Saturday, August 31, 2013

First Day on the Job

Friday was my first day at the St. Mark's Foundation. I arrived promptly at 8am to my new desk. I haven't yet explained how tall I am compared to Filipino standards. Yes, there are tall Filipinos but I'm still usually taller. Therefore, even with my chair lowered completely my knees barely fit underneath my desk! Fortunately, I did not spend really any time at my desk on the first day.

Me at my desk on the first day. I apologize for the blurriness and low quality of the photo.

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Home

Here is a tour of my new living space and home for a year! It is the perfect little studio. It is located on the compound and only about 200 yards away from the office. The staff stocked up the place with pots, pans, mugs, glasses, plates and basics of a kitchen. They newly renovated the bathroom or as Filipinos say, “CR” for comfort room. My comfort room actually doubles as cooking area with a hot plate, toaster, and rice cooker, which I’m sad to say I don’t know how to use. Everyone looked at me with confusion when I said I’ve never used a rice cooker before as rice is a staple with every meal.

The place even feels homey with fresh flowers, a welcome banner on the wall, and frames from home. It’s better than I could have imagined and it will work out splendidly for the year! Also, I cannot wait to get to know my neighbors better who are members of the staff. I told them I love to cook and someone suggested we will have to have cooking parties where they teach me how to make traditional Filipino foods!

View of my little bedroom from standing by the fridge in the corner.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Welcome to the Team

Wednesday morning after driving 9 hours on Tuesday, I arrived to the Episcopal Diocese of Santiago compound where I was welcomed in the best way possible by the whole staff! First we had Morning Prayer, which is usually on Monday mornings but they changed it this week for my arrival. Then, they sung me a beautiful song. If you did not know Filipinos love karaoke and it seems as though they are all musically talented. I’ve posted a short video below of them singing to me in Ilocano.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rained Out

On Sunday, Margaret, Andrew and I joined Floyd, the Provincial Secretary, and his family for breakfast before church. We then attended the 9am service at the National Cathedral, which was a typical Episcopal Service. They even sang similar hymns.

Andrew walking with Floyd's son, Norlan
The bulletin

Monday, August 26, 2013


 A couple of days have passed since arriving in the Philippines. I'm still processing that I'm halfway across the world. Also, it's mind boggling to be texting people on the east coast and realize they are 12 hours behind. Or that I will be here for a year. There's a part of me that thinks I'll be coming home in two weeks or a month. But then again it's only been a few days.

The staff at the Episcopal Church of the Philippines and Andrew, a YASCer who has been here for 13 months and continuing for another year, were smart to let us ease into everything. Margaret, Andrew and I stayed at the guest house attached to the Episcopal Church's National Office. While there was no schedule, I still felt like a lot happened on day one, Saturday. Everything is new, the sights, sounds, and smells. The language is like nothing I've heard before. Fortunately, everyone speaks English and even though the national language is Filipino (Tagalog), all the road signs and in the stores and everything is written in English. Andrew said that's mainly though because we are in a nicer borough of Manila, Quezón City.

My room for the first couple of days.
Notice the A/C. It was a lifesaver! It is hot and humid in Manila.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Faith & Flexibility

I've made it to Manila! The journey here definitely called for some faith and flexibility. Faith because at first I wasn't sure if I was going to be allowed on the plane! And flexibility because always when traveling I've learned it's important to go with the flow, be patient and adapt to the situation.

Let me back up to the part about not being allowed on the plane. I arrived at Dulles airport and proceeded to check in and check my bags. When it came to checking my bags, the attendant at the ticket counter said, "oh you are not returning for a year? Where is your visa?" I explained how I could receive a temporary one upon arrival and then go through the process of getting a year long visa. However, the computer was telling her someone can only receive a visa for 59 days and since my return is longer than 59 days I couldn't board without a visa. I was starting to have a mini heart attack but on the outside tried to remain calm. I started to pray in my head, "Ok, God if you really want me to go to the Philippines, please let me on this plane." After the attendant talked to someone on the phone, though, she said I was good to go. Phew! All I needed was a little faith.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm leaving on a jet plane! Today is the day! I'm currently sitting in Dulles airport awaiting my flight to Detroit where then I will fly from Detroit to Manila. I'm feeling anxious, nervous, and excited but also overwhelmed.

I'm overwhelmed with the love, support and prayers I've received from family, friends and the whole Diocese of Virginia community. I'm overwhelmed with the fear and excitement of the unknown of what is to come within the next 24 hours, the next week, month and year. I'm overwhelmed with the simple fact that it's here! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Today on the blog, I thought I would answer some frequently asked questions about my upcoming year in the Philippines. Hopefully, it will provide a clearer picture about my upcoming year of service in the Philippines.

What is Young Adult Service Corps (YASC)?

Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) is a ministry for young adults who are interested in exploring their faith in new ways by living and serving in communities around the Anglican Communion. It is specifically designed for Episcopalians ages 21-30. Service begins in late summer/early fall of each year. Missionaries have been sent to over 33 countries over the past 13 years. They have managed websites, provided administrative support, participated in medical programs and contributed to the mission and ministry of our Anglican Partners around the world.

Why have you decided to do this? What has called you to be a missionary?

Many of you who know me know that mission and outreach has always been a huge part of my life. I also have a passion for traveling and learning new cultures. Also, the Episcopal church is a community which has helped me grow into who I am today. I feel YASC is the perfect fit for me. YASC lets me explore my faith and grow in my spiritual journey by serving in a community in whole other part of the Anglican Communion. Most importantly as a missionary of the Episcopal Church, I will be developing relationships and connecting the Diocese of Virginia, its parishes, and parishioners with the church in the Northern Philippines.

We have all been called to share God's love and carry out his work. We are called to serve the least of these. And they don't just live in Richmond or Virginia or the United States. We have brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world who we need to reach out to. As God once asked, "who should I send?" and Isaiah responded, "Here I am. Send me."

And so I say to God, "Here I am. Send me."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Continuing YASCers and YAHSCers

In addition to the YASCers for this year, there are four Young Adult Service Corps members from the 2012-2013 continuing for another year.

Ashley Bingaman is from the Diocese of Virginia and has been serving in the Diocese of Haiti. This past year she has worked as a music instructor at the Holy Trinity Cathedral music program in Port-au-Prince. For her second year, she is going to work with Bishop Ogé in Cap-Hatïen in Northern Haiti.

Nina Boe is from the Diocese of Olympia and is serving in the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. She is working in the Provincial Secretary's Office in São Paulo. Due to visa complications, Nina didn't start her service until January 2013, therefore will finish her year in January 2014. 

Andrew Joyce is from the Diocese of Kentucky and is serving in the Diocese of the Northern Philippines. He works at the Tadian Learning Center and Demonstration Farm. He will continue serving there for another year. 

Jared Grant is from the Diocese of Western North Carolina and has been serving in the Diocese of Lesotho in the Anglican Province of Southern Africa. This past year he has worked at St. James Mission Hospital and in the Office of the Bishop of Lesotho. For his second year, he will be serving in Rome, Italy with St. Paul's within the Walls American Episcopal Church.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Team Latin America & Caribbean

Zachary Baker is from the Diocese of Michigan and will be serving in the Diocese of Haiti. He'll be teaching and providing administrative support at the Bishop Tharp Institute in Les Cayes. 

Julie Burd is from the Diocese of Pennsylvania and will be serving in the Diocese of Haiti. She'll be teaching at the Faculte des Sciences Infirmieres de Leogane (School of Nursing Science) and providing support at Hopital Sainte Croix in Leogane. 

Rachel Carter is from the Diocese of East Carolina and will be serving in the Diocese of Panama. She'll be a teaching assistant (history) and the Social Outreach Assistant at St. Christopher's Episcopal School in Panama City. 

Becky Gleason is from the Diocese of San Diego and will be serving in the Diocese of Honduras. She'll be a teacher and counselor at El Espíritu Santo Bilingual School in Tela.