Sunday, August 25, 2013

Made it!

First, I am happy to report that I've officially met my fundraising goal! THANK YOU! I'm incredibly grateful for all of the support I've been given, and I couldn't have made it here without you.

Second, I've made it to Hong Kong! My journey began around 4:30 AM Tuesday morning, and I arrived here Wednesday night around 10:30 local time. Suffice to say, it was an incredibly long 30 hours. Since then, it's been a bit of a whirlwind!

On Thursday, Grace, who served as the YASCer at the MfMW this past year, was kind enough to show me around my new neighborhood. Hong Kong is much steeper and much more winding than I thought it would be! We stopped by the Mission for Migrant Workers office at St. John's Cathedral, one of the shelters in Kowloon, a grocery store, and around the subway station.

On Friday, I had my first meeting at MfMW. I'm thrilled to be working for this organization, and I greatly enjoyed meeting the people with whom I will be working. I officially start work on Tuesday!

Today, Grace and I attended St. John's Cathedral, and afterwards she took me to the areas where migrant workers typically hang out on their days off.  Later on in the year I will be spending most of my Sundays working in these communities, but today I had more of a quick tour. Afterwards, we stopped by Ikea for a few necessities (a coffeepot).

Unfortunately, I haven't really taken any pictures of Hong Kong yet, but I promise to do so once I get a bit more settled in. In the meanwhile, I'm looking forward to starting work, exploring more of the city, and learning more about what this year has in store for me. It's going to be great! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two Weeks Away

"May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of us."
-St. Theresa's prayer, which was given to me by my Sawyerville Day Camp prayer partner.

I'm leaving for Hong Kong two weeks from today! It's hard to believe, especially considering how much I still need to do to prepare. It's been a whirlwind of fundraising, traveling, and managing the small tasks that seem to pile up as I'm getting ready to leave. 

While we were in Florida for Discernment back in February, we were told that fundraising was a critical component of this year for many reasons.  First, it allows twice as many people to serve as YASC missionaries than could if the national church covered all of the costs.  Second, it gives us a chance to spread the word and build a support network at home.  They were so, so right about this. 

When I started this journey, I never would have imagined that I would meet so many inspiring, kind people in one summer. It's been a simultaneously humbling and empowering experience to feel the support of so many people, many of whom I have never met before.  In addition to financial support, people have offered up contacts they know in Hong Kong, advice about what it's like to leave the comfort of the United States for a year, encouragement and kind words when I had moments of doubt, and offers of prayer.  Word has spread around Albany, and I was interviewed for the Albany Herald (and made the front page!).  St. Paul's held a bake sale and raised over $1,500! These incredible gifts have given me new hope and drive to leave for Hong Kong. With everyone's support, I'm at around $9,000/$10,000, and donations are still coming in! THANK YOU to everyone who has donated! 

St. Paul's bake sale. This is only 1/3 of the goodies!
My contributions!

I have been traveling around for the past month or so speaking at various churches, and each parish has been a unique, but perfect, experience. I preached a sermon at St. Paul's, given unction at St. John/St. Mark's (who also offered their loose plate offering once a quarter–WOW!), and spoke to a Bible study at All Saints' Homewood, among other things. 

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  Now, I don't have any children, but I know that it's taken a village for me to get to this point.  I believe strongly that nothing happens in isolation, and I am the product of countless mentors, teachers, professors, friends, classmates, acquaintances, and others with whom I have interacted and learned both from and with. I am an incredibly lucky woman to know such wonderful people and to have had so many invest parts of themselves in me.  In particular, I would like to thank:
  • My parents, for not completely freaking out when I told them what I would be doing;
  • Donna Murdock, Julie Berebitsky, Lisa Howick, Michelle Williams, Judy Quick, Logan Rothschild, Alex Middleton, Cameron Jefts, Sarah Corley, Fleming Beaver, and ADT, for seeing promise in me even when I couldn't,  encouraging me to dream big, and calling me out when I needed it as well;
  • The Diocese of Alabama, the Diocese of Georgia, the University of the South, St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Albany, GA), All Saints' Chapel (Sewanee, TN), Cathedral of the Advent (Birmingham, AL), St. Mary's-on-the-Highlands (Birmingham, AL), Holy Spirit Episcopal Church (Alabaster, AL), St. Luke's (Birmingham, AL), St. John/St. Mark's (Albany, GA), All Saints' (Homewood, AL), St. Patrick's (Kenwood, CA), & Cathedral of St. Phillip (Atlanta, GA), for your contributions;
  • Every single person who has donated, whether it was in money, a kind word, or in passing along information about my journey. I couldn't be doing this without you! 

If you're interested in reading the sermon from St. Paul's, click here.

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