Living in Downtown

I have been in Richmond for two weeks now and I am adjusting to living in a busy downtown neighborhood. There is a never ending supply of interesting things to see and people to meet.

For me, I think the biggest thing I have to get used to are the busy streets with their noises and traffic. Every day I wake up to the noises coming from the busy city street outside my window and I fall asleep to them every night, even though our bedroom is on the fourth floor. Most of the time, it is fine and it is easy for me to just fade the noises into the background and not pay attention to them. However, some days, like this past Saturday, noises of people shouting in the streets below jar us awake early in the morning.

When I am having a stressful day, it helps me to go for a drive. Last week I tried to go out for a drive after work, and it was anything but relieving. I definitely got a little bit better understanding of what it is like to try to get out of the downtown area during the 5 o’clock rush hour.

One good thing about living and working in the same building is that I do not have to commute during the rush hours very often.

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Story Telling

For the end of last week and beginning of this week the other interns and I have been in a class about story telling with photos and videos. At the beginning with the class, we had to go out into the neighborhood in groups to meet people, hear their story and take an environmental portrait of them. Then later we had to pick one of the people we met and took a picture of, to interview. We had to film the interview and edit it into a three minute clip.

My group decided to interview an industrial designer who works in a laser shop that is few blocks and around the corner from us, where they laser etch everything from business cards to baseball bats. We chose her because from the moment we walked into the shop the first time, her confidence in what she does and in who she is was obvious and we just wanted to know more about her. It was really interesting getting to know her and to hear her story of how a she got into doing industrial design and how she is able to hold her self with such confidence. 

We worked on editing the video and putting the other parts of the project together all day Monday and are presenting it in the morning. Wish us luck!

My Desk

On Fridays for our blog we can post pictures, here is a picture of the decorations on my desk.

I think the decorations on and around my desk give a pretty good representation of me, what I enjoy and why I am here. This blog ended up longer than I had planned but I felt some of these things deserved some explanation on why they were important enough to me for me to put them in my work space. So, if you want to know why I chose these things to put on my desk, continue reading, if not just stop here and enjoy the picture.

The two items actually on my desk are gifts from two of my closest friends from college. The quote in the frame is from my college roommate and dear friend, Carolyn, because she knows my heart for missions. And Burt “Burrito” the Office Cat was given to me by my friend Andy specifically to put on my desk at the internship and because I love cats. 

The picture on the wall is a card from when I went on a short term missions trip to Cambodia my sophomore year in college. That trip is what really got me looking into the possibility of doing overseas mission work.

This last piece is so important to me that I am willing to be vulnerable in explaining it. The “And So I Kept Living” mini poster. This is from To Write Love On Her Arms’ campaign statement from last year’s Suicide Prevention Day. Which I think is appropriate seeing as this week has been Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week. It is important to me because I have personally struggled with depression for almost all of my life. I wouldn’t say that I was ever really suicidal but there was a long time (mostly in high school) when I struggled with knowing why I was alive or wanting to be alive. 

I am doing so much better now. I know that I am loved by God, who loves me so much that He would send His Son to save me, even when I struggle to love myself. I know that I am loved by my family. I know I am loved by my friends. I kept living so I could share this love with others, I am so glad that I kept living.

If you have read all the way to the end of this and you have questions, feel free to comment here or ask me in person.

The Search Begins

By search, I mean job search.

The internship I am doing with Hillside is unpaid, therefore I know I am going to need a part-time job while I am in Richmond. I am planning on going out tonight and this weekend to hand in my resume and fill out applications for local businesses that are hiring. I am hoping to get a part-time job with in walking distance of my apartment, but I do have my car here if I get one a little further away. I am also hoping that in getting a job outside the internship, I will be able to meet other people in the Richmond community and be able to build connections while I am here.

Wish me luck! If you read this and you live in the Richmond area and have suggestions of where to look or know somewhere that is hiring, please let me know!

 

I Want to Like It

As part of my internship, my roommates and I eat dinner together three times a week and take turns cooking for each other. On Tuesdays, the two that I share a bedroom with, Rach and Kayla, and I cook dinner for the rest of our apartment. Last night we made Peanut Chicken and Broccoli with Coconut Rice and I think it turned out pretty well, even though the rice took forever and a day to cook.

Cooking. I am not someone who feels at home in the kitchen or is naturally gifted at cooking. I would not go as far as to say I hate cooking, but it does stress me out and it is not an activity that I particularly love or enjoy. I feel completely incompetent when I am trying to cook, especially for other people with people who seem to actually know what they are doing. I am thankful for patient roommates who are cooking with me.

I did not learn to cook a lot meals growing up and in college I had a meal plan and worked in the food service on campus where I got free meals during my shifts. Needless to say the dishes I feel confident in making are pretty limited, but I am learning. However, my aunt just gave me a binder full of a collection of family recipes that I hope to use this year.

I can not say that I like cooking now but I want to like it and I am learning to like it.

Trust

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”

Proverbs 3:5

Since being in Richmond I have been trying to get better at consistently reading my Bible everyday because I want to grow in my faith. This is part of the passage that I read this morning and it is something I have to remind myself all the time.

I think it is easier to lean on our own understanding of the world and what we are supposed to do in it. It is easier to let go and trust God with somethings but we are not called to just trust Him with somethings, we are called to trust in Him with ALL things, ALL our heart.

I am a planner, I am the girl who had color coded agenda books all through school and color coded to-do-lists and schedules. Right now I am in a big transition in my life, just graduated college, left a place that had become my home for four year and friends who “got” me and left my home state where all of my closest family lives. When I started college I felt like I was starting over in a new town and thankfully was blessed with an amazing group of friends. Now I have moved to a new city and state, where I knew no one until I moved in last Tuesday. And I am starting all over again and again I have been blessed to be surrounding by another amazing group of people who are quickly becoming my friends and family away from family.

God knows what He is doing and has so much more understanding of His world than I could ever imagine having. I only have glimpse of His creation while He sees the whole picture, because He made the whole picture.

I am continuing to learn how to lean on Him and trust in His understand rather than my own in every aspect of my life.

 

Arriving at Hillside and Beginning Adventures in RVA

Last year I started this blog in order to keep people up to date with what I was planning on doing after college. Since then I have graduated from Indiana Wesleyan with my bachelors degree in Children’s Ministry. After spending most of my summer at home with my family in Indiana, as of last week in I have moved to Richmond, Virginia.

What am I doing in Richmond, VA?

I have moved to Richmond to participate in an internship with Hillside Missions, which is the training organization for World Horizons and other missions organizations. The internship is nine months long and after completing this program I will be able to go on a three to six month externship for training in a field placement.

While I am in Richmond I am living in an apartment above the office with six other young women who are also interns. The office/apartment/art gallery is in the downtown art district of the city. As part of the internship with have to keep a blog about our experiences five times per week. I am excited to share with all who read this blog my experiences as I get used to living in a downtown area and learn more about missions and how missions will play out in my life.

Some Times the Adventure Changes

About 6 weeks ago, I made my blog and posted my first blog post ever. In that post, I told everyone who read it that I wanted to be a missionary and I was looking into eventually doing what I needed to do to join an organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators. I had gotten accepted to a summer Grad program in Canada for linguistics and I needed to find a church that would act as my sending church if I wanted to join Wycliffe.

Two weeks after I posted, I was walking through the Student Center at IWU and I saw another missions organization, World Horizons, that was recruiting, but this one seemed different. They had a rug and pillows where they were sitting and talking with students. So, I did what I do every time there is a missions organization here, I talked to them. The girl I talked to was nice and she told me about their training internship and talked to me about how their organization works with students who want to be missionaries but also have the student loans that come with going to college.

World Horizons works closely with Hillside Missions Organization, and over the last few weeks has changed my plans for after graduation. I met the recruiter on a Monday, I applied to their training/internship on Tuesday, and when I went back to the booth that Wednesday to tell the recruiter that I had applied, she introduced me to the Director of the organization. That day I was able to sit down with him and have a face to face interview and talk to him about what they do. By the next Monday, one week after I found out about this organization, all of my references had came in and all I had left to do was have one last interview over Skype with the director. I had to wait a few weeks for the interview because the director had gone out of the country. Fast forward 3 weeks, I finally was able to have the Skype interview with the director and one of the administrators. The interview only lasted about 10 minutes and they told me that I was accepted to the training/internship for World Horizons starting next September. As you can tell, this process went extremely quickly and its amazing how God opens doors to new opportunities.

The internship is at their headquarters in Richmond, Virginia and last 9 months. After I finish the internship I will be able to do an externship at one of 10 placements in countries that they have members already working in. This organization goes to countries where they do not have very many churches and they bring the Gospel to people who would not go to a church through dance schools, art galleries, English schools and other things that help build relationships with the people that live in the community.

So, now that I am going to this internship next fall, I am not planning on going to the Grad program this summer. That frees up my summer to get another job to save money to start paying back my student loans and save money for my move to Virginia. Even though I am not currently planning on joining Wycliffe anymore, I feel better about working with this organization and I feel like this is where I am supposed to be now. Maybe I will work with Wycliffe some time in the future, maybe I will work with World Horizons and absolutely love it and never leave. I do not know what the future holds, but I am excited to share with you the new next step in my adventure.

Please pray with me that this goes well, if this truly God’s will. Pray that God continues make the path I am supposed to take clear. Please pray for the broken world we live in, pray for the brokenness in our country and countries around the world. Pray for Christians to act like Christ and love people here, near and far away like we are supposed to. While I specifically feel called to do missions overseas, there are people in our own country that still need to hear the Gospel and feel the true love of Christ. I do not need to wait until I go overseas, where ever I go, to share Jesus with people. I can do that here too.

The adventure I am on now

Hello, my name is Sarah and this is my adventure. I am writing this blog in order to share with people what I am doing with my life right now. I am senior at Indiana Wesleyan University getting my undergrad degree in Children’s Ministry with a minor in Psychology. As it is my senior year, I am trying to find out what God wants to do with my life after IWU.

Since I was a little girl I had always wanted to travel and see the world, to see what life was like outside of the bubbles of my family, my town, my state, my country, outside of my everyday normal life. Last semester I was able to do just that. I had the amazing opportunity to spend four months of my college career at an international school in Klaipeda, Lithuania. I got to take classes, that while the instruction was in English sometimes I was the only one in the class to have English as my first and only fluent language. I lived with girls from Moldova and Ukraine. I got to take weekend trips to Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Latvia and Estonia. I spent my spring break in Russia in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

I got to be exposed to worldviews and cultures that were extremely different from my own, that I never would have experienced if I had not left my bubble. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bubble and the people who are in my life. I missed my family and my friends that I have here deeply while I was gone. But it has been difficult to come back and notice things about how things are here that I had not noticed or thought much of before.

Part of me thought that by studying abroad I would get my fix of what life is like outside of America, out of my bubble. I thought that would be good enough for me and then I could just come back and enjoy where I am. And as much as I am learning to be present where I am for now, I do not feel like this is where I will stay. I have spent many hours in prayer and talking to mentors and I think I know what I am supposed to eventually do after I get done with my degree here at IWU.

A few years ago I heard about an organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators. It is a Christian missions organization that strives to translate and provide God’s Word to people groups all over the world that do not have the Bible in a language that they fully understand. There are about 7,000 known languages that are used today, around 1800 of these languages do not have a translation of the Bible. That’s about 180 million people who are not able to read the Bible in their own language.

When I was nine years old, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. When I was 15, I spontaneously decided that I wanted to be baptized at the church camp I went to the summer before I started high school. I decided that I wanted to try to my best ability to live my life for Christ, sometimes that has led to some difficult decisions and letting go of things, people and desires that were not what God wanted for me, and sometimes I made mistakes. When I was a senior in high school I felt like I was being called to Children’s Ministry, I loved to teach children about God and tell them stories from the Bible. So that is what I decided to major in in college. I have been able to learn and grow in my faith in God during my time in college.

I have decided that I want to eventually work with Wycliffe Bible Translators as a Scripture Engagement Specialist. With this job I would teach people in communities that are getting  the Bible translated how to understand what it says and how to best teach it to the people in their cultures. This would combine my love of God, love of people and love of exploring new places and cultures.

I have a long way before I reach this goal, but I am working toward getting there. A few weeks ago I sent in my application for a summer graduate program at Canada Institute of Linguistics. I want to get my masters degree in Applied Linguistics and Exegesis and I would start by taking some basic linguistics classes this summer at CanIL. Last night, I got an email saying that I have been accepted to this program. I am very excited about this because now at least I know what I will be doing immediately after graduation and I will be able to take another step toward what I feel like God wants me to do.

I am also trying to start the process of joining Wycliffe Bible Translators as a member. Because it is a missions organization, before I can apply to be a member, I have to have a sending church. That means that I need a church that will send me to do missions through Wycliffe. I am still trying to work this out, I have a few churches that I have been involved in but I need to talk to them about whether or not they would want to commit to sending me.

Right now, as I am wrapping up this post, I want to ask anyone who is reading this to become my prayer partners. Please pray with me that I will be able to get the right church to be my sending church so that I can join Wycliffe. Please pray with me that I will be able to accept whatever action that God calls me to. Please pray with me that I will follow God’s plan and not my own as I continue on this adventure.