Young Adult and Campus Ministry

UNCSW 2010: Speaking Up

November 10, 2014
Young Adult and Campus Ministries

When I woke up this morning, eager to start my new day here with a whole new family of women and men, I made it my goal to recognize connections between me and another person today. These strong connections with people who are seemingly so different from me were something that has been very apparent in my time here this far. Being a self identified planner, I decided to seek out those connections in my interactions of the day. However, little did I know that God would completely take over and lead me to a deeper connection than I would not have found on my own.

Gathering with all of the young adults of the Ecumenical Women delegation, we all worked together to plan the opening worship at the United Nations Church Center for the next day. After some powerful study and reflection of the scripture passage for the day, we broke into groups to more effectively plan our worship. I gravitated towards the prayer group and was eagerly anticipating digging into the logistics of our service. The small assembly of women gathered together of our own volition was almost awe-inspiring. I was pleasantly surprised at the profundity of the women in my group.

Perhaps the most humbling experience of my planning time today was experienced with a delegate from Argentina. Language was a barrier for this woman, but luckily one of our friends was proficient enough to be a translator for her. As someone who prides myself on my (what I have always touted as being a) strong Spanish background I was instantly overcome with a wave of fear and emotions. I knew exactly what I wanted to say to this woman. I knew what questions I wanted to ask her and I could even form them in my head in Spanish. I understood everything coming out of her mouth and the things that were being translated for her. It was easy to tell that she was a highly intelligent woman with a beautiful spirit. However, when it came to actually conversing with her I became paralyzed. I couldn’t convey the words from my brain to my mouth. All that came out was a mixture of probably incorrectly conjugated verbs and some benign nouns. My inability to speak with the woman probably came from a fear of sounding stupid, a fear of embarrassment. When I finally managed to force out a few broken sentences, she (unsurprisingly) was so kind about speaking slowly with me and assuring me that my nerves were nothing to worry about. This situation made me think about all of the women who are afraid to speak for reasons much more profound than mine. What about the women that cannot speak our for fear of persecution, or violence, or even perhaps because their societies prevent it? What have I to fear? I live in a society where my voice is encouraged, and yet I still am afraid to use it!

While this experience was overwhelming at the time, looking back on it, it reminds me to speak up! To use this opportunity that God has given me to be the voice for all the women that have not been afforded this opportunity to speak! I encourage you to find your voice, to overcome the obstacles that you set for yourself, and to express what is inside you.

with love,

“Love like you have never been hurt”

“God is my light, my light and salvation. In God I trust. In God I trust.”

Filed under: UNCSW

The Rev. Shannon Kelly

Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries and Camino Project Grant

Click here