Berry is behind me, for now at least. My next phase of life is slightly unclear. I know I will be serving with mission year (missionyear.org) beginning in September. It was a strange, difficult ordeal leaving Berry, where I had just begun to feel at home. I met some wonderful people there, some who challenged me and others who encouraged me. I had a chance to heal from the depression I had wrestled with for five years while living in the Berry Bubble. Now, though, it is time to move on. I am ready to be challenged in ways I have not experienced before. My desire is to be stripped of everything comfortable and truly learn what it means to rely on the Lord for my strength and well-being. I am so thrilled to experience this for eleven months while serving with my mission year team.
Values of Mission Year:
- Relationships: Building deep relationships based on trust and respect with your neighbors, seeking practical ways to show Christian love.
- Community Living: Sharing life in community with a supportive team of other Christians in an urban neighborhood.
- Community Service: Volunteering 25-30 hours a week at a social service agency that’s providing vital resources to the poor.
- Discipleship: Drawing close to God by spending time deepening your own walk with Christ and developing spiritual disciplines.
- Church Partnership: Supporting God’s work in the city by partnering with a dynamic local church that’s engaging the community.
- Social Justice: Seeking justice by learning to identify disparities in power and working creatively to bring resolution.
- Simplicity: Living life without excess to better care for your neighbors and the environment around you.
I will most likely be in Chicago, but it is possible I will be placed in Philly or Houston. I have never lived in a big city for an extended period of time so it will definitely be a culture change.
The way I even came about this decision was by reading Shane Claiborne’s book, The Irresistible Revolution, living as an ordinary radical. Shane founded an organization called the Simple Way, which is located in Philadelphia. This book inspired me to rethink the whole way I am living. We do not need 90% of the things we own, as far as I can tell. I put way too much hope in our own abilities and possessions. As I am typing this, my mother is telling me of my siblings who are spending too much money on different things and it just seems unnecessary. It is causing stress upon our family and just listening to the words of my mom is overwhelming me and I am not even directly involved in the situation.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
This is real. This life is so much more than I have made it all my years on earth.
(Written May 10, 2013)