Well, it’s finally here! Today I get on a plane (3 planes, to be specific…) and head to Bossey, Switzerland! It’s crazy to think that this journey has already been a year in the making. From a friend and former professor sending me an unexpected e-mail that said “Check out this program, I think it would be a really great fit for you…” to applying and receiving a scholarship from The United Methodist Church, to applying and being accepted to the Ecumenical Institute, to the months-long process of applying for a Long Stay Visa, to the fun of the last few weeks figuring out how the hell I’m gonna pack everything I need for 5 months into a small number of suitcases.
There is so much to be grateful for as I begin this journey: My professors and friends at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary who wrote letters of recommendation for me, to the Arkansas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church for working with me as I continue the residency process from another continent, and especially to Rev. Britt Skarda and Rev. Jay Clark at Pulaski Heights UMC who were willing to grant me a 5 month leave of absence only 2 months after beginning my new position. For the chance to check “Live in a Foreign Country” off of my bucket list I am grateful. And for the opportunity to meet new people from around the world and live and study with them as our eyes are opened to just how beautiful and diverse and messy the Beloved Community of God’s kingdom is, I am eternally grateful.
I’m leaving a lot behind me that I will miss over the next several months – not spending Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family for the first time ever, the birth of a best friend’s baby, the weddings of some of my dearest friends, and an incredible boyfriend who’s willing to love me through this crazy journey. A lot of life will happen that I won’t get to be there for, and I am sad for those moments.
But as I start this journey, I know above all else that I am being faithful to God’s call on my life to keep opening doors wherever I find them, to learn and grow and be challenged and inspired as much as I possibly can, and to never grow weary of trying to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to learn or how I’m going to use it when I return to the United States, but I know that God has something wonderful and beautiful in store.
So here I go!!!