Orientation week has been a whirlwind of information and meeting new people. My perspective has been changed, and I got to know the community that is launching on this adventure with me.
On the last day we were all sent to various churches to share in their Sunday worship, and so that they could commission us before we left on our year of service. Truthfully before this I’d never really heard of commissioning, but it seemed like a sweet send off that we were given by the church. I had the privilege of going to the Huguenot Memorial Church for my commissioning with two other YAVs. It is a beautiful church with many very kind people.
They were very welcoming and involved us in their service (I read Psalm 45 – an Ode to a Royal Wedding at the lecturn).
The commissioning service involved a lot more commitment on our end than I realized. There was an entire section for “Call for Discipleship”
“You had been called by God to this service, and we ask that you now publicly affirm your commitment to this work”
Most answers for the questions posed was “I will, with God’s help.” There was a laying on of hands tasting of salt. It was comforting to know there was a greater community supporting us than just the people we knew personally.
But the people we knew personally also sent us off. There was a communion service our last night with the YAV staff and alumni at Stony Point that was really quite beautiful. During communion we formed one united circle and sang:
“Once we were no people, but now we belong to each other and to God”
This week really drove home the point that I am not alone in this journey. Even arriving the first couple days I realized that I wasn’t alone in the way that I felt about leaving home. Personally shifting my point of view is and will be an adjustment, but I think it is a wonderful thing to be on this journey with a larger extended network that starts with the greater Christian community, and comes down to the four other YAVs that I am now living with in DaeJeon, South Korea.
But with being a part of an intentional Christian community (one of the tenants of the YAV program) it isn’t just the warm fuzzy we’re all in this together parts, but also the messy complicated parts of living together and the hard work that goes into making it work. I feel much like with the commissioning service that I have made a commitment to not only the Church and the YAV program, but very concretely to the people I am living with. For better or for worse we are committed to each other for the next year.
So to Linda, Will, Emily, and Alexis: This year, I commit to leaning into the discomfort of each of our lives. I commit to being your family for the next year – taking care of each of you when you are homesick, sick, or sick of us. I commit to showing up and being as loving as I can, as respectful as I can, and as honest as I can. In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will, with God’s help. Because once we were no people, but now we belong to each other and to God.
As cheesy as that is, I will do my best. I will also not be perfect, and I bring all of my own messy parts of my life, and I will fail. I will fail at the very thing I have committed to. I hope you have patience with me in my imperfection and personal quirks. I look forward to being a part of all of our messy lives as we navigate Korea together.
I am still in need of funds for my trip. Will you help me?