Plans for prospering

By Hannah Shultz, BVS unit  #307 Chapel reflection May 6, 2015 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This was my favorite Bible verse as a child. There is something inherently comforting in … Continued

Living the simple life?

By Ben Bear Being a volunteer through BVS can be a radically different experience from person to person. Some of us live in single apartments, plopped down in a city or town hundreds or thousands of miles from “home” and hit the ground running with their project. Others end up living in intentional communities where … Continued

The Kitchen

By Katie Cummings In my house When I want to be with Someone I come To the kitchen And I sit At the kitchen table. Organically people may Emerge— Stretching on the floor after a run, Shuffling pots and pans for dinner, Reading a book in the glorious sun. It is the heartbeat of our … Continued

“I can’t believe this was a real day”

By Marie Schuster BVS volunteer Marie Schuster lives and works at the Brot und Rosen (Bread and Roses) Community in Hamburg, Germany, a house of hospitality for homeless refugees. She describes one of her days: My alarm goes off: once, twice, three times und Aufstehen! Since days at my last BVS project at the L’Arche … Continued

A Declaration of Love

By Katie Hampton I spent three years and three months (2007-2010) as a BVS volunteer in OKC Abrasevic in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am still discovering all that those three years meant to me, but it is no exaggeration to say that it changed my life. If I’m being completely honest, sometimes I freak … Continued

Ways to tell I’m an American

By Julia Schmidt As I have now been in Europe for a while, I have noticed quite a few differences. I do not feel like a typical American; in fact I am in the minority when I claim my pacifism beliefs and my worries about politics in the U.S. However, it is when I am … Continued

Shop till I drop

By Katarina Eller, Brot und Rosen Community, Hamburg, Germany My days mostly consist of cleaning, chopping vegetables, and food shopping. Our day begins with devotions in the chapel, with a simple prayer-song-Bible-reading-silence-song-prayer model…. Like a sandwich, or an Oreo cookie. Almost all of the songs come from the Taize movement. (You know you live at … Continued

The Beginnings

By Allison Snyder I will begin as most stories do, unless you’re Kurt Vonnegut, at the beginning. BVS began following World War II as an alternative to military action. It’s been ongoing ever since and has become a big thing in my church denomination, the Church of the Brethren. Basically, it is a smaller version … Continued

Hyper-real Unconditional Positive Regard: BVS Orientation

By Emily Davis Perception of reality is often so subjective and inconsistent that it can subvert being present with others. That in conversation or from moment to moment there is a sense of surreal space and time, where situations seem distant, foreign or magnified; where waking consciousness seems more sleep-like. A friend recently spoke so … Continued

The Why

By Jenna Horgan We leave for Central America tomorrow morning. We have been preparing for this moment for over two years now! I think we have told our story to at least 1,000 people in 1,000 different ways. Everyone has different responses. “Oh wow, you’re doing mission work?” or “that’s nice that you’re going there, … Continued