I have officially begun my year of service as a Young Adult Volunteer! As I am sitting on a bed in a hostel in Lima, Peru, I am reflecting on the long, exciting, and challenging journey it has been to get to this point. In the winter I went through the extensive interview process for the program and had a number of possible sites at which I could serve. In the spring, I found out that I was accepted into the program and that I would be spending my year in Peru serving with an agency called Paz y Esperanza (Peace and Hope) with the Peru Joining Hands Network. In the summer I was actively organizing and preparing for my year, which included seeking out spiritual, emotional, and financial support from my community. In the past few months I have experienced excitement, fear, questioning, and also a deep peace. This feeling of peace exists within me because I know that this is exactly where I am meant to be. I believe that each life has a purpose, and if you live with an open mind and open soul you will be able to see the steps to fulfilling your purpose. It seems that these steps only present themselves one at a time, and there is much time spent in waiting and uncertainty. In my experience, when I am making decisions that align with my life's purpose, I am filled with joy and peace. And I have this joy and peace now, as I am starting a year of service as a volunteer in Peru.
This experience would not be possible without the people who have supported me, so I want to take this opportunity to say "muchas gracias" to the people that helped make this possible. First, thank you to my family, who has had the most significant impact on who I am today. Thank you for the support and encouragement you have shown me since I was a young girl in discovering my capabilities and my calling, and for loving me so well. Thank you to the people who walked alongside me and provided support during the interview process. Thank you to the people who celebrated with me when I found out I was accepted into the program and would be serving in Peru. Finally, thank you, thank you to the people who have been praying for me since the beginning of this journey and who are still praying for me now, and to the people who made this year possible by supporting me through gifts and donations. It has been amazing and beautiful to see the community around me and to feel loved by so many people: people from my family and wonderful friends, my church family at Waverly Road Presbyterian, my community in Chattanooga, and now my new community through YAV.
I have spent a week in New York for orientation and training, boarded a plane and arrived in Peru, and spent two days in training here in Lima. Through this short time with the YAV program I have been affirmed that this is without a doubt where I am meant to be. I am thankful for this opportunity to be in this place at this time, and for the opportunities I will have to have growth through these experiences, to gain wisdom and perspective from these people, and to better understand what it means to be in a community of love across boundaries and diversities.
If if you have any questions about my journey this far, feel free to ask them in the comments! Also if you want more information about the YAV program, see my About page, or go to: