Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Regreso a Ti

You may be thinking, what has Becky been doing all these weeks? Why hasn't she written a new blog post? Well, the answer is, I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Every week I have my normal responsibilities, but other things always seem to come up that are either obligations, or spontaneous opportunities. It was one of these times when I decided on a whim to go to Quito one Saturday night for a concert. The main singer is a very well-known Christian artist from Columbia, Alex Campos. And the other group that performed, Tercer Cielo, is a popular inspirational pop group from the Dominican Republic. I had heard of both groups, but wasn't super familiar with their music, especially Tercer Cielo. My friend from Quito invited me, and we ended up going with some other young people from my church.

The concert was called Música Amor y Vida, which means Music, Love, and Life. The songs were not all necessarily Christian, as in talking about Jesus or God, but expressed a positive and encouraging message. I want to share one song that has really stuck with me since this concert. Here are the lyrics in English.

video


REGRESO A TI: Alex Campos

I find myself alone, I find myself without you
I'm afraid, I don't know where to go

I feel like I've lost myself in a gray world

And without a sure direction I walk away from you

Like the dove that returns to me
I undertake the flight that brings me life

Without you I am dying, bring me to the moment where I find your love
You are the life in my breath, my universe, you are everything that I am
I return to you

Feeling alone, I remembered
That on that wood you died for me

And it's just that I don't understand what you saw in me
So today I come to surrender myself to you

Like the dove that returns to me
I undertake the flight that brings me life
I lift my flag, I look to the sky, my destiny, only you...

Without you I am dying, bring me to the moment where I find your love
You are the life in my breath, my universe, you are everything that I am

Without you I am lost, without you I am nothing

I am like ash that is blown by the wind, without you the sun does not shine

My refuge and my owner, you are my thought

You are my faithful moment oh God
Creator of the universe, come and stay inside me

Come, I surrender to you my heart
Give me life with your fire, come and be my owner
I give to you all that I am…
I return to you


The year 2013 has been filled with ups and downs for me. For the first time in my life, I have lived an entire calendar year in a foreign country. During this time I have learned many lessons, met some amazing people, made mistakes, tried new foods, and started different programs. Throughout this time, I have had moments where I felt close to God, and others when he seemed distant.

I love this song because it reminds me that when we lose direction, when we don't know what to do or where to go, the only way to find peace is to return to God. At times we prioritize other things such as work, relationships, and chores. We get caught up in the busyness of life. But we must not forget that God is who gives us breath and life. He is our refuge and owner. In the year 2014, I want to prioritize God in my daily life. Despite the many tasks that each day brings, I want to put God first, because he is everything that I am. He is my refuge. So I return to Him. Regreso a ti.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Community

Now that my time in Romerillos, Ecuador is coming to a close, I've been reflecting quite a bit on the meaning of community. For one year now, I have been a part of this small community of farmers, hard-workers, and good neighbors. At times it has been difficult finding my role here because I don't work in the field like most people. Instead, I work from my home, planning activities with the kids and events in the local church. I guess you would say my job is a mix of church planning and children's ministry, not to mention the English-teaching bit.

Despite the difference in our work focus, I have been able to connect with many individuals in this community in a unique way, from 3-year old boys to pre-teen girls to elderly couples. The fact that I stand out here because of my physical characteristics, accent, and style of dress has actually helped me build relationships with people I wouldn't have expected. People know me because I'm different, but they treat me as part of their family. I can't count the times that my neighbors have stopped me in the street to catch up, or invited me into their homes for a cup of tea. I am eternally grateful for this spirit of hospitality and unity that exists here in Romerillos.

I remember when I first arrived in this town. I felt lost and insecure, not understanding the culture or traditions. Now I know the slang, where to tell the bus driver I'm getting off, and how to eat chicken soup (the right way). I'm even picking up some of the customs like drinking tea with bread for an evening snack, washing my clothes in the morning so they can dry in the afternoon sun, and wearing a shawl over my coat in the night cold. There will always be some things I still do my way, but I can at least usually understand the other point of view.

I have internally charted my time here by the way I answer people in passing, when they ask me, "how long have you been here now?" and "how much longer will you be here for?". Before, the latter answer was longer than the former, but now it's the opposite. I have to tell people, I've been here for a year now, which usually impresses or surprises them, but then I have to say, But I'll be leaving in two months. Most of time the response is, Oh, why don't you stay longer? Find yourself an Ecuadorian man and settle down. or So soon? We thought you'd be here indefinitely. These responses always make me sad because I realize how much of an impact on my heart this community has had.

I don't know if I will return here one day, but I know that I will never forget these loving people. They have truly emanated to me what the words of Peter in 1 Peter 4:8-9: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." My community in Romerillos will always be remembered with fondness as my Ecuadorian family.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Day

Just a quick note for today (I promise a more detailed post is coming soon!).

Today is Giving Tuesday!! This means that every donation made to an Advance project (United Methodist ministry) will be doubled, ONLY TODAY!! Please consider supporting ministries of the United Methodist Church during this giving season of Advent and Christmas. Here are a few of the projects I would encourage you to support:

Children's Ministries in Ecuador. Donations to this account support children's programs in the various Methodist churches in the country, specifically attending to the needs of at-risk children and teenagers. Advance #: 3021530

http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/3021530

Rebecca Dean. Donations made in my name go to support the Young Adult Missionary Program, and cover costs such as travel, monthly stipend, rent, etc. which enable us to actively participate in ministry in our various placements around the world (mine is in Ecuador). Advance #: 3021501

http://www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Dean-Rebecca

Pastoral Support in Ecuador. Donations to this account help provide a living wage for local Methodist pastors. Many of the pastors in Ecuador currently do not receive a sufficient income and rely on other means to support their families. Advance #: 3021092

 http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/3021092

Thank you so much for your continued support of my ministry in Ecuador. We want to see the Methodist Church here grow in many ways, and you can be a part of helping that happen! Please pray about how you can give on this special day. May the Lord guide you during this Advent season, and may your homes be overflowing with blessings. Peace and joy.