A Journey to Memphis

The MTR Residency Class of 2017 Application Season opens today, September 1!  Tory Lang shares her journey to Memphis in the blog post below. Tory interned at MTR Camp in 2014, graduated from Duke University in May 2014, and began Memphis Teacher Residency in June 2015. The reflection below was written as she began the MTR Residency year three months ago.

Author: Tory Lang | MTR Class of 2016 | Resident at Collegiate School of MemphisIMG_20150604_015257

I am about to start the Memphis Teacher Residency. Well, I’ve technically begun already since I have moved into the Georgian Woods, started orientation, and most importantly, received this gigantic stack of textbooks.

How did I get here? The short answer is a Honda Civic. The much longer answer involves moving all the way across and then halfway back across the country to learn more about what it looks like to try to live out the fullness of the Gospel.

I was born and raised in San Mateo, California. My family still lives out there, and they are number one on the list of things that I miss most about the now drought-afflicted region, followed closely by fresh produce and seafood. After almost 18 years in that beautifully un-humid land of sunshine, I moved to Durham, North Carolina. It was there that I first experienced the four seasons, but more importantly, where I learned about MTR. My interest was piqued by the summer opportunity to intern through MTR Camp.

Tennessee was one of the last places I expected to find myself, but I was intrigued by MTR’s mission and vision. At first glance, I saw an opportunity to teach with an organization that believed in the Gospel. But as I arrived for the first time in Memphis last summer and received the most intensive orientation week I had ever experienced, I started to get glimpses of a much bigger picture than just an organization that believed in the Gospel. I learned that MTR is very much about living out the Gospel.

tory1

Tory teaching math at MTR Camp in 2014.

My MTR Camp summer was characterized by learning. Beyond learning merely the instructional strategies for how to communicate number sense and math concepts to elementary school students, as an MTR intern I also learned about the importance of community and life-giving friendships. I learned about spiritual disciplines. I learned about the depth and power of stories and that though my experiences may be drastically different from another’s, we can still come together at the foot of the cross. I learned how to put words to the unspoken prayers in my heart for the little image-bearers of God who are my students. And that because they and I live in a broken and sin-infected world, as a result, everything is affected. But God loves. And God redeems. And God restores.

Last summer, I got just the slightest yet sweetest taste of being part of God’s restorative work. Seeing and being encouraged by people responding to and taking part in this work drew me back here to this city less than one year later.

These small glimpses of what God can do and has done have whet my appetite. And the best part is that all of this is only the beginning. Here — in Memphis, Tennessee — I am about to start.