Hello my dearests,
I don’t know what your sky looks like on your little area of the globe but mine has been gorgeously cerulean over an amber sun in the morning and mysteriously dark at night with starlight gleaming down (stars in Taipei City?!). Let’s just say my 2020 has been off to a refreshing start — weather, heart, body, and soul.
A couple of years back, I started to give names to each new year: 2018 aka pioneer, 2019 aka mearcstapa, and this year God’s reminding me of the definition of the word privilege.
This word entered my lexicon at the end of my junior year in high school. Backstory: I attended an international boarding school and the dorms are set up on the foundations of family, connection, and honor — a big part of me was shaped during these years within the bonds of this community. Being in dorms meant there were rules, seemingly unfair at the time but looking back were clear boundaries for being a person of integrity. Light outs, breakfast check-ins, and permission to “go to the village” were rules that could be waived once you became a senior: they were called “senior privileges”. One spring afternoon Aunt Sharon sat us three rising seniors in the dorm for tea and munchies to explain what it really meant.
She first asked us what we thought was a good leader, then what we thought the correlation was between responsibility and privilege. I don’t recall the exact words spoken but looking back, this system of privilege was setting us up for the years following graduation. She reminded us with her steady eye contact and a sip of tea that privileges can be taken away when we’re not living them out responsibly. We still had to clean our rooms, do our homework, take part in chores, attend extra curriculums, have a life, build relationships, apply for colleges, and on top of that we were challenged to be leaders to the younger dorm brothers and sisters for the coming year. I definitely did not get enough sleep senior year but I remember it being memorable among other adjectives.
As I reflect on the ways Aunt Sharon lived, I see that her definition of leadership meant setting up the atmosphere. She was a mother who appreciated ambiance, seasonal decorations, good food, and contagious laughters. At the beginning of senior year, she met with us to discuss how we were to lead. My roomie and I planned on cooking breakfasts for the whole dorm, leading evening devotions once or twice during the semester, and hosting a kidnap party for the newbies.
These were all examples and legacies she has been building with the previous generations of seniors. Eighteen-year-old Amie didn’t have the words for this, but now I see that privilege creates an atmosphere of honor when done with a heart of service and love. I get to do this. I’m not entitled to any of this.
So 2020, my year of privilege looks like a few plane rides, an abundance of ask-and-you-shall-be-given, and a stunned repetition of “wow, I get to do this?!” After the long anecdote down my memory lane, here’s finally a segue into a more detailed plan of what my time at Kenya actually entails. All words have a purpose.
KENYA SUPER TEAM 2020
This team really is quite super. Annual Super Teams in our church network exists for a very specific and crazy purpose that is wildly different from intimate small teams which I much prefer. But when it comes to missions like these, it’s not about me — it’s about the God we serve and the people we go to bless.
This is the second time our church is going to Comido School in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Last year (I didn’t go but the stories are crazy), the team set out to build a playground, decorate the school walls, and install a computer lab with the most modern system. The weather forecast warned of heavy rainfall the entire time the team was there but not a single drop fell until it was time to leave the school in all its glorious upgrades.
This time, we’re planning to bring 4000+ books, 1200+ pieces of stationery, tools, treats, toys, and goodies to build a new library, teach the children about finance, install a hydroponics system, build a second playground, and visit people in the settlement. I am in children’s ministry once again, privileged to be working with my veteran beloveds Esther, Ina, and Tiffany but also absolutely thrilled to see so many first-timers and new faces.
I’ve been putting on a lot of hats lately, one of them is to affirm Esther, our team leader, when she is being crazy and to keep her decisions at peace — we’re inevitably very close after 2+ trips, being roomies for a week, and just being around each other. Ina has asked me if I could be the contact person for our team members who will be joining us from Hungary, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. I felt like I was perfect for the job because I know most of the people on that list. Then I decided to give myself more mischief to manage by making myself the organizer for the productions team that will support whatever is going on stage during our big team meetings.
Preparation is not my strong suit. I love spontaneity and being highly adaptable. I’m learning to be a part of the team — to obey my leaders and trust that every detail we map out will come to pass during the trip. But I also know that we’ll be improvising almost every moment of the trip; I somehow look forward to that more than this process. I’m using up a hundred percent brain power here then saving up another hundred of all other energies to spend over there. I just need to accept that all processes are beautiful and they matter more than the results.
wrapping up yet another long update
I believe that I have overwhelmed you enough for this month’s worth of updates. Hungary informations will come at its own time, hopefully in the next update. I’m just grateful that you are connected to my journey through these words.
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As always, I’m open to to receiving questions, comments, or feedback. I’m privileged to know each and every one of you. Before the next update rolls around, you can pray for me in these areas:
- Mental health, oh-so-many things are happening all at once
- Financial needs, not just for my trips but in every aspect
- Creativity and wisdom in navigating through this process
- Divine connections, daring to dream bigger, finishing well