My friend Rob plans to spend next year living and working in Tijuana Mexico with migrant laborers. We sat down this weekend to talk about what it meant to spend part of your life living “out there.” What does it mean? I was struck by how many people I know and love who are living radically global lives, so I thought I’d share just a few of their stories with you:
My friends Nate and Jenny are living and working as Missionary teachers in Malawi Africa. Nate was my roomate sophomore year of college, and Jenny was one of my best friends all the way through. They were married right out of college and moved almost immediately to Africa. Jenny teaches 1st grade and Nate teaches 6th, 7th, and 10th grade Math and two grades of science.
My Buddy Corny is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. He is working primarily in health and sanitation education in an extremely rural area of Peru, but like all North Americans in Latin America he also finds himself teaching English, playing soccer, and has recently been elected as a minor community leader for the Mayors office!
His blog is here:
Jered and Erin participated in the same program that sent me to Honduras for a year: YASC, but they spent their time in Taiwan working at an Anglican college. Jered is now in Seminary in New York City and en route to becoming an Episcopal Priest. You can read their blog here: http://jeredanderin.blogspot.com/
Amy and Vince Denys-Zuniga are new friends from my recent trip to El Salvador. Amy is serving as rector (priest in charge of a church) of Saint Andrew the Apostle in San Salvador. Vince seems to have taught half of El Salvador how to play guitar, in addition to helping out with Agricultural projects and receiving groups. There blog is here:
I have to end this small representative sample with Lyra Harris. Lyra served in Honduras with the Young Adult Service Corps, YASC, program. She arrived several months before I got to Honduras, but we spent 8 months living and travelling together. She was working with Development and Relief work through the Diocese of Honduras. She came as a co-leader on UCSDs recent trip to El Salvador, and we left her in Central America to go back to Honduras to re-photograph her work sites a year later. I have to share a quote from one of her emails: “As much as I am tempted to narrate the experiences I know I will fall short. It is impossible to describe the amount of beauty and sorrow, the feelings of being alive in the world, letting the world touch you and mold you. Being open to it all. So, I will continue to write hopefully interesting letters, but you too can do this! Just stand in the rain in the middle of a thunderstorm, or learn another language, or watch a sunset from the top of a mountain, or read psalm 16, or talk to someone you normally wouldn’t, or swim in the ocean, or get swept up by a crowd and dance in the street.”
Each and every one of these beloved friends honestly believes a better world is possible. They struggle through language barriers, personal doubt, cultural taboos, digestive disorders, depressing living situations, to witness that better world being born, to be the breathing coaches for the world through the birth pangs, inhaling and exhaling the wildness of the Spirit. This is only a small sample. I could talk about Krista in the Phillipines, Anne and Monica and Heidi in South Africa, Paul in Jerusalem, Kay and Bob in Syria, Lauren in the Sudan, Beth in Tanzania, Sarah in China, Angela in Panama, Adam in Brazil, Denise in Mexico, tons of friends in Honduras. God pleads with us to be the change this world needs. God dreams of a world where the painful borders economic, racial, sexual, geographic, and otherwise, the products of our structural sin DO NOT EXIST. God is on a mission to reconcile the whole human family, that we might not only feed the hungry and see the end of war, but so that we might Love One Another radically in community.
So will you dance in the rain? Will you give of yourself and your time to help this new world be born?