Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Starting a New Year

The following is a reflection written by Amy Streit, one of this year's North House Volunteers.

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission, I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.”

                                   - Cardinal John Henry Newman

Wow! As I write this, I realize that we all moved into our new homes three weeks ago. It has been a whirlwind of orientation activities, meeting new housemates and volunteers, coworkers, and alumni while adjusting to the new life of service that we will be experiencing for the next year. This is actually round two of service for me, but the beginning of the year still had that magical feeling, knowing that there are so many possibilities and wonderful experiences presented before me.

To start our year, we participated in about two weeks of Orientation. This was a time to really get to know those around us, to reflect, and to answer some pretty tough questions about why we are here, and what we want to experience this year. Sometimes it is easy to come up with surface level answers to these questions, but we were really challenged to find the answers that were placed deeply in our heart. All of these experiences have given us plenty of opportunities to bond and form relationships with our housemates and fellow volunteers, and I am beginning to realize how truly blessed I am to be a part of this wonderful Amate House community.

There were so many wonderful aspects of Orientation that I would like to write about, but I know that this isn’t really possible, so I am going to highlight one. Each morning as we gathered for Orientation, a different volunteer or staff member started by leading us in prayer. There were different times where we had the chance to pray or gather together during and at the end of the day, but the morning prayers seemed to be the most meaningful for me. I had signed up for prayer before starting Orientation, and was very excited to start with one of my favorite prayers by Archbishop Romero. But of course knowing me, I decided to bring another prayer “just in case” then changed my mind at the last minute and read a scripture passage followed by a prayer by Cardinal John Henry Newman. I am happy I did, because I feel like this prayer will hopefully represent what our experiences will be in doing another year of service.

I know that coming into this year I had expectations, which I am still trying to get rid of so that I can get the most out of this wonderful opportunity to serve through such a fantastic program with equally fantastic volunteers. And even though I try not to have expectations, I realize it is still important to have dreams, hopes, and goals. And my biggest hope is that this year each of us volunteers recognizes what that definite service is that God has created us to do Him, and that even though we may not currently know our mission in life, we may still work to better the world for those around us.