So, here’s the tricky thing. When life fills up and you have a bunch of great stuff to fill folks in on, there seems to be a lot less room in your days to actually sit down and tell people about it! We haven’t blogged in so long! Ah! Our apologizes. Communication is a priority to us and we really do want to keep it at the forefront of what is going on in our life here. However, I think we are still trying to figure out what that looks like in our weekly rounds. Rhythms here are so different than what we have been used to over the past five years and our feet are still learning to fall into step – a process that I am sure that we will be continuing to learn for years and years to come.
So a brief summary of some of the things we have been up to lately…
The kids started school at the beginning of September. For the most part, things are going well and they are adjusting well to the new school environment and all that is different and needs to be learned. But there have been moments of intense and raw and real grief as well, especially for our eldest. He has been missing buddies he was so used to greeting every morning for the past 4 years and the comforts of a routine and a school culture that was known. We continue to pray that these experiences with the new and the different will be character building for our children, and not character crushing. And prayers for good and wise friendships to be made in this new chapter.
We’ve continued to have meetings with the leadership of IPEE (Ecuadorian Covenant Church) to discuss more concretely the ways that we will be involved in the work that the church is doing to support and equip pastors. It is looking like we will be more heavily partnering through the seminary here than maybe we originally expected, and we are excited about the ways that this partnership will be a conduit to building relationships with more pastors and people in leadership here. We have also been asked to be a part of a mentorship team that has been formed and we are looking forward to learning more and seeing how we can be involved with that ministry seeking to support pastors and their families.
Along with teaching through the seminary, Chris also had the chance to teach in a new pilot mission program called MIC (translated it stands for Holistic Mission Together), which is a partnership with the Covenant in Sweden and Acts 29 discipleship school here in Ecuador. MIC is being piloted in hopes of providing continuing education and training for young adults who go through the Acts 29 program and are identified as leaders and have a desire to be further equipped to serve the church, especially in cross cultural settings. Chris taught Missiology of the Old Testament and is preparing to teach World Religions later this fall. The small group of students is a great one and Chris has had a great time getting to know them and we loved having them over to dinner one night while they were in Quito as well.
Chris traveled back to Chicago for a few days this month for the first round of interviews to be approved for ordination next summer. Happy to report that all went well and he is on to the next step of the process. He was able to connect with colleagues, friends and his mom and also attend worship at our home church in the city. We were happy to welcome him home with a suitcase full of treats from the US that we miss here, but I think it was unbelievably hard on our kids to know that he was spending time with people and in places that we miss so terribly much. They speak often of “the next time we are in Chicago” and we are trying our very best to continue to be present with them (and ourselves) in the continued grief and processing.
We are working on developing other courses for the seminary and have also enjoyed hosting a number of folks in our home over the last few weeks and are preparing for more guests to come in the coming weeks. We love having a full table and washing the sheets on the guest bed always makes me happy and we are so grateful that part of what we have been called to is to help make space for continued partnership and connection between the church here and the rest of the world. So, come visit!
And still settling in. So much time to settle in. Most days I feel mostly there, but then comes the moments that I do not. Like when I need a safety pin and there are none to be found because you do not take safety pins with you when you move internationally. But, then you realize that you have absolutely no idea where to go in this new place to buy a safety pin. One stop shopping is not as much of a thing here and sometimes (often times) I come up with something that I need RIGHT NOW in THIS MOMENT and I have no idea where to find it. So, we ask around. We explore. We call friends. We slow down once again because the safety pin reminds us that we still have so much to learn and part of what we have been called to and part of the process is continuing to take the time to listen and learn and explore and ask questions.
Again, sorry about the absence, but man – all of a sudden life has seemed very full. I kinda anticipated that it would happen this way, and it has. Asking for your patience as we continue to figure out what works and what does not in this new chapter. And! Just so you know, you can buy safety pins at the office supply store!
Thank you, Jenny, for this update. Love your writing and perspective.
Will be praying for your kids, for the navigating through grief while embracing the fullness of opportunities that you’re presented with in ministry and life, as well as for those times of needing that safety pin or whatever thing comes up – that God would meet you in those urgent, annoying spaces with reassurance and grace.
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Thanks so much for reading, Jen and for all of your support and encouragement! We really appreciate it!
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Reminds me of when I first moved to Chicago from Japan. I didn’t know where to go to get the things I needed like safety pins. Cross-cultural living always brings these challenges . On the other hand each new place I have lived has opened me up to find new special things or safety pin sources. 🙂 Prayers for patience in the transitions for all your family.
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Thanks, Ronna! We so appreciate you prayers and support and it’s always good to know that we are not alone in our search for the safety pins – and all the rest.
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