(The political drama in Ukraine continues. Though sometimes it seems that the BBC likes to make things a tad more dramatic than they actually are.)
My fundraising has commenced. Below is the email I sent out. While the references to the blog are a bit unnecessary here, the rest is relevant.
People in my life,
The other day at my office, while we were working on some fundraising techniques, my boss sent my AmeriCorps team an email with a link to a satirical article about fundraising letters. Below is an excerpt from an unconventional missive:
Let’s get right to the point: I’m going on another super expensive mission trip, and if you don’t know, that means I need money.
(Read the rest of the blog post. I laughed.)
I briefly entertained the idea of writing a letter in a similar vein, but then I figured 1) Some of you may be less than amused, and 2) I really needed to talk about more than money. Actually, like any traditional essay, this email has three main points.
Firstly, on June 18th, I’m flying out to Western Ukraine, just south of the Carpathian mountains. There on the plains leading up to the blue mountains is a tiny Hungarian town called Péterfalva where I will be living and teaching English for a year. I visited this town while on my semester in Budapest, Hungary, and I have decided to return. I remember being fascinated by the area, from the frozen-in-time nature of a post-Soviet world to the rural side of Hungarian culture. I’ll be teaching through a group called Ars Longa, and you can read more about them here. (This link takes you to my newly-created blog. There’s all sorts of information on there, and hopefully more is to come quite soon. This all depends on how good I am at overcoming the temptation to read children’s literature instead of researching Ukraine.)
This is a volunteer position, and while my room and board is provided by Ars Longa, my travel and any incidental living expenses are not. To cover the cost of the trip, I need to raise about $2800. For more information on giving, you can go to this page. At the moment, I am an AmeriCorps member serving at the American Red Cross, and I’ve been saving what I can. But every other dollar is very much appreciated. Even 1 dollar bills add up quickly.
Lastly, I’ve taken a page from my mother’s book. When she took up her orders again to serve a church, she asked the people around her to surround her in prayer, and she had each person/family take a day of the month. On that day, they would lift her and our family up in prayer, and we would pray for them as well. I remember very vividly sitting in the living room during our evening devotions, praying for a different loved-one every night and feeling comforted by the fact they they were praying for us, too.
This trip to Ukraine is probably the most adventurous (crazy?) step I’ve ever taken, and every day I oscillate between unshrinking excitement and paralyzed terror (I have this all-or-nothing streak … thanks Dad … ). When the Quakers talk about prayer, they talk about holding someone in the Light. The Light clarifies what’s there and what’s not, pours in strength, and fills the empty spaces. This, my friends, is what I ask of each of you: that you would hold me in the light and peace of Christ and pray for me and those I’ll be serving. And if you are willing and able, I’d love to set up a prayer calendar like the one my mother had. Let me know if you’d like to commit to be a part of that prayer calendar (you can even specify a day of the month if you really want to), and I’ll put together a list.
If you’d like to keep up with my Ukrainian happenings, I have a blog: transcarpathiansojourner.wordpress.com
I’ll be writing in it more often come June. I’ll have access to internet, so this email address will be the most reliable way of getting a hold of me. (Actually, it’s pretty much the most reliable way of getting a hold of me right now, too.)
Folks, you have made it the end of this email. Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions or just want to talk about what I’m doing. I appreciate the place each of you holds in my life, and I look forward to sharing my adventure with you.
Blessings and shalom,