Archive for August, 2010

A torrential downpour

Sunday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. I’m sitting on a megabus parked on Penn Station in New York City amidst a monsoon. Okay, it wasn’t quite a monsoon but it was definitely worlds away from a light sprinkle. I had moved into the Disciple House on Saturday and Sunday morning I took a bus to the NYC to see a few friends. After all, the beginning orientation for DY wasn’t until Tuesday.

I walk through the rain with my teeny, tiny umbrella praying to Jesus to stop the rain. It seemed like a forever and a day walk. My Toms got soaked. Yes, friends who think I talk about my Toms too much… I’m talking about my Toms!!!! Deal with it.

In the city I hung out with my friends. We had food and drinks and laughs. Overall, it was lots and lots of fun.

However Monday afternoon as I board a megabus back to the district, I’m just overwhelmed with joy that I live in DC rather than New York.

Sometimes I wonder what 16-year-old Nina would think of 23-year-old Nina. When I was 16, my dad brought me to New York for a business trip. I fell in love. I decided that I would go to college and then get a job at a magazine in New York. I envisioned living in a trendy loft in Greenwich Village and living like the cast of “Friends.”

That dream has lost it’s allure. There are a lot of people in New York but not a whole lot of community. I’m not saying community is an impossible thing in that city and I’m sure it exists somewhere there. It just doesn’t seem as apparent.

However I LOVE the district. Being a part of Discipleship Year automatically puts me in community. Plus in DC, I’ve already met tons of nice and loving people. DC is just.. nice. Oh and the metro is simple compared to the New York subway with all those letters and numbers that confuse me.

So I guess in all this reflection, I’m happy to be where I am. And I really have no idea what to expect for this year 🙂

At this time tomorrow…

Hey family and friends!

So at this time tomorrow I will be living in the Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant neighborhood of our nation’s capital (I imagined Forrest Gump saying that as I wrote it. Just so you know). I’ll be living with 6 other Christians and we’ll all be serving at DC non-profits, taking classes at the servant leadership school and just learning more about what it means to follow Jesus. While that probably sounds glamourous to you, I already know it won’t always be easy. Yes, we all love the Lord. But that doesn’t mean conflicts won’t arise and we won’t always be perfect. But with Christ as our model, we’ll have guidance and grace.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m in DC, right? Let me take you on a flash back about three years ago. So fall of 2007 was my junior year of college. I had been really following Christ for about two years. I was living in an apartment, attending WKU and working for the student newspaper. Everything seemed to make sense except these weird dreams I kept having. I had several where I was in the middle of an inner city neighborhood and I was terrified. I thought they were odd and I told a few friends about them but that was it. I kept living my life.

As spring approached, I tried super hard to find a summer journalism internship. Nothing panned out. I was confused. The last two summers I had gotten journalism internships. What in the heck was God’s plan, I wondered. Little did I know what amazing, mind-blowing things the Lord had instore for me.

So I ended up working at a day camp for teens with special needs that summer in Cincinnati and I interned at Cincinnati Magazine that fall. I took a semester break from college and lived with my parents. Okay, so maybe God still wants me to do the journalism thing.

Once I was home, I had to find a new church. And at the same time, the Lord was putting homeless people on my heart. Like how did they end up that way? And where did they get the card board and marker for their sign? (that seriously was something I wondered). But what’s more, so many people walk right past them and think nothing. But they are God’s children too! They are no better or worse than me and just as much in need of grace as I am. So I was praying that the Lord would bless me with Christian community, a church and a way to serve the homeless.

That fall I began attending University Christian Church. A friend I made there had been doing a homeless outreach every Sunday in Over-the-Rhine for a few years. And so I started helping out every Sunday. The Lord also started putting issues of social justice on my heart. I started reading Sojourners and looking into ways to take action.

Then January 2009 rolled around and it was time for me to go back to college. That semester off had changed me. I just felt.. different. I started getting involved with environmental and other global issues on campus and in the community. I became part of the wonderful community that congregated around Charlie’s Beardy Poe, which would become my home my last semester of school.

I love it in Bowling Green, but I was hungry for a Christian community I really could connect with. So he blessed me with a job working with the homeless right after I graduated (seemed a bit too perfect to just happen by chance). I moved back home with my parents that winter and began serving the homeless in Northern Kentucky through AmeriCorps.

I started attending several house church communities through friends I knew. These communities are made up of some of the most passionate and genuine Christ-followers I’ve ever known. They are just so hungry for the Lord. They really try to be the church through gatherings, sporadic worship nights and just in general being in each other’s lives.  These words really cannot fully show what I’ve experienced over the past nine months. You really have to live life with these people to really know what I’m talking about. But to sum it up, it was blessing. Something I couldn’t have even dreamt up when I was praying for Christian community two years ago. The Lord is so faithful in answering our prayers!

And so now my AmeriCorps term has ended and I’m embarking on a new journey.. living in the capital. I’m working for the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, a faith-based social justice organization. My job will be to write and research. This job, like my AmeriCorps job, seemed a bit too perfect for me to find all on my own.

I’m working for Maryknoll through Discipleship Year, a year-long service program through Church of the Savior. I’m committed until August 5, 2011. After that, we’ll see where the Lord leads me. It could mean staying in DC, moving back to Cincinnati, moving somewhere else in America or moving abroad. The Lord knows and his plans are perfect.

So this blog will be about anything and everything that happens to me in the district. 🙂

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