Welcoming the 2015-16 NBA XPLOR Residents!

Tucson-Marana, AZ

Caleb Baker (First Christian Church; Granbury, TX)

I’m most excited and nervous about exploring different types of ministry through hands-on experience. It’s one thing to just know about them and how other people do them. It’s completely different when you’re completely immersed in them and have to learn on the fly. I will be working at the Marana Community Food Bank. I will be helping to organize the inventory, helping to prep the food for distribution, and managing and reviewing the costs each week.

Sarah Bates-Scott (Allisonville Christian Church; Indianapolis, IN)

I just graduated from Hanover College as an elementary education major and psychology minor. I love to read, cook, and work with children. I am excited/nervous about my internship this coming year! I will be working with kids after school, ages 6-12, helping with homework and after-school enrichment. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to grow in my faith this year, as well as gain knowledge and experience with social justice work.

Lydia Dettwyler (Salem First Christian Church; Salem, OR)

I love helping people and want to make a difference. I have my associate’s degree in general education and completed one year of business school. I also lived in Baja California, Mexico, for six months to volunteer at an orphanage. I’m excited to meet new people. My internship site is Interfaith Community Services, where I will be learning how a nonprofit runs, coordinating volunteers, and volunteering as well. I think I would love human services and am hoping this program can provide the experience to lead me in the right direction in life and toward a job I love. I am excited about this next year growing in my faith and learning so much.

Nick Smith (Glen Oak Christian Church; Peoria, IL)

I love God first and foremost, and my family, including my extended family of Christ. And I love helping others, because you never know when you will need help. I am looking forward to what we can learn and teach one another. And the bonds that we will make with one another will be great. I’m excited about the new friendships I will gain and nervous about the environment because I won’t know anything about it. I will be working with a Habitat for Humanity program, “A Brush with Kindness.”

Golden Gate/Bay Area, CA

Melissa Hurley (First Christian Church; Sterling, IL)

I just graduated from North Central College with a degree in sociology and minors in psychology and social change. I am most excited for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and really discern the calling to ministry that God has placed on my heart. Being able to work with a nonprofit and a church is an incredible chance to get into the heart of what I want to do with my life. I am also excited to be in a new place with new people and an ocean nearby. I am the most nervous about being away from all of the people I love and stepping out of my comfort zone. I feel prepared to be able to take on this next step, but it is still a little nerve-wracking. My internship site is with Christian Church Homes in the Bay Area. From what I understand, I will be splitting my time between working in the offices and out in the field, where I imagine I will have the opportunity to listen to others and talk about what is and is not working in the program.

Eula Pagdilao (Filipino Christian Church; Los Angeles, CA)

I have a bachelor’s degree and am working on a master’s in public health. I have served as a board member and treasurer at my church, as well as playing in the band. I am excited and nervous to join Forest Hills Christian Church. I like going to different churches and joining them in their worship services. This way I meet and fellowship with new people, which is a little scary for me, too. My internship site is Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Northern California-Nevada, where I will learn how the Regional Church helps people connect to the whole Church, work on projects directed by the Regional Church, experience the diversity of Disciples, and help the Region understand and offer ministry to youth and young adults. This is similar to what I do at my home church, what I used to do with North American/Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD), but in a more formal environment.

Rachel Thomson (Farmville Church of Christ; Farmville, VA)

I just graduated from Lynchburg College. I love the outdoors and any excuse to wander up a mountain or around the woods. I am most excited to explore Northern California and begin work at the Oakland Peace Center and East Bay Housing Organization. It’s going to be a great adventure! OPC works to provide space, training, and supportive efforts for 25+ activist groups in the greater Oakland area. I’ll most likely be helping these partners move into the social media world; help coordinate gatherings, trainings, and volunteering; and do some grant writing. The EBHO is dedicated to the advancement of affordable housing options. I’ll probably be helping to coordinate trainings and meetings, taking oral histories of those whose lives have been affected by affordable housing issues, and working with faith communities to address issues of affordable housing.

North Hollywood, CA

Elsie Almodovar-Reyes (Hampton Park Christian Church; Toledo, OH)

I just graduated from the University of Toledo with a bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in Spanish. I am equally excited and nervous to be living across the country from where I’ve spent my whole life. Learning to make my way and make connections is a process I’m really looking forward to. I will be working at the All Peoples Community Center. I think I will be supporting people in a variety of ways, including learning how to better be supportive.

Ryan Felber (Galileo Church; Mansfield, TX)

I was raised on military bases around the world, eventually completing high school and undergrad in Kansas and part of my master’s in Iowa. After school I lived in Ecuador and Thailand for a while. Most recently I’ve been in Texas taking care of my grandmother and helping a progressive church plant, Galileo. The thing I am looking forward to most is my internship at AIDS Project LA. I’ll be helping with internal and external communications, branding, press releases, and possibly helping with a new website for the organization. It’ll be a chance to work for a large organization in a big-picture way that I haven’t been able to experience before.

Jack Veatch (First Christian Church; Stow, OH)

I have a degree in business management and a minor in international business from Kent State University. I’m most excited to enter into a new community, a new church community, a neighborhood community, and a new living community. Most of my life has been spent in the same area, and I am very excited to become part of new communities, but am also fairly nervous for it. I’m most nervous, however, about finding a place to watch my Cleveland Cavaliers make another NBA Finals run while I’m away from Northeast Ohio! My internship site is the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry, where I’ll be working to help ensure food security for persons in the area and connect these people to other sites for resources they may need. I hope that while I’m there I establish community, foster interfaith connections, and live out my part of caring for and being one of God’s people.

Quad Cities, IA/IL

Sarah Page Jones (Fairview Christian Church; Lynchburg, VA)

I am beyond excited to be able to work together with a home church, to be able to teach each other new things and bring new ideas to the table. I will be working with Braking Traffik, making sure the public and legislature are educated on human trafficking.

Cristian Marin (Iglesia Cristiana Del Este Whittier; Whittier, CA)

I’m excited to see where this program takes me and who I will become at the end. I also hope to be the best I can be and help where help is needed. It’s a challenge that comes with many other challenges, but I’m excited and happy to become part of this project.

Anna Westin (United Christian Parish; Lakeport, CA)

The opportunity to challenge myself in a deep, spiritual way in discerning what it is I want to do with the rest of my life is the most exciting aspect of this program for me personally. I have never lived away from home for this long before, so I am most nervous about figuring out budgets and being a real-life adult. I am hoping to work at St. Joseph the Worker House in Rock Island. I will be the relief manager there (sitting in on the discernment process with the other employees, getting to know the women and children in the house, setting up weekly goals with them, finding resources for the women). I would also be able to attend bimonthly meetings with other agencies, and also with the membership committees there (finance, fundraising, grants, building and grounds, Martha House and Garden) so I can absorb as much as possible and be efficient at my job!

St. Louis, MO

Lauren Frato (Friendship Alliance Church; Chagrin, OH)

The thing I’m most excited about NBA XPLOR is having the opportunity to change people’s lives. I’m also excited to meet a lot of really cool people. The one thing that I am most nervous about is being homesick. I have never been away from home this long and this far!

Kim Guy (Hiram Christian Church; Hiram, OH)

I have been living in Hiram, OH, this past year, working with the Hiram College Office of Civic Engagement, Little Village Early Learning Center, and Hiram Christian Church through the NBA XPLOR program. I graduated from Transylvania University with a bachelor’s in writing, rhetoric, and communication last year. I am excited to do XPLOR for a second year so that I can further discern God’s call upon my life and to challenge myself to find more ways that I can live simply, whether that is materially or financially.

Jesus “Jay” Jimenez (Missiongathering; San Diego, CA)

I’m excited to explore a different city and be with different people who I know are going to help me grow in this journey! I’m nervous about not being able to meet the congregation’s standards. I hope I can be an intern at a youth counseling program. I want to help young adults my age (or 15-21) with their struggles and help them find a solution to everything, of course first with the guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ and then with the knowledge He provides. I’m really excited for this year with NBA XPLOR!

Evan Stanfill (South Hills Christian Church; Fort Worth, TX)

I am currently serving as interim youth minister at the church I grew up in, and have also been working as a physical therapy tech at a private outpatient clinic. I graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s in kinesiology. I am excited and nervous about living in an intentional community. I think it has the potential to be a soul-filling environment that pushes growth and understanding, but that also has hurdles and obstacles to overcome. I don’t know where my internship is yet, but as long as I am helping people, it will be good. I’m excited to see how this program affects all of us, and who we become as we experience it.

Hiram-Mantua, OH

Wilber Argueta (Iglesia Cristiana Del Este Whittier; Whittier, CA)

I’m scared about going so far from home. I’m exited to work with the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America and to develop the skills to be able to help people, not only here but also in my home country of El Salvador. Living with roommates is going to be something new; I’m a bit nervous about that.

Sarah Dowd (First Christian Church; Monroe, LA)

I’ve been teaching first grade and serving as a youth pastor for my church. I have a passion to preach in every town in the United States! Also to reach people in cities and towns who have lost hope. I am good with kids but also very driven to work with young adults and youth. I’m most excited about meeting new people and being in a place that is completely new and out of my comfort zone, being not at all what I am used to! I’m also excited to try new skills and find other things I can accomplish. I want to start thinking more globally for God’s people instead of just locally!

Christopher “CJ” Dyer (Salem First Christian Church; Salem, OR)

In NBA XPLOR, I am looking forward to meeting other people from around the country. I think my internship will be helping the teachers at Little Village in Hiram, OH, and learning my way around the early learning center. I have worked with children in my home church and find great joy in this experience.

Alanna Hunter-Crump (Cairn Christian Church; Lafayette, CO)

I just graduated from Bethany College. My internship is working with Cogswell Hall, which is a permanent solution to homelessness that advocates for disabled and economically disadvantaged individuals. I am most excited to meet new people and grow through helping others.

Dallas, TX

Natalie Clark (Salem First Christian Church; Salem, OR)

I attend Willamette University but am taking some time off. Currently I am a teacher/daycare provider, and I am planning to become an elementary school teacher once I finish my schooling. There are so many different emotions and things I am excited for in NBA XPLOR this year. I am looking forward to working with wonderful people, strengthening my faith, paying it forward, having a ton of fun, being able to discover my passion(s), and take a break from all the ritual-type things we are expected to do as young adults. I will be interning at Ebby House, working with women aged 18-24, who are now out of foster care, to find resources. I feel like they are going to make me grow more than I can grow them, but hopefully we will learn from each other.

Caleb Wang (Sinapi Seed Fellowship; Palo Alto, CA)

I have been the youth director at my home church, Sinapi Seed Fellowship. I’m excited to explore a new area, but I am nervous about the first impressions I leave. My internship will be at Agape Clinic, which provides a wide range of healthcare services to undeserved populations. The position I hope to play is more managerial, but all in all, I hope to learn some new skills and to discover myself.

Derek Wilkerson (South Elkhorn Christian Church; Lexington, KY)

I have interned at South Elkhorn Christian Church with youth programs while I was attending Transylvania University. I am along the path to ordained minister in my own unique way, and this program seems to be just what I’m looking for. I am most excited about the opportunity to expand my ministries in new areas. I also look forward to the adventure of traveling to new places and meeting new people. I will be working at Juliette Fowler Communities with the chaplain, Rev. Kim Clowe. I am looking forward to this adventure, to see what God has planned, and the growth that will happen over the next year.

Find our 2015-16 NBA XPLOR Announcement Press Release here!