I’ve been so busy lately, not just physically and in my daily life, but mentally, as well; I’ve been planning and discerning and trying to figure things out, my future. Ironically that has resulted in less blogging, though writing is one of those things that seems to always bring me the most clarity.
Here are a few numbers from the past 2 months:
I have had 27 client appointments, including 9 appointments with unaccompanied minors. I have been to court 8 times. We have had 4 JFON clinics at 3 different locations. And I went to 1 interview with USCIS, where a minor client’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status was granted.
The Redland Community UMC Ad Council (I’m on that committee as an affiliate member of the church) voted to end our involvement with JFON from August 1, 2016 until June 30, 2017. Partly as a result of that decision, the South Florida JFON offices will be moving to Cornerstone UMC in Cutler Bay, FL (which is only a 10 minute walk from my house). We are so grateful for the support that Redland Community UMC has given us, and we look forward to the possibilities that our new location might bring! We start moving tomorrow, so please pray for this transition!
Please pray for my discernment, as well. As a certified candidate for ordained ministry as a deacon, much of my call involves engaging in social justice work in the community and connecting my church community with that work. It would be difficult to remain as an active member of a church where a committee voted to separate the church from my ministry with the world, especially when that committee has no tangible plans for a new social justice outreach ministry.
I have never before left a church because I did not “feel fed” or because it did not have a program that I wanted to be a part of; instead, I have almost always sought to find other ways to connect with existing ministries or to start and lead a new ministry. While the decision to remove JFON from the church for a year was not personal and had nothing to do with me (though I was the dissenting vote), I can’t help but wonder if my call could be better lived out at a church where I am permitted to connect that church with my ministry in the world.
It would also be hard to leave a church where the people have made me feel so loved and welcomed.
Time and prayer will tell what is right.
Let’s see…what else? I’m still volunteering with the Everglades Outpost on Fridays. I made this video a couple of weeks ago while volunteering there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtWakKKMVjI&disable_polymer=true.
Last week, I was able to hand-feed a zebra some carrots and a black bear some almonds. I also fed the kinkajous and the lemur baby food that I bought as a treat for them.
As far as adventures go, I had to use up the rest of my 20 personal days by July 10, so I got to go home for 2 weeks, which was awesome!
When I came back, it was time for the Florida Annual Conference, which was held across the street from Disney Springs. In addition to the sessions, helping with the JFON and Young Adult Missional Movement (YAMM) booths, handing out water at the 5k, and walking around Disney Springs, I was able to visit with my friend, Laura, and with my godparents, Ken and Janet. It was a great trip!
I finally made it to the Wynwood Art District, which was down the street from a client’s house. (I also got to play with his kittens when I went to his house that day.)
On July 1, I used my $40 round-trip ferry Groupon and spent the day in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas. If I were to make the trip again, I would stay longer, but how do you know until you adventure?
I also got to play with an owl, an armadillo, a lemur, a baby gibbon, a white-faced capuchin monkey, a turtle, this baby tiger, and a few others at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation:
Yes, I’m playing Pokemon Go (a little bit). I even looked for water Pokemon at the beach, but I had no luck.
I did find this sea turtle nest though:
I’m also studying for the LSAT, and by that I mean I’ve read 15 pages of my practice book and finished season 4 of Orange Is the New Black. As my Gramma would say, “So sue me.”
On Friday, a mission team from Church of the Messiah UMC will arrive in Miami for a mission trip to Havana, Cuba from July 23-29. This will be my tenth mission trip with Church of the Messiah UMC and my first as co-leader. I’m excited for this opportunity! Special thanks to Redland Community UMC for donating almost everything we need to host Kids Club for 3 days!
The original plan was to help with Kids Club, a VBS/camp program for special needs children, and to work on a pineapple farm. That might all change by the time we get there. Please be in prayer for Experience Mission, our community partners in Cuba, and for our team as we embark on this journey!
I will try to write soon!