YAV retreat #1

We went to Castlerock on the North Coast of Northern Ireland. Good times were had and Beth made this awesome video.

What Do You Want to Do with Your Life?

I went to a seniors group meeting last week. As I was telling them about my life, I was asked the question every underemployed twenty something dreads, “So what do you want to do with your life.” After cringing inwardly I muttered something about not knowing. Then, one of the ladies said in a matter-of-fact tone “Well, you are doing it now.” I was taken aback, why yes I am, aren’t I? Not only that, but being part of a program like YAV, has been something I’ve been desiring for quite a while now. Traveling, learning more about God, about the Church, about mission, about reconciliation, being immersed in a different culture, meeting interesting people, living simply and in community, for a change of pace, giving a year in service, here and now I am living my life, and this is what I want to do with my life. Corny as it is, that little old lady’s comment was a wonderful reminder that life isn’t just a great big scary future event that I need to hurry up to figure out, but it is a right now and that I’m living it!

Belfast baby.

After two weeks worth of orientations, one in New York and the other in Belfast, a very long roundabout cross Atlantic trip, dozens of cups of tea, figuring out bus routes, tours, hikes and many warm welcomes, I’m beginning to feel comfortable in this little East Belfast flat I’ll be calling home a year. Both of my placements seem like a perfect fit for me. Newtownbreda PC and South Belfast Friendship House both have aspects which are familiar and fun for me, but each will definitely challenge and stretch me in different ways this year. I am so excited about the work that is being done at each of these places and am feeling very blessed.

Now here is a quick update about my day to day life here in Belfast.
1. I am living in East Belfast in a three story apartment with three other YAVs, who are all serving in different places in the Belfast area. Emma is from the Chicago area, Kalli is from San Diego and Mark is from North Carolina. The other three Belfast YAVs, Sarah from Georgia, Marranda from West Virginia and Elizabeth from Kentucky, live across town from us and we will only be seeing them on weekends, at meetings or on retreats :(
2. The bus is my friend. The Metro and I will be spending lots of quality time together this year. But for real, I am enjoying it. My first bus takes me directly into the City Center and there is always something to do there. My second bus drives right through one of the university districts and if I get off a few stops early there are bookstores, thrift shops and cheap collegey restaurants to frequent. I can’t wait to hang out in that area more.
3. You need to look left, right, left here. I forget many a times from which way traffic is coming. Then I get confused and end up just staring up and down the street for far too long before crossing.
4. Pants are underwear and trousers are pants. I made some of my church youths die with laughter on Sunday. I need to be saying trousers, not pants.
5. If you want to seem some awesome pictures from this year visit Beth’s Flickr. Seriously, go to it. Her pictures put all other pictures to shame.
6. Finally, since arriving I have made it through a number of firsts. I have had my first cold, and because I’m so nice, I’ve shared it with two of my housemates (sorry Kalli and Mark!). I have eaten my first meal of UK fish and chips, yummy. I helped to lead in a youth worship service this past Sunday. And finally I’ve done my first load of laundry without a dryer, yay for hang drying.

That’s my life so far, I hope you all have fantastic weeks. Blessings!
Satch out.

In a week.

In a week I will heading off to New York for YAV orientation! Summer has gone by so fast. Here are some pictures of the summer’s highlights and everything I love about summers at Horsehead.

I live in a beautiful place. So blessed.

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This has and forevermore shall be named the summers of wedding. This lovely lady got married…

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And so did this one!!

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Weddings this summer also meant making new and seeing lots of old friends. I like my friends. They are awesome.

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Kristen’s wedding!

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Jessie’s bridal shower

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Nat and Berger’s wedding (the after party crowd)

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Jori was our amazing photographer.

Finally, I had loads of good times with family and friends :)

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Leavenworth with Valerie

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A crashed family photo :)

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We went to a piano bar!!!!

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Reunited and it feels SO GOOD!

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I’m so proud of Jesse.

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Family, family and some more family.

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This girl graduated, we are so proud.

Thank you everyone for a great summer! I am going to miss Washington so much.

My YAV year!

It is really happening, in two weeks time I will be catching a plane to Belfast. Isn’t it amazing when everything seems to fall wonderfully into place? I ended up exceeding my fundraising goal (praise God!) and my placements sound like they are going to be awesome.
I found out a while ago that I have been placed at Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church and South Belfast Friendship House. South Belfast Friendship House is a multi-purpose community center just off of Sandy Row, a predominately Protestant neighborhood. At Newtownbreda I will be working with their pastor to help organize, plan games and worship for their children’s and youth programs. I have had several chats with the pastor, Anne Tolland, and she has a great vision for this coming year. I am so excited to be a part of Newtownbreda and can’t wait to meet everyone.
Thank you all for your support and prayers. Once again I can’t believe the summer has gone by so fast! In just a blink of the eye I’ll be in BELFAST!