Monday, December 15, 2008

The Package on the Doorstep

It came in a FedEx box left on the doorstep sometime Friday.

After arriving home from a day of subbing, I first checked the mail. No sign of the highly anticipated package. My arms now loaded down with my bags and the hefty stack of mail, I began fishing for my keys and heading for the front door. Then I saw it. A thin, white, FedEx package just the right size for...

Juggling the array of personal possessions and junk mail, I bent to pick-up the box--could this be it? or just a Christmas present from some out of town relative? I flipped the box, nearly losing the stack of mail in the process. Peace Corps. The package was from the Peace Corps. This was it.

I don't remember entering the house. The next thing I remember is ripping open the package, several of the bags still in my hand. I sunk into a chair as a bright blue folder filled to the brim with reading materials and forms spilled out onto the table. The first item was a pamphlet with the words "Your Assignment" printed across the top of it. I skimmed through the first few lines:

Country: Republic of South Africa
Program: Community HIV/AIDS Outreach
Job Title: HIV Outreach Worker
Orientation Dates: February 2, 2009--February 3, 2009
Pre-Service Training (in South Africa): February 4, 2009--March 29, 2009
Dates of Service: March 29, 2009--March 29, 2011

Suddenly everything around me slowed. It was the bit in movies where some overarching truth sets in for the protagonist and everything around the character seems to stop. But there was also a quickening of the Spirit in me, yes...Yes.

After further reading:

I will live and work in the KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga or NorthWest Provinces. During Pre-Service Training, Peace Corps staff will match me with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) based upon their knowledge of the organization and their knowledge of my skills and experience. Their is a possiblity of many roles that I will fill with that organization, but in whatever role I will likely be working with youth to educate and create HIV/AIDS awareness. I will not know whether I will be in a rural or urban area until training.

Throughout Pre-Service Training, I will be living with a host family, learning the culture, langauage and history of the region. I will especially be learning how I fit into a place that is still healing from Apartheid. I will also be learning how to build relationships and establish myself in a culture with a very different gender and age dynamic.

The next seven weeks will be precious time with my family, as well as, preparation for my departure. Please be praying for my family as we've all become comfortable with my being back in Lubbock. It has been a little over a year since I began the application process for the Peace Corps, and I think we all began to believe that this day might never come.

As I learn more about my assignment, I will share with you new information and prayer requests. I hope that you will all share in my joy. And thank you for the many, many prayers you have already offered. Peace and blessing.