Aging Out of Young-Adulthood

•May 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

At 26, I find that I have “aged out” of being a young adult. That’s a scary realization.

Its not so much age, because I know many young adults who are 25, 26, and even 27. But I am no longer a college student, gap year kid, or recent university graduate. I’m not even working on a graduate degree. At this point, I’m firmly entrenched in the workforce. I’m “established.” Whatever that means.

At the same time, I find this to be an awkward phase of life. Just as much as I don’t fit in with the young adult crowd (and that’s not to say that many of my friends are not young adults–they are), I don’t feel like an adult either. In my mind, for whatever reason, adults are married, probably have kids, and are, well, old. At least older than me. The term “adult” also carries a sense of responsibility and maturity that I hesitate to adopt. I also feel like adults are the people that I look up to–the people who have the wisdom, experience, and maturity that I still lack.

I think the reality is that, yes, I am an adult. But being an adult doesn’t mean that I have to know it all. There will always be people older than me. There will always be people wiser than me. There will always be people with more experience than me. Perhaps that verse about not letting people look down on you because of your youth (1 Timothy 4:12) isn’t just about other people–maybe its about me looking down on me too.

A month ago, I attended a vision meeting for the youth group at church. I’m excited to volunteer and be a part of the youth group, but I’m being pushed towards leadership…a responsibility I’m hesitant to take. I’m only 26! What do I know about leading a youth ministry team? Shouldn’t a Tanzanian step up and lead? Why me? When I write it out, I realize that I sound a bit like Moses trying to avoid God’s call to go and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to step up and lead. Not yet. I’m not sure I can balance the responsibility of leading the church’s youth ministry team with my responsibilities with HOPAC and YoungLife. I’m not sure either whether I’m actually being called to this leadership position, or just feeling the pressure that others are putting on me to take the position.

Last week, I signed a year’s lease on a house and property all my own. In the next two weeks, I will be moving in. I will be responsible for two workers, for water and electricity bills, for maintenance, and who knows what else. In some ways, I’m excited. In other ways, it seems like a huge burden and responsibility that is a bit overwhelming to think about.

What all of this means… I don’t yet know. I’ve actually spent about three weeks attempting to write this post. Attempting to bring all of these thoughts into some kind of coherent, sensible “box”–but they just don’t seem to fit. So here it is, my jumbled mess of thoughts on growing up, of “coming-of-age,” of becoming an adult.

Turn the Music Up… We Love to Dance! (Photo)

•May 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Faces

•April 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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I’ve been looking around at the faces in all the places
Now I’m thinking we’re not so different despite our races
All of us be masking varied insecurities
Hiding who we are, scared of our impurities
Perceived imperfections force up the walls
Hurting and broken, we build barriers tall
Push people away, faking it till we make it
better to not love at all than to get hurt. Or is it?
If you and me are both insecure, broken, and scared
Then wouldn’t it be better if together our souls we bared?

What if we all tore down our defenses?
What if we weren’t afraid to be real?

Thinking what if they don’t accept me?
If I’m too fat won’t everybody hate me?
Or maybe feet too big or crooked nose?
Afraid I’m far too boring to ever get a rose.
But those secret thoughts I’ll never share
Instead I smile, though inside I’m bare
Left empty, alone, hopeless because I let no one in
I fake it till I make it, smothering the inner din
But you and me we aren’t so different
Masks we both wear, broken and bent

What if we all tore down our defenses?
What if we weren’t afraid to be real?

HOPAC: More than just a school

•April 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Over the past few months, as I was making my decision to renew my contract at HOPAC, it became increasingly obvious to me how special HOPAC is. HOPAC is far more than just a school, even more than just an international Christian school. The impact that HOPAC has on the community, both directly and indirectly, is enormous — and that is a pretty amazing thing to be a part of. So if you wondered why on earth I decided to stay in Tanzania…this is it. Or at least a big part of it.

See for yourself. 

Preview of PDF

(Click on the preview/photo to view the full PDF)

Light

•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment
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When I see you, my soul explodes with colors like the sunset.
I chase you, hoping to capture just an inkling of your brightness.
Your sparkling rays ignite my heart’s fires, leaving me breathless.
I laugh as you jump and glimmer across the water, evading every net,
Turning dewdrops to diamonds, stardust sprinkling the ground
I hear your breath on my ears though it whispers no sound.
Eyes sparkle with the dances of the soul, a photographer’s wish
Your caress reveals color and chases away darkness
In you is captured all that is joy, pure bliss
Yours is the power to reveal every flaw or hide every blemish
I gasp at your changing hues, every glimpse captivating
Fireworks exciting the mind, enslaving my body to your pursuit
I sigh with delight to watch you fade each night
And groan with unspeakable pleasure in your awakening
Your warmth is intoxicating, you’ve made me a whore;
Every encounter leaves me needing more.
Embracing you is like a drug, an unquenchable addiction.
For with you I have a love affair.
A love affair with light.

Spring Break 2015

•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

For the majority of spring break this year, I was immersed in the beauty and glory of God’s creation. I explored the vast expanses of the famous Serengeti, entered the notorious Ngorongoro Crater, and dove in the clear waters surrounding Pemba. I saw lions, leopards, and cheetahs. I experienced the thrill of a drift dive. It was a great chance to slow down and reflect on all that God has been doing in my life over the last three months. But for all that, my favorite part of spring break was three days in Morogoro with a group of secondary students from HOPAC.

The 2015 YoungLife Camp in Morogoro was a total blast! We played field games, pool games, and glow-in-the-dark games. We slid down an enormous water-slide built into the side of the mountain. We made new friends and strengthened old friendships. We laughed with “Sasha” as he flaunted his “magic.” We listened as Micki shared about the person and work of Jesus Christ. We shared our hearts and lives with each other during cabin times. We partied (and slept) on the bus to and from camp. Through it all, my prayer is that God was glorified and lives were changed.

SEW Week 2015

•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Possibly my favorite week of the HOPAC school year is the annual Service Emphasis Week (SEW). In the past, teams of secondary students have traveled across Tanzania to serve alongside existing NGO’s and missionary organizations. This year, two things changed: the primary students got involved with SEW, and the projects were centralized in Dar es Salaam and the immediately surrounding area in order to best utilize students’ time serving, rather than in long hours traveling cross-country.

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I was placed with a team of eleventh and twelfth grade students with the goal of facilitating a “summer camp” for students at the nearby DAIL Hope School. DAIL is a Korean NGO working in a low-income area on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, and the Hope School hosts a single class of about thirty students each year from ages 9-13 who cannot otherwise afford to have a good education.

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On Monday morning, our group spent about two hours planning and preparing for the week before heading to DAIL for the first time. Two of the twelfth grade students had been volunteering at DAIL once or twice a week throughout the school year and they took the lead for our group, suggesting a schedule and activities, as well as giving many helpful insights into the environment at the Hope School.

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The week flew by! Each day, we played games, facilitated crafts, hosted competitions, and danced with the kids at the Hope School. One day was themed after a birthday party, including cake, party favors, soda, and birthday hats to celebrate each of the kids, and another day was a sports day, complete with tug-of-war, football, and foot races. At the end of the week, when I and the HOPAC students left, the Hope School students stood outside their gate waving goodbye, and, according to the DAIL Director, were crying after we left. For many of them, this week was the first time that older students, especially those from a privileged international school, had deliberately spent time with them, showed them that they were valuable, and loved them selflessly.

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For me, this week, and the weekly service learning classes/projects that HOPAC students are involved in, defines much of what HOPAC is. I love SEW week!!!

 
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