Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane...

I am excited to share with you that I have been chosen by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to serve for one year as a Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala. I leave September 1st and will return early August of 2012.

Through the Young Adult Volunteer program (YAV) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I will be joining over 70 other young adults serving at 16 different sites both here in the United States and around the world. During the 2011-2012 year, I will be a Young Adult Volunteer in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Quetzaltenango, or Xela (“Shela”) is a city of about 300,000 people (the second largest in Guatemala), located along a major highway 4 hours west of Guatemala City.  The population of Xela is a combination of ladinos (people who don’t identify themselves as Mayan), and Maya Quiche people. 

I will leave Dallas and fly to Stony Point, New York this August 22nd for a one week orientation with all YAV participants, then on to my country of service. Once in Guatemala, three other YAVs and I will spend five weeks in Antigua at a rigorous language school. From there, we will go to our assigned placements and live with our host families for the rest of the year. Every six weeks, the 4 YAV participants in Guatemala will meet to debrief and process our experiences.  

In Xela, I will be working with Ceipa (www.ceipa-ac.org) and Iglesia Episcopal San Marcos, through contacts with CEDEPCA (Centro Evangelico de Estudios Pastorales en Centro America (www.cedepca.org). Each weekday morning I will work at Ceipa with their elementary education program.  They have small schools for children who work and have gotten behind in their education, so they are now too old for their grade at public school. I will be in the classroom each morning, supporting the teacher however is needed and spending some one-on-one time with the students in a tutoring and mentoring setting.  After school each day I will go to the Iglesia Episcopal San Marcos which has a lunch program for elderly which is a collaborative effort to provide food - and equally as important, provide a social space - for elderly people of scarce economic resources.  There I will spend time with those who come to the lunch as well as those who prepare the lunch, and I will have the opportunity to lead activities with them.  The Episcopal Church will be my host family’s church, as well as mine, and I may have other responsibilities there. 

As a Young Adult Volunteer, I will participate actively in the life of my local church as well as the life of my host family, while studying spirituality, addressing social and economic injustices, mutual mission, and personal growth and direction.

I know that this year’s experience is going to be life-changing for me.  It will involve living outside my comfort zone and what is familiar to me.  It will involve focusing on the needs of others.  It will involve journeying in faith and trusting God in new ways.  I ask for your prayerful support over the next year. I will be in touch as soon as possible to let everyone know I've landed safely!!

With much love and affection,
                                                            Kristi Click


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