Bruce needed help paying his utilities bill. His nephew had recently moved in with him, and the extra cost put him behind. We talked about his family and his budget, and we also talked about his growing up in New Orleans. We talked about his relocating to Denver, about Katrina, about the food and culture and music of that city. I told him about my time there in 2006 working with Katrina Rebuild camps for youth groups. I told him how much I love the music and food and people there.
After going over some energy saving tips, he was elated when we committed to pay his backed bill. He gave me some big thanks and a hug, knowing he was in a more stable position.
A few weeks prior to meeting Bruce, my fellow YAV, Maegen and I had a couple of great conversations about her time doing chaplaincy work. During our conversation God gave me a real peace about finding an opportunity to get some experience in chaplaincy to see if it might be a career for me, or at least a big part of what I do in the future.
After those conversations I spent several weeks emailing schools and hospital’s chaplaincy departments inquiring about chaplaincy internships. Were they offered? What was the application process like? Do you have to be in school to get one?
Then, Antonio, my city director, suggested looking into doing another YAV year and looking to placements through YAV. It made so much sense! I had experience with YAV, and I knew the last two YAVs at the chaplaincy placement through the Presbytery of South Louisiana. Everything seemed to click. I started talking with Kathy Lee, the city director in New Orleans for this past year, and we talked about my passion for finding where God is at work in the stories of individuals and my passion for chaplaincy being done in a way that is respectful and life giving. We talked about struggles that my friends who have been in the chaplaincy position have had in the past. At one point I wasn’t even sure there would be a placement there in the fall. Yet, through the entire process God has been so encouraging in these steps and really providing peace and opportunity for me in New Orleans. Toward the end of April, I interviewed for the positions in person and accepted them shortly after. I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I am to have been given this opportunity to explore my passions and share God’s love through relational ministry in New Orleans.
I ask for your continued prayer as I take this next step in my discernment and learning, and as I head towards whatever God has for me in my future ministry.
Last week, I got a call from Bruce. He had been home to NOLA to see his family, and had brought me back a gift. He came in an hour later and we caught up. He was still his same smiling self, but with longer hair. He gave me a bag of frozen boudin and a big hug, and I told Bruce that he had no idea how much it meant to me.
-grace and peace