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Redefine Me.

Redefine Me.

Winter has been long and hard here in Philadelphia, but we’re now seeing glimpses of spring. I want to offer some thoughts and encouragement during this month of transition. There are gifts within you. There are talents and there are struggles. There is beauty and there is ugliness. I know, because they’re in me too. These contradictions make up my whole being. All of these pieces that somehow fit together to make me the person that I am. I used to have […]

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A De-Segregated Life

A De-Segregated Life

The legal battle against segregation is won, but the community battle goes on.  -Dorothy Day My first time on the other side of the segregation line happened in fifth grade. My dad had transferred churches so we moved to a new city in central Florida. The school board had just been sued for remaining segregated even though the law demanded the schools integrate. That is the sneaky thing about race (or gender, or class), just when you change the laws […]

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Invitations

Invitations

At the beginning of each year I choose a word that I hope will embody the year. This year, I chose the word brave. I realized I am often motivated by fear and make decisions out of that fear. Throughout my Mission Year I have tried to be brave. I have tried to enter into the reality I find myself in so I can know it and myself better. I think having a deeper awareness of the reality around us […]

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The Better Life: 25 ways to move from good to better

The Better Life: 25 ways to move from good to better

A lot of times our choices aren’t simply between good and bad. Often the real choice comes down to good versus better. This is where deeper discernment is really needed. At Mission Year we are trying to be a community that goes beyond good to what’s better. Sometimes the good life just isn’t good enough. Here are 25 thoughts on how to move from good to better! 1. Getting a job is good. Finding your purpose is better. 2. Living in community […]

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You Signed Up For This

You Signed Up For This

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 Chicago’s tough winter has made it difficult for the team to interact with our neighbors. I confess I allowed the weather to discourage me which caused me to create excuses that limited my engagement outside of work or Mission year duties (work, meetings, devotionals, training, etc). […]

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An Experiment with Silence (Part II)

An Experiment with Silence (Part II)

Read An Experiment with Silence (Part I) here.  For the first week of Lent I practiced silence. That means I didn’t talk for a week! (Well, at not with my Mission Year team.) In Part I of this post, I wrote about why I chose silence. Now I will explore what I learned. I had hoped that my silence would create moments of reflection. Instead of speaking, I would pause to consider the words that I wanted to speak. In this […]

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We’re a Mess and That’s Okay

We’re a Mess and That’s Okay

“Can you guys believe that we’ve been doing this [Mission Year] for a year and a half?” This was the question that another Alum Intern, Cynthia, asked a couple of weeks ago that has stopped me in my tracks as we end second trimester and head into a straight four months to finish off the year. I started second trimester with a lot of expectations and hopes. At first I gripped so tightly to those expectations – often falling into […]

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An Experiment with Silence (Part I)

An Experiment with Silence (Part I)

This year I started off Lent in silence. I don’t just mean I took some time on the morning of Ash Wednesday to quietly pray by myself. I mean that for the first week of Lent I didn’t speak—at least not very much. For several reasons, I decided that experimenting with silence would be helpful. This post will explore some of those reasons. I first considered practicing silence several months ago. Early on in my Mission Year experience I wrote […]

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Beauty Beyond my Comfort Zone

Beauty Beyond my Comfort Zone

Wallace’s Catfish Corner is a neighborhood hub in East Garfield Park. It’s right up the street from where I live and I pass by it everyday on my way to work. I’ve gone inside only a couple of times to grab a soda or some fries since moving here, but I never stayed for long. I’ve always been intrigued by how many people seem to hang out in and around Wallace’s but I never had the confidence to go in […]

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An Invitation to Serve

An Invitation to Serve

Being at my service site, The City School, this past six months has been an incredible learning and growing experience for me. As I’ve mentioned briefly in previous newsletters, the education system in Philadelphia is not doing well – most public schools lack adequate funding due to money being funneled into the prison system and several schools have closed down. Many have high rates of violence, which force parents to choose between their children’s safety and education. The City School […]

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Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution

Do you want to know what I’ve really learned so far this year? Conflict resolution is the single most important skill in the world. I’ve logged countless hours in this field, and most recently an intense three-hour community conflict resolution session. Being honest, I held a lot of anger – so much that I was convinced that our community wasn’t going to make it out of that session and still be livable. Through the whole conversation, I was stuck on one thing our […]

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In His Name

In His Name

“I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.” –  Shane Claiborne We are called to be lovers. Simple as that. Lovers learn more and more about Love, Himself, so that we can become as He is and be able to love more fully. If we are pursuing […]

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Us vs. Them, or The Other

Us vs. Them, or The Other

A few months ago, we went on Mission Year’s solidarity retreat, which focused on standing in solidarity with those suffering from injustice and poverty in our city and world. I had a very different experience with homelessness than I had ever had before. Part of it was a homeless simulation, the purpose being to experience what it was like to be homeless and to have to panhandle. To start the afternoon, we asked people for their stories. The first woman […]

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5 Reasons to Spend Your Summer Break With Mission Year

5 Reasons to Spend Your Summer Break With Mission Year

Every summer we invite groups to come visit us in one of our neighborhoods to have the opportunity to serve the urban poor, receive powerful teaching and training, and be inspired and encouraged as you continue to seek ways to love God and love people. Looking for a summer missions trip for your high school or college group? We’ve got you covered and here’s five reasons why: 1. Established Partnerships: Mission Year guides groups through areas where we have established […]

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God is at the bus stop

God is at the bus stop

 ”God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive God there with gratitude in that sacrament.” Evelyn Underhill ___________ In Mission Year, we believe every moment is an opportunity for God to work.  A team member on the Hunting Park Philadelphia team shares how even mundane moments like waiting at the bus stop can open opportunities for ministry: “The first time I ever walked to my bus stop to go to my service […]

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I Need God

I Need God

While studying at Rice University, I was unsatisfied with the way my life was going. I think it was a healthy dissatisfaction- one that pointed me back towards God. Here at MissionYear, I feel much more desperate for God. I wake up in the mornings to pray not because I want to, but because I feel like I need to in order to get through the day. Reading my Bible, praying, and meditating are no longer things that make me […]

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Redefining Power

Redefining Power

A little over two years ago I studied abroad in Greece. While I was there, I had the privilege of climbing Mt. Olympus. Along the way I met a man named Bonadon from Poland. We shared stories from our lives and travels, what brought us to the same place at the same time, even our dreams for the future. At the conclusion of our conversation, while looking out across the mountain he told me, “You must go places with power.” […]

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Vulnerability

Vulnerability

  DeMyron Haynes shares about learning vulnerability.

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Restored and Transformed: A Story of Redemption at GlenCastle

Restored and Transformed: A Story of Redemption at GlenCastle

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the first GlenCastle manager, Constance Watson. As she shared stories of starting a weekly prayer meeting, organizing a Christmas Cantata for GlenCastle residents and the community, and of her daughter playing on the back staircase, I began to really get a sense of the transformative and restorative ministry at GlenCastle over the years. While some of her stories of transformation centered on the hundreds of residents she was in […]

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Neighboring Is…

Neighboring Is…

Neighboring is worth it but it is not easy. Last year on Francis Street, neighboring was “easier.” But then again, it is always easier to look back and think of our past in an idealistic way. I lived in a neighborhood where many kids would ride their bikes through our yard, people would stop by to look at our garden, or watch us as we pushed the kids on the tire swing that the guys put up. Looking back, it seemed […]

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    • Redefine Me.

      Winter has been long and hard here in Philadelphia, but we’re now seeing glimpses of spring. I want to offer some thoughts and [...] Read More

    • A De-Segregated Life

      The legal battle against segregation is won, but the community battle goes on.  -Dorothy Day My first time on the other side of the [...] Read More

    • Invitations

      At the beginning of each year I choose a word that I hope will embody the year. This year, I chose the word brave. I realized I am [...] Read More

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    1. 25AprInhabit
    2. 10MayChicago Visit Day
    3. 13NovFacing Race Conference
    4. 26JanSave the Date-Cairn University's Global Mission Week-January 26-30, 2015