27 June 2012

A Ministry of Reconciliation

Today's lunchtime treat: a video produced by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on the work of my site coordinator, Doug Baker, and the Young Adult Volunteer program in Northern Ireland. Enjoy!
(sneak a peek at my placement location, the Vine, at 2:47)

22 June 2012

Discernment and Commissioning

dis-cern [dih-surn, -zurn]
verb (used with object)
  1. to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize or apprehend: They discerned a sail on the horizon.
  2. to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
We spend a lot of time talking about discernment in the Young Adult Volunteer program. Discerning whether to spend a year in the program, whether to stay at home or abroad, which vocation will follow your YAV year... it's a word I have become a lot more familiar with since our placement weekend in March.

I was joking with a few members of my congregation that I've been successfully avoiding seminary since graduating with a religion minor 7 years ago. Since admitting this, I've been actively challenged in this avowal - multiple times - from several different places. I was discussing this with my friend, the recently Reverend Alex, and he pointed out that I'm not the only one who has felt like running in the opposite direction of a perceived call. What's up, Jonah?

com-mis-sion [kuh-mish-uhn]
verb (used with object)
  1. to give a commission to: to commission a graduate of a military academy.
  2. to authorize; send on a mission.
  3. to give the order that places a warship, military command, etc., in a state of complete readiness for active duty.
  4. to give a commission or order for: The owners commissioned a painting for the building's lobby.
Last night, Will (future Kenya YAV) and I were recognized at a special meeting of the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. We were reminded that our commissioning was both a privilege and a responsibility to uphold with God's help. Among the vows that we pledged were a commitment to accepting the persons we serve where they are and just the way they are, to work in glad cooperation and mutual support with other workers, to demonstrate our love of Christ and commitment to our call.

As my time here is wrapping  up, the importance of this decision is becoming clear. Feeling literally carried in love as I begin this journey reminds me so much of my ordination as a ruling elder 3 years ago. I can still feel the waves of warmth and love from those in the congregation who laid hands on our class and prayed for our service. Since that day, I still can't hear the hymn, "Here I am Lord" without choking back a tear. I particularly like the revised version we sing at Second - rather than going if God leads us, we should be open to going where.
Here I am Lord, is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord, where you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.
Daniel L. Schutte (revision in italic)

21 June 2012

What I do when I'm not doing what I do...

A break from the YAV-ness to give props to my BFF for a moment. I've been involved with Team Sweaty Sheep for about a year now, and have met the most awesome people in the process. So when I'm not filling out visa paperwork or shopping for rain boots, I'm apparently jumping up and down like a fool by the side of the road. In case you weren't already aware, check out the video below for proof that I am a goofball:

For those of you lucky ducks who get to go to GA next week - don't forget to say hi to my Sweaty Sheep teammates, who will be riding their bikes up from Louisville!

20 June 2012

Two months!

Two months from today, I will be boarding a plane for Stony Point. Yesterday, I turned in the last of my preparatory paperwork, so now I am free to focus on purging my storage unit, packing, and finishing up the rest of my fundraising requirements.

I am blown away by your support of my upcoming journey. Thanks to your support, I have raised over $7500 so far! (If you have sent a donation but don't see your name on the ticker - never fear! Sometimes it takes awhile for the donation to be filed, and for me to receive notification.)

As I've mentioned in the past, my $8000 goal is only a fraction of what it costs the denomination to cover my programmatic expenses... as well as travel, visas, stipends, health insurance, housing and food allowance for the coming year. Anything collected above the minimum is still credited toward my trip - I would love to exceed this goal!

I appreciate the kind words and notes that have been arriving at my door (/ inbox) in a steady stream since March. Your encouragement means so much to me. If you feel moved to support my year, I've included a few options below:
  1. Pray for me!
  2. Spread the word
    • Tell people about the Young Adult Volunteer program, my work at Fortwilliam and Macrory Presbyterian Church and the Vine Community and Advice Centre.
  3. Keep in touch
    • I already have my address and phone numbers for while I'm away, but rather than post them on the internet, please email tricia.mcreynolds [at] gmail.com to request it!
    • Add my blog to your RSS feed or via one of the links in the side bar.
  4. Pledge financial support
    • Give a tax-deductible contribution as a one-time gift or in installments over the course of my year of service.
    • Give online at http://gamc.pcusa.org/give/E210105/ or
    • Send a check made payable to the PC(USA) at P.O. Box 643700; Pittsburgh, PA  15264-3700. Include on the memo line of the check my name and the number E210105.

12 June 2012

Paperwork is the name of the game

Hello everyone, just thought I'd pop in and let you know how it's all going. Obviously the blog will be more exciting once I actually get to Belfast, but I don't want to leave all 5 of my loyal followers hanging! ;-)

This week is the deadline for most of our YAV paperwork - so I've been putting the finishing touches on insurance forms and visa applications, spending a lot of time at the doctor's office (blood work - eek!), and writing thank you cards. Lots of thank you cards - because I'm now within $500 of my goal!

Every time I think I can't be more excited to begin this adventure, I immediately prove myself wrong. Is it time to start packing, yet?

Hopefully I'll have more to report next time. Until then, all my love.