Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update #1

Hello friends, family, pets, and other:

It's been awhile . . . so sorry. My original plan was to email all of you when I heard back from the Adventist Volunteers organization regarding my application. Plan B arose when I didn't hear anything, but then finals and papers came up, so Plan C came around now that I've finished 3 of my 5 finals and am giving myself a little break. And no, I still haven't heard anything about my mission application, but no, I'm not worried, because many of the other prospective student missionaries haven't heard any word either.

This is precisely why I had planned to write you when I heard something, because hearing about someone not hearing something is really quite boring. But not hearing from someone simply because they have not heard anything is perhaps more vexing, so here you are, bored.

Ah, I suppose there is 
some news to be dug up. Many of you received "campaign" letters in March, and have been oh so generous! The balance today comes up to $1,250; praise God! Thank-you thank-you thank-you...
If I missed your address and you've felt impressed to support my mission with a monetary gift, you can go to this website: .

Because it is the end of the school year, everyone is bidding farewell to one another, their rooms, their books, and their classes (some goodbyes are more jubilant than others). Amid these farewells was a weekend of SM send-off ceremonies, and with those programs came my first testimony (at least the first one that was actually dubbed a testimony). Whew. I dislike speaking in front of people, so this wasn't the most comfortable experience. I realize that many of you have not heard the story I told that Friday night, so here's a snippet (or perhaps the whole thing)...

I've always lived my life according to a plan. For me, spontaneity is planning a trip to Chicago (2 hours away) three days from now. When my plan gets messed up, I get grouchy. Being a student missionary has always been a part of my plan for life. Because I am a Pre-Physical Therapy major, school plans for me are three years of undergrad, three years of graduate school. The typical plan for a PT student/SM is to take the year between the three+three off. Alright, plan in place. 
Last semester, I got to thinking: perhaps taking a year off of school just to come back and plunge into graduate classes isn't the smartest idea. I discuss it with my mom and sister, and they helped me realize that graduate studies would work out if they had to work out. Cool. Now I'm back to the plan. Something must still be working on me, though, because I register for the Preparation for Missions class; you know, just in case. Got to plan for the unexpected, right? So I enrolled in the Passport to Missions class. 
Then Tuesday night happened. I was in said Passport to Missions class and couldn't focus at all on what was going on. I just kept going over and over in my head why I chose to wait, and the reasons seemed less and less important and more and more like me just backing away because I hadn't gotten my act together yet. I pretty much figured that if I was still wrestling with it, I probably hadn't made the decision for the right reasons, and that if doors were open, I couldn't know that until I tried to walk through them. So I went to the missions chaplain's office yesterday afternoon and, after talking with her, went to the Adventist Volunteers website and began filling out the LENGTHY application and searching through a bunch of calls and filling out confusing paperwork from AU.
Late-February put a time crunch on choosing a call. All I knew was that I didn't want to be a teacher – in my experience of helping peers with their homework, I unfailingly send them off more confused than they came. I had it narrowed down to a) orphanage worker in Tanzania, b) high school science teacher in Egypt, c) 1st-4th grade teacher in the Marshall Islands. The orphanage call was still not showing up, so I decided to email the missions chaplain and find out why. She emailed me back and told me to submit my app with that slot blank and they'd call the institution.
Ugh. Now i had to choose, quick hurry fast! I decided to enlist the help of an acquaintance currently volunteering at the orphanage I'm applying to, and send her an email, hoping against hope that she'd have access early enough to send me a reply (since all of our paperwork was due the coming Thursday). That was Sunday night. Monday morning, 6:30 am: I find out that she has added me as a friend on Facebook, just randomly, out of the blue (talk about the benefits of a social networking site)! I sent her a message, asking her to check her AU email and she emailed me back by 10 am with all of the pros and cons, responsibilities, etc. I was getting pretty excited.
Then I realized that I hadn't asked her what the call dates were (with respect to my obligations at summer camp, especially), so I sent another email. At about 3 that afternoon, I was studying, and felt impressed to think and pray extra hard about which to choose, teaching or orphanage(ing?). I decided that if the dates of Tanzania worked with camp, I'd see it as a sign. I checked my email not even 5 minutes later, and...already a response! Even better news inside: she noted that they're very aware of the difficulty for students to spend the summer there, and very flexible with dates. She actually started August 22 and finishes June 1, framing typical summer camp dates. How perfect! 
Now it's nearly May, and my application to Tanzania is still being processed. All in all, I feel like i've just run down a hallway, with doors flung open the whole way down; kind of a runner's high + exhaustion. I thank you all for your continued support and prayers throughout the past few months. Expect to hear from me again! Sometime... :D