I want to take a second to sincerely thank the people who have donated to my forthcoming leave of absence. The generosity of friends and strangers alike always astounds me. Things are off to a really good start at the fund-raising thanks to your kindness, and the whole project is starting to take on a beautiful life of its own. Some very kind and generous friends in the congregation I serve are coordinating a dinner-dance fundraiser on April 16th, which is not only one of those rare excuses for me to bust out an old prom dress, but is also sending me into a nearly constant state of blushing at the support and sweetness of others. You’re making this idea a functional reality, and your support leaves me, yet again, completely flustered by how amazing my life continues to be. Thank you.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emails, plan making, 96% ridiculous excitement, and about 4% sheer panic. I’ve been getting insider tips on life in Cape Town (from people who’ve lived there), and continue to collect contacts on the ground. I’m awaiting further details about my exact work there, but I’ll be sure to keep you up to date.
I’ve had a few of my friends push me to explain the “why” of this trip, which is a fair question. I can see the validity of saying I should just write a check with those fundraising dollars and give it to the people doing this kind of work, instead of going and doing it myself.
The “why” is pretty simple. I hear God calling. Something about the nature of human trafficking pulls at my soul, and something tells me this is work for which I’ve been preparing for a long time. It’s like walking down a path – not only not knowing where it’s going to end, but not even being fully aware that you’re moving. But I’ve been moving for a long time. Landing a chaplaincy internship in Pediatrics, getting trained as a rape crisis advocate, having the opportunity to learn from great mentors in pastoral care and response to crisis and trauma, having multiple opportunities to travel out of the U.S. and out of my comfort zone, and about a decade and a half of experience working with kids. It all might have seemed a little haphazard on my way, but it all works in almost bizarre harmony in light of my desire to serve and care for kids who have been rescued from the sex trade. I feel like I’ve been unwittingly preparing for this for a long time, and the only word I know for that is call.
So this is a piece of my ministry I need to explore, and the congregation I serve is graciously encouraging me to do just that. Who knows where it will lead me, but I know it’s a good idea to listen when God calls. That whole Jonah thing, you know… ignoring God just doesn’t end well.
I’m glad to have you with me as I take these next few steps. I am only able to do this – spiritually as well as financially – because of the love of others. So thank you, again, always. Let’s see what happens next!