This past Monday, I had my first day at UCC Head Office. I was offered a job in the JGER - Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations - unit. My head is still spinning, but I know I can say something I've never said before: I love my job.
I was thrown into things straight off the starting block - conference calls, staff meetings, M&S awareness week, etc. I don't think I've had much time to process everything yet! But I have learned a handful of things. Here they are:
1. There are more acronyms used in this unit than I've ever been exposed to in my life. PCPMM, CCIC, CEC, MESA, AGAPE, EAPPI, GCE, JGER... I've been trying to learn them in doses, but they don't stop coming!
2. The staff in the JGER are hands-on types of people. This means that at any given time, there are a handful of them that are being ambassadors of faith in various different countries. Today, for example, I know that there are staff in Jerusalem, Argentina, and some part of Africa (not sure where exactly). They thrive on meeting with people and sharing perspectives and dialogue.
3. Which brings me to my next point. The whole unit is comprised of some of the nicest, most intelligent, well-spoken people EVER. I feel so at home here. It doesn't hurt that we're also working for an incredible organization that treats their employees like they're important... like they're human. It's a full 180 degrees from the position I held before, and I cannot get over how lucky I am that I've somehow ended up in the right place at the right time.
4. The JGER is not just missionaries. In fact, they aren't even called that anymore; they refer to them as 'overseas personnel'. We've got +/- 20 around the world right now, from Korea to Tanzania. But there is soo much more to this unit. They are the link between the United Church and faith-based action around the world. They care about every partnership they're involved with - old and new - and put as much heart as sweat into helping everyone they can. They are continuously walking the lines between tough subjects like charity vs. justice, and specific needs vs. long-term programming and development. Some of the most interesting projects to me are the ones that seem to help on different levels - like small-space urban gardening projects in Cuba. Or land-rights discussions and exchanges between Filipino and Canadian Aboriginal youths. How can you not look forward to each day??
It's been a long, crazy week with an incredible amount of things to absorb, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. When a little welcome blurb including my background was sent out to the staff here, I read it and thought "Wow, it sounds like everything I've done in my past has been to prepare me for this job". You know how there are those rare moments where the path that God's chosen for you lights up like a Christmas Tree? This is my moment.