What Do I Want to Remember? (Part 1)

A mentor of the Miami YAV’s recently suggested that we take time to reflect on our time in Miami in short increments; this way we won’t forget the things that filled our days and clouded our heads. I think this is a wonderful exercise for me because, and I will admit, I am the type of person who always looks forward. Despite this being one of my favorite personality traits, it does have its drawbacks. This year of mission is going to be one of the most challenging years of my life so far. I want to remember the little moments. So with that short introduction, here are the memories I want to hold with me.


[The picture above was taken of my housemates and I during our fall retreat to the Florida Keys]

Community– Living in an intentional community is more intentional then I first thought it would be. I know that statement is silly, but I’ve learned that living in community is truly a 24/7 job. It is challenging for me and incredibly life giving at the same time. Knowing that I have partners in community to rely on is something I wish I’d realized earlier. I am not alone in this. Community requires two feet in at all times.

When we first moved into the Dwell house in Little Havana we didn’t have any wifi. We used this to our advantage because it gave us time to “unplug” and really get to  know one another. Growing up when the power would go out or it was a gloomy day my family    always played the card game hearts. Its a 4 person card game with strategy, emotion, and lots of laughs. I showed the community this game during our “black-out” days and it really caught on. We have wifi now, but still make the time to gather around the living room table, listening to throw back music, and play hearts. (Sometimes I even let them win).

Job Placement– I am really enjoying working at both GATE Program and Riviera Presbyterian Church. Although they are very different, both jobs have allowed me to grow in so many ways.

At GATE Program for Juvenile Weapons Offenders I work directly with the Program Director by assisting on interviews with potential new clients and with the ins and outs of running the program. My first day at GATE was also the first day of a new group of clients. Groups usually have 6-8 clients in them and the clients learn together for about 6 months. I decided on my very first day to jump in and join this new group. Usually I would have chosen to wait so I could learn more about the program and watch behind the scenes. By joining the group I have been able to build relationships with the clients and truly see who they are and learn about the people they want to become. One time during the program we were learning about setting goals and a client turned to me and asked me if college was hard. 45 minutes later he wrote down that his goal was to get a job and go to college. The group, me included, continues to have great conversations about our goals; pushing each other to set them and also to achieve them.

At Riviera Presbyterian Church I assist with preparing for worship services, make flyers to promote the events, and post on social media about the mission of the church. It is no secret at the church that I am a PK (preacher’s kid), but working at a church has given me an entirely new perspective on Christian life. Recently, the church office has been preparing for the season of Advent. I have always looked forward to the season and some of my fondest memories of going to church as a kid was singing Christmas hymns in the choir (especially “Once in Royal David’s City”). At Riviera I have been thinking about Advent media, flyers, promotions, events and so much more since oh about… OCTOBER! I have felt so much anticipation just to get all of the work done that I had forgotten about what the season truly means. But it is finally here! I stopped for a moment in the church on Sunday and witnessed all of the greenery being set up for Christmas and felt a calm come over me. Reflecting on it now, being able to help design and create moments of fellowship at RPC  has been truly magical. I am so thankful to be part of the season here.


[The picture above inludes myself and Rev. Martha Shiverick preparing to lead worship one Sunday]

I hope to reflect on community and my job every couple of months. Thank you for the continued support and prayers.



5 thoughts on “What Do I Want to Remember? (Part 1)

  1. Jeanne Souder

    Jillian we are so proud of you, and for taking on this mission. The life lesson you are learning will only make you a more well rounded person, and enrich your life in ways you will have never imagined.
    Continue to grow in community and love.


  2. Russ Kerr


    Thank you for your words! It sounds like you are having a great time in Miami! I hope you have had a restful Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with Riviera! It sounds like it is going really well. What a great church! We (Dwellers 14-15) enjoyed visiting Riviera whenever we got the chance. Blessings on the journey!



  3. Cyndi Thumma

    Jillian it is really enjoyable reading your post on what you are doing and your achievements. You are doing a wonderful thing. Continued thoughts and prayers for you as you continue this exciting journey. God Bless


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