It is Saturday morning now. We have a little bit of a later morning this morning since the Academy doesn’t meet on Saturdays. It is our last day here at Shepherd. Friday was an impactful day. We helped at the Academy from 8:30 to 12:30 again. Those of us who were consistently with a particular teacher and group of kids during the week remained with that group, deepening their understanding of each other. Those of us who have taken other interests in the operations here at Shepherd continued to do so, helping with childcare, kitchen duties, and other non-classroom related facets. After 12:30, we left the Academy and continued our Poverty 101 class, digging deeper into what poverty actually is and discussing resources that we may possess or lack that may indicate the type of poverty we are experiencing. Our experience this week certainly has been a learning experience and as we go from here processing what has happened, we hope to respond correctly with sensitivity to the Spirit and our new understanding of poverty. After class, we were able to rest a little bit before embarking on our dinner plans in which we divided into three groups and visited homes of Taylor University alumni.
They were so kind to host us and we all had so much fun. One of our groups was so fascinated by a goat farm and upon continuously asking questions about it and showing interest, we were given the opportunity to milk a goat! We are so grateful for the fellowship that we are able to share with families of Taylor alumni. It is a great way to form connections and look into the future. It also helps the alumni to look into the past a bit and get to know us where we are in life.
After the dinner plans, we had a fun night of games before hitting the sack. Today, several alumni in the area will be joining us for our final service project at Shepherd. After that, we will depart from Shepherd.
Relationships have been made, understandings on tough issues have been brought into light, and hope has been given new birth. The goodbyes that were said on Friday among us, the teachers, students, kitchen staff, fellows, and other faculty were certainly difficult. But, that was to be expected. We are grateful for our time and support here at Shepherd. We hope to continue to reflect, process, and respond. We will certainly keep track of our time here and value the lives that we have been blessed by.
At times of departing from environments and phases in life in which relationships have been formed and deepened, I like to contemplate something that I encourage you to reflect upon as well. So, I’ll leave you with this:
“Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally.”