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A Year of Service

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Invest in Young Adults!

Young Adult Volunteers commit to serving a minimum of one year in the U.S. or Internationally at one of our sites. YAVs have the opportunity to volunteer alongside local partners, engaging in work and conversation around issues that address poverty, reconciliation, and what it means to share the hope of Christ through service. This blog is a chance to stay updated on what is happening in the life of the YAV program, whether that is with our current volunteers, our abundance of alum, the YAV office, or our YAV partners. The conversations and tough issues that we spend countless hours talking about as YAV’s don’t end when the year does; welcome to the conversation! If you have more questions, feel free to email.


YAV Blogs

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YAV Stories Published Online:

     Along the Border: PCUSA News Service

     Emma Randles (Austin): Grassroots Leadership

     Becca Messman (Guatemala): Outlook

     Colleen Earp (NOLA): Unbound

     Lives Set on New ‘Routes’: Unbound

     Dan Bohnker (Little Rock): PDA 

     Abby Miller (Peru): YAV Blog

     Joy and Han in Korea: PCUSA News Service

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May 18, 2016

An Open Letter to the Incoming YAV Class

By: YAV Alum the Rev. Grace Lindvall (Kenya, '10-'11)

Hey Y’all my name is Grace Lindvall, I served as a YAV 2010-2011 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Know above everything else that we are praying for you – YAV alums, YAV staff, your family, people who have contributed to your YAV year and friends. Know in your hearts that you are being prayed for in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Moving from a time of discernment into the very thing you have been discerning is an interesting time. It brings out exciting emotions – sharing the news with friends and family, fundraising and then the hard work of doing the thing which you felt God calling you to, moving into the space God called you.

Sharing the experience with friends and families is perhaps one of the greatest challenges – people want to hear about all the “loveliness” of your experience, and to be honest, as I boarded my plane to Nairobi in August of 2011 I was ready to experience all of the “loveliness” too. If I'm honest however, what I experienced during my YAV year was hardly the “loveliness” that my friends and family wanted to hear and hardly what I expected.

Instead of the “loveliness” -  sweet pictures, quick facts of lives changed, nice stories of all the goodness I was sharing – instead of that I found something different. I found a year of change – a year that changed my life, a year that redirected the course of my life, an experience that changed the way I understood the world, the way I experienced my relationship with God, the way I saw other people. That change was hard; hard for me to experience and hard to share with family and friends. It’s not the easy or lovely thing we expected – a year that we would change the world but not change us. But changing the world requires us to change ourselves too. That didn’t sit well with a lot of friends and family who weren’t experiencing the same things I was, it didn’t necessarily translate or make sense. Sharing this experience required a lot of honesty on my part not just throughout my YAV year but even now 6 years later; honesty about the challenges, honesty about my own faults, honesty about my experiences. That honesty though allowed me to open myself up more fully to the experience and opened my family and friends up to the real experience I was having, not the experience I or them created in our heads. 

Y’all – we’re praying for you, praying for the new things God will do in this year, the new things God is working in your life, your strength and grateful for each of you who felt this call to serve Christ in this way. 


Grace is currently a first call Associate Pastor for Mission and Church Growth at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

May 12, 2016

Go Back Home

“Go back home, and tell your government to stop supporting this oppression.”


It was one of those moments that I still point to and say, “That was a moment that changed me.” I would guess that many of us who count ourselves among the hundreds of YAVA have moments like that that we point to during our YAV year, however long ago that might have been. For me, it was September 2009 in Guatemala—six and half years ago.


I had been a YAV for approximately three weeks, and as part of our site orientation we visited a women’s ...

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April 13, 2016

Make Time for Self-Care

Dear YAVs, 

I hope you are well and enjoying the start of spring! I can’t believe it’s already been 8 months since I saw you! While brainstorming for this reflection, several topics came to mind, but I decided to focus on an aspect of my YAV year that had one of the biggest impacts on my life. My YAV year was a transformative experience for SO many reasons, but one of the biggest transformations it brought to my life was a stronger commitment to self-care and better prioritization of my time.

Pre-YAV year, I had a lot on ...

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March 24, 2016

Timeless Values Transform Lives

I first went to the Philippines as a Young Adult Volunteer 17 years ago. That’s quite a while – and a lot has changed. That’s pre-Facebook and Twitter... It was pre cell phones for most of us... It was pre-Skype, so no one at home knew how shaggy my hair had gotten… It wasn’t quite pre-email, but was of the era that email was still an exciting, special thing… And in global terms, it was also before our current day status quo. It was pre-9/11. It was pre- Millennium Development Goals – the first ones. It was pre-Arab ...

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March 8, 2016


I’ve just returned from the NEXT Church conference feeling rejuvenated, challenged, and intimately reminded of my YAV year! The theme for the conference was “Crossroads”. One of the most encouraging times during NEXT was catching up with other YAVA. As we swapped stories, we started to realize how profoundly our YAV year(s) formed us. We gathered thankful for our community linked by YAV.

Each of us entered YAV at a crossroad in our lives. I imagine before you were a few paths; some neatly paved and others a little more unconventional. We chose a path that wasn’t ...

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