By Orlane Destin
“God I wonder why you’re sending me here? Will I be happy? What is this community going to look like?”
Three weeks ago, I entered a room full of strangers at the Capital Fellows Kickoff Retreat and began getting to know them. Looking around the room, I quickly began to psych myself out internally. “Who will I become close to?” I wondered. “Will anyone like me? God, why are you placing me in a new community again?” I asked.
“But isn’t that what you asked for?” the Lord responded.
“Yeah, I guess that is what I asked for, but what purpose am I here for, Lord?” I asked, like a child listening for the wisdom of a parent.
“Trust in me with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge me in everything and I shall set your path straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Such a simple task, yet also so “beautifully complicated,” as John Kyle, the director of the Capital Fellows program, would say.
Joining a Fellows program after college was always in the back of my mind, but if you had asked me four years ago, I would’ve told you that I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life and Fellows would simply be a “gap year” for me [in between]. Then, in the fall semester of my senior year, God showed up and positively wrecked my plans. I began struggling with doubt about what I wanted to do vocationally and how I should do it. My track towards medicine in college quickly changed to ministry beyond the church walls as He magnified my desires and gave me a hunger for justice, restoration, and the church.
My senior year of college was filled with fighting many injustices as the Black Student Union President. It was full of the distrust of my white counterparts who, previously, I trusted so easily (unless given a reason not to). It was during this time that the Lord reminded me of the Capital Fellows Program and a conversation I’d had with John Kyle. I was reluctant to apply to the program. I didn’t send my application in until the last possible date out of a desire to be very sure that this truly was what the Lord was calling me to do, and not just another one of my plans for Him to alter. Little did I know, the Lord was busy writing a beautifully complicated story.
Many wondered why I would then choose to come to a white space [like Capital Fellows/McLean Presbyterian Church] as a black woman. I, too, wondered the same thing at times: “What would be the struggles? Would I make it?” But as I walked out of that retreat center, I remembered telling myself, “Orlane, as surely as the sun rises, you will be okay and find a home amongst these people.” I was right.
The other Capital Fellows have quickly become friends that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’ve been able to pour myself out to them through my testimony, cry before them, laugh with them, worship with them, pray with them, and be silly with them. Little did I know, what the Enemy stole from me my senior year of college, would soon be restored for me by God through my Fellows group... “Beautifully complicated,” isn’t He?
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and He will set your path straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As God is continuing to write and develop this beautifully complicated story, it is a joy and privilege to walk it out among my 16 new friends (19 counting John and Shirley Kyle and Martha Roszak, the assistant director of the Capital Fellows program). May we continue to put our trust, hope, and faith in Him as we learn to live out our calling to be faithful workers in community.
Pictures from the Week
Sharing our favorite shows at the kickoff retreat
Hanging out on the National Mall in Washington, DC
Selfie with John Kyle. Seth, Annie (not pictured), and I came early to start our jobs
Patty Cake, Patty Cake!
Become A Capital Fellow in 2022-23
We are now receiving applications for Season 16 of the Capital Fellows program!
Most fellows work in the marketplace - for companies, nonprofits, government offices. Three Capital Fellows work at our church each year as well. For these roles, we are looking for a worship fellow, a children's ministry fellow, and a missions fellow. These are special Capital Fellows opportunities because the Capital Pres Family not only pays your salary, but also pays your Capital Fellows program fees!!
The Season 16 program year runs from late August 2022 through mid-May 2023. If you are a college senior or recent graduate - or know someone that is - we would love to hear from you!
Click here for the Capital Fellows program application.
Pray for the Capital Fellows
Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week!
October can be challenging for the Fellows. The newness of life in DC is giving way to the ordinariness of routines, commuting, deadlines, and other patterns post-college life. This can result in Fellows feeling tired and stretched. Please pray for the Fellows as they make the transition from college to post-college life and structure. Please pray for their community as they learn to love and serve each other IN their tiredness.
Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 32 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. Capital Fellows benefit from our affiliation with The Fellows Initiative in many ways. One of those ways is that all Capital Fellows alumni receive a 33% tuition discount at Reformed Theological Seminary for 5 years. For more information, please contact us.
If you know a church in the US or Canada that would benefit from joining The Fellows Initiative by launching a new fellows program. Please contact TFI by visiting their website.
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