Advent reflections

Posted on December 11, 2012 by Global Mission Support

Austin and Tanya Propst are the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission coordinators for Madagascar. From the blog “Sambatra,” Austin and the Madagascar  participants offer some thoughts during Advent. The program is reliant on the coordinators who facilitate the young adults’ ministry and provide mentoring and spiritual guidance. To support a coordinator, go to

The Young Adults in Global Mission in Madagascar gather for a Thanksgiving meal.

The Young Adults in Global Mission in Madagascar gather for a Thanksgiving meal.

Advent. A time of waiting, pausing, trusting and hope. I have lots to reflect upon and give thanks for after spending a week on retreat with the Mad young adult volunteers. What a humbling experience it is to be a part of such an amazing group. Seems like just yesterday God brought us together here in Madagascar, but it’s been three months that the young adults have been here. What a journey it’s been; a journey of new language and communities, a journey of light and dark, of learning and teaching, of humility and strength, and a journey of God seeking new ways to reveal the Holy Spirit to us, and most recently in the form of retreat. Spending a week in community walking with one another proved to be a time of mutual reflection, sharing, listening and of course play in God’s amazing creation. I am humbled to walk with the Madagascar Young Adults in Global Mission. Humbled to learn about what God is up to in the world. Humbled to be a pastor. Humbled to reflect. Some ponderings to share from yours truly, the  young adult volunteers, as we all wait, pause, trust and hope:

“I am choosing not to be overwhelmed by the needs of this world but rather to act out of humble compassion in the lives of those around me. How different the world would be if we could each wake up every morning and remind ourselves to ‘do justly … love mercy … and walk humbly’.” – Hannah Griewisch

“Androany tsy vazah aho fa vavi Malagasy (Today I am not a white foreigner but I am a Malagasy woman).” – Sarah Adam

“It’s been a time filled with experiences that seem to get more and more random, a time filled with mountain-top highs and soul-crushing depths, and a time filled with jaw-dropping awe.” – Luke Stappler

“Truth; truth is buying plenty of food in a western-style grocery store to walk out to a child begging.” – Jane Gingrich

“I continue to learn the incredible power of getting up, going out and interacting. The positive communication reminds me of ever grateful progress toward many, many things. The struggles remind me that I DO need to get up, get out, and continue to interact. I pray to never get complacent with the relationships I have, from my mother, to the lady selling fried bananas I pass every day.”  — Lee Kirberg

“May I help you?”  — Kate Griewisch

Austin Propst