being done in Mexico. Although this mission’s trip is about building homes, it is aloes about building relations. We work along side the Ecuadorians and build a bond with each other that I am sure is stronger then the walls we build. Spreading Gods love, one cinder block at a time.

Future Travels!

I have wanted to go into the Peace Corps for longer then I can remember. I originally wanted to go before college, but I decided that wouldn’t be ideal. My best friend told me that she feels she was also called to the Peace Corps. We share the same dream of being sent somewhere in Africa together. But at the same time we realize we will be sent to the area that needs our individual skills the most.

When I was younger all my friends ever would talk about is how they wanted to go to Europe. They wanted to go shopping in Paris and see the Eiffel Tower. I always felt left out because I had never had the urge to travel there. Of course, it would lovely to travel there someday. However, it is and has always been my dream to go to Australia. One of the many things I was looking for when applying to schools was a good study abroad program. I am glad that I found that here at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Hopefully I will be able to study abroad to Australia next year. That is something I have always wanted to do. I feel that I will be able to learn and study a lot there. I believe that it will help my growth not only academically, but also spiritually.