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."

How long will you be gone?

I will serve in the Philippines for 1 year.

Where will you be serving? 

I will be serving in Santiago, Isabela, Philippines. It is on the island of Northern Luzon, northeast of Manila, about a 7 hour car ride away. I'll be working with St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Santiago.

What will you be doing in the Philippines? 

I'll be the Development Assistant at the Episcopal Development Foundation of St. Mark's in Santiago. I will assist in loan processing and monitoring, especially in projects that make use of funds of Episcopal CARE. I'll have more details about my actual job once I get on the ground.

Why do you have to raise $10,000? 

Fundraising is seen as an opportunity for my parish and diocesan community to actively participate in my mission service. The year abroad for a missionary cost around $24,000 the Episcopal Church can only support about $14,000. The rest is up to the missionary, but the funds cover everything for our year abroad. You can read more about fundraising here.

What type of training have you received? 

During the last two weeks of June, I was up at a retreat center in New York for training and orientation. We learned about cultural integration as well as health and safety precautions. You can read more about my time during orientation here, here, here, here, here and here.

Will you have to learn a new language? If so, how will you learn it?

Many people in the Philippines speak English, so when I first arrive I will be able to communicate. The primary language in Santiago is Ilocano. However, there are workers who come down from the Mountain Region to work in the city who speak Igorot. As part of the program we receive a $1,200 language learning stipend. I am hoping to take a class or hire a tutor once I get settled.

Where will you be living?

As of right now, I know I will be living in an apartment within the diocesan center in Santiago.

Will there be anyone else serving with you?

No, there will not be anyone else in Santiago from YASC. However, there are two other YASCers in the Northern Philippines. Margaret Clinch will be in Baguio and Andrew Joyce is in Tadian which are each about a five to seven hour drive away. But it will be nice to have at least two other YASCers on the same island as me!

In what way can someone support me besides sending a financial donation? 

Yes! Most importantly through prayers and simply interacting with me by commenting on the blog or sending me emails [ashley(dot)cameron0625(at)gmail(dot)com]. Also, I will hopefully receive a mailing address in the Philippines. I would love little notes or care packages throughout the year!

What are you going to do when you get back? 

I have no clue, yet. I'm hoping this year abroad will help me grow and provide guidance with what I want to do when I get back. The door is wide open!

Do you get to come home at all during the year?

The program asks you to not come home because you are only gone for a year. Also, that's a lot of culture shock to go through. It's possible if I visit home, I wouldn't want to go finish out my placement for the rest of the time. It's best not to risk it.

Are you able to travel?

Yes, the program gives you four weeks vacation throughout the year. You are allowed to travel within the region. I am hoping to visit other YASCers in Hong Kong or possibly Japan.

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