Preparations: Alison

Mis esperanzas y oraciones para el viaje de YLA: I am EXTREMELY excited for this trip. Learning about the world is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE thing to do. I listen to hispanic pop music and watch Telenovelas in my free time to learn about the spanish language and the culture. I live for historical anecdotes, and our founding fathers (especially Alexander Hamilton) are my heroes. I enjoyed learning about the details of the U.S. government this year through my amazing history class in school. I now appreciate being able to understand the conversation, however frustrating it can be, in the current hostile political climate of our country. I have also learned about Native American history this year, and shed tears at the horrific ways people of my own beloved country have treated an entire race of people, who are and should be considered as a valued part of our nation. Additionally, in the past year I have learned and grown so much spiritually because of the Youth Leadership Academy. I am ecstatic to travel as a member of this incredible group. In a nutshell, I feel this trip is perfect for me.

However, I still have much to learn. Learning at home or in a classroom is one thing, but truly experiencing is quite another. In my life, I have mostly stayed on the East Coast of the U.S. I live in a safe and sheltered community where I receive a great education and have a good home life. On this trip I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone. I’ll be seeing areas of our country and Mexico which I do not know very much about and have never been to. I will be experiencing new temperatures (Arizona in August!), people, and places. My goal for this trip is to immerse myself fully in the experience- to take everything in without making judgements or assumptions, expand my knowledge, and gain a new appreciation for experiences that are different from my daily life. I don’t know what God’s call for me is yet, but I know the only way it will appear is if I keep my eyes, ears, mind, and most importantly, my heart open to the world. I so appreciate everyone who has supported me to be able to go on this trip. Having my friends, family, and congregation behind me encourages me to make the most of this wonderful opportunity. Pray that I may reflect on my experiences but never focus inward so that I may aid others in their journeys and stay connected to the present moment. Pray that God may keep my fellow missioners and I safe in our travels and guide us and those we meet. Pray that doors may be opened, bridges built and conversations started between our country and Mexico. Lastly, please pray that we may serve as an example for those in Arizona and Mexico as New Englanders, Americans, Christians, and as caring souls who are eager to learn and help in whatever way we can.

- Alison, Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton