Just about two years ago, I was in the middle of one of the greatest life experiences I can imagine. I was a city host for the Center for Student Missions in NYC, and I fell in love. I fell in love with New York, the people there, and the work I was doing. Not only did I get to experience God's presence first hand in the Big Apple, but I got to work with high school and college students and help them see Love in a whole new way.
I truly heard my calling for street level ministry for the first time.
In addition to living and loving in NYC, I got to meet some incredible people. I loved that the job as a city host is basically 100% urban ministry and 100% youth ministry. At first, as I realized that many of the college groups were my age (and in some cases, older), I was nervous about taking a leadership position. As it turned out, though, I got to help these groups see the city through Jesus' eyes, while actually being a part of these groups and serving alongside them.
One week, my co-worker Michael was the main host for a college group from Michigan. I came in and out to help on certain days throughout the week, so I didn't get to be around the entire time, but this group definitely had a fire about them that was unmistakable and ridiculously encouraging. They served with passion and excitement, and it was contagious.
After they served at Kid Zone with Father's Heart NYC on Tuesday night, I met up with the group for Polish food at delicious Neptune (mmm, perogies). I hadn't spent any time with the group yet, so I grabbed a seat and started meeting people. To be honest, I always kinda hated that first night. I felt awkward answering the same questions about myself over and over (I hate being the center of attention). This group was different though. We really just dove in. Sitting diagonally across from me, was a college senior named Abby.
We quickly discovered we were both Social Work (ish – I'm Human Services… almost the same thing) majors, and… in the middle of the of the rigorous application process for the United States Peace Corps.
From that moment on, it was basically like finding your kindred spirit. We stayed in touch throughout that Spring and Summer, and Abby was one of the first people to find out that I was invited to serve in Bulgaria a couple months later. She got bounced out a little bit more than I did, and eventually changed nomination regions before being invited for Turkmenistan.
Since then, we've shared war stories (the good, the bad… and the hilarious) and dreamed about a rendezvous in Istanbul.
A rendezvous that is happening IN ONE WEEK!!!
Next Saturday, Abby will be arriving in Sofia for a few days in my world, before we head to experience Istanbul together, and I CAN'T WAIT! It's hard to believe how quickly we connected for one week two years ago, and how we haven't seen each other since.
It's all definitely been divinely orchestrated. :)