“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

In chronicling my journey as an International Justice Mission fellow, I want to highlight the amazing support I’ve received early on.  I find myself surrounded by love and community which has given me the courage to jump into this adventure.

As soon as I learned that I needed to go through an interview process with two South Asian staff members from IJM’s overseas offices, I immediately sent out an email requesting prayer. I was overwhelmed by the responses.  People were just so nice.  I am incredibly grateful for the encouragement and assurance that I received.  I sent out another email after learning I had been given the fellowship offer and once again, was flooded with caring  messages congratulating me and letting me know that I was covered in prayer.

The night of my interview, I happened to be at the home of some new friends and took time out of hosting a dinner to gather a group around me to pray for my interview.  The comfort and wisdom I received from their prayers guided me as I answered unexpectedly difficult questions that night.

Three other groups of friends set aside time to pray for me as well: the healing room team from church, the youth leaders from Young Life, and friends from my community group.  Its so humbling to be singled out and prayed for!

I’ve also received so much enthusiasm from co-workers.  Their responses to the news of me going off to do human rights law has warmed my heart.

Since finding out that I’ve been accepted, I’ve had multiple people buy me meals so that I could save money for my trip. This kindness has not gone unnoticed.  I’ve had other friends privately message me to ask how they can support me- again, so nice!

A tangible need was also met in an unexpected way.  I knew that flights to South Asia and to Washington DC for orientation would be some of the biggest expenses of this volunteer year. Last week, a guy from my church prayed that God would provide free flights.  That was such a bold prayer!  Lo and behold, three days later the prayer was answered.  Two friends offered to donate miles to me (in response to my FB status), which covered the cost of my roundtrip ticket to DC!  It also turned out that I had enough rewards points on my new credit card to cover my flight to South Asia!!!  Amazing.

Finally, even my grandmother, who died when I was 11, contributed to this wave of kindness.  My mom randomly found some savings bonds that she bought me on each birthday of my childhood.  I was able to cash them out and the money will go a long way to covering my pre-trip costs!   What a surprise!  And it was so fun to read her sweet birthday messages on each bond envelope.

This process of depending on God and others has been almost embarrassing because of the lavish love I’m experiencing.  I am so grateful.