- Lost my suitcase containing most of the belongings I brought with me to Colombia
- Had my suitcase returned to me one day later
- Struggled to give even a basic introduction of myself in Spanish
- Finally met the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC), who I heard speak in support of Fossil Fuel divestment at General Assembly, and was able to tell her the impact her words had on me
- Spent three long, impatient, hours waiting to hear if my visa application would be approved
- Received my visa after three long, impatient, hours of waiting
- Spent entire conversations completely lost, and feeling as though I was drowning in a sea of Spanish
- Had occasional moments of clarity in which I realized I could understand the gist of what someone was telling me
- Ascended a mountain (on a train) and saw the pilgrimage site of Monserrate, a church which overlooks the entire city of Bogota
One of the core values of the YAV program is intentional community. At most sites, this means YAVs will live, work, eat, and pray together throughout the year. For those of us living with host families however, our community will look different. But for these first few weeks, before we each go off to our new homes (Brittany to Barranquilla and myself to Pital), we, along with Sarah, our site coordinator, will live as the other YAVs do. This means that, among other things, at the end of each night, we sit down for a time of devotions.
Tonight before we began our devotions, Sarah made a pot of aromatica, which is what Colombians call herbal tea. Aromatica can be found in most cafes, and although the flavors vary depending on who makes it, it is a very calming drink. So tonight, as the warmth of the aromatica chased away the last of the chill left from our trip up the mountain, Brittany led us in reading Philippians 4:4-7:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” NIV
Just as the aromatica calmed our frazzled nerves, we found comfort in the reminder that we can take all of our worries, all of our exhaustion, all of our struggles, and lay them before God in prayer. Although I will continue to worry about what this year might bring, as is my nature, I know I do not have to bear those worries alone. In our prayers we offered up each of those things which lay heaviest on our hearts tonight, both about the past few days and our uncertain futures. And it was there that I discovered that sometimes all you need to find peace is community, prayer, and a cup of aromatica.