Micah Mandate

The Magazine of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Trevecca Urban Farm gets a grant

Posted by admin October - 9 - 2014 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

by Rebekah Warran, Staff Writer


This summer, the Urban Farm received a $25,000 grant from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) to serve the local Nashville community.

NCM is an organization that partners with the Nazarene churches around the world to help those in need.

The region that surrounds Trevecca, particularly the Napier and Chestnut Hill areas, are considered to be a food desert,” said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

 

“The people in our community do not have access to healthy foods within three to five miles,” he said.

The money donated with go to multiple projects that are taking place in the farm.

Some will go to green house development and expansion and the majority will go to camps that bring high school students from around the area and around the world to learn about farming in an urban setting.

“We are seeing to educate and inspire people to understand issues surrounding nutrition and health,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and overseer of the Urban Farm.

Local students will have the opportunity to learn how to grow their own crops and take care of them. The funds will help with staff support, especially in the summer.

 

 

“It will also pay high school students to work part time… learning how to farm and leading others,” said Adkins.

For the local community, the work of the urban farm will have a long-term impact with the potential to shape the way future generations handle food consumption and how well they care for themselves.

“We surround them with the resources, love and care that they need to grow their own food,” said Casler.

This story first appeared in the October issue of the TrevEchoes, the student newspaper of Trevecca Nazarene University.
 

Compassion mobile experience comes to Trevecca

Posted by admin October - 3 - 2014 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

Compassion International’s mobile experience “Change The Story” recently made a visit to the campus of Trevecca Nazarene University .

Compassion currently provides food, education, and security for nearly 1.6 million children living in poverty around the world in 26 different countries.

This experience is designed to show its participants a world that is unlike any other they have been exposed to before.

“The Compassion Experience allows people of opportunity to see what life was like for these Compassion graduates and will hopefully spark some ideas for how they might be able to work towards a solution,” said Heather Daugherty, associate chaplain at Trevecca.

As a part of this experience, visitors are given an iPod and pair of headphones through which the true stories of Compassion graduates are shared.

The mobile experience at Trevecca offered two tour options: a walk through the life of Julian Alum, a young girl from Kampala, Uganda whose family fell into poverty after the death of her father, and Ruben, a boy who grew up in Bolivia in a broken home ravished by poverty and abuse.

Once inside the mobile replicas, visitors get to explore the homes, the Compassion schools, and the streets where the children worked.

At the end of the tour, a video is shown on each person’s iPod showing just how much Compassion benefited Julian and Reuben. Julian was able to attend university where she earned her master’s in social work, and Ruben was able to escape poverty and graduate from high school.

“It was a really cool experience, especially since we each got to hear and see the things that Reuben did,” said sophomore Abigail Larimore.

For more information about Compassion, child sponsorships, and their mobile ministries, visit their website by clicking here.

Rev. Gabriel Salguero speaks at the annual social justice conference.

By Emily Mowry

On the last day of Trevecca’s annual Social Justice Conference, the speaker gave attendees a reason to go home.

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, pastor of the Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in Manhattan, challenged conference participants to begin the work of justice by listening in their communities.

“The first job of justice workers is to listen,” Salguero told attendees. “Because to respond to a challenge that is nonexistent… or to defend where the devil is not attacking, is to become an ally of the devil.”

Salguero, as president of National Latino Evangelical Coalition, has spent hours listening to immigrants as he’s led efforts to welcome and care for the 52,000 immigrant children who have poured across U.S. borders this year.

His work with the coalition focuses on poverty, immigration, and education and landed him an invitiation over the summer to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss how the should respond to immigration issues.

His advice?

“To learn is to invite people in. To invite people in churches, have listening sessions, have dialogues, have forums,” he said.

He suggested bringing in immigrants and undocumented students at Trevecca and giving them a chance share their stories.

Just before Salguero spoke, he was presented with the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Award. Each year the center gives this award to someone who has been a catalyst for social justice. Jamie Casler, director of the center, explained his reasons for choosing Salguero this year.

“He is an outstanding model of biblical social justice, someone I’d like our students to look up to and to follow in his footsteps,” Casler said.

A Summer of Social Justice

Posted by admin April - 29 - 2013 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

Summer is a season of freedom for many students. Some students go on mission trips, some work, some play video games and others go to the beach. No matter where students may find themselves, they still have an opportunity to engage in social justice. Even at the beach, even while working and even while playing video games.

 

We contacted many of Trevecca’s beloved professors in the social justice program (with the addition of Dan Boone, university president) and asked them a question: “What is a practical way that students can engage in social justice this summer?” Here are their responses.

 

Dan Boone, University President – Find a high school student who seems to have a calling to social justice. Mentor the student and recruit him/her to the Trevecca social justice program. You may shape a lifelong servant for the work of God.

 

Dean Diehl, Instructor, Music business – Buy Local—support small businesses!  Go into economically depressed areas in your hometown and support locally-owned businesses in those areas. 

Small, locally-owned and operated businesses keep jobs and dollars in the local community.  Large chain stores siphon money and jobs away from local communities and require poor workers to spend more time commuting and less time with their families.  Even if you have to pay a little more to shop at these stores, it is worth it!  Stop paying the huge cost of everyday low prices!

 

Chris Farrell, Professor, Biology – “Have anyone call and catch me.”

 

Don Kintner, Professor, Psychology – Ride your bicycle to an urban neighborhood you have never been to before, wherein a majority of the people who reside there do not look like you, and/or you have heard unflattering reports about and therefore shunned (even in your automobile).

Hang out in the neighborhood’s haunts and nodes and restaurants. Talk to the people who live and hang out there. Listen to their stories and share your own.  You will find that there is very little difference in your struggles and hopes and dreams!

 

Kathy Mowry, Associate Professor, Mission & Christian Education – Summer is a time for sweet tea, icy Coke or iced coffee!   In America, we spend so much discretionary money on cold drinks in the hot months.

I would love to challenge students to become familiar with a huge need in the world: the problem of Gender-Based Violence in Kenya and beyond. Join the Facebook group for the Kenya Gender Based Violence Project. Learn about what they are doing to change the lives of women in that corner of the world.

Consider giving up all purchased drinks for the summer.  Drink from your reusable water bottle, and save all the money you would have spent on beverages to send to this project (or another project that motivates you). Drinking water heals your body, and it will bring healing to others.

 

Leroy Pepper, Associate Professor, History & Political Science – Do something to help provide clean drinking water for people in under-developed nations (donating to Blood:Water Mission is easy: www.bloodwatermission.com). Spend at least a day or two working with Habitat for Humanity in your locality.  Volunteer for at least a day or two at a local food pantry or kitchen for the homeless. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:40).

 

Joy Wells, Associate Professor, Sociology & Social Work – My suggestion is to look for a way to “be present” with someone that is “under the radar” like a senior adult, person with a disability, etc. and periodically spend time with them. Much can be learned from simple steps.

 

Laurie Woods, Assistant Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice – My suggestion is for students to visit places of worship of other faiths, particularly Muslim mosques, in order to better understand the people we serve. We need to understand where others come from instead of judging them.

By Brennen Finchum

Trevecca commemorated Dr. Charles Johnson, a Nazarene pastor and civil rights activist with the third annual J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice award for his advancement of social justice.

 

Pulled from brodartvibe.wordpress.com

Along with Johnson, Chet Bush, a Nazarene pastor and Trevecca alumnus was interviewed in chapel concerning Bush’s recently published book, “Called to the Fire: A Witness for God in Mississippi; the Story of Dr. Charles Johnson.”

 

Bush and Johnson answered questions as about 900 people listened. They shared about Johnson’s real experience of hesitantly answering the call to share the gospel in Mississippi during the early 1960s.

 

Johnson spoke of the fear that he felt as he was on his way to Mississippi. Yet the moment he set foot on Mississippi ground, he heard God’s audible voice say, “I am with you.”

 

Once he arrived, he was there to stay.

 

“The same thing it took to get me there way is the same thing it’ll take to get me out,” said Johnson.

 

They also answered questions concerning how the two ministers met and how Bush decided to write a book of his friends’ story.

 

Along with Johnson and Bush was the gospel choir from Johnson’s church in Meridian, Mississippi.

 

 

Johnson received multiple standing ovations, once when he was receiving the award, once as a thank you from Trevecca and the audience and once after he sang with his choir.

 

 

A recording of the service is available on Trevecca’s website under the Spiritual Life tab.

 

To read the full story of Dr. Charles Johnson, get “Called to the Fire.” It’s available on Amazon.com (from $12.69 for hardcover and $10.99 for Kindle), Barnes & Noble ($17.35) and a host of Christian bookstores.

Plans change for Castanea

Posted by admin February - 1 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

Jason Adkins and the Castanea community have changed their plans a little since the project began in 2010.

 

Originally, the group planned on restoring an apartment complex located at 12 Garden Street in which they could live side by side with men and women transitioning out of homelessness and cycles of poverty.

The Castanea Community Center at 12 Garden Street. (Photo by Jordan Taylor)

 

Castanea wanted to invite people in to be a part of their community by living life alongside them, sharing in prayer and meals.

 

“We started out as an intentional community, and we’ve become more and more unintentional as we’ve gone along,” Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, said. “It feels like the right thing to do.”

 

Now, they are going to only be purchasing one half of the complex. There will be four condominiums in their half and each will go to a different family within the Castanea community.

 

They aren’t abandoning their dream of working with people who can’t afford to live in healthy housing, however.

 

In fact, Adkins believes that their ideas of turning the property into an urban garden and farm, along with loving their neighbors, are still possible even though they won’t own the whole complex.

 

This is because the other half is being bought by Urban Housing Solutions (UHS), an affordable housing provider in Nashville.

 

UHS received a grant from the state, specifically targeting environmentally friendly building to create affordable housing around Nashville, including Chestnut Hill.

 

The Castanea group hopes to sell one half of the apartment complex to UHS for $50,000 – $60,000, which will cover the final costs of their side.

 

“If it’s [sold for] anything less, it’s gonna jeopardize the project,” said Adkins.

 

The only thing that remains a question for Adkins is whether or not the actions of Castanea are going to actually be beneficial to the Chestnut Hill community.

 

“We could see the neighborhood actually become very racially and economically homogenous,” said Adkins. “As you fix up a place, you make it a target for investment.”

 

With UHS’s system, only candidates who qualify for affordable housing will be allowed to move into their units. This guarantees that people who really need the housing will be able to get it.

 

With the presence of UHS, the residents of the left half of 12 Garden Street will be unknown to Castanea until they meet.

 

Published with permission of TrevEchoes

Sex Trafficking Film Attracted Hundreds

Posted by admin February - 1 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Christy Ulmet

About 625 people filled the Courts at Trevecca Community Church to watch a story on the reality of human sex trafficking in our world today.

“Trade of Innocents,” directed by Christopher Bessette, was shown on campus Monday night.

The event, hosted by the center for social justice, was designed to open the eyes of its audience to the morbid reality of human sex trafficking.

“The purpose of bringing this film to Trevecca is to highlight a major social justice issue of our day,” said Jamie Casler, director of J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

Human trafficking is considered number two on the World Crimes list and Casler said the medium of film was a great venue to reach multiple age groups, so that the problem could be easily understood as it was portrayed in the movie.

Opening the screening to the community helped accomplish many of the goals that the social justice department has, and to challenge its viewers to take action.

Showing the film challenged students, even non-social justice majors, to do what they could to help.

“I was trying to think of ways that being a musician could make a difference in that area. Whatever your opinion on the film was, there’s no way you can know about this and not care, and want to do something that’s more than thinking about it. We’re really good at thinking about things but not doing anything,” said Cory Williams, a sophomore music major.

Trevecca was able to host the event because of a marketing competition that three recent graduates won in the spring of 2012.

One of the students, Gregory Steward, admitted that he initially went into the competition for the scholarship money, but it quickly became about much more than that for him.

“It’s one of those things that you can’t turn your eyes away from,” he said. “It’s hard to look at because of how much of a tragedy is involved in it, but at the same time it is such an eye opening experience.”

The movie stars four main American actors: Dermot Mulroney as Alex Becker, Mira Sorvino as Claire Becker, John Billingsley as Malcolm Eddrey, and Trieu Tran as Duke.

The rest of the characters were chosen by casting agents in Bangkok, Thailand, where the film was shot.

The story is set in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where trafficking happens daily. In this buzzing city, people are often silent about the things that they see and turn their heads, rather than report what they witness.

“This is not a superhero movie,” said Bessette. “These are things that I lived through and witnessed put to life.”

Many of the lines that the Cambodian locals said in the movie were direct quotes from real life situations that Bessette witnessed firsthand. In telling the story of his journey with the movie, Bessette said that God set up a years-long journey that culminated in the production of the film.

The film was a personal project for Bessette, as he had to encounter situations when he was with an investigator trying to scoop out some details and ideas for the film.

For instance, in one scene a mother refers to her daughter saying, “When pig is small, it is worth so much. But when pig is bigger, we can still sell it.”

Bessette said he implemented many different symbols into the film, including the color red to represent redemption.

Bessette left viewers with a challenge at the end of the film, urging them to join the fight in combating human trafficking.

For more information, or to see where you can view the movie, visit www.tradeofinnocentsthemovie.com.

Trevecca to host “Trade of Innocents” on monday

Posted by admin January - 25 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

The Center for Social Justice at Trevecca will be hosting the first Nashville-based screening of “Trade of Innocents,” a full-length drama-thriller about human trafficking.

 

The film is free and open to the entire Nashville community, with special invitations being

Photo pulled from www.kget.com

extended to local Nazarene churches.

 

“I’d like to see 500-600 people there,” said Jamie Casler, director J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

 

It will be held in the basketball courts of Trevecca Community Church at 6:30 PM and will be followed by a film forum with Christopher Bessette, screenwriter and director.

 

The film, starring Academy-Award winner Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney, has a two-fold purpose:  to bring awareness to those who know nothing about human trafficking and to be used as a tool in promoting advocacy.

 

“Trade of Innocents is the fruit of ordinary people who found out about human trafficking and decided not to be overwhelmed, but instead to use what’s in their hands to come together and proverbially cross the street, reach out and make a difference and be like the ‘Good Samaritan,’” said Christine Caine, founder A21 Campaign.

 

Rated at PG-13, the film shows some of the traumatic realities of the sex slave industry.

 

“It is a compelling story and it does have a thread of hope through it,” said Rose Corazza, the film’s marketing director.

 

Even with the horrific crimes the film is portraying, it does not intend to leave its viewers emotionally overwhelmed, said Corazza.

 

She said some people have been inspired by it, some have appreciated the cultural perspective as it is set in Bangkok, Thailand, and others have left the film in anger and horror.

 

The film has been critically acclaimed by numerous sources.

 

“Trade of innocents does an incredible job of being a powerful, tense drama. This is an important movie and not only worth seeing but also entertaining,” said Movie Guide.

 

Not all critics were in favor of the film though.

 

“Aside from an additional 30 minutes or so of plot, “Trade of Innocents” offers no more than a middling episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” said Farran Smith Nehme of the New York Post.

 

In the end, the “Trade of Innocents” team hopes to produce a successful film that did not just entertain people, but also inspired them, maybe even to take action, said Corazza.

 

To see the movie trailer, click here.

Q&A with Shane Claiborne on Politics, Faith and Apathy

Posted by admin November - 7 - 2012 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

Tuesday was the first time most Trevecca students could vote for a president. The political power that students have was not limited to that one opportunity.

 

Students vote every day with the choices and decisions they make, according to Shane Claiborne.

 

Claiborne is a popular social justice activist and author of “Jesus for President” and “Irresistible Revolution.” He took some of his time to answer a few of Micah Mandate’s questions about politics, faith, apathy, and policy.

Photo pulled from The Simple Way

 

He started by talking about how he and The Simple Way, an organization that he co-founded, perceived their place in the political scheme.

 

The backdrop of everything is God’s Kingdom coming on earth.

 

Rather than endorsing any candidate, we’re asking them to engage.

 

Engagement is certainly not restricted to one day every four years. We vote every day with what we align ourselves. It’s how we live on November 7th and November 10th.

 

Rather than seeing voting as casting our vote for a new messiah, we’re actually to do damage control. We’re looking to try and minimize the impact of principalities and powers.

 

One of the things that we do is that we don’t wait on politicians to solve all of the world’s problems. We get that vision from scripture. “When I was a stranger, you welcomed me.”

 

The real question for us as Christians is what would it look like if Jesus is in charge?

 

With the early Christians, every time they were saying Jesus is Lord, they were saying Caesar is not.

 

How we live each day, in Philadelphia, there’s a whole new thing about welcoming immigrants and helping folks get documentation.

 

Photo pulled from The Simple Way

There’s 20,000 of us that are trying to help each other get our medical bills paid for each other.

 

Mother Theresa wasn’t just pro-life. She came alongside kids with teenage mothers. She became known as mother because of that.

 

To be pro-life in our neighborhood means what do we do when a 14-year old gets pregnant.

 

To love our neighbor as our self, it affects how we hold our possessions, etc.

 

I want to know how someone is proactive and how they are going to walk with people.

 

 

Students on campus don’t seem to be incredibly interested in this whole election process or politics in general. To some, it could seem apathetic, and to others, it seems like they just blissfully ignore politics. What do you think is really happening in this?

 

I think there’s a reason especially young people are dissatisfied. There’s a dropout rate from the elections of young people that’s astronomical.

 

One,  I think we remember the culture wars of our parents when it was as if there was only two issues that mattered: abortion and homosexuality.

 

When you’ve got two parties that are funded by corporations, for a Christian, you get really conflicted because there’s not a consistent ethic of life.

 

If you think of the Democratic Party, then you have the issue of abortion. If republican, then there’s militarism and capital punishment.

 

If you’re not voting for someone, you’re voting against someone.

 

I do think that some of those changes can start to come.

 

We’re spending $20,000 a second on militarism.

 

Neither candidate is really talking about decreasing the military budget. Young people are increasingly suspicious of that.

 

Maybe instead of blowing up the world 10 times, we could just blow it up 7 times.

There’s millions and billions of dollars going to a party race. You might as well just auction it off.

 

So after this whole movement of Jesus for President and learning about the politics of Jesus in theology class and having really thought through all of this, I think there are some people who really want to vote Jesus for President. But during this election time, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos or we just feel conflicted by voting when we really just want to see the Kingdom of Heaven come down. What’s happening in our hearts when we just don’t know what to do with all of this?

 

I do think that one of the things that we need to ask is, “Is there a decision I can make on Election Day that I can move things closer to what Jesus wants?”

 

I’m not interested in dictating whether people should vote or how they should vote, but I do think we should take that decision seriously.

 

Rather than endorsing a candidate, we’re sort of asking them to endorse the values at the heart of the gospel.

 

I think we need to advise everybody and endorse nobody.

 

So many people, secular and Christian, are telling us to be educated and vote our convictions. What do you think is the best way for a Christian to approach this issue of ‘being educated’?

 

I think that we need to be in touch with the world that we live in. Barth said that we need to read the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.

 

We gotta be careful not to fall to that temptation [of trusting the government over God], but on the other hand, I think that we’ve got to be very balanced where is this the most important

 

Worrying our life around Jesus is the most important decision in our life.

 

The world gets changed through the ongoing effort that the church does every day.

 

What do you say is the place of a Christian university in terms of politics?

 

One, we should take advantage of the chance of creating robust conversation around things that matter. Especially Christian communities, we should be talking about things like immigration and the death penalty. These things matter. Jesus is talking about the real stuff about the world that we live in.

 

As we look at those things, that’s our framework for it.

 

We should disagree well. There’s stuff we can learn from conservatives and liberals. We need to model that in our academic institutions.

 

Also, what institutions can do is what Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” How do we get the log out of our own eye? How are we paying our workers? What’s our salary scale between our head administration and housing staff? How are we caring for the plot of God’s earth?

 

Here at Eastern [where he graduated from], we’ve tried to focus on using wind energy. That’s just one way we’re allowing the theology of creation care to take root.

 

We give out one scholarship a year calling it “The Simple Way” scholarship.

 

It’s [why people in poverty have a difficult time getting into college] often not anything to do with their smarts, but their resources, which is why a lot of our colleges end up being overwhelming white or middle class.

Photo pulled from thechristianmanifesto.com

 

Claiborne speaks in depth on some of these topics in his book “Jesus for President,” which

can be purchased from Amazon for about $3.

Social Justice Graduate is Using Her Degree

Posted by admin October - 21 - 2012 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

There’s a young lady that lives in an orphanage in the village of Vidrare, Bulgaria.

 

She looks like she’s about 7 or 8 years old, but appearances aren’t always as they seem. She’s actually 23.

 

She has to have to wheelchair to get around and she cannot speak.

 

The life this young lady has lived is beyond anything someone can completely understand, even if Myers-Briggs said you were an ENFP.

 

Maybe it’s the fear of past experiences. Maybe she just wants to be independent. Or maybe she’s tired of being pitied. For whatever reason, she doesn’t like to be touched. In fact, she’ll often wince as if she’s in pain when someone touches her.

 

As soon as Vera Pendergraft, a recent Trevecca graduate, met this young woman, her heart cried out.

 

In an attempt to love her, Vera tried touching her shoulder and rubbing her arm.

 

Just like everyone else, Vera experienced the woman’s disgust for being touched.

 

Yet she continued to love. Vera took her on walks where she pushed her wheelchair.

 

An outsiders’ perspective may clearly see that Vera simply loved her, but she still didn’t like being touched.

 

Again and again and again, Vera would just touch her shoulder or rub her arm. After a while, the young lady got a little used to it.

 

One day, Vera went upstairs where the young woman lives with the other bed-ridden children. She was exhausted and had her head leaning against a bar. Vera came up to her and rubbed her arm until she got used to it.

 

Her head began to flop over like a sleep-deprived college student in the middle of class.

 

Over the course of an hour or two, Vera moved her a little so that her head was resting on Vera’s arm. This sweet woman who hated the feeling of another person’s touch was conked out in Vera’s arms.

 

At the end of the day, Vera went to her roommate, ecstatic at her success.

 

“Alex, did you see that?!”

 

It was a big switch since just 6 weeks earlier, Vera was headed to Bulgaria, asking herself, “How the heck am I gonna make a difference here?”

 

Moving from Nashville was nothing too crazy for Vera, who’d grown up moving all the time in a military family.

 

Not only that, but this was a place already dear to Vera. She had gone to Bulgaria the year before with the Immerse program at Trevecca. From the time she got back until she left this September on Trevecca’s Submerge trip, her desire to be in Bulgaria continuously built up.

 

This dream was something that began long before Trevecca though.

 

In the 3rd grade, Vera wanted to start an orphanage. 

 

“Who does that?” she said.

 

As she was finishing her senior year of high school, Vera was super passionate about Uganda. She’d seen the work invisible children had done and was inspired to major in film in hopes that she could do something similar.

 

“The Uganda thing was just a bandwagon,” she said.

 

The film classes weren’t all that she expected them to be. So her mind went to the next best thing and the one major she declared she’d never choose – Religion.

 

After talking with Tim Green about all of her passions and desires, he told her about the social justice program that Trevecca was getting ready to launch. She loved the ideals behind the program and after a talk with Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, she signed up.

 

While studying social justice and helping at local ministries, her passions intensified, but she also discovered new passions.

Before Trevecca, she didn’t know what human trafficking was. Now, her heart yearns for women and children who are caught in the human trafficking industry.

 

Right now, she’s working on a project to get food boxes for several of the families in the 3 villages she’s working with.

 

“I’m just thinking back on classes like social entrepreneurship where we’re having to fundraise.”

 

As she talked about the different things Trevecca taught her, a more solemn tone came over her voice. She began to talk about the issue of poverty.

 

She described that learning about the poverty mindset while she was at Trevecca has shaped her paradigm toward people.

 

“Like kids who smoke. Someone said that they wish they wouldn’t smoke but then it probably takes their mind off the fact that they’re hungry.”

 

The culture of poverty is completely different from the culture of a middle-class white American.

 

Even though Bulgarians are a different ethnic group, poverty is almost a universal language.

“It’s still the same poverty mindset. Which is cool. People are people.”

 

Vera said that the social justice program has helped her fit her passions into what the world needs.

 

“It sounds cheesy, but it helped find in myself what I was made to do and what God made me to do and figure out where in the world that fits.”

 

Even though her experience has been incredible in Bulgaria, this isn’t the last step in her life. In other words: To be continued.

 

Vera is sharing daily thoughts and experiences on her blog at seekingtobebold.blogspot.com.

All pictures were taken in Bulgaria and supplied by Vera Pendergraft.