Though only 6 weeks, I feel like I lived a lifetime this summer at BayUp. I had weeks of anticipation and even fear leading up to it. All the things I thought would be hard turned out to be easy, and the things I didn’t know I would face made me a new woman.
Highlights of things I’ve learned (and am still processing):
- I can live on a lot less than I think
This summer the budget was $15 a week per person for food. We also received $5 per week for laundry. Our Cal team of five decided to pool our weekly allowances together, totaling $100 per week for us to work with. Before BayUp, I assumed this would be incredibly difficult and that I might starve. What I found was we had way more than enough. We planned our grocery list carefully and ended up sharing wonderful meals like spaghetti, cold noodles, crepes, lima bean ham soup, fried rice, dumplings, tuna casserole, and so much more. Of all the money we received over the course of 5 weeks, we only lived on about 65% of our allowance. The rest we tithed and donated to some of the justice organizations we encountered along our way.
- Things don’t make me happy
Fasting from technology was a huge piece of BayUp. I am so surprised by how much joy I had being free of laptops, internet, and cell phones. I definitely missed my family and friends, but it was nice to only long for technology out of desire for my loved ones. After a typical long hard day pre-BayUp, I would want nothing more than to sit in front of the television and “relax” all evening. Turns out this sucks compared to coming home to good conversation and laughter with friends. I feel so much more aware of my need for community and relationship. My grumpiness that use to tell me I’d rather be alone is a lie. After all, God is in relationship within Himself through the Trinity. How much more then do I need to stay connected to God and people!
- Easier to offer grace in conflict
I’m so impatient and unforgiving sometimes. I’ve been asking myself….why? During BayUp there was no need to rush around anywhere and plenty of time to solve conflict openly and honestly. It now seems so frivolous that I could become so easily irritated by the simplest things throughout a day. What good does it do to walk around angry and annoyed? I can just tell people what I need or how I’m feeling. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by such a gracious and forgiving community. We corrected each other with love and were honest about how we were doing. I felt so much love in these relationships and hope to keep offering grace to others.
- We are responsible for bringing about justice in the world
God broke my heart for the injustice in this world every single week during BayUp. We learned so many statistics and facts about our failure to love our neighbor in the criminal justice system, within education, our lack of care for immigrants, and the painful cycles of human trafficking. It was really hard to not feel completely immobilized by the enormity of our sin and what seems like difficult paths to healing. I learned to lament and cry out to God, and He moved me to not only cry with Him, but to do justice with Him. When it comes to bringing healing and justice to this world, we are God’s Plan A. There is no Plan B.
Thank you so much for your prayers. I truly saw them answered and was blessed because of it all summer long. I am more aware than ever before how much I depend on the body of believers to pray and partner with me as we are together sent to love this planet and all that is in it.