Hey there, pals!

Food blogs are all the rage, so… I am going to give you a little taste of what my experience arriving in Raleigh has been: I have been seasoned and delighted with ‘hellos’ and more introductions than I can count. These have been like appetizers, giving me an anticipation of what’s to come and reminding me daily that I am where I am supposed to be. The Lord has placed me here and He has created a community to take me in. I am savoring His assurance (cool beans!).

Raleigh and the Fellows Program offer so much that it’s hard to decide what concise aspect I want to write about here without taking all your time… but what I feel that I have relished most in this first month, and therefore will share with you, is the consistent welcoming attitude I have encountered from the moment I set foot in Raleigh. I have savored small moments and gestures that greeted me as the warmest welcomes. My new, post-undergraduate beginning has sparked in me a desire to intentionally welcome others into my places and spaces in a similar fashion. I have absolutely loved getting to know my awesome fellow-mates who are here with me, but our time getting to know each other would not be possible without the community surrounding us with outstretched arms. This deep-rooted welcome has been the sweetest hug of comfort for me and I am so thankful for its continuous presence. As a fellow, everything feels new and nothing seems ‘known’ yet, but these people have allowed me to know that I am welcome.

“When the crowds learned it, they followed Him, and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.” Luke 9:11. A big thank you to Church of the Apostles and the greater Raleigh community for welcoming me, speaking of the Kingdom to me, and for beginning to send healing my way that I did not know I was in need of. You are showing me Jesus!

Here are 10 of the many extremely comforting “welcome/join-us” moments I have had in this first & fast month of September as a Raleigh Fellow:

1)    The Young’s sweet signs for me, hung in my room upon arrival

2)    Coffee with my mentor, Janet, before the program even officially started

3)    The first hug/big smile I got from Ashley on our first morning together and the many thereafter

4)    The welcome lunch prepared by Lou for the fellows at the church our first afternoon

5)    The “official” premade nametag waiting for me at my first day of work

6)    Old fellow classes including us in their social plans

7)    Members of the church community knowing my name and remembering it

8)    The Mangum’s having us over for lunch every week

9)    My Monday Mentee with Neighbor to Neighbor telling me that she couldn’t wait for our next meeting

10) So many host families allowing us to take over their spaces, sometimes late in the evening to watch various sports games and TV shows like This Is Us

I was excited to start the Fellows Program and now after the first month, I’m even more excited anticipating what the next 8 will bring to our table! 

-Rachel Ray