As of about 9 p.m. tonight, St. Patrick's Day, I learned that I will be spending my next year in Belfast, Northern Ireland! I'm really excited for the opportunities this will offer to work with local churches and youth in a ministry of peacemaking and reconciliation.
I know the first question many of you are wondering is, "what about India"? It's no secret that I was originally drawn to this program because of my desire to live abroad in India. Throughout this weekend, I heard story after story about YAV Alums who had gone into the weekend TOTALLY SURE they would choose one site, and ended up feeling called to another. When it came time to give my preferences, it was actually a harder decision than I expected.
Unfortunately, the India program has been discontinued for the 2012-13 year, as there were not enough applicants to develop the sense of community that YAV is based around. In interviews and conversations I've had throughout the weekend, I feel that the work I'll be doing in Northern Ireland will actually be a great, if not better, fit for my skills and interests.
I'll definitely need your support in the coming months. I would appreciate your consideration and prayer for the people that will become my second family over the next year and a half: Anna, Beth, Courtney, David, Grace, Kathryn, TJ, our site coordinator Doug and all of the other YAVs who have discerned their calling (Kenya! New Orleans! Guatemala! Denver!...) over our past 3 days together.
I am SO excited about traveling with this group. The people I've been placed with in Northern Ireland are seriously amazing and hilarious and Belfast has no idea what it's in for!
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"© Abbey of Gethsemani