There are two organizations that i really love right now:
1) charity: water - “a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.”
2) TOMS Shoes - “with every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.”
Because of my love for both of them, you can imagine my excitement when they announced they are working together…
i had a meeting with the Global Partners team today, and in it, we decided on my start date!
The date is… March 30th! This Tuesday!
I am so excited. What an incredible journey this has been already. And just think, it is only starting…
This is Zizipho (“Gifts from God”). She is the daughter of the wonderful Manelo and Nosipho who I met when I went to South Africa just over a year ago. Manelo emailed me this picture this morning. So Cute.
I keep trying out different looks for this tumblr, but have been unsuccessful at finding one that i love. please forgive the ever-changing appearance of this blog as a search to find the best one. eventually, it’s going to be amazing.
So last night I drove up to Flint to have a meeting with the EWB team at Kettering about South Africa. The meeting went well and all, but that is not what this story is about, what happened afterwards is…
I was chatting with Elizabeth, a junior at kettering who went with me to South Africa last december/january. I had not seen/talk to her in a long time and it was wonderful to stand around and play “catch-up”. As we were chatting, we were joined by a couple other EWBers who were a part of the meeting. One of them, Andrew, is a grad student at Kettering, and the other, Nurudeen, is also a junior there. The conversation went on as they discussed the stress of school and i poked fun at the fact that i was no longer in school. Then, I had a great idea… Milkshakes! (quick sidenote, there is a diner in Flint called West Side that is simply amazing, best Burger Shake combo around…) I tossed the idea out to Elizabeth, lots of hesitation. She was all worried about school. I used my convincing skills… how far i had driven, how we never see each other, you know, the norm. Boom, convinced! Andrew quickly excused himself because of all the homework he had (i wasn’t going to pester a new friend). So I turned to Nurudeen, “you in?” i asked. “why not?” he replied. Success!
To the car we walked, an old friend, a new friend, and myself, on a 10pm voyage to get a delicious shake. We chatted in the car, and called two other friends, Joy and Krunal (who also went to South Africa with me), trying to convince them… but homework was again an excuse. Then, we arrived at The West Side Diner… but it was closed… i was heartbroken. But then, Nurudeen pipes in from the backseat and says the Mega Diner is open 24hours… and we’re off! After a quick jaunt down Corruna road, we arrive to our new destination, are seated, and get ready for our shakes. This is where the night got interesting…
While we are looking at the menu, Nurudeen states all casually “I’ve never had a milkshake before”. My mind = blown. But then, through some more questions, it all becomes more clear. I learned that Nurudeen was from Nigeria! He was born and raised there, and had only come to the states two years prior to attend Kettering. He had my attention, and I wanted to know more.
I started off semi casually, asking little things about his story, how he decided to go to kettering at whatnot. But then he made a comment about how I was free to ask anything, that he loved talking about Nigeria. At that point, the questions came flowing… I asked him about the country, the culture, his family, the government, religion. All topics were discussed. It was incredible. I learned so much.
Towards the end of the discussion, as our bellies became full of assorted flavors of milkshakes and maybe some french fries thrown in there, I began to think of how awesome our situation was. Here we were, three 20somethings, sitting in a booth at a diner in Flint, with three extremely different backgrounds. What a blessing to be able to have that experience, and to learn more about another culture.
Needless to say, I had a fantastic evening in Flint.
This is Nigeria. Nurudeen and his family are from the Lagos area, in the southwest. I hope to visit there someday.
This is the song that contains the lyric “love until your hands bleed”. It’s a wonderful song and I thought people might want to hear it, since it is the title of this tumblr and all…
For my first post, I thought it was fitting to give a little more detail into how I got to where I am today. Below is the fairly long version of the major steps I took that led me to this thing I’m calling Engineering Missions. Thanks for reading!
(Also, if you’re not a reader and this is too much for you, don’t feel bad. I’m the same way. I just thought that some people might want to read about more details. Posts in the future will be much shorter!)
Six years ago, during the spring break of my senior year of high school, I went on my first missions trip to Peru with the high school youth group at Kensington Community Church. Over the course of ten days, with many of my closest friends at my side, I experience God in a way that I never could have imagined. We went around to schools, and got to interact with children who lived in extreme poverty. We were able to tell them about Jesus, and how he wanted to be their “best friend”. We were able to connect many of these children and their families with local churches in order to help them begin their new life as a follower of Christ. To say that this experience changed my life is an understatement. Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on this experience, and about my reliance on God through it, and how He was always there. Leaving this trip, I knew that life was going to be different. I knew that I would appreciate all that I had so much more. Many of my friends, who also experienced life change during this trip, began to discuss how they felt like they were being called into Ministry. In some ways, I kind of felt left out. Despite the amazing things that had happened to me during my time in Peru, I still felt like I was supposed to go to Kettering, and to get my Mechanical Engineering degree. I certainly wanted to go on more missions trips, but I felt like I was doing the thing I was supposed to do.
Well my desire to go on more trips didn’t have to wait long, because the following year, my freshman year at Kettering, I was blessed to be able to go on the same trip with Kensington again. This time however, because of being in college, I was a leader for the high school students. This again, was simply an amazing experience. I was able to lead and observe students as they went through the same life change that I had experienced just one year prior. Although the trip was so similar (we still went around to schools) the experience as a leader was so different. Upon conclusion of the trip however, my story was the same. I had experience life changing events, yet I still felt like I was where God wanted me to be by going to Kettering University.
Over the course of my remaining years at Kettering, I continued to reflect and pray about my experiences in Peru, and how the life change I had experienced, and my passion for engineering would all somehow come together. It was during this time that a new club at Kettering was being created, Engineers Without Borders. EWB is a national humanitarian aid organization, however the Kettering Chapter was just being formed. An email was sent out to the whole campus, describing the club, and an informational meeting that was going to be held in hopes of getting people involved. Part of this meeting however, was that an alumni was going to be there to talk about her experience serving in Peru! They had my attention, I was going to the meeting. Although I was unable to join EWB immediately do to time conflicts, eventually things worked out and I was able to start attending the weekly meetings. It was here that I was first shown all the great things that I, as an Engineer, could do to help people around the world.
Over time, I saw my passions coming together. This love that I have for technology and problem solving (things that make me the engineer I am) could be used together with the love I have for people and other cultures and helping them. It was an amazing revelation.
Shortly thereafter, the professor at Kettering who was in charge of EWB decided to create a new course that would dive deeper into the big issues that people of the world face, and how an engineer could help. The course was titled “Engineering for Global Benefit”, and I was asked to be a part of the first class. After pulling a few strings to make sure everything still lined up to graduate on time, I signed up for what was sure to be an extreme alternative to my normal coursework at Kettering. While taking this course, my passions for helping those around the world only grew stronger. I got to a point where I knew my life was no longer going to follow that of a typical engineer. I knew I was being called to something different.
Finally, during my last semester at Kettering, EWB had finally developed a strong enough connection to where we were ready to dive into out first international project. By teaming up with a local NGO, we got connected to a village in South Africa called Vukuzenzele. It was decided that in December of 2008, we would make out first trip, an Assessment Trip, to learn more about this village, and what EWB at Kettering could do to help. So at that point, I was now finishing me last semester at college, as well as helping to plan a trip to South Africa, although chaotic at times, it was also amazing. Everything worked out, I graduated, celebrated Christmas at home, and then was off to Africa. The trip was amazing, and the opportunity to befriend the Zulu people was more than I could have asked for.
I don’t remember the timing of it, but there was one point in there where I had a meeting with Steve Andrews, the pastor of Kensington. It was during this meeting that I was first introduced to the idea of an internship with Global Partners and Kensington. I had told him about my two passions, for engineering and missions, and wanted some guidance about how to move forward. I also told him that I felt like I needed some “training” in missions. I was earning a degree in engineering, which qualified me for that half, but I was unsure about how to learn more for the missions half. He told me how in his experience, you learn the most about ministry by doing it. So as apposed to trying to study missions in Seminary, I should dive in, and learn from from those around me as I experience it first hand.
I loved this idea, and once he said it, it seemed so obvious. I went to Kettering because going there meant that I wouldn’t have to learn only through coursework, but also first hand through my co-op. This would be the same way.
It was from there that I began the process that got me to where I am today. I had many meetings with the Global Partners team, and arranging what this internship would look like. I am so excited to finally be here. I truly feel that this is exactly where God wants me to be, and he has reassured me of that time and time again.
There is so much more I could go into about this journey I have been on over the past six years. It is amazing to me all the details, all the “coincidences”, and all the circumstances that God has made happen to bring me to where I am today. If you have any questions about anything, please ask. And thank you to everyone that has been there for me along the way.