Monday, July 29, 2013


Recently, I've been asked by several store clerks where I live. I find myself stuck in a peculiar position. I just graduated and left from Clemson, where I've lived for four years. I'm currently living at my original home, if you will, in Asheville, where I grew up. But I'm only here temporarily between graduation and moving to Cange, Haiti.

Sometimes my response is just, "Asheville." Other times I'll expand on that and say something like, "Asheville for now, but I'm moving to Haiti in (x number) of days." I'm either timid enough to presume everyone does not want to hear about this awesome opportunity in the Young Adult Service Corps or I'm bold enough to presume they do. Depends on my mood.

Right now home is a tricky thing. I'm privileged and grateful to have grown up and lived in a loving, stable household in Asheville, NC. I'm writing this post from the porch of the house to which I was brought after being born in the hospital. I definitely feel at home here, and I love the people, culture, and natural beauty of these mountains. My family is here. It is home in my heart, and it's going to be tough to leave it. Here's a picture off of the back porch of that house:

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Danger of a Single Story

When we only retain a single story of another person, country, or culture we can develop damaging misconceptions that mislead us to act in inappropriate, and harmful, ways.

By far, the two most frequent comments I receive from others when talking about moving to Haiti are, "Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere," and, "watch out for Vodou down there." Haiti is one such place often defined by a single story. This post is about uprooting that single story and presenting additional information about the country to which I'm moving. 

These details are not meant to define Haiti in its entirety, or collectively present a certain view. These are simply a few details from my reading that have challenged my previous understanding of Haiti and Haitian history.

Inspiration for this post came from a TED Talk video by storyteller Chimamanda Adichie that we viewed at training in New York. I strongly encourage you to watch this engaging speaker explain the danger of a single story here: 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Meet the Other YASCers!

Ashley Cameron created this awesome video that introduces all of this year's YASC volunteers (except for the two from the Dominican Republic who were unable to attend training in New York due to visa issues). Watch the video to find out who we all are, where we are from, where we are going and what excites us about YASC.
You can also find out more about each volunteer at the blogs linked on the front page of my blog.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So Close And Yet So Far Away

From June 16th through June 29th, twenty some twenty somethings and a few young-adult-at-heart Episcopal missionaries experienced the 2013 training session for the Young Adult Service Corps. Meeting at the Stony Point Center, north of NYC on the Hudson River, we mixed logistical and abstract training sessions to help us prepare for integrating into another country. A big THANK YOU to the YASC staff and all of the others that contributed so much to our training and preparation for our mission years.
I'm amazed by how at home I feel with this bunch of missionaries, given we've only spent three days of discernment weekend and about 14 days of training together. After getting so close during this time, we all embark for distant lands in the next couple of months. But through that, we will all be there for each other for support as we navigate this calling.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Fun To Stay At The YMCA. No really...

Will Bryant and I finally arrived home in Asheville yesterday after two days of traveling from New York City and the YASC training in Stony Point, NY. We received early practice in using the f word of missionary work. Flexibility came in handy after a delayed flight from LaGuardia led to an extra night for us in the Big Apple.

We stayed at the YMCA in the middle of Manhattan, something I never thought one could do. It is fun to stay at the YMCA... in Manhattan.
Anyway, in this first post about the YASC training, I'll share two things from training that to me capture both the work we will be doing and how we are preparing to do it.