If this Blog were a book, possibly even an autobiography, then perhaps this post would be the preface. Usually I skip right over the preface of most books but in this story, it's quite possible that the preface is the most important part since it is the part I already know. The rest of the book has yet to be written as I have yet to leave for India. But let's begin here, with what has happened to arrive at this place.
This story really picks up when I studied abroad independently in Uganda. God had done quite a bit of work in my heart concerning poverty in the third world to get me there, but for the sake of time, I will spare you the details.
Let's just say after a life-altering 4 months in Uganda, I knew I wanted to work overseas long-term. However, at that time I was $105K in student debt so I also knew that would not be happening for... a while. In my senior year though I discovered and later joined a sending organization called H.I.S. years which offered me about $10K towards my student debt while I served overseas. However, about 8 months with the organization, I realized $10K doesn't really even put a dent in my $105K debt so ultimately I began to doubt if i should go to India until my debt was paid in full.
One night in specific, about 2 months before graduation, I was particularly distraught by the contrast of my desire to serve overseas and the insurmountable debt I had accumulated. I remember very distinctly getting on my knees to pray, a bit shaky and with tears streaming down my face, I worked up the courage to say with all sincerity, "G*d, if you want me to go to India then get rid of my debt, and I will go."
Two months later after the busyness of finals week, that prayer was a distant memory and I had fully accepted, and was even excited about, my state-side alternative way of life ie. waitressing to pay off debt while I lived in an intentional community house. There I was, in the line-up about 15 minutes before graduation began when i remembered I had to go to a brief meeting to promote H.I.S. years (I still hadn't worked up the courage to commit to telling H.I.S. Years I was not committed, so off i went to promote).
It was me and two other H.I.S. years students. We walked into a room filled with all the "important" people at APU. As President Jon Wallace introduced us, we stated our name and where we were going. Hesitantly I said, "My name is Melissa.... and I am trying to go to India"
The next thing I know, Jon Wallace says, "Melissa Dorman, an anonymous donor has stepped forward and you have been forgiven 105 thousand dollars, you are free to serve". To say the least that sentence changed my life. From that moment on, I knew I was going to India.
Of course that was almost a year ago, soooo...what have I been doing with my life? (you may wonder)
Well, I decided to still live in that intentional community house with mostly strangers and work as a waitress to raise money to go. Probably the best decision I have ever made. It was by no means easy but I have learned so much about love, and myself, and G*d, and community. Not to mention these people are now my dear friends. I am very grateful for the lessons they have taught me or been with me while I have painfully learned. I have no doubt these are lessons that will be crucial to my life in India. Which leads me to my next point, the question I have heard a thousand times, "When am I leaving for India?"
Well, almost 2 years later, I can answer- May 4th.
(to be continued)