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A letter from YAV Megan McCarty in Miami

August 2010

My time in the Young Adult Volunteer program has come to a close. More than anything I cannot believe that a whole year has passed since I began this adventure. It has been an incredible journey full of joy, contemplation, change, stress, heartbreak and love.

About two weeks ago some of my co-workers and I took our elementary students and six of our middle schoolers to a summer camp near Orlando. We spent the week teaching these youngsters how to swim and roller skate. We also played too many games of soccer, ate amazing food, learned about nature, danced and sang as well as spending time discussing the theme of the summer camp: REthink. It was an interesting topic, one that I also got a lot out of, which always proves to be a good indicator as to how the week went. There was a song that went along with the theme that we sang every day. The chorus said: Rethink the world, rethink your faith, rethink your life, rethink your love, rethink your path, rethink yourself with God inside. Although I am pretty sure I am missing a few “rethinks,” it shows a good example of some of the issues we were centering around for the week. Each day focused on a new topic that we dove into pretty heavily, even with the younger elementary students that I was teaching. As an adult leader, I was asked to really challenge and inspire these youths to think about why they believed what they did and to look at what the Bible says about tough decisions and choices versus what the world tells us about those choices. These topics ranged (of course by age appropriateness) from world hunger to modern-day slavery to pop culture "icons" to money to the environment. All in all, it was a great week. Our kids got a lot out of it, and I found it to be the perfect end to a year of “rethinking.”

After camp I spent a week taking time off from work and forcing myself to relax and reflect on the year. Because of this thinking and “rethinking,” I have come to a few conclusions about the year:

Oftentimes the poorer you are economically, the richer you are in community and life.

When you share all you have, there is always more than enough to go around. When you hoard and save only for yourself, there never seems to be enough.

“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” —Mother Teresa

No matter how silly and pointless it seems, when taking care of others, self-care is actually essential to the process of caring for others.

I have always been and will always be obsessed with black people’s hair.

The Haitian language is possibly the hardest in the world to learn.

Living in Miami is actually like living in a foreign country.

Only when you accept and admit that you know nothing do you gain all the knowledge in the world.

You will always learn more from the people that you serve than you could ever teach them.

The best lessons in life come from 5-year-olds.

Despite being “young,” I am drastically out of touch with what is “hip” in today's society.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you came, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” —John Wesley

Investing a year in someone else’s life is the best investment one can ever make. It also has the best rate of return.

“Live simply so others may simply live.” —bumper sticker

and finally:

God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

I have to thank you all for going on this journey with me this year. Thank you for supporting me, for praying for me, for sending on kind words and for being a part of this change that has taken place and will continue to take place in my life. As I mentioned before, I will be staying in Florida City to live and work. It is a goal of mine to send out a few newsletters throughout the next year. However, there are a few newsletters that I write for and I have even started one with the youth I work with. If you are interested in being on our mailing lists for those types of newsletters, send me an email back with your address and I will add you to our list!

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