Like I mentioned in our December Newsletter, I always feel bittersweet about leaving the old year behind. I think back on all that was said, not said, done, and not done, seen, felt, heard, learned, etc….
It was a hard, magical year, 2017…a good hard and a hard hard and magic bits in between here and there.
We reached our 80% mark for being funded, Richard became a citizen of the USA, we traveled to many different states, we moved to a new country, we did Merge, we got involved in new ministries, we went Scandinavia and to Europe and met up with my whole family, I became a resident of Ecuador, our car broke, I got really sick, we fought, we forgave, we learned, we missed weddings and births, we got really busy, too busy…..
But even though it was a hard year, it was a year of life together with my husband, with my family, with my friends, with God….and I truly believe that each season is a gift a there are treasures to be found, lessons to be learned, life to be lived.
One of the things that I really want to change this year is how busy and scattered I feel. I know that with moving to a new country and culture, there will be a certain amount of scattered-ness and busyness that one will experience, and I know that with Merge, especially in the summer, it can get downright crazy….and life, everyones’ life in general has moments, seasons, and days of busyness, but, but….I truly believe that there are enough hours, minutes, and seconds that make up moments, that we can use to refocus, breathe, pray, and rest. There are habits we can change, new ones we can start, and certain things we can say “no” to and others, “yes”.
So this year, I’m starting off with that in mind, and thanks to Amanda Watters, I have somewhere to start.
Amanda Watters is the author of the blog, Homesong. A beautiful journal of life, rhythms, routines, meals, crafts, and deep, beautiful thoughts.
I am joining her on her “Homesong Rest Retreat”. A retreat to “focus on being more intentional with our time, while devoting our energy to inner work that will help ground and center our spirits for the New Year ahead” -Amanda Watters
So if you’d like, you can join me as well!
Here is her first post with some starting information
And here is her latest post about preparations for the coming rest retreat.
Peace and joy in this new year!
This past weekend we left at 4am and headed to the coast to celebrate 29 years of Richard’s parents, Roberto and Carmita, serving as pastors in El Pacto de Dios Covenant church in Recinto Campamento (a small town outside of Guayaquil in the countryside).
It was a beautiful, tear-filled time of remembering and celebrating God’s faithfulness through the valleys and mountains of the history and life of the church and honoring the Roberto and Carmita’s dedication, perseverance, and faithfulness as pastors and planters of the church.
It was incredible to see pictures of the churches physical beginnings…a bamboo square, bamboo benches…
(Photos coming soon….)
As well as to hear the stories of the churches spiritual beginnings….to listen to story after story of lives being changed; the man that robbed the church money box every week who eventually, through the guidance and grace of the brothers and sisters in the church, changed his life and started attending the very church he was robbing.
But what really struck me, was the history of faithfulness of Roberto and Carmita.
It was not an easy beginning nor has it been since they started. They shared stories of times they wanted to give up. How they had to walk many kilometers through the mud and water (during rainy season) because there were no roads or buses to the church, how during service, sometimes only 5 people would show up, or how they faced a lot of opposition from other religious groups nearby…but yet, they persevered. Why?
Because Jesus had been (and is) faithful in their lives (In fact, Carmita shared that early in their marriage she told God that if he would change her husband’s life from an alcoholic, abusive husband to a Christian, then she would dedicate her whole life to Jesus and helping other women, and that is what she has done).
It’s a little church, there is no fame, not a lot of funds, no payment, but there they are, every Wednesday-Sunday…teaching, sharing, caring, praying, and working in this little part of the world that is HUGE in the Kingdom of God.