I am thrilled to bring you into the exciting things God is doing in my life and in the world. My name is Austin. I grew up in Waukesha, WI and studied Theology and Literature at Auzusa Pacific University. You may know I am just finishing my second year in the Masters of Divinity program at Princeton Theological Seminary. And I have been richly blessed here. I am currently interning as a chaplain at a psychiatric hospital, training to be a spiritual director, studying like crazy, cultivating my skills as a writer, and looking forward to a teaching ministry internship in the fall. I am so eager to use these experiences to care well for people and display the love of God that has been so abundant in my life. But, sometimes studying feels very far removed from the ministry I am craving.
A few months ago, a friend discussed with me her overwhelming reaction after hearing stories of refugees from Syria who were fleeing from their war-torn country to Greece. “My heart broke and something in me switched on. I knew I needed to do something to care for these people. But what could I do?” We discussed the kind of assistance we might be able to offer there—both her and I have experience in care ministry, working with trauma victims, and children. And I have been eager to find a way to use my writing as a ministry. There are so many stories that are not being told. I believe it is a powerful expression of love to listen to and honor people’s stories, and that telling their stories to people worlds away bring them closer, gathers them into the human community rather than letting them be cast into obscurity by tragedy and war.
As we dreamt up a vision of our ministry, Lauryn got in touch with an organization that is eager to host us. We will be serving with Humanitarian Initiative: BRIDGES (https://www.bridges.org.gr) from May 17th – August 25th. During our time there, we will be working closely with interpreters to do grief counseling for children who have been displaced by the war. We are also eager to help with any other tasks that need to be done like handing out food and clothing or working with children as parents meet with other social workers, doctors, or people within the government that are helping them get documents together, etc.
Frederick Buechner's says "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Our passions for listening to people, sitting with them in deep hurt, making people feel seen make us eager for this task. Lauryn is one of the most deeply caring people I have ever met. And I am so blessed to have stumbled into an opportunity where my love of care ministry intersects with my vocation of writing. And we have seen God's hand at work already as our plans have come together at an alarming speed. One day we wanted to go to Greece, and almost a day later we had housing and flights!
We are remaining open handed in this journey and God has been faithful. We are trusting God’s provision for protection, purpose, strength and financial resources.
I am humbly reaching out to ask you to support me in this summer service trip. Whether that is with financial support and/or thoughts or prayers. I am hoping and praying to raise at least $3,500 within the next two months, which will help fund my food, housing, and transportation. I would be so grateful if you would consider supporting this trip abroad in whatever way makes sense for you. Any form of support is greatly appreciated.
God's doing something here! It is an exciting time.
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