This is the first post about my soon-to-begin South American adventure through the ELCA Lutheran Church's Young Adults in Global Mission Program. YAGM is a national program that sends individuals to several different locations in the world for intentional living and service to form friendships and accompany communities. It is an opportunity to learn, to pray, and to celebrate faith together.
Life Update: I have one more month in Minnesota before I leave for 11 months and things are starting to feel real. I've been dreaming about this being a reality for a long time now, for more than a year. And now... BAM! It's almost here!!! Could I be more excited? Probably not. I'm SO jazzed, in fact, that I keep feeling the need to express myself via jazz hands.
I've recently received word about my placement site, which I'll post shortly, when I receive word that everyone in the communities I'll be serving alongside have been informed that I'm coming. While I don't think that its terribly likely, I don't want anyone googling their community or organization and finding this blog post before they hear about me through official routes:)
What I can tell you -and what I WILL tell you- however, is that I will be living in northeastern Argentina in a city of about 300,000. This part of Argentina even has its own region-specific music and dance called Chamamé!
Will I take lessons? You betch'ya I will!
For eleven months I will be volunteering for a faith-based NGO/human rights organization that specializes in assisting rural and indigenous communities in natural resource and agricultural advocacy work. The details of my specific position with them will be decided when I can meet in person. I also will get to help facilitate fellowship and community-building activities for female students who live in a Lutheran college residence (I'll be living there too!) at the city's university. Additionally, I have been asked to participate in worship, fellowship, and education activities with the residence's affiliated congregation. It appears that I may also be able to assist with improved communication and engagement between my church placement site and another church congregation in a nearby city that offers a lot of services to empower marginalized women and children.
I am excited and humbled that this community has expressed interest in having me accompany them for a year and am so grateful to have this opportunity presented to me. I know I am going to learn A LOT. I think Benjamin Franklin summed it up pretty well when he said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone that is supporting me in this incredible opportunity - and a special thanks to Our Savior's Lutheran in Hastings, MN for providing me with $1,000 towards my $4,000 fundraising needs and for all the other individuals who have contributed financially and/or in prayer support! The cost of the program to support an individual for 11 months is $11,000 and the ELCA nation-wide synod covers $7,000 with the hopes of making this fundraising season an opportunity for other interested people to be actively involved in this experience. -Some give by going and some go by giving:) If you are interested in more information as to how to make a tax-deductible donation or how you can be a partner in prayer for me this coming year, please feel free to let me know.
Regardless, I am excited for this opportunity and I hope you will consider sharing in my experiences as I blog.
Peace to all :)
May God forever shower you in His love and grace,