Six months ago I made the move to Nashville to be a part of The Fellows Program. Since there is not a Fellows Program in Mississippi, I really had no knowledge about it at all. Unlike many of the fellows in my class, I graduated college the semester before them, so I knew I would be entering yet another time of transition. I had just transitioned from living with roommates in college, to moving back home, and I would now be moving here to live with a family that I didn’t know. But the more I researched the program, I began to realize that this was indeed the place I needed to be.
As I was in the season of living back home, I felt like I was in this monotonous routine and I knew that there had to be something more. I wasn’t sure if I should pursue graduate school, seminary, or the possibility of going on staff for Young Life. While processing through the “what’s next” I began reading this book entitled “41 Will Come.” This book basically talks about the significance of the number 41 in relation to being in a season of waiting.
“In the Bible, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. But day 41 came, and the rain stopped. The people of Israel wandered for 40 years. Then year 41 came, and a new generation entered the Promised Land. Do you see the theme? Don’t quit. Don’t give up. God will come through for you.”
I was waiting for a door to open and the “right” path to just show up. After applying to other programs, and not being accepted, The Lord was so faithful to reveal to me that the road I thought I was suppose to take wasn’t the plan he had for me; but there was something better in store. This led me to then hear about The Nashville Fellows Program from a college friend and soon after apply to the program. I can vividly remember the night before I was accepted into The Nashville Fellows. As mentioned before, I was reading the book 41 Will Come and the book stressed the importance of waiting on God’s timing. So I thought, “what if I count the days from when I was rejected from one program up until the next day when I would then find out if I would be accepted”? To my surprise the next day counted to be day 41. I definitely cried tears of joy because it was evident to me that this was the path God had for me. This also showed me how important it was for me to truly trust God’s timing and not my own.
From the first day I arrived here in Nashville to even now, many of the experiences I’ve had have been confirmations of that truth. I don’t say this as a means that every day in the last six months has been easy, because they haven’t been, but I have felt the assurance that I am where I’m supposed to be. Being that I am the only African American in my program, this experience has caused me to learn so much about myself and others. For one, I recognize the impact of my presence in being here, not just in my fellows class, but also my job and church community. It has been amazing to see how God has not only used me, but has pulled me from my own personal levels of comfortability and challenged me to step into harder places and conversations. This has allowed for much personal growth that was well needed.
My host family have been incredible since the first day I moved in. I have appreciated how welcoming they are and their genuine interest in knowing me, as well as, the program. The church community is awesome and I have LOVED getting to know my group of 8th grade girls in the youth group. My job has been one of my favorite parts of this program. I work for a nonprofit called Uprise. It is a Career Development Program for men and women in Nashville. One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about my job is the relationships I have developed with our staff and also the leaders in our program. Working here has granted me the opportunity to really learn about people of various backgrounds and the value of ones' story. Last but certainly not least, I have enjoyed the sweet friendships and love of the other 14 fellows in my class. The support I have from each of them has been such an encouragement to me. We laugh, cry, dance (mainly them), pray, and love each other deeply. I have always been the type of person that kept my thoughts to myself, but they have continuously challenged me to speak out more (though this is an area I am still working on).
Have you ever noticed that when you first arrive in a new area you don’t really notice how good it is at first sight? Being here in Nashville has been a constant reminder of the beauty I’ve seen after spending time in this place for awhile. Initially I spent a lot of time using the GPS to get from one place to the next, so much so that I unintentionally missed out on what’s right in front of me. While driving a few weeks ago this epiphany sort of struck me as I was in awe at how beautiful the Nashville scenery is, as well as, the people I have encountered here. Spending time with my host family, fellows, D-group, and work staff has illustrated this day-to-day. Furthermore, this was even evident as I started to think about The Gospel that I have been learning this year. Whether this is in times of solitude, class, or in my church community - the more time I spend emerged in scripture, the more I am able to see how beautiful it is from Old Testament to the New.
After being here for six months, I can surely say that I have learned my way around this place ‘sort of’ and have really appreciated all parts of Nashville. I am blessed to be in such an awesome program and have met people that I can’t imagine life without. The person that I aim to become will forever be impacted by the 6 months I have spent so far being in The Nashville Fellows Program. I hope to always remember in times of waiting that 41 will truly come.