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"What's Next?"

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Hello friend!

I fully intended to write out an update/reflection at the start of this summer. Three months later, I am. Here it is.

Frankly, I'm thankful that I graduated from UMBC and then drifted off the grid. Everyone gets it - the incessant "what's next?" question that comes from every caring person in our lives. It is a gift, that so many people genuinely want to know what may be next for me. Thank you for caring.

So, what is next?

First of all, I just got to spend May 28th-July 26th working at Camp Highroad (a Christian adventure camp in Virginia) as a senior team leader for the specialty camps. There is so much I could say about that time - I think I will save it for another post - and thank you for your patience.

Now, I am in Spain once again! At the albergue (hostel)

serving as a volunteer for five weeks. Meredith, my great friend and sister in Christ, is here as well - we will get to serve together for two weeks before she heads back home. As another blessing, our friend and roommate Rachel is also here in Spain, and we will get to see her.

I will also save more about the Albergue for another post - and thank you for your patience.

In September, I will come back to the United States and move to Baltimore: the place I love; the place where I have found community, church family, and much more.

For those of you who don't know, my parents and grandma moved to South Carolina in May. I am overjoyed for them and their new home. This was honestly the push that I needed - to stay in Baltimore and not default to moving to Virginia.

Still, it is not easy to say goodbye to your childhood home. I will save for another post - thanks for your patience.

continues to exist - though much more stagnant than before. It is challenging to be split. I tend to be fully present to where I am, and what I am doing - but I forget to continue the steady steps towards the long-term vision. Thankfully God still works, even when I am not.

The next steps are to create the data entry system to be able to accept art submissions, and then to launch the online store. I am deeply intimidated! And letting that intimidation hold me back. But, not for long.

I was thinking about applying for the Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship - and, in the process, got in really exciting conversations with International Justice Mission. More to come on that topic.

When I am back in Baltimore, I can work as a freelance scenic painter (painting sets and drops for theaters and scenic companies in the area). Meredith has been consistently employed doing this work since she graduated in December, so that is very encouraging.

So, for everyone wondering "what's next?" for Mia Rickenbach - there's some practical answers to your question. If it makes you a little uneasy how uncertain it all sounds - believe me, my stomach is churning.

When I answer the question "what's next?" for myself, this is what I say:

I am going to stop being afraid of not knowing exactly what is next. I don't want to know every detail - because usually that isn't the way it turns out, anyway. I want to be ready, on the balls of my feet, for whatever God is going to do next. I will not be passive. I will not sit and idle. I will keep taking steps forward into this, that, or the new thing.

I am going to work hard and live fully. I don't care about my comfort. I can afford to be uncomfortable. I want to create more and consume less. I want to research and learn and ask questions - and then freely give.

Next, I want to lean into faith like never before.

Next, I want to understand what radical community living looks like in a hyper-independent world (and as a too-often hyper-independent person).

Next, I want to love my literal neighbors.

There is so much more to come and I hope you enjoy embracing the mystery with me.

With many thanks and much love,


Prayer requests:

- Peace and unity among staff in Spain

- Getting to know the people in the village more

- Praise for Meredith being here

- Confidence and peace in the uncertainty

- My sister, Katie's, health - and that a diagnosis and treatment will be found soon

As always, please send me prayer requests of your own.


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