Monday, October 18, 2010

"Jesus Saves"

I know that this blog entry is way overdue. I apologize for my lack of updates. I start blogs but can never seem to finish them or be happy with them. So… I’m not entirely sure where to go with this but I need to give you all some sort of life update.

I have been here two months now? This city is just so strange. My neighborhood lies directly next to Paramount Studios between Melrose and Santa Monica. We are right in the heart of Hollywood (The Hollywood sign is visible from our street). If you have never been to Hollywood you may feel that this seems like a funny area for us to be situated as missionaries/volunteers. The truth is that people in LA typically do not want to live here. Most of our neighbors struggle to make ends meet monthly and our neighborhood has some drug and gang violence. But being the strange city of LA, if you walk just a few blocks south from us you find yourself in Hancock Park; a very quiet upper-class neighborhood where many TV show celebrities live. A neighborhood where you would not need to worry nearly as much about locking the doors. The city is just an incredible patchwork of people from all different countries, cultures, social classes, ages and races.

My life here has been crazy. I’m still not sure why I am here or what exactly God has in store for me, but I do feel confident that this is where I am supposed to be. I have been working at Alegria for 6? weeks now. I am working with the nurse and social worker who head the department to write monthly education classes, translate, prepare to teach ESL, help students apply to college and prepare for our annual Christmas party. I am not really doing what I expected to be doing at work, but it is good. We’ll see what happens! We have also opened the community center on Gregory Ave. The kids are incredible. Sometimes we wish we had more energy left after work for these kids. They have so much energy! We help with homework, teach ESL classes and really just hang out with the kids. We are primarily a ministry of presence, but we are praying for direction and volunteers to help with the center. I have been checking out different local churches and am hoping to be settled into one soon. Fortunately, I have found an incredible young adult small group to get involved with just a mile from our house.

I think that part of my lack for blogging may be due to an internal faith struggle that I’ve been going through since Egypt. I can’t really explain what is going on in my faith life, just that I have been wrestling with things. One of those is perhaps the image of Christianity in society. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed with “Jesus Saves” bumper stickers and what I have stereotyped as a sort of “in your face” Christianity.

Sunday I had the incredible opportunity to see the positive power that this sort of Christianity can possess. I was walking with a team from Reality LA church in LA’s Annual AIDS walk. Our team name was JESUS. I was a little embarrassed. I’m not sure why. I am not embarrassed to be a Christian, but… well…. The day of the rally we met up and began to walk. I saw that we were not the only Jesus themed team. There was one team of about 50 young adults all in purple shirts declaring “Jesus Saves.” I wasn’t sure what I thought of those shirts. I didn’t dislike them but I didn't know that I really liked them either... As the walk began we came up against radical Christian protesters holding awful signs declaring things such as “Homo sex is a Sin” with scripture references posted… one of the verse references on a hate sign was John 3:16 (they didn't actually post the verse just the reference number),For God So Loved the World that He gave His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but receive eternal life.” I am unsure how this verse of salvation and love supported their message of hatred and exclusion. Why they needed to come and protest a walk raising money to find a cure to a disease that is killing millions of people around the world I do not know or understand. I do understand the gospel and the light that I have been studying it in. The greatest commandment Jesus gave us was to love God and love our neighbors. Our neighbors are not geographical; our neighbors are all of God’s people; every tribe and every nation. As we walked past the protesters we also walked past the group in their Jesus Saves t-shirts. Suddenly I loved these shirts. I am a Christian, but I was not a visible representation of Christ at that rally. It would have been easy for the Christian protesters to be to only side of Christianity that walkers saw that day. Fortunately, there were people choosing to show themselves as Christians preaching a message of inclusion and love with their choice to walk as Team “JESUS SAVES”

(I hope this could be followed by you all...)

Thank you God for showing me how what I often consider corny Christianity can be powerful, positive and inclusive. I pray that you help me regain faith that I seem to be wrestling with and be with my housemates and I as we really dig into this year and a better understanding of you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catch-up & flash forward

Hey all!

Sorry that I was unable to update my blog during my summer trip to Egypt. My trip was absolutely incredible, but internet access was really limited. We spent six weeks traveling around Cairo, Alexandria and Hurgada (a town on the Red Sea). We met so many incredible individuals and were able to see so muchwork being done in the country! I would love to talk to you about my trip. Call me or e-mail me for details!

Today is the last day of my orientation. I am in Stony Creek New York with 90 other YAVs (Young Adult Volunteers) serving both nationally and internationally this upcoming year. It has been incredible getting to know other young adults choosing to spend the next year of their lives serving everywhere from Miami and Chicago to North Ireland and India. Tomorrow I depart for this year's home in Hollywood!

My work in Hollywood is a bit more clear. I will be living in a predominately Latin American neighborhood at a community center that has a 30 year relationship with the community. I will be living with five other volunteers Alayna, Brady, Robert, Kyle and Josh. Together we will run the community center's tutoring program, community garden (the neighbors want more peppers next year; I want cooking lessons!) and fellowship times at the center. In the summer we will frequently load up our community van with kids and drive to the beach to hang out and build relationships. I will also be working 32 hours a week as a case worker with Alegria. Alegria is a ministry in Hollywood that serves families who were previously homeless and have at least on family member affected by HIV or AIDS. The ministry provides these families with transitional housing, health care, and works to equip these families in the transition back to housed society (to the best of my understanding) 16 families are currently housed in our facilities. I am excited and also intimidated by the work expected of me at the agency. Please keep this ministry in your prayers.

I really don't know what God has in store for me in Hollywood, but I truly feel that He has called me to serve here. I don't have plans for after my year of service, but for once I'm not concerned. I am just really excited to see where life is taking me right now. It's going to be a crazy, emotional, exciting journey.



Thursday, May 27, 2010


Hey everyone!

I finally have some details that I can share with you on my trip to Egypt! I leave super early on June 7th (6:30?) after a two day orientation in New Wilmington. I still haven't met everyone I'm traveling with so this will be awesome! Our first three days in Egypt will be transition days where we will have the opportunity to become adjusted to the culture and the food and be tourists. After this we are off! My first week I will be coaching soccer at a sports camp where we will focus on core values such as trust and endurance. The second two weeks will be spent at various conferences in Cairo and Alexandria. Next we will be off to the red Sea for two weeks? (I am so excited about this) and then we will end our time in Egypt helping with a talents camp in Cairo. If you know me this is not good; the talents they want help with include acting and singing and arts related areas.... haha I'll do my best.

I am getting really excited by this trip, but I am still just overwhelmed with everything going on right now. I do however have faith that there is a plan in all the confusion and that everything will turn out.

Oh! Not that I am awesome at responding to texts and e-mails and writing on here, but my communication in Egypt will be very limited. I will not have a central address where things can be mailed, and I may only have access to computers and the internet about once a week. I will do my best to keep everybody posted, but... it will be an adventure!



Saturday, May 15, 2010



I was placed this week! I will be serving my year with YAV in Hollywood CA. I am so excited about this. I really don't completely understand why, but I know this is the right place. I will be living on Gregory Ave., just a few blocks away from the Paramount Studios and Hollywood Blvd. It seems like an awesome neighborhood. I'll be living with other volunteers in duplexes behind an active community center. I am so excited to meet the neighbors and become integrated into this neighborhood. I will have opportunities to practice and improve my Spanish, attend the youth Bible Studies, tutor, and may even be able to work with Young Life. I will also be working with a Hollywood based ministry four days a week. I have not been matched yet, but am praying for opportunities in health. I will also be getting involved with a local church in Hollywood. I will visit different churches for my first 6-8 weeks, then find one where I can become involved.

I'm afraid I don't have much of an Egypt update. I still don't have many details on the trip. I will be coaching soccer at a camp, and well... I don't know what else yet. Details will be coming soon (We leave in three weeks; they have to!)

Thanks for all your support!


Sunday, May 9, 2010


Hey Everyone!

My life has been pretty crazy lately. In just the past few weeks some major changes have taken place. I learned that my previous summer plans to travel and do mission work in Puerto Rico through the New Wilmington Mission Conference had fallen through and that I am instead serving in Egypt for six weeks. This is overwhelming, surprising, and exciting all at the same time. I know nothing about the language, culture or religion, but am trusting that there will be something for me to do. My team still does not know exactly where we will be staying or how we will be serving. This is definitely a lesson in patience and trust. I will be leaving for Egypt in less than a month now!

More recently, I have been completing the interview process to spend a year in service as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) through the Presbyterian Church. This is my reason for starting this blog. I will soon be placed in either Hollywood, California or Miami, Florida. Ironically, I hate heat (I love the Western PA weather!) and after visiting both places on different trips, swore that I would never live in LA or the state of Florida. God has some sense of humor! Both locations are absolutely incredible, and have so much to offer. (Check them out yourself at In both cities I will living with other Christian volunteers in the program, have an opportunity to speak and improve my Spanish on a daily basis, and serve in a health clinic for the impoverished from the community. I am so excited! This is such an incredible opportunity for me, and gives me time to pray and discern where my life is taking me. I will be using this blog to keep you all updated on my year of service, and where it takes me.

I do however need help. As much as I hate to be dependent on others, I am asking for support for this year of service. I need all of your prayers and support; I will be far from home. I also need to raise $6,5oo for my year of service, and if possible, I would love your help.

Thank you so much!

-Alex Davis