by Kirsten Lowell
St. Ann’s, Windham
Imagine waking up every day for an entire year in a place unlike anywhere you have ever been. Imagine waking up every day to form relationships with people in a language that you are attempting to comprehend. Imagine waking up every day to serve and worship in a culture that is outside your past experience. Imagine waking up every day to grow in your faith 5,351 miles away from your home. All that is pretty hard to imagine, but it’s about to happen to me in August as I head to the Anglican Diocese of Uruguay as a missionary with the Young Adult Service Corps.
Six months ago, I was living an average life for a 23 year-old. I lived with roommates, worked 40 hours a week, cooked dinner, and watched Jeopardy most evenings. While I was content with where I was and what I was doing, I desired more and longed for some fire in my life that I could not place my finger on.
Five months ago, I found that fire. I was presented with the opportunity to apply to the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC), a missionary program through the Episcopal Church for young adults ages 21-30. It is described like this:“The Young Adult Service Corps brings young adults into the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion and into the daily work of a local community. At the same time, it brings the gifts and resources of the church into the lives of young adults as they explore their own faith journeys.”
Since then, life has been a whirlwind of interviews, prayers, discernment, prayers, training, prayers, education, and most importantly, prayers.
I grew up in St. Ann’s in Windham as an active participant in the acolyte and youth programs for not only St. Ann’s but in the Diocese of Maine. I represented the Diocese of Maine at the National Acolyte Festival in Washington D.C. in 2004, Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) in 2005, and a Province I event in Connecticut in 2007. I served as staff at many middle school events, TECs and Happenings, and served as Assistant Rector for Happening in 2007. While attending school outside of Philadelphia, PA, and working in the area for the past few years, I have stayed connected to my home parish and the Diocese of Maine and continue to consider it my home. I served as a counselor at BION this past summer, attended a young adult retreat in January, volunteered as an adult at TEC in March, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to attend BION again later this summer before heading to Uruguay to begin my work with YASC. I’m excited for what this coming year may bring, and I’m thrilled to have such an amazing and wonderful community of people to share it with.
There will be days when I am like Peter – walking on water, fearless, with a strong faith – but there are also days when, like Peter, I will begin to sink and have doubts. That’s when I’ll need to remember how quickly Jesus reached out and picked him back up. But for right now, I am stepping out of the boat, beginning my journey.
It is hard to predict what this year will bring for me and for the community I will be living and serving in, but we are in this together. We are the body of Christ. We are one body, many parts. This coming year as I serve as the hands and feet, and I invite you, members of the Episcopal Church in Maine, to be part of the heart of my ministry. Please share the journey with me by offering prayers and following my messages home to Maine.