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I am still at a loss of words about all of this, and I think I will be for a while.

It’s weird to come back to life, and the “norm”. My heart is still in Africa. I lived years in those 12 days – what I experienced was holy. God made it very clear that He wasn’t messing around, this was a trip of a lifetime. Even if I go back, to experience this for the first time is something I can’t quite describe.

[God]Teaching me about a culture He loves so dearly, introducing me to His beautiful children, and giving me glimpses of their lives. Showing me His land as it was meant to be, and just reminding me how incredibly microscopic I am in comparison to all of it. Why God allowed me the privilege to experience this is something I can’t wrap my mind around. Why I got to see and live something completely different than anything I have ever known, or understood is beyond me.  Why I got to stand up and teach to these beautiful people, earn their trust, and get a glimpse of their lives is beyond me. For me to go to Africa to teach an abstinence course shows that God can use ANYONE. It has nothing to do with me, only Him. Anything accomplished wasn’t by my own words, or hands, it was only by God’s work through me.

A year ago I would have never dreamed I would be sitting at a barnes and noble trying to collect my thoughts after experiencing this trip.  I am hoping over time I will be able to articulate all of this in a way that accurately shows what we saw, who we met, and what we experienced because of God’s grace and your support. The Sunday we left, we were commissioned and prayed over by the members of St Johns – the support shown by those who prayed for us was baffling. Thank you, thank you, thank you.      

-Emily Hodges


I credit the Fellows Program at St. John the Divine as the threshold which ushered me into an active exploration of vocation in ministry.  The people I worked with, the other fellows in the group, and the parish setting all provided a stable foundation in which I discerned in community a calling to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.   For a recent college graduate unsure about my vocational direction, I could not have found a finer program to involve myself with. 

-The Rev. James M.L. Grace




When the fellows program was suggested by Meg and my mother, the only attraction for me was a paid internship and rent-free living with a host family. I had no interest or intent to pursue Jesus in any way. However, through the lives of those around me in the program (there were 7 fellows in total) I had the chance to see the Gospel lived out in tangible forms. Over time, the Holy Spirit regenerated my soul and I found myself in love with my savior, my king. 
I not only became a believer, but I had the chance to see the church equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16), a community of saints living out the rhythms of the early church (Acts 4:32-37), and tangible expressions of the Gospel being communicated through word and deed (Matthew 5:16). 
I have many other fond memories, but the most enduring were the friendships and truth that spoke into my great need -- to submit my life to the Lord of life.
The fellowship program should prime those within it to have a greater understanding of the gospel narrative throughout scripture, the ability to articulate and apply the gospel in all situations and the tools to carry out the mission of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).

-Pastor Dods Pengra