Monday, June 25, 2012

Mission Moment at Trinity

Yesterday I gave the "Mission Moment" at my home church, Trinity Lutheran.  This meant I spoke at all three services for about two minutes, giving a brief description of YAGM, the (few) details I know about my service in Mexico, and the ways people in the congregation can support me and share in my year ahead.  Between services, I had a table set up in the narthex with a poster and information on my service in Mexico. 

I was shocked by the phenomenal response!  Over 30 people signed up to receive my email newsletter, and I raised over $800!  While some of the people who came to talk to me were old friends, many of the people interested in my service were people I had never spoken to before.  I felt so embraced by this community of faith, and I am excited to be able to share my stories from Mexico with more and more individuals.  Thank you for all of your support!

Fundraising update: Thanks in large part to members of Trinity, and the work my family put in at the Junktique on my behalf, I have raised almost $3000.  This means I still need a little over a $1000, but this seems much more feasible now!

Friday, June 22, 2012

In TWO MONTHS I will be in Mexico!

I was reminded by a fellow YAGMs blog (Thank you Jane!  Check out her blog about Madagascar here.) that in exactly two months our international adventures will begin!  Orientation begins in Chicago on August 15 and lasts for a week.  I'm really excited to see the rest of the 2012 YAGMs again after last seeing them in April in Wisconsin.  I don't mean to brag, but we are a really cool group of people.

On August 22 everyone will leave for their respective countries, which means I, and the rest of the Mexico YAGM team, will be leaving for Mexico City!  I am super excited, but it's also weird to think that Mexico City is only a 4 hour plane ride from Chicago (if you fly direct), which is about the same amount of time it takes to fly from Seattle to Chicago.  Only 4 hours, to be in a completely different climate and culture!  That's less time than it takes to fly to Hawaii, or Washington D.C. from Seattle.  Only 4 hours in the air to start the next phase of my journey.
2012 Mexico YAGM group
Preparations for my year in Mexico are starting to intensify.  I'm looking at backpacks for packing (I'm planning on bringing a large backpack and one rolling suitcase, along with a small carry on), reading about Mexican elections (July 1st), continuing my fundraising, and trying to wrap up all the loose ends here at home.  I'm speaking at my home congregation for the "Mission Moment" this Sunday, so I'm also preparing my talk and some materials to give to interested members.  At this point in time, I'm about halfway to my fundraising goal of $4000, so it's time for another push!  If you're interested in donating on my behalf, please contact me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Krista Foundation

As some of you may know, I was selected in early May to be a member of the 2012 Krista Colleagues cohort, which is a part of the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship.  As a new member of the community, I am receiving a $1000 leadership and development grant, and I get to attend their annual conference and other events throughout the year, both now and when I return from Mexico. 

The Krista Foundation was started by Jim & Linda Hunt of Spokane, in memoriam of their daughter Krista. Her life was tragically cut short while pursuing voluntary service work in Bolivia. The Hunts channeled their grief into the creation of this foundation, which has since 1999 empowered young adults in & from the Pacific Northwest who are pursuing service work in the fields about which Krista was passionate: urban America, developing nations & environmental justice. The grant is specific in that it is to be used in helping the awardee pursue continuing education / vocational interest-related topics which they might otherwise not be able to pursue on the subsistence wages one typically receives in such a time of service. The Krista Foundation is also passionate about creating a strong support network for people both in their year of service and afterward, as well as encouraging the cultivation of the attitude that service is not simply an event, but a way of life.  (I stole this paragraph from fellow colleague Nina Boe, who is going to Sao Paulo with the Young Adult Service Corps.  Read her blog here!)  This year there are 17 colleagues, and we are a very diverse group of young adults!  Our years of service vary, and stretch all across the globe, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Uganda, Peru, and, of course, Cuernavaca!  (Read more about the current colleagues.
2012 Krista Colleagues!

Every year, the annual conference is held over Memorial Day weekend in Spokane.  Unfortunately, I was not able to attend much of the conference, as PLU graduation was on May 27, and I wanted to be in Tacoma for all the graduation festivities.  However, I was able to go for a little bit, and spent Friday night in Spokane, meeting the rest of my cohort.  I am really excited about all of the possibilities with this grant when I return from Mexico, and the great community I get to be a part of!  I love that I have another community that is supporting me and praying for me during my year of service.  (Once again, check the support tab at the top of the page to learn more about how to support me!)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Happenings in the life of a new YAGM


As some of you know, I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday, so I am now officially on summer vacation!  Now that the chaos of finishing school is over, I am back to focusing on getting ready for my YAGM year in Mexico.  What, you may ask, does a recent college grad preparing to leave the country do to prepare?  Well, here's the answer!

1. Lots and lots of paperwork!  Thankfully, the ELCA Global Mission office is on top of things, and has made it as simple as it could possibly be to get all the required paperwork in.

2. Getting caught up on all sorts of doctor/dentist/eye doctor appointments.  I will likely (and hopefully!) not be going to the doctor for routine appointments while in Mexico, so I need to make sure I am as healthy as can be before I leave.

3. Research and Spanish practice.  I've taken a couple semesters of college Spanish, and I will get language training in Mexico, but I'm going to review as much as I can before August so I don't arrive in Mexico not having spoken Spanish in months.  I'm also going to do some background research on Mexico.  At the very least, I want to know what famous figures main streets are named after!  If you have any ideas of good books that will give me a historical or cultural overview of Mexico or Cuernavaca, please let me know!

4. Packing!  Although I won't actually start putting things into a suitcase until early August, I have started the preliminary process of figuring out how to pack up my life for a year into one or two suitcases.  I have a few new clothing items to buy, and I want to sort my clothes so I can try to wear clothes I'm not taking with me this summer.

5. Raising support!  This is where you, my readers, come in!  Remember to check out the "Support" tab at the top of the page for the specifics of how to support me during my year in Mexico.  I am looking for individuals and churches who will financially support me, read my blogs, receive my newsletter, send me letters, listen to my stories, and pray for me.  These are all important pieces, so even if you can't financially support me, you can still remain engaged with my trip!  I'll periodically update you all on my progress in raising financial support, but a reminder that the deadline is August 1st!  I met with the NW WA Synod Global Mission Committee today to talk about my year in Mexico, and I'm excited and so thankful for the new ideas and support I got.  They're going to be a great resource, so thank you!!

6.  Hang out with family and friends.  I'm living at home again this summer, which means lots of family bonding time.  If you're in the area and want to see me before I leave, just let me know!  I'm hoping to do lots of hiking this summer, but I also just want to reconnect with people I haven't seen in a while.

2012 Discernment-Interview-Placement Participants.  These will be my comrades in my YAGM year!
I still don't know exactly what I will be doing in Cuernavaca, but I will just need to be patient until I hear from Andrea (the Mexico Country Coordinator) with specific details!  I know that part of my YAGM experience will be not knowing what is going on and learning to just go with the flow, so I am trying to get into that mindset early.