A TIME OF TRANSITION
I’ve been back in the United States for 40 days now and things are starting to feel back to normal. Since arriving to Ohio on October 1st, I’ve been spending my days itinerating at congregations around the US, doing practical back-in-the-US things, and also preparing for my upcoming move to Greece. It didn’t take me nearly as long to acclimate back to life in the US as I had worried that it would. I spent a lot of time in Hungary saying heartfelt goodbyes and being present with my communities there before I departed, and it’s made a world of difference now that I’ve left. I feel like I have closure now in this in-between time, and for that I am thankful.
I told you that my time in the US has been split between a few things thus far.
Every weekend I go to a new church and speak about my experiences in Hungary as a Global Mission Intern in order to give everyday local congregations an insight into the work of the church in the wider world. So far it’s gone splendidly – I’ve spoken at two churches in Ohio and have also traveled to Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri. It looks like I’ll be visiting a few more churches too (as my time in the US seems to have been extended.. but more on that in a bit) in Texas and maybe elsewhere.
Here’s how I describe myself to the churches who host me, in case you’re curious:
In her speaking roles, Kearstin draws on her variety of experiences in Hungary to talk to faith communities about the importance of seeking diversity and then connecting through the process of radical vulnerability. Kearstin shares her journey in Central Europe and highlights the community building aspect of her work, encouraging churches and organizations in the United States to connect in deeper ways. Contemporary topics in politics and religion, like human migration, minority rights, and more, play a role in her reflection and may challenge the way you see the world around you.
I spend my weekdays taking care of practical things while I’m home, like seeing family and friends, going to appointments with every single doctor that I’ve missed in the last two years, renewing my drivers license, updating all of my government documents with my new address in the US, procuring a new iPhone, getting a new external hard drive to be sure all my documents and photos are safe, AND MORE.
In addition, I’m also still preparing for my GMI placement in Katerini, Greece. Things are on hold there for now as I wait for the Greek government and the FBI to give me the paperwork I need to get my visa. I thought that things would move a bit quicker and I’d only be in the US for 6 weeks before jetting off again, but now it’s looking like I’ll be home longer than anticipated as I wait for the Greek and US bureaucratic systems to catch up. For now, it seems that I’ll be home in Ohio for Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time in four years, which I’m thrilled about.
So that’s where I’m at– in a time of transition, stuck in limbo, waiting on processes much bigger than myself to work themselves out before I can gain any clarity. I’ve done all that I can do to help the visa process along, so I’m just soaking up my time at home and relishing every chance I get to share my stories with congregations around the country.
If you’re interested in keeping up with me as I travel around the US and beyond, connect with me on Instagram and check out my posts and stories. I promise, you’ll like them!