I have been in Nashville for five weeks now, and I have received a warm welcome from the congregation at Second Presbyterian Church. I have also started my work at Preston Taylor Ministries, which serves around 70 children who live in public housing. I am serving as a reading teacher for junior high students, and it has already been an eye-opening experience to see children who are as big as me struggle to pronounce words that many third graders can say with ease. Of course, these students are not too excited about having reading class after school, particularly since it is such a challenging subject for them, and they have not been afraid to let me know it. It is a fun challenge to create lessons that engage them, and it is forcing me to see progress in a different way than I have typically defined it. Sometimes progress is just not having a fight during class that day--or it may be an unruly student offering to help me hand out papers--or an apathetic student being excited about the content of what we are reading that day or actually wanting to help with the pronunciation of a word instead of just giving up. I am quickly realizing that progress does not have to be measured in leaps and bounds.
In addition to teaching, I am helping oversee a Lunchmate Mentoring Program. We have about 50 matches so far, and I introduce the mentors to students and check in with them regularly. I have also started work on our Angel Tree Program, which through local church families and other individuals we ensure that the children we
serve receive Christmas gifts.
I think that I am most excited, however, about the fact that I am working in an environment that is Christ centered and whose primary purpose is to glorify Him and share His grace and love with others. It is truly a blessing to be here, and I sincerely appreciate the luxury of taking this year to serve others and make my world a little bigger. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement.
On a side note, we recently had our Young Adult Volunteer Orientation at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, and it was beautiful, especially the views that I enjoyed on an afternoon hike with a volunteer in New Orleans. I managed to share enough with him that he no longer thinks some of my "completely indefensible" opinions are so indefensible:)
And on an unrelated note, I'm playing "kill ball" (a.k.a. dodge ball) as we called it at Calhoun Elementary School tonight for the first time since fifth grade. I'm hoping the participants tonight won't be out for blood.
p.s. I'm grateful that my mom, sister, and nieces are coming to visit tomorrow.