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Young Adult Volunteers
It has been 10 years since I stepped off an Ethiopian Airlines flight and placed my feet on Kenyan soil. However, the impact of my Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) experience has left me feeling, at times, as if it were yesterday. I don’t remember how I came to know about the YAV program. I vaguely remember filling out an application. What I do remember is my interview with Phyllis Byrd and my excitement about the possibility of serving for a year on the continent of Africa. I vividly remember her stern and stoic demeanor and my desire to convey how much I needed this experience.
Work is an important part of vocation, but an equally important place to live out my calling is in my new home. My current home as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) is an intentional Christian community in Boston, where my fellow YAVs and I seek to build faithful relationships with each other, with our neighbors and with God. My year of service is teaching me that “being in mission” is a way of living that starts in the place where I eat, rest, reflect and pray with those closest to me.
For as long as I can remember, every prayer has begun and ended with the sign of the cross. The sign of the cross has been the catalyst for, and the conclusion to, every Mass I have ever attended. The sign of the cross is indicative of my religious and Latina identity.
Samantha Williams’ passion for her organic pancake-mix business is not driven solely by entrepreneurial ambition. It is also fueled by her sense of Christian vocation, which began to form more than a decade ago while she served as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV).
I still remember the first words from the first church leader I met as I first arrived in Manila: “You are welcome here, but you are not needed here.” Those words, spoken with wisdom and love almost two decades ago, would go on to shape the course of my time as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in the Philippines. I didn’t know it then, but that same sentiment shaped the YAV program at its inception. And it continues to guide our current vision for the program as volunteers serve around the world and witness the holy ways the Spirit is leading them.
I arrived at Ferncliff late at night, eager to hear of the camp and conference center’s new exploits but exhausted from the journey. I settled down to sleep not knowing that the comfortable mattress was my first introduction to Ferncliff’s Sharing the Goods ministry partnership with Good360.
Simon Doong has always had an interest in international life. The Beltsville, Maryland native graduated from the College of Wooster with a major in International Relations and a focus on economics, minoring in Spanish and Latin American studies.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2018-2019 Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) class. This is the 25th anniversary of a program that is helping to shape the next generation of globally aware, faithful and passionate leaders.
Like many high school graduates, Mindy Vande Brake was searching for purpose in her life. The St. Cloud, Minnesota native went to college close to home, but couldn’t settle on a major that she found exciting. She decided to get some work experience and found herself in the restaurant industry.
One day, while taking a break from studying in the Duke Divinity School library, I got into a conversation that would change the course of my family’s life. As I talked with a stranger, I learned he was the only person in the world with a Ph.D. in New Testament, which is also my field of study, who could speak the particular language of the country where he was training Christians for ministry. This really struck me.