As mentioned in my first post, all of the details of what our family is venturing into could never be summed up and presented in one nice, tidy package. I suppose that is the beauty of the age we live in. With the ease of communication we can let our story unfold overtime and why we hope that we can all be committed to one another as we walk this road. However, there is a need to set a foundation so that some sense can be made of what is on the horizon in this adventure.
Who: YOU! and US! and the church in Ecuador! The ministry we are being called to be a part of is built on partnership. We will be long term missionaries with the Evangelical Covenant Church who has a long term relationship with our sister denomination in Ecuador, La Iglesia del Pacto Evangélica de Ecuador (IPEE). Along with serving with these two institutions, we will also be partnering with many local churches and individuals from throughout the world along the way who desire to engage globally.
What: IPEE has invited our family into a role that focuses on pastoral care and education. Currently, there are over 90 churches, 7 schools and numerous community development projects that make up IPEE. IPEE also recently began a new church planting initiative with the hope of starting 50 new faith communities in the next five years. IPEE leaders recognize that sustaining and supporting leaders is critical to the advancement of God’s kingdom and IPEE’s missionary task in Ecuador. While this is an exciting time in the life of the church, the reality of the responsibilities and isolation for leaders and their families can easily lead to a place of ministry fatigue and exhaustion. IPEE has asked us to serve in equipping leaders, providing resources, creating a collegial network, as well as crisis intervention, care and hospitality. We will be partnering with the seminary of IPEE and the Department of Comunión (compassion and unity). We are grateful to be able to be a part of IPEE’s vision to support and care for pastors, educators, and development workers in the same way that they faithfully care for their communities.
When: We are hoping to move our family to Quito to begin this new chapter in early 2016. As long term missionaries, we have committed to this call for the long haul. Most long term missionaries with the Covenant serve overseas between 10-30 years! Seeing as our seminary apartment has been the place we have called home for the longest since getting married, it is crazy to wrap our minds around this at times. Believe me. But we are excited to plant some deeper roots and be stretched in what it looks like for our family to partner long term. And excited to see how God uses our presence on the ground in Ecuador to transform us and the people and communities that we have relationship with here in the US and in Ecuador. Even though we aren’t packing our bags and selling off our furniture quite yet, we are in the process of building up a community of people who want to walk with our family and support ministry in Ecuador RIGHT NOW. Learn more on our Partner with Us page.
Where: We are headed back to Ecuador in South America where we served as short term missionaries from 2009-2011. We will be living in Quito, the capital city, but will do a fair amount of traveling around the country to encourage ministry leaders and their families. As the name suggests, Ecuador lies right on the equator. The country is only about the size of Colorado, but is vastly diverse in its geography. It’s not every day that you can drive from the Amazon jungle, through the Andes mountains and then on to the Pacific coastline. Although we still have so much of the country to explore and better understand, we are looking forward to being back in a city that we know and love. Just knowing where the grocery store is and where to go to pay our water bill is a welcome comfort, as well as rejoining a great community of friends and colleagues..
Why: There are oh-so-many reasons why and a long line of experiences, choices and people that have helped to get us to this place. It would be impossible to really map it all out. Coming to seminary, we were unsure of where God was leading us in our future in ministry and came to Chicago open to many possibilities. On a Tuesday night in October in 2013, we received an emailfrom our dear friend Henry Burbano. He would soon be traveling from Ecuador to India with a short lay-over in Chicago. He asked if he could stay the night at our house and we were happy to have him and excited to catch up on life. That Saturday, we brushed off our Spanish and talked about many things, one being our future in ministry. We had worked closely with Henry in Ecuador while we were short term missionaries and he had recently been called to be the president of IPEE. In the midst of conversation, he asked us on behalf of IPEE to seriously consider returning to Ecuador to partner in ministry again. These three years of discernment have felt long, and at times, full of frustration. But it is exciting to now be at the place of pursuing a call to become long term missionaries with the Covenant to return to Ecuador. Countless prayers and conversations have led us to this place. We are grateful for what we have learned during this part of our journey and can witness to God’s unwavering faithfulness.
Chris and Henry in our home in Chicago