Thank you for all of your love and support I am so excited to share this experience with all of you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All My Bags Are Packed....

I have said good bye to 32 YAGM today. There are just the 11 of us going to South Africa left on campus. Much to everyone's surprise I am packed with 2 hours to spare! We leave for the airport at 6 tonight. Fly out at 10:30 to Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt to Johannesburg Thursday night. Then Jo-berg to Durban Friday afternoon. Needless to say, I am ready to be in the clothes I am wearing for quite some time. If everything goes as planned by Friday at 6 AM central time I will be where I am suppose to be! I feel all the things that are to be expected: excited, scared, nervous, ready, and joyful. One thing that I have been pleasantly surprised by is the way I feel ready spiritually. This week has literally filled me up. I know that I am with amazing people and an amazing opportunity. I cannot wait to see how I grow and learn from everyone I have yet to meet.

Love and Peace,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Step One

Hello Everyone!

I am writing this entry from a dorm room at the University of Chicago where all new YAGMs are congregating before we head off around the world. There are 43 of us YAGM here. Most are fresh out of college but there are some here who have been working or other volunteer programs and a few our taking time off of school to do YAGM. It has been really fun to get to know everyone but we are all getting a little ansy to get to our countries.

Orientation is going well. We have structured activities and speakers from 8:30 till 5:30 each day with 2 hours for lunch. Then the nights free to explore the Hyde Park area of Chicago. Tonight a bunch of us walked down to Lake Michigan. Sunday we have the whole day free. It's the ideal mix of preparation and relaxation before taking off Wednesday evening.

This is a short little post but really this blog is about my time in Soweto and right now I don't know much. I know that I am going to be living and working in Soweto outside of Johannesburg. I also know that my work will be out of the Diakonia AIDS Ministry. Which "integrates HIV/AIDS education, prevention and care in all aspects of the life of the Lutheran Church; ministry with compassion to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in a manner that reflects Christian values, beliefs and traditions and addresses social and economic forces that contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS. The objective of the program is: 1. To develop and run an awareness program aimed at curbing the rates of HIV/AIDS infection. 2. To train pastors and lay people of the Diocese in counseling skills. 3. To equip lay people, especially women, with care-giving skills. 4. To set up centers of home-based care using existing diocesan buildings." At least that's what the e-mail told me:)

Again a big THANK YOU to all of you for your support in this next adventure. Knowing I have all of you behind me makes it so much easier to take these first steps. I truly appreciate you. I'd love to hear from all of you please keep the e-mails coming!