words by jenny
In the time that we spent preparing to move to Ecuador, I was amazed at the number of times that (white) people asked us about the safety of our children in the process. One woman even went so far as to ask if we were taking our children with us. (WHAT?!?! Of course we are!)
In the wake of the mass shootings over the weekend (and the other 250+ that have happened in the US this year), I have spent a lot of time in the past couple of days rolling these conversations over in my mind.
Maybe the folks asking the question knew that we were moving to a country with both active volcanos and the potential for huge earthquakes. The spring before we moved down, Ecuador was hit by an earthquake on the coast that killed over 600 people and destroyed the infrastructure of many cities – so perhaps that was what was on their mind.
Maybe the folks asking the question knew that Ecuador is among the most dangerous countries in the world to drive. Sitting right in the midst of the Andes mountains, our roads are never straight and the mountainous weather is fairly unpredictable. Landslides are a common occurrence and the infrastructure can be hard to maintain in the harsh environments – so perhaps that was what was on their mind.
Maybe the folks asking the question knew that there are many parts of the country where access to emergency medical care is sparse. There have been countless scenarios when we have been traveling outside of Quito and I have stopped to say a little prayer of protection because I know that if any type of accident were to occur, we would be hours and hours away from the care that we would need – so perhaps that was what was on their mind.
Or maybe the folks asking the question only knew that we were moving to a country filled with black and brown bodies. White supremacy and racism are so alive and well and constantly feeding us with the lie that those with skin darker are someone to fear – so perhaps that was what was on their mind.
(White) Church, there is so much work to be done. We are called to be peacemakers.
Makers of peace.
And let us be reminded that making something takes some work.
According to Merriam Webster to make is defined :
-to cause to happen or be experienced by someone
-to cause to exist, occur or appear
-to favor the growth or occurrence of
-to bring into being
There is work to be done. Not just for those living under our roof or in our neighborhood or that live, look, act and think like us. Christ came for all.
Thanks be to God that Christ is in the business of making ALL things new. Me. You. Our systems of injustice. Our cities. Our churches. Our relationships. Our thought patterns. Our family systems. Our prejudices. Our broken world.
There are many days when I certainly feel (and it is often certainly true) that I am not doing my part. But everyday I get a chance to start again.
May Christ give us strength to get to work. May Christ help us begin (again). May Christ move through us to cause peace to happen. May Christ be glorified as we bring into being a new way of life together. May we be peacemakers. And may Christ change our callused and hardened hearts (and bring us into community that will call us out!) when we look the other way, avoid the hard conversations and fool ourselves into thinking that we are not also part of the problem.
In less than one year we will head back to the US for home assignment. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the concern that we have for the safety of our children in going “home” far outweighs any that we have ever felt here.