Yesterday morning BVS sent 24 volunteers out to the world to serve. We had a great three weeks here in New Windsor and created the feeling of a surreal bubble that we hoped would never pop. Although we are spread around the U.S. and the world we intend to keep these lifetime friendships created here. We had numerous reasons that made orientation as great as it is. We had service days that included a trip to Cross Keys Village, a Brethren retirement community in Pennsylvania. Our unit spent a weekend in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania doing community outreach work through the Harrisburg 1st Church of the Brethren. One of my personal favorite days of orientation included being dropped off in the countrysides of Maryland in groups of three to find work in the countryside community. Many households we came across had one encouraging thing in common. Groups had trouble finding work because people always felt that they were doing fine and that there was always someone else in need of more help than them, a vey generous thought this is true, but led to groups doing nothing but walking all day. The discovery is that it is just important to serve others as it is to accept others serving ourselves as well. We all want to be servants but there are times in which we need to let others be our servants and wash our feet as well.
Throughout the three weeks we had many small group activities which allowed us to get to know every single person on a personal level that is usually not possible in a large group. We had a couple nights set aside to share our faith journeys. This was a very strengthening, emotional, group dynamic building experience. We had many sessions of a wide variety of topics to help prepare us and open us to the possibilities of each project as well as ways in which we may feel called to act upon the ways of society today And how to do so in an effective and appropriate way. We had conversations on a personal level or in small groups simply because we had the want to always know more about each other. On a bit more active note, we also enjoyed playing sports like four square, volleyball, soccer, ultimate, ping pong, and much more! Once in a while we even felt that it was necessary to have a dance party in the gym to burn off some energy. Overall, I cannot imagine a better unit to be in that unit 303!
As for an update on a personal level, I will be attending church in Pennsylvania Sunday morning with a congregation who I will volunteer with for one week in upstate New York. From there I will return to New Windsor for two weeks of training with Brethren Disaster Ministries to become a part of a project leadership team for the rest of the year. Following training it sounds like I will be located in a different site in New York until Christmas. After Christmas I would most likely be located in New Jersey until spring roles around and the possibilities of summer are still unknown.
I was also recently informed that I am an uncle to a healthy baby boy, Carter! The excitement of a new life is a great thing! The days until Christmas are being counted down on the East coast until I arrive in Minnesota to meet the newest member of our family.
I continue to pray for you all in every part of our ministry work, big or small. It is always great to hear the work that we are all doing and that we never have to worry about tiring because the shoulder we can lean on is larger than anything mankind could ever offer.