Monday, July 26, 2010

Great Wall of China

6,700 kilometers- the approximate length of the Great Wall of China. If the wall was stretched out and extended it would span from my home here in North Carolina, USA all the way to my new home for a year in Limpopo, South Africa. By plane that distance would take 16 hours, by car 5 days, by foot 114 days- the more you calculate it, the longer it seems. So why am I and 42 other young adults leaving my home and travelling thousands of kilometers for a year? We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s program known as Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM). This program is designed for young adults in the Lutheran Church to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves to one year of international mission service. This experience is more than serving others- each YAGM will in the process learn more about themselves, their relationship with God, and their place in God’s world.

I can not wait to start this adventure in South Africa. There is no real way to prepare for the large leap that I am about to take, but I find comfort in knowing that no matter where I leap, God will be there. Psalm 139 states…

If I take the wings of morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

I am calmed knowing that as I travel to a country far from my home, family, and friends, at least one thing will remain constant in my life- God. His presence is inescapable and I look forward to seeing how he is acting in South Africa. The journey ahead of us YAGM’s may be daunting- but wherever we go and whoever we meet God will be present. Not even the Great Wall can separate us from our heavenly father.

~Heather Anne Nelson

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wings of Morning

In the year to come I will be living on the flip side of the world in the country of South Africa. Working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and their Global Mission program for Young Adults I'll be one of the 43 YAGM's sent to another part of the world to volunteer.

Within this blog I hope to recount my adventures to all those back home and attempt to portray what I am experiencing. The title and inspiration for this blog and the recurring theme which keeps popping into my head as I await this upcoming trip, Wings of Morning, is from a psalm which many of you are familiar with and a song that introduced this psalm to me. Psalm 139 seems to capture the YAGM experience perfectly (from an outsiders perspective for now)...

"If I take the wings of morning, and in earth's far corner stand, even there thy love will find me, hold me fast within thy hand."

The music behind this verse in my head was written by William Stevens, and I had the great pleasure of singing it at Augsburg when he first composed it. The melody is sweet and slightly haunting at parts, but the tension is always resolved and calmed, just as it is in the verses of scripture.