The Why

Jenna Horgan

Jenna Horgan

By Jenna Horgan

We leave for Central America tomorrow morning. We have been preparing for this moment for over two years now! I think we have told our story to at least 1,000 people in 1,000 different ways.

Everyone has different responses. “Oh wow, you’re doing mission work?” or “that’s nice that you’re going there, are you going to build a house or teach a useful skill?” or “be careful, I hear it’s dangerous.” Some people have expressed their own longings, saying they wish they had volunteered abroad when they were younger.

The one question I have not fully processed is “why are you doing this?”

I am still living my way into the why.

The heart of it is this: we are all part of this human experience. Gay, straight, rich, poor, Latino, white, black, Asian.

I have grown up with such privilege, such wealth that I cannot even begin to comprehend. Sure, in the US I would be considered middle class. But I do not know what it’s like to not have enough to eat, or money to spend. I quit my job two months ago and have lived off savings and the generosity of others, with no problem. Vacation is part of my yearly routine. I have an Ipod, a laptop, a car.

Yes, I do feel guilty, but I do not think guilt is the answer. Guilt will not get us anywhere, nor change our lifestyles.

There is another kind of wealth that is far more valuable. The wealth of community, and love. That is what I seek, and what I hope to share.

I will keep you updated on the why. We are off to Guatemala in the morning!

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

-Lilla Watson

Note: this post dates from 2012, at the beginning of Jenna’s overseas assignment. People serve with BVS for all different reasons! Would you like to read more stories of call? or find out more about BVS?