Umphumulo, South Africa

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Before The BIG Day...

So... I'm leaving tomorrow from Chicago at 10:30pm... on a two day trip to my final destination in Johannesburg, South Africa. From here, me and my fellow YAGM companions will meet our country coordinators where they will take us to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa for an 'In-Country Orientation,' which will last until September 3, 2010. On September 4th all 11 of us will be heading off to our individual placement sites; mine in Mapumulo, South Africa. It seems like the long wait has finally come and believe it or not I am still having feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and excitement. All of the alums I have met here at orientation in Chicago... want to go back... and it makes me feel uncertain as to why I am feeling this way. I know I will struggle with the fact that I will not be able to see family and friends as often as I have ALWAYS been able to, but I am reminded by my mom and sisters that this is a blessing. God would not send me to do this... if I wasn't ready, but I am.

I am nervous and intimidated of the unknown, but I know God walks beside me. That when I am alone, although still difficult to fully believe, He will keep me secure and safe. He knows what paths I will take, He knows the challenges I will face, and He, most of all, knows me... So I will go, for Him.

At the closing ceremony here in Chicago Orientation for the 2010-2011 YAGM, there was something read aloud that really moved me... and I want to share it with you too. It was during the 'Anointing of Hands for Service' and it was written by Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body on earth but yours;
no hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world;
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good;
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.

Being here at orientation... has not really been the easiest of times, but in the end I am reminded of why I am here... for others. I have been called by God to do this. The Lutherans have this practice called 'Accompaniment.' Which I have understood to be like intertwining SOLIDARITY and INTERDEPENDENCE to form MUTUALITY... which is beautiful. All 44 of us are missionaries, but missionaries in a sense of taking a 'breath' of our foreign friends and our new friends taking a 'breath' of us... in. The differences we have, in the end... turn out to be a sense of oneness, a sense of being more similar than we thought, and a sense of finding a mutualistic part in us all.

Am I nervous, scared, afraid right now this very second before I go? Automatically I think yes, but when I reminisce on all of the things we have all shared and learned this past week... my response is, "I am ready."