“…with dignity and compassion.”

29 June 2014

Wow! What a beautiful year it has been! 2014 is shaping up to be really special.

I am excited to finally announce that I will be joining the Young Adult Volunteer program in Miami, Florida for the upcoming year. What a process it has been (with so much more to go!). It was around Christmas, meeting up with a dear friend from 2nd grade (we met at DCPC), Allison Wehrung who got me truly inspired and called to a year of service. After hearing her stories from her previous years as a Young Adult Volunteer  in Nashville and New Orleans, I was hooked and I couldn’t get it out of my mind! I’m thankful for Allison’s patience and good ear. I wouldn’t stop asking her things like, “well was it hard? Did you have a good year? Do you think I should do it? Well, did you like the people you were living with?” Again, bless her for her patience. Its actually truly amazing that she is currently sitting in my living room and we are watching Pocahontas on the Netflix…somethings never change.

After applying, it was time for the next step. I spoke with Elizabeth Deibert, the head pastor of Peace Presbyterian Church in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. She welcomed the idea and we went right to the session. I was truly overwhelmed and blessed by the support I received. I get so nervous standing in front of groups and I’m sure I was shaking out of my skin. But they welcomed the idea with grace and peace.

Finally, after informational sessions, interviews, late night phone calls to friends, and prayer, my heart lead me to Miami. I had the privilege of meeting with Callie Howland earlier this week who will serve as our Site Coordinator who spoke to me about being placed in an agency in the city, serving in a church, and living in an intentional community with two or three other people similar to me who have chosen to live in an intentional community and serve in Miami.

The slogan of the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program is, “A year of service for a lifetime of change.”  Scrolling through Facebook the other night, my cousin Alex (who was also a YAV) posted this that truly inspires and puts into words why I feel called to service.

   “I am an under-30 rookie pastor, not a professional social worker, but I firmly believe the first step to helping people take personal responsibility for their own lives and welfare is to treat them with dignity and compassion.”

But I can not do this alone! I need your support! If you feel like you would like to support me, here is a link to do that: http://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/E051470/ 

This is an Extra Commitment Opportunity account through the Presbyterian Church (USA) and when you give money to the church, you can get a tax deduction! Please consider giving $5 or $500, prayers, or even just a thought from time to time. And if you do give, be sure to put my name on the contribution.

I am so excited for what the upcoming year holds! I can not think of a better group of people (you, my friends, family, and churches supporting me) to walk beside me on my journey of faith. Until the next blog post…

With all my love,

Russ

P.S. You can read more about the churches supporting my journey of faith at http://www.peacepcusa.org and http://www.dcpc.org