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A letter from YAV Tad Hopp in Chicago

April 2011

Dear Friends:

April is on its way out the door now which means it is now time for yet another newsletter. This month has been a challenge for me personally but on the other hand, work has gone really well this month and the house dynamics have been great. As for the personal stuff, it has been a month full of several lows but also a few highs that have made up for it.

Let me start off this newsletter by talking about the lows. Well, I don’t know that low is the right word for this first part. More like minor revelation. It has become clear to me over the months I have been here that Texas no longer really feels like home to me. What I mean by that is that Texas has begun to feel less and less like where I belong. It’s got a lot of things that I will always have a special place in my heart for, and of course it is the place that helped make me the person I am. However, moving away has given me a chance to reassess my feelings toward the place I once called home. I think a part of me will always think of Texas as home. How could I not? However, the idea of home as a concept has changed significantly for me. I don’t think that there is any further growth that I can do in Texas. I think that I have gotten out of it everything that I could have. Of course, since I will be leaving Chicago in just a few months, Chicago isn’t really home either. I guess this means I am a nomad now. Not that this bothers me. There’s something appealing about that idea actually. I think that Texas was where I needed to be for that particular period of my life. However, now the idea of living there again doesn’t really appeal to me anymore. I will come back every once in a while and on holidays and such but as for living there again, I just don’t see that happening. Not really sure where I will land yet. I’m also convinced that I am not supposed to know that yet either. I am at that age where it is okay to drift along for a while. Maybe I won’t find a sense of home until I settle down somewhere and possibly start a family. For now, I remain a drifting nomad.

Work has been going really well so far. I really like my co-workers and we have developed a great rapport. We recently got a new copier that does a lot of the work that I had previously been doing which frees up a lot of time for me to get other projects done. I now feel like I am able to get a lot more accomplished during the hours that I am there. It also means my job has become less monotonous and routine which is nice to have a bit of a change during my last few months. I don’t mind monotony and have had plenty of jobs that were nothing but monotonous yet it is still good to get away from that even if it is just for a few hours a week over the next three months. Life at the house has also gotten into a comfortable groove. We have become like a family, bickering and arguing occasionally but all in good fun. So on those points, things have been pretty good.

Where the real distress comes in, however, is on the point of my future. It was during this past month that I received letters of rejection from both the schools I applied to. I took them both pretty personally and went into a severe depression over it. I got really angry at God and called him several horrible names. It really hurt to finally think I had some sense of life direction and then have that direction denied. I started looking at other options including a second YAV year. I compared myself to Job and felt like God was personally telling me that I wasn’t good enough to do His work.

Well, I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted to San Francisco Theological Seminary and will hopefully (pending financial aid and such) be starting there this fall. I’m actually really looking forward to this. I have missed being in school and have yearned to be back in the world of academia. I’ve been wanting to explore God’s call for my life and I think the ministry will be a perfect fit for me and my gifts. I’ve always wanted to live on the West Coast and spending three years there for school sounds like the perfect way to do it. I’m really glad to have gotten some sense of vocational and life direction finally. I can actually say that I honestly feel like the ministry (and all that it entails) is genuinely where I feel called to be. I’ve resisted the call for so long because I didn’t feel like I was qualified to be a part of it. I had other dreams and such that I wanted to pursue but God kept insisting. Finally, I listened. Now, I realize that I should have listened much earlier. Better late than never, though, right?!? I hope that you will all support me as I continue on this path that God has laid out for me. I don’t yet know exactly what the next three years will entail. Seminary is the one type of grad school where discernment is a huge part of the process. So, while I don’t yet know what type of ministry I most want to do, I am confident that as long as I listen for God, I will be fine. Now I know that that is where God was calling me to go. Depression over with and now elated to start my new life on the West Coast.

Thanks for all your continued support of me as I go on this journey. My time in Chicago is wrapping up quickly and I will be very sad to leave this place behind. However, I am now starting to get really excited about California. Maybe California will become my new home??!! Who knows?? All I know is that God is good and continues to provide so much for me and my life. How great he is indeed! I hope everyone had a great Easter holiday and got to spend the time with their loved ones. I went to my first ever Sunrise Service which was beautiful although really cold and way too early in the morning for me. The entire Easter holiday was great and although I was exhausted, I had a great time enjoying myself at all three services plus an Easter breakfast and lunch afterwards with friends. Great way to spend the holiday. Beautiful church services and delicious food were exactly what I needed for the holiday. Thanks for continuing to follow my ramblings!! Grace and peace to you all!!

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