In visiting churches and congregations, one question we’ve been asked a number of times is: “What will you actually be doing there? What will your days look like?”
Because we are not in Korea yet, and we have not started our work, we do not actually know what our days will look like exactly. This post will be a bit of guess work. I have also talked to some of the other YAV site coordinators to see how they might answer this question since much of what site coordinators generally do is similar at each site, except that most other site coordinators have another specific job they are assigned to in addition to their site coordinating work. Whereas Hyeyoung and I only have “build relationships with other denominations in Korea” as the other part of our job currently, and we will not be starting that right away; it’s a delicate process. We may be adding other work as our years progress.
So, some examples of what our days might look like:
– Once a week we will provide the YAVs with a group reflection time to talk through how their work is going, and to reflect on all they are learning about Korea culture, root causes of poverty, reconciliation in the Korean context, etc. Every other week, these kind of group sessions will also include specific issues that Hyeyoung and I will present to them, sometimes bringing in a guest speaker.
– We will conduct meetings with the managers of placements where our YAVs will work. Currently, in addition to YAVs helping with campus ministry at Hannam University, they will be volunteering in three different community centers that serve mostly children and youth. Hyeyoung and I will interface with the managers of these centers to ensure that the YAV experience working there fulfills the purpose of the program, that they YAVs are doing a good job, and that the YAVs are treated as they should be. We actually hope to expand the number of available placements to reflect the usual amount for YAV sites, which is around 10-12 placements where we might be able to place 6-8 YAVs. This leads to the next item…
– Particularly over the next year or two, Hyeyoung and I will be scouring the city of Daejeon for different centers and organizations where we might be able to place YAVs in order to expand our opportunities. This will mean networking and meeting with people working to address poverty and/or reconciliation around the city. This will be tricky for our site because finding an agency where a U.S. young adult could participate in meaningful work and learn from their co-workers when they cannot speak Korean very well adds extra difficulty.
– Another possibility will be working with the chaplains office on the Hannam University campus. This university was founded by missionaries from the Southern Presbyterian Church of the US back in 1956, so they are eager to continue that relationship with present mission co-workers. We will likely be helping to lead some worship and set up bible studies. We hope this presents more opportunities for mutual learning around poverty and reconciliation for our YAVs.
So those are some snapshots of what we are anticipating! Check in with us again after we’ve started working and we might be able to give you a clearer picture!