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Spring 2014

Photo: Sarah Neher

A Newsletter by and for Church of the Brethren Young Adults

Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Eat, Pray, Love shares an old Italian joke with the reader. It goes like this, “a poor man…goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, ‘Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery.’ This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, ‘My son-please, please, a ticket.’” I’ve always known that God has a plan he wants me to fulfill and I’ve begged for him to show me what it is. In the last year, however, I’ve learned that I can’t just sit on my hands and wait for it to happen to me. I have to do a little leg work. Six months ago I had no idea what was coming next for me after BVS. I was worrying and whining about it but I wasn’t doing much to help the situation. I realized one day that I was just waiting for someone to tell me what to do. I decided to keep praying, but to stop waiting and do a little work to move towards God’s next steps for me. From the moment I stumbled across the job advertisement for Director of Young Adult Ministries at Palmyra Church of the Brethren, it was as if I had found my missing piece. I didn’t know such a position could exist. I had enjoyed my time working with youth, but I had slowly started to realize that I had inherited my father’s passion for working with collegeaged students and older. (But don’t tell him I said that.) When I walked into the interview, I felt as if I was coming home. The people sitting around me didn’t feel like interviewers, they felt like family. I prayed hard that I wouldn’t mess it up. Then, as I accepted the job, I realized this was what I had been waiting for, where I was meant to be. But I never would have found it if I would have just kept waiting for it to come to me. God brought me home. I wasn’t in exile like those he talks about in Jeremiah 29:11-14, but he brought me back just the same. He has plans for me and they’re not over, but he knows how important home is. God’s really good at helping all of us find our way back home just when we need it most. Rachel Witkovsky // Pennsylvania With the ending of her two year term in Brethren Volunteer Service, Rachel’s journey has led her to Palmyra Church of the Brethren where she is now Director of Young Adult Ministries. Describing herself as happy, contemplative and a nurturer, Rachel’s favorite quote has helped to prepare her to work with those who are continuing to grow in their faith journeys. “Faith is believing that one of two things will happen…that there will be something solid for you to stand on–or that you will be taught to fly.” Leigh Standle

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Hello, and welcome to a story of people thirsty for Christ because of the humble work of the Brethren. All thanks to the quick thinking of a brother in Christ who drew water from the Rock into the hearts of homeowners around the country. As my year of BVS begins, I am certain what ministries can be found through the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM). Bill Gay, president of the American Recycling Foundation and a village gardener in Alaska, shared a story about his experience with a homeowner while serving at a BDM site. This homeowner nervously asked when the ‘presentation’ of the Bible will be. Gay paused, and responded, "We will talk to you about anything you want. We will even stay after the workday and talk, but we are not here to push the Bible on you." After some thought the homeowner came to Gay and began to ask about Christianity and Brethren heritage. A day like this makes volunteering that much more fulfilling. To bring words of Christian love into a house is an important step in building a home. A pastor from the Southern Ohio district told me that we can lead a horse to water but cannot make it drink. However, he says, we can plant salt in its seed. This fits in quite well with BDM’s mission. We cannot make a non-Christian drink but we can make them thirsty for the love of Jesus by living and breathing God’s word. Every time BDM builds a house, the homeowner receives so much more. They receive smiles from hundreds of volunteers throughout the building process. They receive hope for tomorrow. They receive God's grace and accept it into their hearts. They receive countless hours of Christian fellowship ringing joyfully in every room. Most importantly, they receive a house transformed into a home through Christian acts of service.

Micheal Himlie // Minnesota Hello fellow young adults! My name is Michael Himlie. Harmony, Minnesota is where I call home and McPherson College is where I am majoring in religion and philosophy, with the interest of peace studies and youth and outdoor ministry. I am currently serving a year with BVS and I enjoy running, ultimate, and spontaneous adventures!

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We've all heard the phrase "Home is where the heart is." We see it on well-worn welcome mats or framed on Grandma's living room wall. It's a beautiful statement, but what if we replaced "the heart" with "God?" Since God is in our hearts, isn't home where God is, too?

"I feel at home at the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. We get to do fun things together like run for peace!"

“Home is a place where I find myself serving with an easy heart; like here, at a Heifer site in Arkansas.”

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"One of the places I feel most at home is Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pennsylvania. This is a view from the camp's Rock Pile."

"As members of Youth Peace Travel Team last summer, we weren't at home, but we made every place we traveled a home with our friendship and God's presence."

"I was only in Uganda for three weeks in 2009, but I will always feel like I have a home there. The faces of those children are imprinted on my heart. It was like staring into the eyes of God over and over again." // 4

Young Adult Conference 2014 :

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” -Jeremiah 29: 11-14

Whether you've been there ten times, or once, you know just how special the Young Adult Conference (YAC) experience is! You can remember the compelling speakers, the exhilarating outdoor activities, the moving worship experiences and the bonding friendships. For those of you who haven't experienced YAC yet, doesn't that sound exciting?!?! Well, now is your chance to register! Registration is officially open on the Church of the Brethren website, Don't hesitate to register! Here is a sneak peak of YAC 2014 to get you excited!

We hope to see you all at YAC 2014!

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Bridge is a publication of the Young Adult Ministry office of the Church of the Brethren. Bridge wishes to include on its mailing list anyone who would like to receive a copy. Send your name and address (regular or e-mail) to the address above; there is no subscription fee. Please inform us of any change in address or if you no longer want to receive Bridge. Contributions are welcome!

Staff for Young Adult Ministry Becky Ullom Naugle ● ● 800-323-8039 ext. 385 ● Young Adult Ministry Church of the Brethren 1451 Dundee Ave Elgin, IL 60120

2013-2014 From L to R: Joshua Bashore-Steury, Becky Naugle, Ashley Kern, Heather Houff Landrum, Laura Whitman, Katie Cummings, and Jess Hoffert.

Are you interested in receiving updates about young adult programming? Sign up by going to

Join the conversation on Facebook! Each week members of the Young Adult Steering Committee post a question to the “Young Adults of the Church of the Brethren” Facebook Page. Join the conversation and suggest your own questions!

Interested in joining the Young Adult Steering Committee? The Young Adult Ministry Office is now accepting applications for three new members for the Young Adult Steering Committee. You can download an application here: or fill out the attached form at the end of Bridge and return to it to the Young Adult Ministry Office.

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Bridge // Spring 2014  

A publication of the Young Adult Ministry office of Church of the Brethren.

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