Reflections on Maundy Thursday and the Cross

The evening meal was in progress and the devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  John 13:  2-5

My thoughts written in my journal during the Maundy Thursday service tonight…

The unfaithfulness of US, makes the cross that much more significant because HE was so faithful and focused on the cross.  We focus so much on the resurrection without remembering the road to it.  There is SO MUCH that happens between the garden (Gethsemane) and the cross.

(Listening to Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded and it is so beautiful)

So much endured.  So much to remember as a bystander.  The significance of washing feet.  Tonight we washed Simeon’s feet together, Simeon and Joel washed my feet together and then Simeon and I washed Joel’s feet.  The example Christ sets in this act is extraordinary.

The anxiety and fear and anticipation of “IT IS FINISHED” wrapped in a towel and basin with the cleansing of water.  We (meaning I), have to remember this before we can focus on the cross and resurrection because THIS is the essence of the cross.  Christ’s character and identity present with each foot with each drop of water and dirt mix washed away, patted dry.  Without blemish or stain by the ONE with no blemish or stain.  We did nothing, the disciples did nothing but observe this act and remember it as we do the bread and the cup.  The mystery, the way Christ wove each moment in to the cloth of this final act is hard to wrap our minds around.  But we must attempt to step in to this journey and understand.  Not just jump to Sunday and the joy, but remember and not forget the road that gets us there.

For me, God meets me in music.  Here are some of the songs that have brought me in to this place on Maundy Thursday and as Good Friday comes, allow yourself to feel the enormity of what Christ did…for US, underserving, unfaithful.

Let us Break Bread

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

What Wondrous Love Is This

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Kids Helping Kids

Recently a new resource was distributed through the Evangelical Covenant Church and Covenant World Relief which is called Kids Helping Kids: Orphans and Vulnerable Children.

Through the Kids Helping Kids resource, children will learn from and be inspired by children from around the world. The following resource shares stories from orphaned and vulnerable children and the ways that Covenant partners are showing the love of Christ by caring for and supporting children and families.

Kids Helping Kids enables us to partner with children on their spiritual journey to:

  • fulfill Christ’s commandment to love God and our neighbor,
  • foster a larger kingdom view,
  • provide a shared faith experience to build community,
  • learn from the faith stories of other children around the world, and
  • reflect and share their own stories of faith and what it means to respond thoughtfully and responsibly to other children’s stories.

Two of the children from the Home for At Risk Children who have been reunified with their families, Sebastian and Mikael, were included in this resource. We believe this booklet could be of benefit to many children and churches.

You can view the resources here: Kids Helping Kids

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A Game Changer

We are so happy to announce the acquisition of a 2016 Hyundai H1 12-passenger van that you see pictured here for the Home for At Risk Children. This van is such an incredible blessing for the project and especially the kids in the Home as it will provide a safe and spacious vehicle for their daily commute to and from school and for outings to various places throughout the week like church or trips to the park. We are so happy to have finally acquired this tool for ministry as we have been looking for resources to make the purchase for a couple of years now. We are so thankful to Northwest Covenant Church in Mt. Prospect, IL and their Development Fund as it allowed us to make this purchase!

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Updated Schedule

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Living here and there and everywhere and being present in it all.

Image may contain: one or more people and basketball court

I wonder sometimes if people understand what the life of a missionary is like.  I think people want to.  I think people even TRY to, but I’m not sure that to “understand” is quite the right word.  Some may empathize or sympathize or over or under dramatize or glamorize the life of missionaries.  Don’t get me wrong, I did too!  I have to catch myself thinking how cool I am that I get to be a missionary!  Circumstances and situations quickly put me in my place and bring me back to my reality that I am the same as any other mom, wife and follower of Jesus.  Fallen, messy, sin-filled and struggling to keep my head above water just like everyone else.

So, all of this gave me the idea that maybe instead of thinking that everyone knows or wants to know or DOESN’T want to know what mission life is all about, that maybe I could do my part to help give a little insight in to our missionary life.

As we visit churches during our home assignment (what used to be called “furlough” or “deputation” or “itineration”), we get a lot of different questions.  We expect this and welcome it as it is always a great way to tell people about our life.  Inevitably there usually ends up being a question about how has our time been in the States?  “Are we ready to go back to Ecuador?”  The answer is YES!  We are really excited to get back to Ecuador.  The kids talk about it almost daily which I am very thankful for.  They miss what they know even though they love some much here and we can all tend to be spoiled with certain things.  With the excitement and anticipation from the kids, it gives us a little extra motivation and encouragement to jump in to another transition.  Most people don’t like transition.  I don’t think we are any different.  The difference is, is that we spend a lot of our life in transition by nature of what we do.  So, in all honesty, although we are so looking forward to getting back to Ecuador we also hesitate a little too.  It doesn’t get easier to leave friends and family.  It doesn’t get easier to uproot what has become stable and fluid and rhythms of life that bring comfort.  It doesn’t get easier to have conveniences of grocery delivery replaced with 3 stores and half a day to get your groceries.  It doesn’t…and the list goes on…

So at this point in our journey, being 2 or some months out from yet another transition (return tickets are purchased for June 15th), we make mental notes of the things we want to purchase because we can’t get them in Ecuador.  We write notes and letters and make phone calls more frequently knowing that we won’t see people for some time.  We want to make every moment count with hugs from family and those best friends that are life friends.  Distance doesn’t change them, but miles make the goodbyes harder.  We fight off the tears just yet because there may be one more visit or hug or holiday that we squeeze in before we leave so we don’t have to tackle that goodbye just yet.  But we want to feel those emotions because it is what makes us remember.  We could go numb and not let it bother us.  But with the aches of goodbyes, we realize that those give way to life and love and ways of loving that are mysterious and hard to understand.  Sometimes the words we want to say may muck up the feelings and words that are left unsaid and unspoken because we know.  We know we love each other.  We know we are proud of each other.  We know, we just know.  There are emotions.  There are lots of emotions.  At this point and on some days we don’t feel them, we may not want to.  Other days, like today for me, I realized after an emotional response to something that really what was coming out was the need for stability and rest.  Then emotions come from other things and it seems to spiral.  Knowing these and naming them are important and necessary.  Feeling “all the feels” is important.  We say it to our kids and tell them all of those emotions are OK, but we don’t always give ourselves that same type of grace.  All those feels are normal in transition, especially multiple transitions.  It’s OK.  I feel I may just need to look at myself in the mirror and repeat that to myself.  “It’s OK”.  What you are feeling is OK.  Name it.  Allow it to stir and set if needed and then talk about it.

So, as you read this, you may think, “wow, I had no idea.”  Don’t feel bad, most people don’t and even for a lot of missionaries it may take a while to be able to wrap our heads around these things.  As I think about the next couple of months and what we need to do, it gets pretty overwhelming.  As I have talked with some people in different conversations, they wonder what we have to do.  Well, as we anticipate delving in to another 4 year term, we realize we will be in a place that doesn’t have somethings we love.  Simple things really, but things that can bring comfort and care for us.  So, we anticipate needing to buy those things.  We think about and prepare for being in Ecuador and not coming back all that often so we want to buy clothes for the kids for the next couple of years.  We anticipate Christmas and Halloween and Thanksgiving so we try and purchase things for those seasons and holidays that we will likely not be able to get in Ecuador.  Birthday gifts, Halloween costumes, Christmas sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc, etc etc.  As we anticipate this stuff and have throughout the year, we also anticipate the cost of it.  There have been people that have given us clothes which helps so much so we don’t have to buy as much.  But we may need to purchase those things.  People ask us how they can help and although we aren’t always great at saying what we need, we know there are somethings we need and don’t have the means to buy it all.  So, if you maybe have been looking for a tangible way to help us over these next couple of months.  Here are some things we need…

GIFT CARDS for places like:

OLD NAVY, KOHL’S, AMAZON, TARGET

Gently used boys clothes size 8-12

Gently used shoes: girls size 11-13, boys size 1-5

Suitcases to take to Ecuador

 

 

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Updated Schedule

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Dr. Lundblad continues her service in Ecuador

For the last three years one of the Santiago Partnership Board members, Dr. Kristi Lundblad (pictured below in the first photo), has brought down a team to do pediatric medical caravans.  Kristi and two audiologists have come down each year and brought with them a different group of additional team members to introduce them to Ecuador and our project.  This year there were three pediatricians (including Kristi), two audiologists (they test the hearing of the children), a nurse, and a pre-school teacher.  We love working with people with a variety of skills because there are often a ton of kids hanging out and waiting throughout the day and there is always a need for people to play with them or help with crowd control.

This year they worked mostly out of our Medical Clinic in Cayambe and saw the children from the Compassion International project at Emanuel Church, our partner church.  With a combination of the visiting doctors and the doctors in our clinic they were able to see around 500 kids throughout the week for their well-child checks as well as having their hearing checked!  It was a great week of partnering with our local staff and a team.

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Kim’s Covenant famous

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Journey 2 Mosaic

Here are a couple of posts from Kim:

Just 2 weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be involved in Journey to Mosaic (J2M). It was in the Denver, Colorado area during our denominations annual conference for missionaries and pastors. It was life changing, eye opening and many other emotional and unexplainable words that I have not even defined yet. Since this is Black History month and I am still trying to wrap my head around what to do with the information I received, the history realized and not being able to go about life quite the same, I am very much thinking, “now what”? In light of that, I felt I needed some type of action plan for myself and for any one around me willing and wanting to engage in education and journey.
Journey to Mosaic is defined as by our denomination as: a multicultural ministry experience to explore the historical and present-day injustices related to the ethnic communities.
Our first full day of the journey, we drove 3 and a half hours to visit Amache, a Japanese internment camp and also the site of the Sand Creek Massacre. Some of you may know about these historical events, but I really had no idea. If you want to learn more, here are 2 very good documentaries to learn more.
I am not writing this for any other reason than for education. I had no idea a lot of this information and I should, I need to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmQoOcamxJw&fbclid=IwAR0CjVDjZJweAbRmtc6F0tbtUlo_TN5TDqdxRM4j1gxTRqpkvBduGsWOdLU

I wanted to follow up from my post from yesterday about my experience of Journey to Mosaic. Our first full day we visited Amache and then the sight of the Sand Creek massacre. While we were looking at the sight of the massacre, one of our professors read a 1st hand account of the massacre. Some of which you could read here: http://sandcreekmassacre.net/witness-accounts/

We were told and shown a tree over the horizon that sprung up from the blood of the dead because so many people were killed at that spot.
After this reading, our professor asked how we were feeling. Some people were able to respond, but others of us, said nothing. It is difficult to explain, but to do my best, I had never felt those emotions before. I couldn’t put words or feelings to it because I had never experienced it. This was so hard and I know I am not doing it justice here.
I had never heard this before. I knew the general history of how lands were stolen, people were killed and they were given less than ideal lands, but the story of the Native American is so much more than what is written in most history books and for that I am really sad. I feel like if we don’t REALLY know the actual history than we are very likely to repeat it. Maybe not in the same exact ways, but even though packaged differently, still similar. So, again, I am giving information here. More information to give people ideas of actual stories, real stories of and real voices of those who lived and died trying to just be who they were. Theirs is a story we should know and learn and grieve. Why do I think this is important? Well, I will speak for me and me only. It is very easy to go through life with a way of thinking that is comfortable for me and doesn’t affect me. However, when you know truth and understand it, you can’t go about life the same way. That is where I am right now. I am trying to figure out my response because for me, there has to be one. I can’t go about life not seeing those that are different and not having a response to their tragedy, their stories, their voices. SO, for me, I want to learn more to be better, to be a better human because we have to be.
Here are more links and info if you want to learn more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUCIMqlztd0&t=1122s

To learn more about the Sand Creek Massacre, here is a great documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDnPT1qYa64

 

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From Dassel to Rumipamba

Last week, our team in Ecuador served alongside Dassel Covenant Church of Dassel, Minnesota and partnered with the church in Rumipamba. Rumipamba is a Kichwa community outside of the city of Ibarra. Dassel Covenant has partnered with this church before, each time bringing a team that does construction, VBS, and a medical clinic. With our caravan, we saw 110 patients throughout the week of varying ages and conditions, including 10 women who were seen for cervical cancer screenings.  It was great to get to partner with these churches throughout the week!

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