Hello and happy beautiful Friday!
I am sitting down with my husband to a cup of tea and toast. And the music of Gungor is a lovely undertone to the moment.
And as we are sitting here, I am thinking of you and the best way to explain “Why Ecuador?” “Why Merge?” Why now?”, etc. And it brought a memory to mind of when I was being interviewed at a radio station and I clenched so tightly to the chair I was sitting on while being interviewed that my hands turned white and not even the strongest wind could have torn me from that chair. I also remember that my throat all of a sudden became so dry that I was having a hard time talking, even opening my mouth. So embarrassing!
Formal interviews are obviously not my thing. I would much rather talk with you like my husband and I are now, over a cup of tea (or coffee), in our home, with some music, the windows open….so let’s just go with that:
Where will you be living/doing ministry?
We will be living in Ecuador which is on the equator of South America. We are hoping to live in a suburb of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Because of the ministry we will be involved in, we will be doing a lot of traveling throughout the beautiful country of Ecuador. From the rainy Amazon Jungle, through the magnificent Andes Mountains, to the hot and colorful coast, we are so grateful that we will be living in such a geographically and culturally diverse country.
When will you be leaving?
We are hoping to leave in the spring of 2016. That is our own personal “hope” of when to leave. Like I mentioned in our Partner With Us page, we are responsible for raising 100% of our needed living and ministry expenses while in Ecuador, and at least 80% of our budget has to be raised before we can leave in order to sustainably live in Ecuador.
How long will you be gone for?
After much prayer and conversation, we decided to partner in Ecuador through the Evangelical Covenant Church as short-term missionaries, which means we are starting out with a commitment of a two-year partnership in Ecuador. I (Elizabeth) am really excited and a little nervous, as I have only lived out of the USA for four months at the longest, so I am looking forward to living abroad and being stretched as my husband and I walk through the everyday joys and struggles of life overseas and living in a different culture.
Who is involved?
We are. You are. The Evangelical Covenant Church of Ecuador. Merge Ministries.
Who is impacted: We are. You are. Pastors, youth pastors/groups, local churches, and communities. Ministries, families, schools, and individuals as we partner with many different people in many different ways and as God uses each of us to bring His Kingdom here on earth; how He calls each of us to partner in what He is already doing. It is through God in partnership, community, and commitment that we can do what we do.
We have so many reasons why and one of them is the relationships we have in Ecuador, the greatest, being…Richard is Ecuadorian. He was born there and has lived there almost all his life. Because of Richard’s previous ministry work in Ecuador (National Youth Coordinator/Youth Pastor for the Ecuadorian Covenant Church) we are blessed with many great connections and relationships already! And because of my previous volunteer work with Merge Ministries in Ecuador, it truly feels like we are preparing to return home, in a sense. That being said, we are aware (especially me) that there is so much that we do not know of Ecuador and are excited to grow in knowledge, community, and relationship as we live and share life in Ecuador. Truly, we are grateful for the many connections and relationships we have and we are excited to form new ones and to be involved with such a great team of people, through Merge, the Ecuadorian Covenant church, and our friends and family there! We are so, so excited!
Why Merge Ministries?
We both have experience with Merge ministries in the past. I have been working with Merge since 2009 and Richard since 2010. Really it is because of Merge Ministries that we are partnering in Ecuador today! (but that is another story for another time!). We really love, love, love what Merge Ministries stands for: furthering the kingdom of God through empowering multicultural, committed relationships, where we are learning from one another and partnering alongside of what God is already doing.
It’s so beautiful and humbling to see how God works; even in the midsts of confusion and uncertainty, God is faithful. And how beautiful to look back and see where he has been leading and walking beside us and to know that He is still leading and walking alongside of us as we continue on with his call on our lives to ministry in Ecuador. Thank YOU, for being apart of this journey!
(being commissioned as short-term missionaries at the Evangelical Covenant Church annual meeting)