“What’s your story?” I was sitting at a pizza restaurant with a group of church leaders who until the day before had been complete strangers to me. But now, after 2 days of conversation and training, we were chatting in a much more familiar tone as we sipped beverages and contemplated returning to our regularly-programmed lives.
“What’s your story?” The question was posed again. I tried to evade answering by saying something like,”My story isn’t any more interesting than anyone else’s. You guys don’t really want to hear it.” But they gently persisted, giving me time, space and attention to tell them how I got from Africa to Florida, from being committed to any occupation besides being a professional Lutheran church worker to being exactly that.
And so I told them my story.
Continue reading Journey to Detroit 2015: What’s Your Story?
During my senior year of high school I took a class called “Current World Issues.” We watched a lot of CNN. And the teacher tried to convince us to care about these news stories we researched and reported on each week. Unfortunately, in our teenage arrogance, we thought we knew all we needed to know about what was going on in the world. I remember one time specifically she told us she was considering bringing in a missionary doctor to tell us about the civil war going on in Sudan. Collectively, we sort of scoffed at her, telling her that, while this was her first year in Africa and so the situation in Sudan was new and traumatizing for her, many of us were raised hearing about Sudan, knowing people who were evacuated from Sudan, listening to the stories coming from Sudan. We knew about Sudan…we didn’t need a guest speaker to tell us about it. Some of us had lived through the genocide in Rwanda and the follow-up chaos in Zaire/Congo. Some of us could tell stories of the elections in Kenya that were surrounded by a bunch of violence. All of us acted like what she wanted to say was a “current world issue” was just part of our life. Admittedly, we were not very respectful to her, and probably made her first year as a missionary teacher in Kenya less than ideal.
Continue reading You’re Going Where? Part 2: to be or not to be…
What follows is a series of entries about how I got to the point where I am getting ready for a 15 day trip to East Africa. I figured breaking it into installments would be better than expecting someone to read a novel. But be warned…it may still be a bit like a novel.
Almost everyone I know who has been to Africa says, “Africa gets in your blood…” For me, that is true. Not just because I was born there. Not just because my dad grew up there. Not just because my grandma was born there. Well…maybe those things helped. But when I was graduating from high school in Kenya and people would say, “do you think you’re ever going to come back?” at that time I would honestly say, Continue reading You’re going where? part 1: where it all began
I’m really excited to have a chance to go back to Africa this summer with a young adult from my congregation. Here’s an ‘interview’ we published in the church newsletter with the information:
I had a chance to catch up with one of Advent’s young adults for a conversation about faith formation, God’s call on her life, and what’s next for her. Listen in on this conversation with Kamy Jesse.
How long have you been a member of Advent?
Kamy: I have been a member of Advent since I was in 5th grade. I was honored to wear the old badges with my name and the word “member” underneath it. I’ve loved growing through Advent and helping Advent grow as well.
Continue reading Journeying with a Young Adult