Friday, September 12, 2014

Preparing for the Unknown

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published this article about the incoming flood of immigrants to the country of Italy. The timing could not be more appropriate as today, Sept. 12, I set off for Rome to begin my second year with the Episcopal Church's Young Adult Service Corps.

While these graphs below come directly from the Washington Post article mentioned above, I will post them again here on this blog just to give you an idea of what Italy is facing as a country. Not only that, I hope these graphs will give you a better understanding in what I will be assisting the Episcopal church of Saint Paul's within the Walls and the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center with throughout the course of the year. Italy, and indeed all of Europe, is in the midst of an immigration crisis. During my time in Rome, I will be on the front lines of this crisis helping those in search of asylum and a fresh start.

Mediterranean Refugee Migration Routes.

Just hours before my flight, I find myself feeling somewhat unprepared for the work that lies ahead of me. In my work as a chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers I was working with people who were lonely and depressed. While the plight of the seafarer is definitely one that should be taken seriously, I think I will encounter people in more dire conditions mentally, physically and emotionally over the course of this year in Rome. These migrants coming to Italy have lost family members, homes and community. How will I help them? What can you say to console someone who gone through such hell? I am not yet sure.

My time in Rome will be life-changing and intense, however I am feeling well rested and rejuvenated after spending the last month and a half at home. The past few weeks have really restored me both mentally and physically, and I'm looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead.

Thank you to all who have supported me this far in my journey as a missionary for the Episcopal Church. The next time I post, it will be from the historic confines of the Eternal City - Rome!