I can pinpoint some specific things that I have learned through my experiences in BVS, but I’m not sure they are ones I want to share. They seem more depressing that uplifting. So, I’m not sure they would fit into the BVS propaganda. In my time at BVS, I’ve learned that peacebuilding and community organizations are always more complicated and complex than they seem. I’ve struggled with some difficult questions about the impact of individuals and organizations in our brokenness. About questioning when to take the good with the bad and when to throw the baby out of the dishwater. I still don’t know the answers to these questions and dilemmas and oftentimes, I try not to ponder them as it can be frustrating and depressing (have I mentioned that denial is my constant companion?)…I’ve also learned that a lot of the values I hold the highest to (love, forgiveness, simplicity) are often the ones I struggle the most with living out in daily life.
Katie Mahuron is finishing up 3 years of BVS in Serbia and Northern Ireland, and she’s pretty darn honest about still not knowing the impact of her work (and the broader work of peace and social justice) on our brokenness. Ever wonder what effect you’re having? Ever find that the things you value most turn out to be the hardest to live out?