We Make Our Plans, But God Guides Our Paths

We Make Our Plans, But God Guides Our Paths

Four months ago, Mitchel Bibelheimer, one of Oklahoma's own, began his journey with the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) in the Philippines. Mitchel has been a part of St. Crispin's Summer Camp as an attendee and a staff member; a part of Happening as a participant and staff member; and is a member of Grace Church, Muskogee. His reflections are below:

My name is Mitchel Bibelheimer, and I have been serving as a Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) volunteer in the Philippines for almost four months. As 2019 begins, I look back to where I was this time last year. I was beginning my last semester of life as an undergrad, and I was just finishing my application for YASC. My last semester of college was a weird mix of emotions, where I was really excited to be done with college, but also worried that I was leaving the comfort of knowing what my immediate future held.

I was facing the daunting question of what to do after college. I knew that I would end up in grad school at some point, but I didn't know what career I wanted to start, which meant I didn't know what degree programs to look into. I knew that I really liked the undergrad degree that I was getting, and my end goal was to not get distracted by the money , but, rather, to find a job I would enjoy. With that in mind, I was looking for another option.

I got invited to join the discernment weekend for YASC, and I talked to Kate Jewett-Williams, who I knew as a former counselor at St. Crispin's and a current YASCer in Liverpool. Kate said the reason YASC stood out for her was because of the discernment weekend where the staff put all of their effort into matching each volunteer with a program that plays to their strengths. Kate suggested that I go to discernment (it's all paid for, so I had nothing to lose), and then decide.

I went to the discernment retreat, and had an amazing time. It was my first time ever being in a monastery, and getting to stay there with the monks was an incredible experience in itself. I left discernment knowing that this is what I wanted to do for the next year of my life, but I didn't know what it would look like. YASC has a large variety of different programs, but one that I was excited about, and praying to get matched with, was a community development program in the Philippines called E-CARE.

I have been volunteering with E-CARE for almost four months now, and it has been an incredibly life changing experience. The staff here have been able to teach me so much about the local culture, and also the power of empowering someone to help themselves. I found something that I am passionate about, and have begun looking into masters programs for International Development. I still am not sure what the future holds for me, but I have never been so sure that this is where I am supposed to be.

2018 has brought a lot of changes. In the past year, I have grown in ways that I can't even see yet. One lesson that has been amazingly relevant to my last year is that "we make our plans, but God guides our paths." If you are in a position where you are discerning whether YASC is right for you, I will give you the same advice. Go ahead and apply, and join the discernment retreat. Then, you can enjoy a long weekend in a monastery in New York with a group of people all asking the same question. Then you can decide.

If you are interested in seeing more of my stories, or reaching out, you can follow my blog at yascmitchel.wordpress.com, or find me on Facebook and Instagram @henrymitchelbibelheimer. If you have any questions I would love to try and answer them.

 For more information, or to apply go to www.episcopalchurch.org/young-adult-service-corps applications are due January 11th!


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