Lots of updates to share!
First of all, my passport arrived!!
It is quite nice knowing this hurdle has been cleared –and it only took one re-submitting of paperwork! Props to the county district clerk office for in-and-out service; small towns have their benefits.
The next big document to obtain is a Visa, which requires knowing your official departure date. I have made contact with the Grahamstown Monastery, and hope to have an official date finalized –and Visa application submitted- by this time next week. The pieces are slowly coming together, and even though these logistics are not innately ‘fun’, they are making the process more real for me, thereby fueling the excitement.
I have also been at work in the sharing/fundraising process. This past Sunday, the Rector from my home church allowed me to be the guest speaker! The sermon was well received, and sparked a lot of conversation after each service. It turns out a couple of parishioners have been to South Africa for mission work, and they were kind enough to offer their own advice about the journey. Thanks to Father Robby for the opportunity, and to all the people who came by afterward to speak with me.
The next official visit is Sunday, May 13th at Trinity Episcopal –The Woodlands, TX. Also on the horizon is a Sunday, June 3rd trip to St. Andrew’s Episcopal- Bryan, TX. St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston has also offered support in the form of a scholarship. I am excited about these visits, and look forward to the continuing process of sharing the news and inviting peoples’ support.
To date, the Episcopal Church Headquarters has received $1,650 for this mission. This is a great start to $10,000! It you would like to join this ministry via financial support, please consider a check or credit card offering. It is never too late to partake in this mission.
Another development in this process has been the forming of new friendships, especially Travis Shields. Travis was assigned to Grahamstown from 2010-2011, has since moved back to Texas, and currently attends the same church I do (pretty convenient, yes?). Travis chats with the Grahamstown monks regularly–he actually knew I was going there before I did- and has been a great mentor/friend throughout this process. He has given me invaluable advice and stories –which you can expect to hear in a later post :)
I wish you all well, and look forward to bringing you more news in posts to come!