Wednesday, August 6, 2014

12 Days and Counting

For those of you following the transient life of Angela Williams, here is an update.

As of July 31, 2014, the YAV (Young Adult Volunteer) office has received $6,395 in contributions toward my year of service!!!!

This means that I have surpassed my individual fundraising goal of $4,000 and have contributed $2,395 to our team goal of $20,000 (an additional $4,000 per volunteer going to the Philippines). That is super exciting, and I am beyond grateful for each and every one of you who has shown financial support so far. I am really behind on writing my thank you notes due to this little commitment of mine called camp. I'm sorry, the children demanded more of my attention and energy, but I promise I will get those out in the next week and a half!

For those of you who have not yet donated but would like to, please click here. Don't worry about getting it in before I leave. You can continue to support me financially throughout my YAV year.

Now for some logistics. On Monday, August 18, I will fly from Charlotte to Chicago to Newark to end up in Stony Point, New York, for a week of YAV orientation. From what I know, it will be much like the discernment event was in March, where I found out that I was going to the Philippines. We will have lots of personal and group time to process and prepare for the year of service with a wonderful support system of other YAVs from each site, YAVA (YAV alums), YAV staff members, and other representatives from the PC(USA) community. I am excited to reconnect with the people I met at the discernment event and meet all of the other YAVs who will be serving this year.

Monday, August 25, I will leave for the Philippines with my four other YAV companions who will be serving with me. Seventeen hours of flying and three hours of a layover in Tokyo later, I will be in Manila. Unfortunately, that is not our destination. We will then have to travel by air, possibly sea, and land in order to get to Dumaguete.

I have finally received some more information about the work I will be doing throughout this year. I will be working with the National Heroes Institute, a Christian school located in Kananga, Leyte. Google Maps told me it was a 5 hour trip northeast from Dumaguete to Kananga, which involves driving and two ferry trips. Needless to say, I don't think I will be living in Dumaguete as I serve this school. Kananga is across the island from Tacloban City, which was wiped away by Typhoon Yolanda. The storm also did significant damage to the school by destroying many of its classrooms. If you want to know more about NHI, watch this video, which features my supervisor, Dobert Moriles.

I do not know exactly what work I will be doing in the school, but I am still very excited! Dessa, my site coordinator with YAV, told me that I am God's answer to their prayers because of my background in religion and psychology. I would call NHI the answer to my prayers, as I know God will use this experience to guide me on my journey of vocational discernment. I am already thinking about how I can use my camp counselor experience in a school setting. I wonder what different vegetables Filipino children would come up with if I taught them the vegetable game. How can I incorporate the camp fire experience (read: songs) into a classroom? Will sleeping lions still work to get the younger ones to rest? What games and songs can the children teach me? Is this God urging me to pursue Christian Education along with the Master of Divinity in seminary?

These answers and more to be answered in a later blog post.

Now to get away from the soap opera style.

This summer, and more so this week, I have started to acknowledge my anxieties toward this adventure. Those range anywhere from fears of being washed away in another super typhoon to making sure I don't pack too many t-shirts. For most of the summer, I simply pushed those thoughts away. I didn't have time to think about them or worry about the future because the day-to-day happenings at camp took up my time, energy, and attention. However, I did have a pretty unique religious experience this summer that forced me to acknowledge and at least partially process my nerves. That experience will be coming out in a blog post a little later this week.

Until then, salaam, peace, and shalom, my friends. May God's grace follow you wherever you may go.

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