A former travel magazine editor, 29-year-old Midwest native Jess Hoffert is taking a 6-month break from the cubicle life to become immersed in the colorful culture of Southern California.

Sharing the blessed journey

Sharing the blessed journey

Seven weeks left in Santa Ana. How did that happen? Quickly, that’s how.

Time seems to go by faster and faster as the calendar gets closer to July 9. This Thursday, I’ll be flying to the east coast to attend a Brethren Young Adult Conference, the same conference where I met Pastor Richard two years ago. It’ll be a unique full-circle moment as I extend the invitation for others to come experience Santa Ana and Príncipe de Paz for themselves.

Here in California, I’m gradually handing off some of the projects I’ve started to other members of the church. One of the young adults will be taking over Tuesday evening activities with the kids, and another is starting to learn how to plan Sunday School classes. Meanwhile, I’ve nearly wrapped up shooting footage for the Príncipe de Paz documentary. I had some fantastic interviews with people at the church. Now comes the fun task of creatively editing the piece into a 20-minute package.

I feel like I have so much to share about my experiences here, and a blog is helpful, but it just captures a sliver of what my life has been like here. That’s why I’m excited to present an hourlong workshop at this weekend’s conference (although even that will be a greatly condensed version of the past four months). I’m also deeply grateful to Messenger, the Church of the Brethren magazine, for allowing me to share my story in their May 2018 issue. The congregation even made the cover! You can check out the digital version here.

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Within the next couple weeks, the Dunker Punks podcast (another Brethren-affiliated medium) will be releasing an episode that includes an interview about my experiences.

One of Richard’s goals for my time here was to get the word out about the church, what it’s doing and what its challenges are. I’m glad that I’ve been able to start making others aware of what this incredible congregation has accomplished, and what it hopes to achieve in the future. No matter where I end up after this experience, I will always be telling people about the church in Southern California that changed my life for the better.

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Teaching with our lives

Teaching with our lives

May I be a mountain

May I be a mountain