Deborah in Pennsylvania

16 Aug

3rd Generation MCCer!

Akron, PA, to be specific! The MCC has a big, lovely “Welcoming Place” here. I sleep in the “Middle East/Europe House” – rather like a dorm, but decorated with cool stuff that most dorms wouldn’t have.

The journey here was an adventure. By some cool insight on God’s part, I ran into a few SALTers on the flight to Chicago (where I promptly listened to Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago”). Nanda, Frank, Lisi and I watched each other’s bags while we ran to get food on our short stopover, then it was time to board again, and fly to Philadelphia (from where we all hopped into a van and were driven to Akron). Once on the plane to Philly, though, we noticed Rachel, who we didn’t realize at the time was also a SALTer. We sort of all kept tabs on her until we got to the luggage carousel – finally I’d had enough and had to go ask if she was with us. Good thing I did! Poor thing came all the way from Vancouver without any of us realizing she was a part of our group! Moral of the story: it never hurts to ask.

This week has been devoted to SALTers and IVEPers getting to know each other and generating excitement for our years of service (as always, please see the info page for akron-yms). A cool thing has been getting to know SuHyun, who is from the very town in Korea that I’ll be serving in. He even interned at the KAC for a few months! Yesterday Jessica and I had a fun time pulling out our Korean phrase books and trying out a few sayings with SuHyun. (If I haven’t mentioned it, the two girls going to Korea with me are Alex and Jessica.) I must also admit that we got a little sucked into watching “Kpop” music videos on YouTube…not the best representation of Korean culture, but a glimpse nonetheless!

As a large group, we’ve been talking a lot in our sessions about things like jumping cultures, social customs, living with a host family, being flexible, and maintaining our spirituality in a different context. This week we also got a chance to visit MCC’s Material Resource Center (MRC). It started with a tour, where we saw bales of paper and clothing to be shipped out and/or sold, the meat canning trailer, school and hygiene kits, water sanitation supplies, and quilting stations among lots of other things. In other words, the MRC is the place the magic happens! Wondering what it actually looks like to give money to MCC to feed people around the world? I got to help with that! After the tour we all broke off into stations and helped do various tasks. I was at the meat-packing station (as glamorous as it sounds), checking cans of turkey to go overseas to places like Haiti and North Korea.

Today we have a commissioning service at Akron Mennonite Church to look forward to, as well as a global fair/talent show. Should be fun!

The most wonderful part about the journey so far is the people I get to meet. Orientation is a little cruel in the fact that it quickly bonds so many strangers together, only to rip them apart. Soon we will all be spread out over the globe, in places like Korea (obviously), Jordan, Egypt, Bolivia, Laos, and Indonesia to name a few. But whatever this year may bring, the relationships I’ve started here have been invaluable to me. I have really taken this opportunity to start pushing out of my shell, speaking when I have the chance, listening to others’ stories, and just generally volunteering to do things, like pray in our small groups and help lead worship. I’ve learned that life throws a lot of difficult things at you, but you have to choose your attitude. Your whole perspective changes when you focus on having fun and being there for other people. (We even watched a short video that proves this! It’s weird, but I like it.)

Now, since you’ve read this far (or skipped the words and scrolled down to this part), here are a few fun photos of my time here in PA. Hopefully they tide you over till I arrive in country – I am getting up at 5 am tomorrow to start my mega-travel-day(s)! Talk to you once I’m in Korea, y’all!

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4 Responses to “Deborah in Pennsylvania”

  1. Vi Heath August 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM #

    oops, and I always thought you were going to Akron, Ohio, not Pa. Blessings and have a great flight over…..Gramma heath

  2. alyssa301 August 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM #

    First, I’m confused about how you wrote this on August 16 when it is only the 15th. I’m pretty sure the time difference is not that large. Second, this is a great post and I am very happy for you and extremely excited for what is to come!!!! Keep posting!

    • alyssa301 August 16, 2012 at 9:16 AM #

      And now I’m confused because it told me I commented on august 16th at 9:15am. But it’s the 15th at 5:15pm. I feel like I’m time travelling or something

      • Deborah August 18, 2012 at 11:21 AM #

        Haha Alyssa, don’t over think it! This blog has just always been set on Korea time, hence the difference. From now on, though, it will be accurate!

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