Why Am I Going to Zambia?

Ever since I accepted my offer to go to Zambia for a year, I have received a lot questions. Some include:

  1. Who are you going with? (The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Young Adult Volunteers program. You can find out more about the program and the Zambia site here!)
  2. Are you scared? (terrified, actually)
  3. Did you pick Zambia? (I’d prefer to say Zambia picked me)
  4. What will you be doing? (Not sure yet, but I can’t wait to find out!)

These questions make sense to ask and are, frankly, very easy to answer. But I have received one question that is not easy to answer:

Why are you doing this?

My gut reaction is to answer with a smile and scream enthusiastically “why not?” I want people to view me as adventurous, fearless, and capable. I want people to view my decision to live in Zambia for a year to be admirable if not a little crazy. I don’t want people to question my sanity or the validity of my decision. But sometimes, when asked this question, I have to pause.

Why am I doing this?

Why am I taking a year out of my life to do work I will not be paid for? Why am I committing myself to an experience that might be difficult and scary? Why am I going to spend a year contemplating my faith when I have struggled with my faith and my connection with the church for years? Why do I think I’m capable of transforming lives and being a vessel for change? What right do I have to this experience? All of these questions have made me question my gut reaction to the question “why are you doing this?”

After months of reflection, I now know my answer to this question.

During my senior year of college, I considered countless post grad options from fellowships to jobs to unpaid internships. I wallowed in self-doubt, trying to figure out what would be the “practical thing” for me to do. But I never asked myself what I wanted or what would make me happy. Until I received a site offer to go to Zambia from the YAV program.

When I received my offer, I definitely had doubts. There was a pit in my stomach that I tried to ignore. Despite the anxiety, fear, and possible regret plaguing my mind, there was one undeniable truth. This experience would make me happy. If I didn’t accept the offer, then I would be opting out of a dream that I’ve had since high school.

During my YAV year, I want to dedicate my life to others, learn about a culture different from my own, and not focus on myself and my needs but rather the needs of the community I will be serving. Ultimately, I dream of doing international development work as a career and my YAV year will be the beginning of that dream. I’m aware there will be moments of self-doubt. I will struggle. But I’ve decided that the decision to go to Zambia is not a stupid risk but a worthy risk. This worthy risk is what is going to make me happy.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Gini Campbell says:

    Kim, I am thrilled that you have chosen to be a YAV. I have known others who have been YAV’s and have loved the experience. You have the rest of your life to pursue all the other things you mentioned in your blog. Embrace your faith in God and the opportunity that God has given you to serve others. You are an amazing young woman and will have a life filled with many adventures. This is just the beginning! You have been a special friend since I met you when you were in second grade. Write another book maybe one about your Zambian experience. Gini


    1. Kim Jurczyk says:

      Thank you so much, Gini! I am so excited for what’s to come and cannot wait to share my experience with you and everyone else who has positively impacted my faith.


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