faith in action

To be made new

Nica Sy is interning at Church World Service a part of Church and Society's Ethnic Young Adult internship program. She reflects on her first week in Washington, D.C.

As expected, my first week in Washington, D.C., was full of learning and experiencing new things. New places, new people, new ways of living.

However, some of this newness was unexpected. I was met with ideas that I had not yet encountered. I was put in a type of workplace I had never experienced. I was immersed in an environment that was as far away from my own — both culturally and geographically — as I had ever been.

After arriving at Ronald Reagan International Airport, I stepped outside, struggling to drag along three suitcases and a backpack. I waited for my Uber. It was 11 p.m., and I stood and watched the many taxis and rideshare cars speed past. Although I was used to airport pick-ups, the honking caught me off guard.

My first day at Church World Service felt like another new world, within the one I had just stepped into. Despite my experience in social justice and community organizing on a local level, this was my first time being introduced to justice in the realm of policy. My first day was filled with conference calls, meetings, and terms I had never heard of (e.g., MOCs and queen of the hill). Moreover, I had never even witnessed what it takes to be a part of a nonprofit organization. The constant, on-the-go environment often leaves you out of breath.

One of the most inspiring parts of this week was the newness of interfaith organizing. The Church World Service staff and interns come from a diverse set of faith backgrounds, and they come together to uplift people of all backgrounds as well. The interfaith aspect sets this experience apart, as most of my previous justice work comes from a United Methodist environment. I truly look forward to growing my knowledge of other faiths and religious practices.

This week has been filled with nothing but new, both expected (i.e., living “on my own” for the first time) and unexpected (realizing how long it takes to travel 1 mile when you don’t have a car). My hope is that through the newness of my experiences in these eight weeks, I too will be made new.

Editor’s note: This reflection first appeared on the Ethnic Young Adult program’s blog. It has been edited slightly for publication here.