Monthly Archives: October 2011
An old friend of mine wrote me this message the other day:
Asia … really? Have you maybe thought about cleaning up a park in South Atlanta … Helping re-build homes in Tuscaloosa after the tornado … Maybe even working with inner city kids on after-school programs in cities like NYC or Chicago. I mean shit, I’m part of a non-profit organization and am the Atlanta Chapter’s secretary.
I know my opinion doesn’t mean anything, but do you really feel that going tens of thousands of miles away will make a better difference then here in the states? If you’re not going to cure cancer, then can’t you get your humanitarian dosage here at home?
At first I didn’t think anything of it. Just laughed because I get asked these kind of questions a lot by my family. My response is always… If that is your passion and it moves your world then why aren’t you don’t something about it? Please don’t try and change my convictions and replace them with your own.
Later that night Brett and I were watching the movie “Tears of the Sun” and of course, any decent human being feels gut wrenched about it… You have this sudden surge of energy and feeling that you need to do something. It is natural to get angry and rage about how tragedies like this shouldn’t happen and you wonder why more isn’t being done to stop it. Then, you go to sleep. Then, you wake up… and suddenly you feel better – or have simply forgotten. You are content to go on with your jobs, friends, and lives doing nothing until you watch the next heart-tugging movie. Sound familiar?? Well it should, we all do this.
My response to the above mentioned friend came after I woke up the next morning. I had not forgotten what I saw on this movie or the countless other movies that are similar, nor have I forgotten the news casts and books I have read. I don’t know if this is because leaving the country to help is in a very near line of sight, or because I am growing up and the realness of these tragedies are making a permanent imprint. Either way I had been changed… because no longer was this question simple. Brett and I talked and wrote what we now believe. Mostly it is from Brett, a man with many convictions that he refuses to let go by the wayside. I admire him for this, and I trust that when I have seen what he has my heart, my life, will be forever changed.
This is the reality:
While there are countless problems in America there are also great non-profit and humanitarian groups on every corner doing their best to make a difference. The United States has more resources for struggling citizens than any country in the world does (with maybe Europe as the exception). Between City Year, AmeriCorps, Brothers and Sisters… Non-profits, Hospitals, Fire stations, Police Stations… And churches on pretty much every corner – People here have options when they are hurting. They can take advantage of those if they so choose, or they don’t have to. The point is – They have them available to help.
However, throughout the rest of the world there are millions of children being brain-washed into war and hatred and billions of people who die needlessly through lack of simple education and clean water. While it is the selfless calling of many to give aid in first-world countries, it by proportion alone should be the calling of MANY MANY more to bring simple aid, education, and love to the billions who are not receiving it elsewhere. The reality of this is an inverted number, with many staying on the home front and few serving the multitude.
It is not every persons responsibility to go out into the world. It is not everyone’s passion. There are more than enough people that don’t have the pull to leave America, and that is important because not everyone can go. However, for some of us, the pull is so difficult to ignore that if we tried parts of us might die. I cannot in good conscious hear of the tragedies in other countries and still stay in my comfortable home going on with day to day American activities.
The Bottom Line: Someone has to do it. I know we can handle the difficulties that come with leaving, and that makes it our responsibility.
As Mother Teresa said, “Come and see.” Once you experience selfless living it takes only a hard heart and void justifications to turn back.
I woke up this morning to an amazing email on my phone!! “Your Peace Corps Application Status has been UPDATED!!” It is always so exciting to get these emails! So I jumped out of bed and ran to the computer and there it was, I have passed my dental clearance! And let me tell you, that was a BIG relief. For all of you people out there worried about your teeth, it is OK you will pass :) Just have to spend thousands of dollars to make it happen.
Now we wait again on the Medical Clearance, but from what I hear it should come in just a few days. Things should start moving along now that the review process has started. I just hope we don’t get any delays. We have talked to a lot of applicants that have had their departure dates pushed back months and months and I pray and pray that it is not true for us. If it happens though, a lot of good will come from it. I will get to go to my cousins wedding, my best friends wedding, Brett’s best friends wedding and my Dads Wedding. SO needless to say it will be Bitter Sweet. But why couldn’t these people just get married sooner? Just kidding!! Its not all about me. :)
That is it for now! Hopefully soon I will get another one of those amazing emails!
My Mom is the very best in the world at making these videos! I feel so lucky that she made one of mine and Brett’s USA Road Trip! Here’s a run down:
- Georgia 8. Colorado 15. Nevada
- Alabama 9. Wyoming 16. Utah
- Louisiana 10. Montana 17. Arizona
- Mississippi 11. Idaho
- Texas 12. Washington
- Oklahoma 13. Oregon
- Kansas 14. California
- Yellowstone 8. Death Valley 15. Natural Bridges
- Glacier 9. Joshua Tree 16. Mesa Verde
- Mt. Rainier 10. Zion 17. Carlsbad Caverns
- Olympic 11. Bryce 18. Petrified Forest
- Crater Lake 12. Capitol Reef 19. Grand Canyon
- Redwoods 13. Arches
- Yosemite 14. Canyonlands
We were invited to attended a banquet here in Pasadena to celebrate the last 50 years of the Peace Corps and to reflect on what we want the next 50 years to look like. It was a great experience for us as applicants to get to meet returned volunteers. The diversity was amazing. There were volunteers there that served in the first year of Peace Corps as well as volunteers who just got back. All of the countries were represented and everyone had a different experience to tell. We met a couple who served in the Philippines together about 4 years ago and so much of what they said was directly relevant to us. In their group there were 5 married couples- 4 of which made it through unscathed – raging from all years of married life. They gave us a lot of tips about being married in the Corps and relieved a lot of our worries. Also included in the group were a lot of applicants ( 50 of us received free tickets to the event). It was great for all of us to tell our stories and express concerns about the application process. There were a lot of frustrations and we were calmed down by the applicants who have received their invitations. Its all about patience and flexibility and most importantly perseverance.
All in all we had an amazing time and it refreshed our excitement. I can’t wait to get more information about where we will be going and what we will be doing! I was so thankful to be there!!!
There are three categories of goals; in my opinion. The first type of goal you set and you know you can obtain it. You know that if you just set your mind towards it and kick your butt into gear you will reach it eventually. Most of the time with a little bit of work and small of amounts of determination you will succeed. We will call this type unexceptional. The second type of goal is one that you have thought about doing for quite some time. Its been hanging in the air and you think about it often but don’t really speak about it for fear that you will need to follow through if too many people know... With this goal you are going to have to work hard at it for a significant amount of time to finish, its going to probably take sweat and tears and you might fail over and over again until you reach it. Its the Edison of goals. How many times did it take him to swoon electricity into a light bulb? We will call this goal remarkable. The final type of goal is the big daddy of goals. Not only does achievement depend on your mind set and diligence but it also has to do with your skill, talent, education level, and even income. With this level of goal you are not even sure if it is possible to pull it off. If you do complete it you have probably worked at it for several years and it has been a constant companion in your day to day activities. We will call this goal transcendental.
I write this post today because Brett has just completed a remarkable goal. (Now of course all of these categories are up to each individuals discretion, but we consider it remarkable!). When we got married I knew I was going to have to change around some of my ideas about what life, marriage, and family meant. I knew that everything I thought and grew up knowing might significantly change. Take for instance our first home. The Burgundy Ford Conversion Van that took us all around the USA. That was a big mind shifter for me and because it was on “Brett’s list” it would also be considered the completion of aremarkable goal. Last night we completed the second of many more on that list! Dreadlocks!!!!
I never would have classified it in this category before, but let me tell you – Dreadlocks are a lot of work! Not only has he prepared for these for two years physically (as far as growing his hair out) but he has also prepared mentally. You can imagine walking down the street and automatically people are sizing you up based solely on your appearance. Dreads come with a stigma and he has to be prepared for that.
The total process has taken 2 days so far and we are still far from being done. Now all of the dreads are in but the bases need more work to stay dreaded and the ends are going to have to constantly be worked on. Before we started we talked about maintenance and how important it is (FOR ME) that he doesn’t look dirty and grimy :) So he has a big challenge ahead of him. It is possible to have clean pretty dreadlocks, we’ll just have to see if it happens haha! Nevertheless, I thought this was important enough to add to a blog! Just one of the many adventures as being a Werkheiser :) I never get bored around here!!
I was so worried about our Medical and Dental Forms! Peace Corps is VERY specific about what to write, how to write it, where you write it… and because there wasn’t space for a return address I didn’t add one! I should of done it regardless just to put my mind at ease about it getting lost… But thank Goodness we heard from them on October 6th! Yay! They have all of the forms and now our file is once again on hold. We have prepared ourselves for this waiting game, every applicant will tell you this is the toughest part of the application process. They tell you just enough information to get you REALLY excited and then they make you wait for the rest! I guess the most frustrating part is that we have an idea of where we are going but can’t really start to prepare yet for fear that it might change.
For example, I have a theory that we are going to Indonesia or the Philippines. I gathered this theory by looking deep into the Peace Corps Wiki Calendar of Stagings. I found that more times than not each country leaves in the same month. If this stays true then we are going to the Islands!!! Whoop! However, we won’t know for sure and because of that cannot start learning the language or any specifics about the culture, ect. It’s irritating, but only because I am so excited! So I can’t really complain. :o)
Now we just have to be patient. The website says that if we aren’t nominated to leave before the month of January 2012 then we might not even hear back from them until then. Our application is again on hold, we won’t even know if we are medically cleared.
In the meantime, we are still praying and looking into alternatives just in case something were to go astray. Samaritans Purse has sent our application through and we are hoping to hear back from them in the next couple of weeks. Brett is putting a mission trip to Haiti in as a priority. I am a little nervous about this. One of his best friends lives there now and raves about how amazing an experience it is. He feels as though God really has called him there and that we would benefit from taking a visit for a couple weeks to a month. I know we would, I have no doubt about that, but I am more focused on meeting our financial goals here to prepare for over two years without an income. We will just have to wait it out and see… I feel like the last two years have been such a limbo period! I am ready to have a couple of years planned for my future, it would eliminate some stress I do believe :)
Praying for quick responses and some concrete plans to come about soon! I can’t wait!!!