14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

As a sweet surprise, I got an exciting email today (OK, technically last night)!
You are invited to interview with up to two international YAV sites at the YAV Placement Event, March 15-18, in Louisville, KY. By sending you this invitation, the YAV staff team indicates that pending the results of your interviews with individual sites, we believe you are a good candidate for placement in a national or international YAV site for the 2012-2013 YAV cycle. Being invited to Placement Event is not a guarantee of placement. However, if a national and/or international site requests you as a YAV for this next cycle, the YAV staff team is in full support of your appointment as a YAV. 
While it isn't surprising based on my interviews last month, it is nice to have something concrete to look forward to! The difficult decision that comes now is choosing the two sites I'd like to interview with at the event.

India is my obvious first choice - seeing that there was a program there is what initially sealed the intention to apply to the YAV program, and it's just one of those places I've always wanted to visit. Easy pick. My second choice is significantly more difficult.

My first inclination is still Northern Ireland. It is the land of my ancestors, afterall, and the programs I would be involved with focus on work with local youth, which has always been a personal passion. Plus, my friend Steph lives like 20 minutes away, and that would be awesome. The drawback is that it's one of the most popular sites in the program, which means its highly selective. I'd hate to miss out entirely if I didn't make it in to either program (the sorority girl in me wonders if they offer snap bids).

The other choices suggested for me are Guatemala and Kenya. Neither of these were on my initial list, but were suggested by the program coordinator based on the interests I expressed in my application. Of these, I'm leaning more toward Guatemala. My main fear is that my Spanish is pretty spotty... but an intensive language course at the beginning of the program is meant to fix that one. Friends that have been there are highly complimentary.

So, Northern Ireland or Guatemala? Either way, I need to make my decision soon. Lots of prayers for discernment will be flying!

And in the spirit of love, a favorite verse in honor of the holiday:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3; 13 

10 February 2012

Setting up a blog

Believe it or not (depending on who you ask), I'm supposed to be a millenial.

Photo from nightclub.com.
Yes, I taught myself to write HTML in High School. No, I don't remember much of it...

Yet this is the first time I've set up a proper blog for myself. I've spent a couple days playing with link colors and fonts (which are likely to change), and enjoyed the process of getting my thoughts ready to GO LIVE!

A note to my coworkers:
I love you, I really do. It's gonna be really hard saying goodbye to such fun, dynamic people who are far too cool to put up with someone like me who still uses Internet Explorer half the time and whose primary email address is @yahoo.com (I promise, I will eventually switch to that gmail account I set up 3 years ago... but by that time, everyone will likely already be at the Next Big Thing).

But then I had a scary thought... I work with the web team and a slew of Mission Communicators. This is what you do for a living! This is not what I do for a living!

So in that vein, if you do decide to stop by my blog every once in awhile:

- Please be nice. Don't judge me too harshly for using bad fonts or colors or grammar or anything.
- If you think I'm making poor choices, please just visit Yvette's Bridal Formal and forget about little old me.

01 February 2012

Back to the beginning


This is me.

...or at least it was, about 22.5 years ago.

Floridian by birth, Kentuckian by choice, I'm about to begin an adventure that will change my life forever - a year abroad with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Young Adult Volunteer program.

Right now, I'm playing the waiting game. All of my applications are complete, recommendations are in, and I have 6 weeks to go until the site interviews will determine whether I get it. All of this waiting is driving me crazy - I can't make my decision 100% public until I've actually been accepted, so even after months of personal discernment and applications... I wait!

While YAV encourages participants to host a blog during their year in the program, I decided to start early. During the past few months of researching the program and sites that I find appealing, I've found the blogs by other participants to be really helpful. I've really gotten excited about my decision, and at this point I feel like I know the people I'll be working with at my top choice sites!

Here's a look at the process up to this point:

About about a year and a half ago, I started to work for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I love my job... so don't take the fact that I'm applying for this program to mean anything but! Being in the national headquarters, however, opened me up to the programs that the denomination offers. YAV is one that I had never heard of, but really appealed to me. I began to wish that I'd heard about it when I was just out of college my life was still more flexible. While I was packing up my apartment last fall, I realized it's not too late to make a change.

So I went for it. I put all my stuff in storage and worked up the courage to ask my parents if I could {gulp} move in with them for a year until I left (for the record, I didn't really need all that courage, they are totally supportive and cool about it). I began to talk to my friends and coworkers that had been involved with the program, and they suggested that I start researching sites I was interested in - particularly by reading the blogs of participants.

I started working on the application and rounding up recommendations, which were due mid-January, and had my first round of interviews with the YAV staff. I told them about my first-preference sites (India and Northern Ireland), and they gave me a few suggestions as well based on my interests and strengths, which was really interesting - since they know the site coordinators, they suggested things I might not have originally considered (Guatemala and Kenya).

Now that the hard work is over, I've begun to get a little nervous about the change.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11