I'm still pretty new to this whole L'Arche thing. I mean ten months in community is small potatoes compared to what some of the other assistants I know have already lived. And it's really not much compared to some of the core members. Like Pat, who lives with me. He's lived here for 22 years. So, really, ten months is just a small ripple in the pond of community life here in L'Arche.
That being said, I've already got to be involved in some amazing things.
For instance, around a week after I moved here, maybe a couple days longer than that, we went on a community trip to Memphis for our Central Regional Gathering. So, the 14 core members, 7 assistants, our community leader, and community coordinator went on a road trip for around a week. There we spent time with the the members of other L'Arche communities in our region, such as Harbor House in Jacksonville, Florida, L'Arche Mobile in Mobile, Alabama and The Arch in Clinton, Iowa (to name a few).
This past week I got to attend our Regional Assembly in St Louis, Missouri. This was a smaller (and shorter) affair than the gathering in Memphis. Our community leader, a board member, a core member and myself were the ones to represent our community. We drove down on a Friday and came back that following Sunday. It was a smaller crowd, with only core members and assistants from the communities within driving distance. Every community sent their community leader and a board representative, and then our regional coordinator was there, as well as the national director of L'Arche USA. It was a neat opportunity to get to know a few people better, and spend some one on one time with our newest core member who was the one selected to attend from our community.
This coming summer is the L'Arche International General Assembly. At this assembly, there will be 500 members of L'Arche communities all over the world coming together in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, the general rule is that to attend (as an assistant) you need to have been in L'Arche for two or more years. Our community gets to send an assistant and a core member. It just so happened that when the deadline came for registration, the only assistant in our community who would have qualified was already set to attend a long-term assistants retreat that would be happening concurrently with the General Assembly. There were two other assistants who had seniority over me, but they had already made plans to move out of our community by that point. So it fell on me to go. At that point I had only been in our community for six months, if even that. But I'm not complaining. I get to go and experience something that sounds amazing and wonderful and spectacular. I will be in a sea of L'Arche people who are some of the funniest, kindest, humblest, most open people I've met. I'm hoping some of that wears off on me.
But that isn't even the invitation that I wanted to write about. There are certain articles I've written on here that have garnered a little attention, much to my surprise. Because of that, many people know I enjoy writing and I'm pretty decent at it. Well, L'Arche is hoping to use the internet to communicate what is going on at the General Assembly with all of the L'Arche communities and the people who are unable to attend. To do that, they are asking some people to be reporters, and to write and record their observations and thoughts and to share them via their website. Well, at our Regional Assembly our National Coordinator talked to me and mentioned that someone from L'Arche Internationale would be contacting me to see if I was interested in being a reporter for the Assembly.
I received that e-mail invitation today, and I most excitedly accepted. So I will be a reporter at our International General Assembly this June. Me. Who hasn't even been at L'Arche for a full year, yet. I really feel blessed to even be attending the Assembly, but to be asked (and trusted) to be a reporter for it is amazing and humbling and awesome.
I just hope that I live up to the invitation and I'm worthy of the job!