Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Journey Begins

The first step has been taken...I have arrived in Chicago for a week of orientation with the other 49 YAGMs who will be serving this next year.  We will be at the Lutheran School of Theology Chicago where we will be spending time on topics ranging from how we got here to how to work cross culturally to how to spiritually take care of ourselves in our time abroad.  But there will also be lots of free time for bonding and craziness! One of the really cool things they do is have YAGM alumni come and spend this week with us, leading our small groups, but more importantly to hang out with us and share about their YAGM experiences.

After this week I will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a week of orientation on life in South America and specifically in Uruguay and Argentina. There are five of us that will be serving in South America this next year: me in Montevideo, Uruguay; Kari also in Montevideo with me; Lauren in Buenos Aires; Katie in Resistencia, Argentina; and Emily in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. At the end of the week me and Kari will catch our boat to Uruguay and be off to our new home!

Even though I am here, it doesn't quite feel like it is really happening. But that could be partially due to lack of plane left Seattle at 7am this morning meaning that I got up at 4am after not going to bed until 2am...needless to say I have been a bit out of it at times today. But it is good to be here. Though I miss some things about home already, It is exciting to be hanging out with friends I haven't seen since April and to be starting out on this new adventure.

Thanks for all the prayers and support I have recieved. Please continue to pray for me and my fellow YAGMs as we spend this week preparing for our time abroad. And please pray for my family as all of us are going through big life changes (Kerry leaves Friday for her freshman year of college at Pacific University, Kristen leaves Tuesday for her senior year at PLU, meaning that my parents and our kitty Reilly will be all alone starting Tuesday night).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I was just realizing that I never posted anything about my placement, so here it is! I was super excited to finally find out a few weeks ago and to be able to answer some of the questions that everyone was asking me. I still don't know tons, I will find out more when I get down there, but this is what I know...

I will be one of the two YAGM volunteers who will be in Montevideo, Uruguay.  I will have 2 placements:  Nuestro Salvador, the one congregation that our companion church has in Uruguay, and Hogar Amanecer, an orphanage connected with the Methodist church on the outskirts of Montevideo.  I will live in my own room in a small student residence that is connected to Nuestro Salvador.  

Here is some more that my country coordinator Kate wrote:
Nuestro Salvador:  You will most likely be helping with activities of Nuestro Salvador 3 days a week.  This will include accompanying the congregation in all of its ministries such as Sunday service, Christian education, Bible studies, some administrative tasks, visits, homework help, and camps and recreational programs for kids and youth.  You will also be invited to participate in Nuestro Salvador’s diaconal project, MisiĆ³n San Juan, where the congregation offers Christian education and homework help to kids in a community on the outskirts of Montevideo.  You will also help to serve as a bridge between the congregation and the students who live in the residence where you will be living.

Hogar Amanecer:  Hogar Amanecer is an orphanage where approximately 30 kids live, about an hour bus ride from Nuestro Salvador.  You will most likely be there two days a week.  Some of your activities will include:  accompanying the children and staff in the everyday tasks at the home and enriching the home’s programming by organizing games, crafts, story-time, cooking projects, puppet shows, gardening projects, sports, and/ or outings.  More than activities, your presence is what will be most important for these kids.

I am really excited about my placements! Montevideo sounds like a great place to be and I am excited that there will be another YAGM (Kari) there also.  We will have different placements, but it will be nice to have her there to help process and debrief what we are going through.