Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm going to India!

Finally, after two years of being interested in the YAV program, I know where I'm going to be living in September: Kerala, India.

I flew out of San Antonio on Thursday morning to arrive in Louisville, Kentucky around 3:00 PM. I found the other prospective YAVs waiting on me at the airport. A baggage cart hit my plane when we were pulling out of Houston (a connection I had to make) so we were a little late, but the 20 people waiting didn't seem to mind.

Everyone introduced themselves and I was still anxious because of not knowing anyone but by the end of the 15 min. van ride to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary I just felt good about where I was. We were all welcomed enthusiastically and people continued to filter in from the airport.

Now, I had checked the invitation email to see how many people had received it (about 16) but it turns out about 35-40 people were at the placement event. This made a lot of us nervous. I especially shy away from competition and with a program like this you have enough worries already.

To sum up the weekend: it was amazing. The amount of people was perfect. I've never felt part of a community so quickly that truly supported each other in their joys and struggles. It was intense: a lot of discernment took place, but it was healthy. I wouldn't change anything.

I interviewed with Guatemala (as did 21 others) and India (11 others). Now, Guatemala was great but I'll stick to talking about India for the most part as that is where I was placed. I immediately liked the India site-coordinator.

Rev. Thomas John is a retired Psychology prof. and the only native missionary of the PCUSA and was born and raised in Kerala but educated partially in the States. He is such a gentle person and is just able to put you at ease. He is also very excited for us to be a part of his family and took pictures of us to show to his wife.

However, the interview was still pretty intense. I don't know how better to describe it. He asked meaningful questions to really get to know me and never tried to stump me but still, it was intense. I walked out feeling good, but not perfect about it.

In the end I put down India and Guatemala equally as preferences but after I couldn't stop thinking about India, I went back and explained that while I'd be happy at either, I really felt more excited about/called to India. The program is very education based and really encourages us to immerse ourselves as fully as possible.

I also love the other people who applied to to India. While only four of us were placed there, I would have been happy with any of them being there with me. One person in particular, Sudie (it's her real name) is a blast and we really get each others' senses of humor (as do the others) so I think we'll be able to really support each other on this journey.

Right now, I'm just thrilled. The day after I had to manage some doubts but the excitement has just grown. I know that there will be a lull as I get closer and I will probably start to panic that I won't do well, but in the end I know that God has a hand in this as this is something that a really feel called to do even if I don't understand it fully.

Well, I'm off to read more about India!

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