“See you later, Ecuador”
This is a hard post to write.
We knew that when we signed a contract as missionaries with the Covenant, our term would be up on April 1st, 2019. But two years seemed soooo far away. But now, here we are, past April 1st and planning our move back to Minnesota.
Last Sunday our local church here in Ibarra, had a farewell service for us and a time of prayer. It was then that it really hit me, “Oh my gosh, we are leaving”, which was then proceeded by a bunch of tears.
Since first coming to Ecuador in 2010, Ecuador has always felt like, “home” for me. And it really isn’t until you leave that you realize just how much you have put down roots and lived life with the community around you.
Ecuador is home for us. We have incredible family and friends here in Ecuador that have truly made us feel in home and has truly turned this beautiful country into home for us.
“Why then…” you may ask, “…are you leaving?”
Many people think that it is because we are having a baby that we are leaving, but, that is not the case. It is a hard question to give an answer to, so here are a couple reasons:
1. We had a commitment to stay for two years and that commitment is up.
We created a budget and raised support in order to live and do ministry for our two years here, which, thanks to God, has been enough, but because if we wanted to stay longer, either way, we would have to go back to raise more support. And since traveling/flying while being 6 months pregnant is okay right now, in a couple months, that won’t even be allowed. So we had to make a decision and decided to extend our time as missionaries for 4 more months (which does mean that we will have to fundraise some more…which you can read about here in another blog post) and head back to Minnesota.
2. We feel a “tug”, a “pull” a “whisper” that it is time to move.
This was probably the hardest thing to discern and something, in all honesty, we are still trying to discern. We have been working with Merge now for over 10 years and it has truly been life-changing and something that I know God has led us to and we have seen his leading all over. But recently, we have both been feeling this “tug” on our hearts that we are entering a new season (and not just one that includes a sweet baby) and after much prayer and conversation with our leaders, mentors, and dear friends and family, that new season is going to look a bit different geographically and ministry-wise. With that being said, we truly do not know how it will look, but we know that the first step is this move back. I guess some words that I have been feeling in my heart and soul about this new season are: settled, rooted, invested, present, and house/home.
So yes, this time for us, this transition of moving and up-rooting, and leaving is very bittersweet. There are so many things to be excited and thankful for upcoming in the future, but at the same time, we are mourning that we will no longer be living in Ecuador, close to Richard’s family, our friends…that we will no longer be leading Merge teams and personally seeing connections made and relationships and partnerships built through that…..and all the other little things that make up life here in Ecuador.
But, as the title says, we know that this is not a “Goodbye, Ecuador” but a “See you later, Ecuador”. We will always have family and friends in Ecuador, and because of that reason alone, we will be back. ALSO…..we are very open to the idea of coming back to Ecuador as missionaries in the future especially since Richard’s heart is to pastor and help with theological training here in the seminary, so we know that at some point, we will be back.
And of course we will be back to visit once our sweet baby girl is born!
Our official “move back” date is May 11th.
So please join us in prayer, in prayer for our move, this time of transition, the hard goodbyes, the training in of our new, awesome, incredible Merge Trip Facilitator here in Ecuador, and for our future, for peace, for our baby girl that is coming, and for a sensitivity to the Spirit’s guiding and leading.
Thank you. Thank you for your constant prayers and support and partnership, thank you for believing in us and sticking with us until the end! We are so, so grateful and thankful for each and every one of you! We love you all!
We will keep you updated!
Richard and Elizabeth