At the baptism of every child, our congregation, representing the church as a whole, makes a commitment. We pledge to assist the parent in bringing up this child in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord," and to share the gospel in the communal life of faith with this child. Much of the congregation’s life of worship, education, fellowship, and service is ordered to that end.
In this past year, we have heard about “sticky faith” – the idea that holy and deep relationships matter. They make a difference in the life of our baptized children as they mature and we release them into the world of college and beyond. This past year, the Hospitality and Fellowship team started the Adopt-a-Student program – a way for us to connect both with our Presbyterian Campus Ministry Students as well as our own young people who have graduated from the Youth Ministry program. This program enables our congregation to support, pray for, and celebrate our students during their young adult years. In this spirit, we celebrate another one of “ours” – Elizabeth Meynardie - and solicit your prayers for her and all our young adults.
On May 20th, I graduated from Elon University with a degree in Elementary Education. Elon blessed me with many opportunities to work with children in and out of the classroom and allowed me to form strong relationships with excellent professors. Through these experiences and time spent abroad in Costa Rica and Malawi, I discovered the joy of working with English language learners. In the upcoming year, I will be combining my passion for teaching and travel in Taiwan.
Through Fulbright’s English Teaching Assistant program, I will travel to Kaohsiung, Taiwan at the end of July. For the following eleven months, I will be living in an apartment with other Fulbright Scholars and traveling to one or more schools to teach English. The details of my placement will be confirmed during the month of August, after I have an opportunity to visit different schools in person. While we will primarily work in schools, some of our time will be spent volunteering with different afterschool and nonprofit programs.
This experience will undoubtedly be valuable for several reasons. First, I am excited to once again learn about myself in the rich way that going abroad and outside of your comfort zone allows. Both of my previous study abroad experiences have pushed me to reflect more critically about who I am as an individual and challenged me to question my worldviews. Living abroad for such an extended period is sure to prompt similar personal growth.
Professionally, I hope to work in a Title I school with a high population of English language learners in the United States after returning from Taiwan. Experiencing such intense culture shock, in a country where I know virtually no language will allow me to empathize with these students. Hopefully, that empathy will allow me to form stronger relationships with my students and their families.
Finally, I anticipate having a lot of fun exploring a new culture and meeting new people during the year. There will be challenges and low points, but I ultimately expect to explore Taiwan’s rich cultural history, try some great food, and possibly travel to a few other Asian countries.
My journey at West Raleigh and continuing support from the congregation has been instrumental in shaping who I am and my ambitions in life. As a child and teenager, I had so many opportunities to learn from different leaders and eventually step into some leadership roles myself. I will hold these experiences and lessons close as I begin this year of new adventures.
Peace and Love,