This is Trish's creative way of describing what you will experience at Jesus Vegans Event Center as part of the work exchange program. This is NOT actually happening yet! We are in the start-up stages. Maybe YOU will be the first to join us?
An Ideal Imaginary Day at Jesus Vegans
Wow! I am looking forward to another great day at Jesus Vegans Event Center where I have been part of the work exchange program. I love it so much. Let me tell you about what I have experienced during the past week.
When I first arrived, I felt so welcomed. I was already feeling at home because the screening process was thorough enough that I got to know Trish, Chris, and Robert (the on-site staff) before I even got there. And they got to know me. I felt very comfortable knowing what to expect, the guidelines, and that these folks were loving, authentic, Jesus-loving people that I could trust.
As a single person, I was assigned to the dormitory where people of the same gender sleep (they do have higher level accommodations for couples and people who want more comfortable rental rooms). Since there are other, quieter places to retreat to (a meditation/journaling/study space) being in a dorm is really quite nice. I am getting to know my tent mates very well, and I love them all! We have a strict rule of quiet time after 10:00 PM and before 7:30 AM so that people can get enough sleep.
Breakfast and Devotions are so encouraging!
Going to the morning devotional is really inspiring. We pray, meditate, and do other spiritual practices like Lectio Divina and breath prayers. I am learning more about spiritual practices than ever before and they really help me draw closer to Jesus. Some people are not Christian, as I am, but I notice they enjoy the time just as much as I do. I love seeing people get introduced to my beautiful faith in this way.
During breakfast, we do an “emotional check in” where we each have a few minutes to share what is going on in our hearts. One day I was feeling really homesick and a little anxious because of my new surroundings (even though everything is really great). I shared my feelings with everyone and people were so loving and accepting! Some people checked in with me throughout the day to see how I was getting along, and it felt so nurturing. After I shared I felt immediately better just knowing I was safe. People mostly had positive emotions except for one guy who just found out his mom had cancer. He got extra attention that day too. In fact, Trish and Robert agreed that if he wanted to take the day off, he could.
The Food is Delicious!
We worked hard after the delicious vegan breakfast which we all scarfed down quickly. Choices of fruit, green smoothies, and oatmeal really gave enough variety to make everyone happy. Of course, lots of pure spring water filtered through a Kangen water machine gave me a lot of energy too. We are encouraged to drink a lot of this kind water because it helps our cells come alive! Also, we always consume moringa powder in some way at every meal since it has B12 and lots of protein.
We take turns helping the cook prepare the meals so that we all can learn how to make meals and have more variety in our work. The food at every meal was delicious and healthy and well-balanced and of course.... vegan!
Balance of Work and Free time
The minimum we are asked to work is 25 hours a week which includes helping with meals and chores. This gives us lots of free time to walk (and lots of people like to walk here!), bicycle, swim, kayak, hike on the local trails, and visit the nearby cities like Fayetteville, Eureka Springs, and Huntsville.
We always have something interesting to do after work. In the summer, we can swim in the nearby lake almost every day in order to cool down, exercise, and relax. Volleyball, kayaking, and hiking are other options to do right around here. We always try to get some good aerobic exercise in.
Dinner is usually a salad bar or fruit salad--always delicious! Lively conversations abound! Deep conversations are one of my favorite pastimes here at Jesus Vegans. We talk about our faith, our lives, social problems, philosophy, current events, and so much more. Connecting in deep authentic ways is encouraged and is part of the culture at Jesus Vegans.
Evenings are full of fun activities
Evenings we have interesting classes such as learning how to stay more connected to God, how to deepen our spiritual practices, and practicing Nonviolent Communication. We also have fun activities like dancing, campfires, sing-alongs, talent nights and watching movies. Sometimes we invite other people in the local community to join us. Sometimes we go out to gatherings in the community.
We always take time, usually at 9:30 PM, to reflect on the day. We share things like what we were grateful for, (including specific things that people did that blessed us), and when we were either connected to God, or disconnected. We pray together--for each other and for other specific topics. Quiet time is after 10:00 PM. I love the rhythm of each day. Everything we do helps connect me on a deeper level, with increasing love--to each other, and to God, and to the larger community.