Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Wow. It's been quite some time since I updated this blog. My, oh my, so much has happened since that day.

I have said see you later to my friends and family in the Philippines.

Tindoy family and friends before I left for the airport
Photo Credit: Simon Grobe

I traveled to Northern Luzon and actually felt cold from the mid-60s mountain rain.

Rice and vegetable terraces, as seen from the National Highway between Sagada and Manila

I went caving, fell off a rope, and bruised a finger.

Feeling energized in Sumaguing Cave, Sagada
Photo Credit: My Amazing Guide, Kit

Don't worry. Everything is fine. I've gotten pretty good at falling without getting too seriously injured. ;)

Just a bit bruised and swollen. It's fine. Promise.

I traveled 9,000 miles back to my home of Rock Hill, SC.

The sunset greeted me when I landed in Charlotte after the longest day of my life

I caught up on some much missed family bonding time.

...which included realizing this little goober brother will have his own cap and gown way too soon!

I went straight back to work lifeguarding at my beloved Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center. I witnessed two dear friends join their lives together in marriage and had a blast seeing old classmates.

Mr. and Mrs. Anton and SchereƩya Reed

I visited and reconnected with friends in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and Lexington, VA. I got a sneak peek at being caregiver for my parents after my mom had rotator cuff surgery. I gave presentations at two different churches on my year in the Philippines. I went to the beach and had a wonderful time with some of the women in my family.

The first non-Philippine beach I've seen in a while

I got to reconnect with a fellow YAV, beloved former pastor, and one of my many homes, Montreat!

These gates always let me know I'm home!

I managed to unpack, organize, regift to a good home, and repack my belongings. I was able to go to Lexington (again!) and meet a younger, other half.

Being awesome runs in the Bombshell family. PPL

I have shared food, drink, stories, and memories with some pretty remarkable people, and I am so thankful.

Now, I am officially three weeks into this second year serving as a Young Adult Volunteer in Washington, DC. I have moved in with four wonderful housemates. I have wandered the National Mall and toured the monuments on bike.

I see this on a regular basis. I don't hate it.

I have gotten seriously lost multiple times, in multiple ways. I have walked the wrong way three different times at the same intersection. I have attended multiple open mic nights and even participated when one became karaoke!

Ron Ron, the amazing accompanist one-man band at our favorite Culture Coffee

I have found coconut, pineapple, and mango at the grocery store!

This is totally local, right??

I have had an exhausting hour and a half bus commute. I have felt completely overwhelmed. I have felt my heart break, as I hear stories of misfortune and injustice. I have helplessly watched as a fight broke out right in front of me. I have felt energized by the spirit and people of this wonderful city.

A wonderful twist on an old proverb on the wall of the National Coalition for the Homeless office

I have seen blocks where "The Wire" was filmed that have now been redeveloped. I have watched the sun rise between buildings downtown.

When you get to work at 7:30 on Sunday mornings, may as well enjoy the view.

I have heard some marvelous stories. I have made unexpected connections. I have reconnected with friends from college, YAV, and home.

I have started working with NEXT Church and The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. With NEXT Church, I will be helping our executive director, strategy team, and various support teams plan the 2016 National Gathering in Atlanta February 22-24. I am overjoyed at the opportunity I have to learn more about the work of the larger church, as we seek to be the church in right relationship with each other and God, especially as we ask the difficult questions facing individual members, congregations, agencies, and the denomination as a whole. I'm learning a lot about conference calls and understanding what becoming the Church means.

With the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, I am working with Community Club and Radcliffe Room. Both are long-standing community ministries that have decades of work that I am joining. Community Club is an after-school tutoring program for DC public school students. Mostly, I will be doing the administrative behind-the-scenes work for the program to ensure that everyone is supported and everything can run relatively smoothly. In the Radcliffe Room, I am joining a hard-working, committed team of people working to welcome our neighbors living without homes for breakfast and fellowship on Sunday mornings. I am quickly learning the difference between being an active member of a church and working on the staff side of a church. I am so grateful for these direct service opportunities so that I can continue to stay grounded by seeing the faces of the city on a regular basis.

The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church

Most of this post has been very self-centered. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the omnipresent God who allows these relationships to flourish and guides my path to these amazing vocations. Even when I am overwhelmed by the pace of the city and the massive influx of work emails that comes with starting two new jobs, I remember to stop and breathe. I am not alone. The Spirit is alive and well in the people I meet on the street, in the coffee shop, in meetings, at church, at work, and in my house. Community is hard. But I remind myself that it is so, so worth it. When I feel the draining effects of reverse culture shock and long for the simplicity of life in Kananga, I take a moment to remember the times and people God has lovingly placed into all pieces of my life. Eventually, I start to smile again because I remember I am loved, and that God is good. All the time.

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