We are back from Ecuador!
We spent almost the whole month of October there planning for next year’s partnership teams, hosting a team for a week, and spending much-needed time with our family on the coast.
The team that we hosted in October was from Dassel, MN (our home state!) and they partnered with the Covenant church, Piedra Viva (Living Stone), in the small, Kichwa community of Rumipamba.
Now, you have to know, the province of Imbabura is my all time favorite province in ALL of Ecuador. I don’t know what it is, but I just feel so alive when I am there, especially in the region we were living for the week. You are nestled into the roots of the Andes and all you can see for mile after mile are glorious, grassy, magnificent mountains. The air is crisp, the weather is the closest you’ll get to fall weather in Ecuador, and the people are absolutely charming and welcoming.
Needless to say, I was the most content Elizabeth there ever was, so that even when we had to eat gizzards and intestines, I took my little bowl and ate away, so that even when a strange trumpet alarm clock woke us up everyday around 5:30 am, I gladly got up to get an early hike in, so that even when I got laryngitis and almost completely lost my voice, I clapped my hands even louder during worship and song.
Oh no, in a place as special as this place is to my heart, no sickness or uncomfortableness was going to stop me. But what did stop me, almost completely in my tracks was the way God worked though the team, the local church, and the local community.
I will always be amazed in the ways that people are willing to step out of their cultural norms and practices, their comfort zones, their knowledge of a language, and their different backgrounds to connect. To share. To work alongside one another. To learn from one another. To be present with one another. It is, for me, one of the most beautiful portrayals and experiences of the big, diverse, multi-ethnic/racial/generational, bold, beautiful body of Christ.
I loved seeing North Americans and Ecuadorians singing together, laughing together, eating together, crying together, praying together, learning together, teaching children together, doing a medical caravan together, hiking up a mountain together, sharing each other’s customary bonfire snacks together, and expanding His kingdom …together.
We so need each other. We so do and not just a normal, culturally homogenized and important community, but this whole community of Christ that reaches far and wide and is not contained to a certain theology or conceptualized faith, a certain border or race, He is so much bigger, so much better than we can ever know or see.
It was truly a joy. Truly. And we left that week feeling refreshed, so cared for, and yet again, connected more deeply to how God is working throughout the world. What an honor.
R + E
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