My Reflection, One Month In
My name is Evan Gough, and I graduated from the University of Lynchburg in May 2015 where I majored in Communication with Social Influence with a minor in Business Administration. Upon graduating, I was unsure of what path to take after college. NBA XPLOR is what I chose to do after graduation. The residency offered me 10 months in Dallas, new people, new internship, and new environment! I took a leap of faith and decided to take a chance on the program, and left Maryland to begin my journey at Northway Christian Church in Dallas, Texas.
I heard about NBA’s XPLOR program through the Bonner Program at Lynchburg, and they are prideful of the four cornerstones or values that they upheld: Community Engagement and Justice Work, Spiritual Deepening and Vocational Discernment, Leadership Development, and Simple Living in International Community. Those cornerstones interested me, because I knew they’d give me the opportunity to “xplor” myself in a whole new way, in a new place, with a new team.
When I got settled into Dallas, I was eager, anxious, nervous and excited. My home congregation and community engagement site, Northway Christian Church were so welcoming. I was unsure about what my job description really entailed, but I realized that Northway was very open to hearing my passions, and listening to what I was interested in. Currently, I am working on community outreach, forming a podcast, helping to prepare and run events, communication marketing, and everything in between. My goal is to continue to use my brain power and creative skills to promote and establish new and unique ways to reach out to community members (especially young adults). The team is very encouraging with supporting me in any way possible. The church itself, and the congregation have been very warm and inviting. Many have been taking me out to lunch on Sundays and are inviting me to different events.
Spiritually, I have been a little lost, but I know that religion has always been important to me. This is a time to strengthen my relationship with God, while also seeing where I want to go career wise. Having a spiritual companion once a week is a time where my housemates and I spend time with a spiritual guide and can reflect on not only religious practices, but daily life. I always look forward to those days, as I really discover aspects of myself through reflection that I have not realized before on my own.
I am about a month into the program and it has been a roller coaster! There have been times when I have missed home and have questioned my decision, but as I reflect, I realize that it’s a normal feeling in a new stage in one’s life. This experience so far, I have gained a lot of skills, made healthy relationships, and have been able to reflect on myself.
NBA XPLOR is a 10-month service residency opportunity for young adults ages 21-30, with the purpose of empowering young adults to discern and develop a “heart for care” as they live together in simple community, engage in direct service and justice work, engage in leadership development, and discern their vocational calls to honor the various communities they are called to serve. Learn more and apply at nbacares.org/xplor.