Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Byenveni! Welcome!

My name is Ashley Bingaman and I am an Episcopal missionary from the Diocese of Virginia.  I will be serving in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with the Young Adult Service Corps.  This August I will be departing for my year of service where I will be working with the diocesan music program.  You can help through prayers, emails, and financial support! 

My Story

I am twenty-seven years old and grew up outside of Washington, D.C. in the Northern Virginia area.  I came to Winchester, Virginia in 2003 where I began my bachelor's degree at Shenandoah University.  In 2007 I received my Bachelor's in Music Education and in 2009 my Master of Music in Flute Performance.  I am currently finishing up my second master's degree in Arts Administration.

While working on my second masters, I started attending services at Christ Church in Winchester, Virginia.  I found an instant family at Christ Church and became a member of the adult choir.  Then the snowball effect occurred; I was playing for Christmas Eve services, I signed up to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, and was helping with our Youth Group.  And last April, on Maundy Thursday, I was baptized and joined the family of Christ.  

This first year as a Christian has been amazing and our mission trip to the Dominican Republic has been one of the highlights.  In July, a group from Christ Church went down to Bani to help facilitate two vacation Bible schools.  We worked with children of all ages, providing group music, games and crafts.  By the end of day one, I felt a calling to do more mission work and upon returning from our trip I began exploring the options.  

Through attending the Everyone, Everywhere 2011 mission conference, I learned more about the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC).  The program was a great fit for me to serve and now as a part of the YASC, I will be spending a year in Haiti.  

What is YASC?

The Young Adult Service Corps is a missionary program through the Episcopal church for Episcopalians, ages 21-30, to spend a year serving in the Anglican Communion.  It is an opportunity for young Episcopalians to show their love and serve God's people in communities around the world.  Placements vary for each individual as our gifts are used in unique ways.  

Why do I want to serve?

As I said in my story, I felt the calling after my mission trip to the Dominican Republic.  While I was down there, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of faith and love.  God's love is everywhere!  

We are all called to serve God's people in our baptismal covenant; we each have unique talents and ways that we can serve.  I feel that God has blessed me with so much and there is no time like the present to start serving!  God's love is meant to be spread.  It's time to start loving louder!