A little bit about my experience as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. based in Miami, Fl.

This blog will have lots of pictures, español and english.

Houseless but not homeless

image

So we finally moved. It was a whole process but we are finally settled.

We spent 3 weeks staying at different houses (including our site coordinator’s house) until we got a new apartment.

Although it was frustrating to not have a house, I found myself “houseless” but not homeless.

I saw God’s love and care in every detail while I stayed at José Manuel and Vilmarie’s apartment.

José Manuel is the pastor of the First Spanish Presbyterian Church in Miami but he happens to be the former pastor of the church I’m a member of, back home in San Juan. And Vilmarie… well, I know her since I was little because we grew up in the very same church. I know those two very well and when I needed a place to stay, I didn’t hesitate to call them and ask if I could stay for a couple of days… that later became 3 weeks.

I knew I was going to be ok while staying with them, but while the days passed by, I started to feel like… should I go somewhere else? or am I abusing their generosity?

I knew I was there temporarily, but I didn’t know for how long. And that was challenging. I really felt I was invading their space, even though we have a very close relationship.

I’m so grateful for that home. I had great conversations with José and Vilmarie about church, bible, and even theology. We also had great time watching SNL videos and hanging out at IKEA.

It was such a refreshing time for me, full of luxuries like cable, Netflix, Wi-fi, room just for me and, last but not least, washer/dryer machine. Whoa! (How perception changes with all this “living simply” thing, right?)

I know they didn’t do all of this to be featured in a blog, but I really felt God through their support and care.

This is where I reaffirm that being part of a church and having that extended family available for me has been a true blessing.

And now…  this is my view on my way to the bus stop

image

Reblogged from mkbevel  5 notes
mkbevel:

Most of this post happened in January, but it needed a little extra reflexion so here it is in March. 

Before coming to Peru I would have told you that I was going to serve victims at a shelter. And I would have been wrong. I’m here to learn about service. And sometimes that means that I’m the one that needs support, and that the people to give that support are the very ones I came to “serve.”

I decided to leave my host family in January because I was feeling manipulated and reprimanded by some of their radical and in my opinion not so loving ideas about Christianity. It was a difficult and painful decision that left me emotionally drained. The director at the shelter asked me if I wanted to stay at the shelter while a new host family was found for me. So I entered the shelter.

I lived in the there for two weeks living the lives of the kids. While I am not a victim of sexual abuse nor am I a victim of domestic violence, and while I cannot comprehend living in their poverty or communities, I did enter the shelter from an unhealthy environment to find refuge while someone searched for a better place for me to live. And every single one of the kids at the shelter can say the same thing. In many ways I was one of them. And the place that I came to help and the kids I came to serve suddenly did just that, they took me in and showed me love.  We played giggly games of volleyball and watched movies. They shared their detergent with me and taught me how to hand wash my clothes. We gazed at the stars at night and I was woken up to blaring loud music in the mornings. Through every smile, laugh and hug I felt the healing power of accompaniment.

I have said before that these kids have so much to offer to the world. Now I know that is not a vague statement meant for someone else in some other time.  It is meant for me and everyone else and it is meant for right now. I have seen firsthand the kindness they have to offer those around them. They come from the very margins of society. They are young, they are girls, they are poor and mostly uneducated, they have never seen running hot water, and they are survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and incest. They have been pushed around, rejected, and abandoned. And they have taught me more about service in 2 weeks than I have learned in all my life. Service is not about spending a year “helping victims” in Peru. It is not about saving the person with the saddest story living in a poor, far away country. There is no room for pride in service. Service is humbly walking alongside someone, accepting them, caring for them, loving them, and sharing life with them.

Powerful story from mkbevel, YAV serving in Perú

mkbevel:

Most of this post happened in January, but it needed a little extra reflexion so here it is in March.

Before coming to Peru I would have told you that I was going to serve victims at a shelter. And I would have been wrong. I’m here to learn about service. And sometimes that means that I’m the one that needs support, and that the people to give that support are the very ones I came to “serve.”

I decided to leave my host family in January because I was feeling manipulated and reprimanded by some of their radical and in my opinion not so loving ideas about Christianity. It was a difficult and painful decision that left me emotionally drained. The director at the shelter asked me if I wanted to stay at the shelter while a new host family was found for me. So I entered the shelter.

I lived in the there for two weeks living the lives of the kids. While I am not a victim of sexual abuse nor am I a victim of domestic violence, and while I cannot comprehend living in their poverty or communities, I did enter the shelter from an unhealthy environment to find refuge while someone searched for a better place for me to live. And every single one of the kids at the shelter can say the same thing. In many ways I was one of them. And the place that I came to help and the kids I came to serve suddenly did just that, they took me in and showed me love. We played giggly games of volleyball and watched movies. They shared their detergent with me and taught me how to hand wash my clothes. We gazed at the stars at night and I was woken up to blaring loud music in the mornings. Through every smile, laugh and hug I felt the healing power of accompaniment.

I have said before that these kids have so much to offer to the world. Now I know that is not a vague statement meant for someone else in some other time. It is meant for me and everyone else and it is meant for right now. I have seen firsthand the kindness they have to offer those around them. They come from the very margins of society. They are young, they are girls, they are poor and mostly uneducated, they have never seen running hot water, and they are survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and incest. They have been pushed around, rejected, and abandoned. And they have taught me more about service in 2 weeks than I have learned in all my life. Service is not about spending a year “helping victims” in Peru. It is not about saving the person with the saddest story living in a poor, far away country. There is no room for pride in service. Service is humbly walking alongside someone, accepting them, caring for them, loving them, and sharing life with them.

Powerful story from mkbevel, YAV serving in Perú

in transitus

So, we have to move, now.
To a different house.
Yes.
In March.

At the very middle of our year, there’s a black mold situation at the house and we need to go somewhere else.

I still remember when we first got to the house.

We named it “Club Shirley”. We unpacked, hung our clothes in the closet and our pictures on the wall. We organized all our stuff in the drawers. We looked for furniture and finally got our “home” ready. Everything was settled. I didn’t have to think about moving until July… not!

However, I don’t mind going to a new place, specially when it’s for health reasons! What’s really bothering me it’s thinking about all the moving process. Moving the furniture, packing all over again and take everything to other place just for couple months before we all have to pack again to go home.

image

         (That’s us… escaping from black mold.)


Thinking about moving now, in this very moment, sounds so wrong and so bad timing and horrible… and blah blah meh meh! But, on the other side, going to a new place, may sound exciting. I know, what the heck is wrong with me?

Oh my God, I just thought of the kitchen stuff and groceries in the fridge. We have a lot of stuff.

Anyway, we are now waiting until we get a new house… and then, we’ll have to start that unwanted moving process. Meanwhile, I’ve been crashing some houses in what I call “Escaping Black Mold Tour”. All of us are staying at different places while we get - finally - our new Club Shirley.

And then… I started to think about it…deeply.

Don’t we want to loose weight but hate to go to the gym? We want a college degree but we don’t like to study. We want work experience but we are too lazy to get out and actually look for a job. We want to be grown ups but we don’t want to go through the process that will make us grow. Stepping out of our comfort it’s always a challenging process. And I don’t like the process. I want a house.

When I order something online, I usually get super excited. I refresh the UPS tracking website every 5 seconds… just to see that my package stills “in transit”. 

Am I “in transit”? Is the house “in transit”?

It really feels like we have to start all over again. But, maybe that’s what we need so we can face what’s next in God’s plan. Amen? Amen!

So, bring it on “waiting for a house and moving process”!

Just get prepared to my next blog: Hi, welcome to my black mold free crib!