Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.

Sending Forth With Love and Celebration

Today I was honored to be sent out by my home church First United Methodist Church of Hannibal, Missouri. I have called this church home for most of my life and have always felt the love and support of the people in the congregation. The people in this church have helped me grow in my faith,  learn to serve, seen me struggle, and have held me when I wasn’t strong enough to hold myself up. The choir sang one of my absolute favorite songs called, “You are Loved.” It says… “where ever your path may lead you, I hope you always will know, you are loved, dear child, you are loved.” I feel VERY loved! I was also able to say thank you for all they have done, and I feel like what I said still did not express all that I owe to them. I was also honored by my  Aunt Judy, “Aunt” Becky, and Liz Swanson, who all came to support me. I feel blessed to have so many people supporting me in my new ventures, my ministry, and my life in general.

This afternoon, we will continue the celebration with a meal. I am excited to have this time to share stories, listen to stories, and have some time to say thank you’s and good-byes.

I leave Hannibal this Thursday, so this week will be filled with packing and a few more good-byes, and if I’m honest, probably a few tears too.

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My Call Story from Training

As many of you know for the past four years, I have been a teacher. And this has affected my life in many ways, so I thought I would share my story by sharing one of my favorite children’s books: The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. Unfortunately, all of my books are in boxes at my parent’s house, so I will share the story with you from the best of my memory. It starts with a ladybug landing on a leaf, but there comes another ladybug and this makes the grouchy ladybug grouchy. The other ladybug asks if she wants to share the aphids on the leaf but this makes the ladybug mad and so she flies off. The next hour she approaches another animal, a yellow jacket. The grouchy ladybug asks if he wants to fights. The yellow jacket says yes and starts showing his stinger. The grouchy ladybug says you are not big enough and flies off, but in reality she is probably just intimidated by the animal. The story continues as each hour the grouchy ladybug meets another bigger animal, asks each one if he wants to fights, saying they are not big enough, and then flying off. This continues until she meets a whale and asks the whale to fight but the whale does not respond. So she flies to the whales fin, asks, but it doesn’t respond. Then she flies to the whale’s tale and it slaps her all the way back to the leaf where the ladybug started. And to her surprise there are a few aphids left on the leaf and the friendly ladybug again offers to share her aphids with the grouchy ladybug. And she finally agrees and then the leaf says thank you for their help. I feel that there have been many challenges in my life, things that I have started but then run off scared. I have rationalized running off by one excuse or another but the point is that I ran away. Last year at the Ordination Ceremony for the Missouri Annual Conference, I had a profound moment. I realized that God had been whispering to me each time I ran away like the ladybug. And then during that ceremony it wasn’t a whisper, it was a big whale tale slapping me back to where I belonged, with God the friendly ladybug offering to share those aphids with me, taking the time to get to know me, and still loving me even in my grouchy times when I doubted myself. I am still scared, I am still worried, but I know that the friendly ladybug will be right there next to me wherever I call home.

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Get Ready NYC Cause Here I Come!

So I’m getting even more excited and nervous as training gets closer…. I leave on Wednesday to go to STL and stay with my sis and she’ll take me to the airport on Thursday morning. Then I’ll fly into NYC Laguardia. From there it’s almost 4 weeks of training!

I figured I should explain a little about the US-2 program and how I found out about it. The program is through the United Methodist Church’s Young Adult Missionary Service Program. It is for young adults ages 20-30. It is a 2 year program serving in the United States. The ministries that the young adults are connected with center around social justice ministries.

I found out about the program in January when the secretary at our church forwarded an email. Right away it appealed to me because it was inside the United States. I have always thought about missionaries serving overseas, and I thought that it was neat that there was a program inside the US.

Applications were due in February, so I had to work fast… It was a super long application! I also had to find references, including one from college. I have been out of school for 4 years so that was entertaining but I emailed one of my favorite professors from my days as a religion major, and he didn’t hesitate on helping me out.

I was invited to Interview and Discernment Days in NYC in March and was invited into the program at the end of April. In May I was matched with my placement site in Dallas, Texas. I interviewed with them, and now here I am… getting ready to go to training! I’ll be moving to Dallas in August so I’m sure I will know more about my placement site then, but from what I’ve heard so far it sounds like an AMAZING program and an amazing opportunity for me to serve.

I am humbled and amazed that God has taken me to this place. This time last year I was struggling with trying to find a teaching job. I knew that God was calling me to ministry and had accepted that call, but I was scared of what that really meant.If you had told me this time last year that I would be headed to Dallas, Texas to be a missionary I would have just laughed, but yet here I am now.  Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I’m terrified about what I am getting ready to do but I am ready to welcome adventure. I hope that I learn a lot and can become a better, more confident person because of it.

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New to this…

So here is my first attempt ever to blog. Not really sure what I’m SUPPOSED to do but here is what I’m going to do… I am planning on sharing my experiences from my experiences as a US-2 missionary. I will be leaving in July for training and then going to Dallas, Texas to serve with Project Transformation. I am super excited about this new adventure! My hope is that I can keep my friends and family back home included in my adventures and meet some new friends along the way. I will write about what US-2 is and more about Project Transformation at a later date.

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