I was drawn to L’Arche through a curiosity and a desire to serve this summer. I first heard of L’Arche when I watched a film called Summer in the Forest. It was my first taste of the radically different lifestyle and ways of relating which are normal in the GWDC community. I was also able to read some of the writings of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche. When I found out that I would have free-time this summer, I decided to check out the community near my hometown in Arlington, VA. I knew that I wanted to have Christian community and that I wanted to volunteer in some capacity.
When I arrived and over the first weeks, this community turned out to be just as amazing as I thought it would be. And what made it that way? The people I met. These people were on fire for relationships with one another. Some were older than others. Some had more energy than others. Yet everyone lived for relationships with each other. And I could tell that on the very first day.
Some of my favorite moments in community this summer were making adventures of the most ordinary things. Whether it was planting things in the front yard to making a trip to 7-11, there was an innocent joy that went along with each of these activities no matter how simple.
I will never forget the welcome that I received and the trust that was immediately given to me by everyone in the community. I will never forget the friendship that was given to me with no expectations, stipulations, or conditions. I consider myself very blessed to be a member of L’Arche if only for two short months. L’Arche GWDC will be in my thoughts and prayers always.
Joe Walker was a summer volunteer at L’Arche GWDC in Summer 2019.