Saturday, September 25, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
So I have officially had my first week of work and after moving office furniture for two days straight, I am ready to take on my responsibilities at the volunteer village! I wish we were getting volunteers sooner than September 26 because I’M SO EXCITED!!
“But, Lauren, what is your job?” you may find yourself asking. Well, my official title is ‘Village Manager’ for Project Homecoming, and what that actually means is that from Sunday night until Friday morning of each week, I get the privilege of serving, talking to, and being with people from around the country that come to New Orleans to help in the recovery efforts. Most of the volunteers stay at Olive Tree, a dorm-style volunteer village setup by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Each morning the volunteers will be greeted by my fellow village managers, Tasha and Danielle, and sent off to their worksites, and each evening they will spend their time (if they so choose) with me! In the paragraph following this, I will explain more of the specifics of my job responsibilities.
Ok, so here are a few of my responsibilities of my job:
-On Sunday nights, I will meet the volunteers and welcome them to the city and help them get settled into their new home for the week!
-Each evening I, along with the 2 PDA Village Managers (at least until December), will be a resource for volunteers to learn more about the city and the recovery efforts. I am also hoping to do spiritual programming for groups that don’t already have their own.
-In my down time when volunteers are at their worksites, I will start working on a summer youth mission trip program that we hope to start for Summer ’11!! I am SOOO pumped for this! I will be putting together proposals to present to Presbytery, and then do promoting and all the other things it takes! This will be a more intensive evening schedule that would use keynoting and fun and spiritual activities to provide youth groups with a worthwhile mission trip without killing their youth directors to come up with it on their own (basically everything I wished for when I was a youth director!!). So needless to say I’M STOKED!!!! I will be sure to post on my progress because I’m sure it will be a long road
-Keeping up with the grounds at Olive Tree… :/ Fun Fact about Lauren: She’s never mowed a lawn before. Before you judge, please remember that I have an older brother, so that was his job. So, it looks like I’ll learn how to use a lawn mower this year. We’ll see how that goes…
I’m so excited to start working with volunteers, but unfortunately that won’t happen until October :( My need for instant gratification is once again making me restless!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
1. Moved into the Blue House! (see picture below) It is a wonderful duplex that I live in with 5 other young adult Christians who have also called God’s call to be in New Orleans this year!
2. Last week we went to YAV orientation at Stony Point in New York. We experienced worship, discussions of culture, race, self-care, and many other things we needed to hear before headed off to our sites! More importantly (to me at least) we all had a chance to be in fellowship with each other! I had a blast getting to know other YAVs and continuing the relationships with those I had already met! So wonderful!
3. The six of us are back at the Blue House and ready to get to work! (Although we’ll probably eat our words a couple months from now)
Here’s is the Blue House Top 5 (things we do most often):
5. Watching Youtube videos
Now for the meatier portion of this blog post:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." Jeremiah 29:11-14
We read this Bible verse today. Not a particularly uncommon verse, but today it spoke to me in a completely different way. Usually when I hear this passage, I think of all the wonderful plans God has set down for me and how much I trust in the ways he will lead me to prosper, but today I picked up a new part of the passage. God proclaims that He will bring me out of the places where He banished me and back out of exile that He carried me to. I had never thought about the places of exile and banishment as a place God has carried me to. I’ve only thought about God carrying us out of those places.
Lately I’ve felt pretty disconnected, and I don’t really know how to handle it. This passage helped me to see that maybe this isn’t a place where I am straying from the path, but just a stop along the way. God is so much bigger than me, and just because I can’t find Him or connect right now, doesn’t mean I’m not sitting in His hands. It’s hard to think that God would want to put us in a place of banishment of exile, but who are we to say what’s best for us. I can’t say that I like it here or resent the place I am in my life, but maybe I can learn to find beauty in the burdens.