God has been at work in my AV experience since the moment I first learned who the AVs were. My friend sent me an email asking me if I had ever considered a year of service and suggested that I look into the Augustinian Volunteers. When I explored the website, I discovered that two friends from college had done a year of service with the AVs. I knew they both had done service work, but I didn’t know what organization they had chosen. I hadn’t talked to either one of them in a while and I was able to reconnect with both of them to ask them about their experiences. They both spoke very favorably about the AVs and highly recommended that I pursue this opportunity. I am here in California because God worked through these three individuals to give me the encouragement and confidence I needed to apply to be an AV and I couldn’t be happier!
I am working at Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, CA and living in Ventura, CA. I had heard about the beautiful scenery that I was going to experience living near the beach and working in the mountains, but nothing can compare to seeing it in person. The first night my community members and I arrived, we drove to the beach to watch the sunset on the Pacific Ocean and it was absolutely beautiful! I saw God’s artistic hand in this gorgeous sunset. That was the first of many picturesque sunsets I have had the pleasure of seeing since I’ve been out here. As if being by the beach was not good enough, I’ve had the privilege to drive through breathtaking mountains on the way to work. Every single day, they look different depending on how the sun is hitting them and the amount of clouds in the sky. I am continually amazed at the beauty of God’s creation every day.
I have seen God through the faces of my coworkers, students, and former AVs. Everyone at Villanova has been incredibly welcoming, hospitable, and generous. My boss gave me a few t-shirts that I could wear throughout the year on spirit days and a coworker bought me the homecoming t-shirt a few weeks later so I could wear it to the homecoming game that night! The students are some of the most polite teenagers I have ever met! They wasted no time introducing themselves to me and telling me where they were from. There are students from all over the world at Villanova because there are boarding students along with day students. My colleagues, and a couple former AVs who live close by, have invited my community members and I over to their house, out to dinner, and even out to watch the Philadelphia Eagles play since we don’t usually get the game at our house! Everyone’s eagerness and willingness to make me feel at home here in California has definitely been a gift from God! I look forward to seeing God’s hand at work the rest of this school year!
Ventura, CA 2015-2016