They said I’d want to stay!

They warned me that I’d want to stay here in Albuquerque, but I didn’t take it seriously until about three months ago! Check out the video above, from a local Albuquerque artist John Acosta, who captures the heart of Albuquerque in it’s many forms!

February, March, and April were filled with several opportunities for spiritual discernment, exploration, and lots of traveling! I’m happy to have had the OPPORTUNITIES to make the most out of this year and to really challenge myself to seek out what I want this next year to look like. *Truth is… I don’t really know (: but God’s hands are all over it already!

In February, I visited the West coast for the first time, by participating in a visitors weekend at the San Francisco Theological Seminary to visit their campus, as well as the Graduate Theological Union, which SFTF and eight divinity schools are a part of.

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In March, I was blessed to have a second trip to the Golden State of California to visit two other seminaries AND visit beloved friends from Texas. In Pasadena, I visited Fuller Theological Seminary and explored Los Angeles area with Sonja, Javier, Maureen and Manuel. Then I headed back up to the Bay Area to spend the weekend at a Signs Along the Way Discernment Weekend at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley.

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In addition, my fellow YAVs and I were invited to attend the Synod of the Southwest meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, so we had yet another fun road-trip and the opportunity to share our YAV experience, reflections, and some testimonies.

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In April, I brought (figuratively and mentally) my previous seminary visits, reflection, thoughts and questions to the Forum of Theological Exploration, regional retreat in Minneapolis, MN. Through nomination through the YAV program, I was invited to attend and participate in a weekend of seminars, activities, and exploration labs – alongside 90+ other young adults among a variety of faith backgrounds, who find themselves navigating their calling through positions and areas of Christian leadership within the community and the church.

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At the FTE Retreat, we learned about building beloved community // a multi-ethnic and multi-racial community, where love is the governing aspect (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) in order to hold space that creates space. In addition, we had the chance to discuss and reenact the Biblical leadership roles of the: Prophet, Priest, Elder/Sage, and King; in respect to past and current movements, as well as leaders, and challenging ourselves to see the different versions of leadership we have and how to best use each role in respective atmospheres.

Once, I returned to Albuquerque – it was time to start making real decisions about what I’d be doing after my YAV year ended. I only applied to Fuller Theological Seminary and had been accepted – which I am glad about! But I wasn’t too sure about relocating to Pasadena, CA. Then, I began entertaining the idea of possibly sticking around in Albuquerque for another year – but not as a YAV – simply to rent, work and continue being involved in this community I’ve grown to love. From the beginning (even before moving to Albuquerque), they said it’s the wonderful Land of Enchantment, but it’ll turn into the Land of Entrapment, convincing you to stay!

So officially, I will be staying in Albuquerque for (at least) another year!!! To my delight, I haven’t been stressing about finding work – God has aligned the right community, connections and a number of part-time positions. I’ll be continuing work within the church, in accepting two new positions as the Youth Group Coordinator at a local congregation, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, and as the Communications Specialist at the Presbytery of Santa Fe (located in Albuquerque). In addition, I’m excited to maintain involvement at Camino de Vida as a place of spiritual growth and connection among their community, but also as I continue assistance through the English as a Second Language program and administratively. I’m beyond grateful for the variety of positions allowing me to become more involved in the Albuquerque faith community individually and at-large. *Beginning classes online at Fuller Theological Seminary is still an option for this upcoming academic year, but not 100% in the plan yet – however, I’m more than interested in pursuing the MA in Intercultural Studies when the time is right. 

I also hope to put my minor in photography to good use by seeking out photography opportunities for portrait and special occasion shoots. Please check out my Photography Portfolio – I’d greatly appreciate Albuquerque locals to share the word and my portfolio page for those interested!

Photography page

I’ve been completely blessed by a spectacular year, a welcoming Albuquerque community for this kick-off ABQ YAV site year, and the greatest group of ladies to share the experience with – as well as the greatest site coordinator Luke!!! 

I’m even more thankful to be staying in Albuquerque with my lovely roommate Ana, as we’ve decided to share an apartment together while she starts her undergrad locally.

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One thought on “They said I’d want to stay!

  1. Claire, I so much enjoyed reading this post…and am so very glad you are staying awhile. Peace, hope and love, Susan Keil Smith

    Liked by 1 person

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