Tuesday, March 5, 2013

From the South to Lesotho.....

St. Paul's within The Walls

From the South to Lesotho….. and then on to Rome! That’s right, folks! I’m moving to Rome, Italy following my year here in Lesotho. You might be asking, “Jared, what will you be doing in Rome?” This is a good question. The YASC program has decided to open a new placement in Rome with the only American Episcopal Church inside the city, St. Paul’s within The Walls. After talking with the YASC office for sometime, they have decided to send me there for a second year of YASC! I am incredibly excited and blessed to have this opportunity.

Jill, Fr. Austin, and Aja
As I said, the placement is with St. Paul’s within The Walls Episcopal Church, which just happens to be the church where my friend, The Rev. Austin Rios, is the rector! Fr. Rios was a priest in the Diocese of Western NC, my home diocese, before accepting a call to Rome last year. He is also a former YASCer who served his year in Mexico City. I’ve known Austin through his work with the youth of the Diocese of WNC, mainly at Camp Henry, which we have both been Assistant Director of at some point in time.  I’m very excited to be able to work with Fr. Rios!

Inside the Church
The placement and my responsibilities are still developing, so I don’t have too much information as of yet. What I do know is that the work will be with the Joel Nafuma Political Refugee Center, which the church runs. Since the church is in a central location in Rome (just a few blocks from the central subway station), it has quite a lot of traffic from people just arriving in Rome from countries across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America seeking political refuge in the Eternal City. The center provides a daily breakfast, educational opportunities, support services, and a welcoming environment to political refugees living in Rome. You can read more about the church here, and the refugee center here.

So doing another year of YASC of course means doing another round of fundraising. I need to raise $8000 to make this year happen. I was overwhelmed by the support that came through for me last year when raising money for my year here in Lesotho. It’s a huge comfort to know that people believe in me and believe in what I’m doing! If you would like to donate towards my fundraising goal, please send me an email at grantjb3@gmail.com and I will tell you how you can help. Donations can be made tax deductible! Any donation will be a gigantic help and a huge blessing! A $25 donation is enough to cover my expenses for one day next year. I know it’s never a good time to be asking for money and that money is tight among many families right now, but if you are able to help out it would be incredible. I'm going to take a page from the NPR fundraising playbook and say that if we can raise the money quickly, I can stop pestering everyone!

Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I start on this new journey. It’s an incredible opportunity that I’m still not sure has sunk in yet. As much as I’m going to miss being at home for another year, I know in my heart that this is where I’m supposed to be. I thank you all for your continued support of me and of my adventures. Kea leboha (Thank you)! Sala hantle!

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