Thought: Literally every single person in this world needs love, and needs Christ.

But what can I do?

There was a missions conference this weekend at the church, and just… every single people group and mission opportunity and cause I hear about, I want to help. I want to serve. I want to give. I want to go.

Lord, here I am. Send me.

But I can’t go everywhere, and I can’t help everyone. I can’t support every single worthy cause or mission I hear about, as much as I want to. Realistically, I can’t.

And I think this is something I’m having trouble with because, then, I don’t know where I can or should go or what I can and should do.

I struggle a lot with the idea of calling because I don’t know if I have one. But I do know I want to help people, to serve people, to love people, and in whatever way I can to be a part of the process of reaching them for Christ. I just don’t know what that looks like most of the time, for me.

Where should I go? What should I do? What can I do?

I was speaking with a wonderful lady named Bethany from the church, who, like me, has always felt compelled to the causes of missions. Has wanted to travel, learn languages, serve the Lord. We spoke about it as a “bug”, actually, and I think, at least where I am right now, that’s apt. Because I don’t know if it’s a calling yet, and if it is, it doesn’t feel very specific yet.

Bethany ended up settling down here, in Massachusetts, getting married and having a life and a family here, working and serving here, and doing short term missions whenever she could. Which actually sounds really nice to me as well, in some ways… so I don’t know. I do love it here. I may have the option to stick around in Boston after this year. And I may want to. And would God use that if I did?

Or can/should I go? And where?

Now Bethany is in a new phase in her life where she is getting the chance to do more with missions, like she’s always wanted to and felt drawn towards. She was telling me that she thinks those “no”s from God earlier were actually “wait”s. Which is incredible and encouraging to hear. Because I’ve run into closed doors too. But I also still want to know… what can I do?

She talked to me about approaching those doors and just pushing. Gently. Because God will probably close the ones that are meant to be closed (for now) pretty clearly. And usually the one(s) that’s meant to be pushed open will yield and you will be able to see that, if not at the moment, then definitely when you look back.

This hit home with me because I think it’s the reason I’m here, doing the Boston Fellows program this year. This was the door that opened when I asked God and pushed gently into the unknown. And I don’t yet know why this was the one. But I trust God, and I want to keep exploring, asking, seeking, knocking.

I’m going to keep my palms to the doors.

But what can I do?

Lord, here I am. Send me.

Two Things You Told Me

 

Heavenly Father,
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world
And in my life

Thank you that you are not silent. Thank you for amazing me. For continuing to amaze me, even in the midst of heartache and trials. Thank you for understanding me when I don’t even understand myself. Let your will be done in me, in my world, in my life, in this place.

Give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wrong me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

Thank you that you get me through each and every day. That you are more than enough. Give all your beloved people, made with dignity in your image, the food they need. Especially those that struggle to find it.

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I walk to the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

Thank you for showing me your glory and your strength, and the strength of your love for me, through the beauty of this world you’ve made and placed me in. Thank you for your enduring faithfulness and for reminding me that you listen, and you provide.

So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Thank you for knowing what I need better than I know it myself. Thank you for how you reveal it in the most unconventional ways at times. Thank you that hindsight is 20/20 and your work is evident in the path I’ve been on. Even when it was a crazy and confusing path to walk down. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

Your love is,
Your love is,
Your love is strong

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town

Thank you for the work you are doing through your people in this place. Through Bethel, through UniteBoston, through your Body here on this earth. Use me in this broken town. For your beautiful Name’s sake.

The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Would you sell yourself
To buy the one you’ve found?

Lord, here I am. Send me.

Two things you told me
That you are strong,
And you love me,
Yes, you love me!

Thank you that you, O Lord God, are God, and your words are true!

Your love is,
Your love is,
Y
our love is strong

All this I pray, all this I say, all this I give thanks for, in Jesus’ name!

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Amen.

Frequently Asked Questions

I decided I’ll start this blog off (for real) by answering some questions I’ve gotten repeatedly from family and friends… because let’s be honest, no one knows what a Fellows program is. Including the Fellows. (Well, we do now… but I really didn’t till I got here. And even now we don’t really know how to explain it to people; it’s a common problem.) So if you have no idea where I am or what I’m doing…  Don’t worry. I’m (hopefully) about to clear that up for you a bit. This is almost two full months “late” at this point, but it’s actually good because I can answer these questions better now that I’ve had some time to settle in up here.

Who are you?
Okay, well, if you’re really lost, I’ll start with this. The name’s Amanda and I’m a 2013 graduate of William & Mary, now spending a year in a graduate fellowship program called the Boston Fellows. This blog is about that, I guess. I was a linguistics major and a business/French minor in college, and now I’m trying to figure out what on earth I can possibly do with that (and what I want to!). I’m fascinated by language and I want to find a way to help people in whatever I end up doing for my career. This means that currently, I’m thinking about going into nonprofit, but really it means I have no idea what I might end up doing. I love reading, a really wide and kind of ridiculous variety of music, hiking and camping and skiing and picnicking and the outdoors generally, going to concerts, puppies, knitting, wine, and good stories in any medium.

What are you doing?
Funny you should ask. It’s called the Boston Fellows and it’s a part of The Fellows Initiative, which has programs nation-wide in many major cities. Basically, it’s a work/study program sponsored by a local church, and the goal is leadership-and-career development for recent college grads who are transitioning into the working world. Sounds fun, huh? (It really is. Tiring, but fun.) www.thebostonfellows.com if you want to know more! (The site’s actually really cool now. One of the other Fellows, Jim, has been working on it, and I think it looks great!)

What are you doing?
Okay, okay. I, specifically, am working at Bush & Company, a small life insurance company in the Financial District in Boston! I work for Jamie Bush, the owner of the company, and right now while his other employee is on maternity leave (she just had her baby and it’s a boy and it’s super exciting!), I’m actually  the only person working for him, so I get to be “and Company”, which is kind of fun. I’m the Operations Manager which means I do a lot of administrative stuff – emails, phone calls, Excel spreadsheets, and paperwork – and I’m learning the ropes of the insurance business. I basically handle a lot of the daily operations of the business because my boss is super busy and well-connected and has lots of clients. We’re located within the Commonwealth Financial Group/MassMutual office in the Financial District, so even though it’s a really small company I’m still getting to know lots of people because we’re in a big office. So that’s nice.
But what I’ve described so far is actually only about half of my job.  The other half (and a huge part of the reason I took the job) is that Jamie spends a good 50% of his time and energy (at least!) on helping local causes, churches and charities, and I’m getting to do a lot with that. His current project is a fundraiser for an inner city church, Bethel AME. The co-pastors of the church, Ray and Gloria Hammond, are incredible people who have been doing incredible work for Christ in the city for the past 25 years, so we’re holding a gala in December to help them raise money for their church and nonprofit social justice foundation, and to celebrate their ministry’s 25 years of work, specifically with high risk youth and youth violence in the city. So a big part of my job is also the event planning side of things for Bethel & the A Voice At The Table gala. (See avatt.org!)

Where are you living? What’s it like? How do you like the town, the city, New England, etc.?
I’m living in a little town called Amesbury a little less than an hour north of Boston and I LOVE it. It’s adorable. This whole area is. I like New England a lot (although there are tons of roundabouts and confusing intersections EVERYWHERE – that’s probably my one minor complaint right now. Well, that and the lack of Chick-fil-A). Boston is a really great city. This whole area is so pretty, and so interesting and rich in history, and there’s lots to do and basically I’m just really excited about pretty much all of it. Living in a little town and getting to work in the city feels like the best of both worlds. It’s a bit colder than I’m used to this time of year and I’m sure there’s plenty more of that to come, but I’m actually kind of excited for the winter still at this point. Long story short… I really, really love it here so far.

Who are the other Fellows? How is living with them?
For right now it’s just four of us: myself, Paul, Pieter, and Jim. Paul’s in biotech/research, Jim is a history major interested in refugee resettlement and currently working for a healthcare company, and Pieter is working with a ministry called Redeemed Lives. We’re living in this big old drafty house that used to be a convent, and it’s wonderful. I absolutely love it and it has definitely come to feel like home. Living with the guys is great – they’re incredibly cool people and we hit it off right from the start, mostly by bonding over being introverts and our nerdy tastes in TV shows, video games, and literature. We have really good conversations over dinner and living in this community is definitely a very different, very awesome experience. (So yes, I’m living with 3 guys, and New Girl fans will notice I’ve subtly themed my blog as a shout-out to this. It’s fun though. I’ve basically got my own wing of the house because the “girls’ side” is all mine at this point… That might change soon though because at some point one more Fellow, Meredith, will be joining us! I think she’s moving in in November. Which is exciting.)

Have you found a church yet?
Okay, this is a question I’ve gotten a lot from people back home and it makes me laugh because with the way the program works, it’s kind of a given. As a part of the Fellows program we go to church together and the director of the program coordinates that, so it wasn’t so much a matter of finding a church as getting here and just finding out where to go. Boston Fellows is actually sponsored by the Anglican diocese of New England, so we’re affiliated with All Saints Anglican Church in Amesbury (we live right behind the church) but due to that church currently being in a transition period with their leadership, we’re actually going to Hope Chapel in Hamilton. It’s very small – a recent (within the past few years) church plant, I think. Our pastor and his family have been some of the most welcoming people, and they’re so much fun. There are 5 kids so it’s always crazy hanging out with them, but they’re great. We’re also leading small groups for the youth on Sundays, and the pastor’s kids make up probably a third of the church’s entire youth group. It’s a fun dynamic. I like going to such a small church because it’s a tight knit community and it has made it entirely possible to get to know (or at least meet) pretty much everybody within the two months I’ve been here.

What’s the hardest thing so far?
I’d have to say at this point, it’s balancing work and the workload for our Friday classes. We’re taking a Christ and Culture/Intro to Cultural Engagement class though Gordon-Conwell’s Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Workplace, and while I feel like I am getting a lot out of it, it’s also by far the most draining part of what I’m doing this year so far because we have a book to read for class every week and a paper to write on it, due Friday morning. This makes for a lot of reading on the weekends through Wednesday or Thursday evening, and late nights on Thursdays spent paper writing. Since I’m working 9-5 the first four weekdays of every week, it’s a full load and a lot to juggle. We also have Spiritual Formation on Friday afternoons as well as daily readings in the Book of Common Prayer, though, and both of those have proven to be a source of peace, wisdom, and refreshment in a really cool way. I’m definitely learning a lot. I’m just having to get used to a lot as well.

What’s the best thing about Boston?
I’m not going to pick just one, but the beautiful skies and scenery, fun and fascinating accents, and amount of really good concerts are definitely all in the running. I also really like public transportation, so there’s that. And it’s just a really lovely city all around. I’m lovin’ it.

Well, that’s it for now, folks… Let me know if you can think of any other questions I should have answered!

Actual legitimate blog posts coming soon. I promise. (After I get back from W&M HOMECOMING!) :)

Why hello!

I’ve been meaning to start this blog for awhile now, so this post will be brief, mostly because I just want to get something up here so I can share this link. More updates are definitely to come, but for starters, I just wanted to welcome anyone who is interested to my blog. I’ll be writing about my Fellows year here.

I think I might start with an FAQ of sorts, answering the questions I’ve gotten a lot from all my lovely family and friends who want to know just what it is I’m doing up here, anyway! Trust me, I do, too! (Jokes.) I actually now have a lot I can tell you all about what’s going on up here and what I’ve been doing so far and what I’ll be doing in the coming months, which is a change from even just 3 or 4 weeks ago, so that’s exciting.

But for now, welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog/check up on me. I hope I end up having some interesting things to say. I’m excited. 🙂

I will leave you with some lyrics from the song that’s been in my head all day:

I’ll be lost until
You come and find me here,
Oh, Glory!
Come and find me…

Like the moon we borrow our light
I am nothing but a shadow in the night
So if you let me, I will catch fire
To let your glory and mercy shine…

— Paramore, “Part II”

Goodnight, y’all.
Amanda