Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Packing Up and Moving On...Or not?

Two weeks ago I was sitting in my apartment in Ecuador, looking around me at boxes and suitcases and papers strewn everywhere. Yes, it was moving time. My year and a half serving in Romerillos had come to an end. I have hundreds of memories of the evenings when kids came over, the cold night walks to visit families in their homes, the long conversations with neighbors. I will never forget the time I had with these unique and wonderful people, being immersed in this culture of hard work, unity, and love.

The last month, everyone asked me why I had to go. I explained that it was part of my job, that I had committed to serve half of my time abroad, but the other half in my own country. But as I said the words, I felt a strange sadness and emptiness at the thought of leaving. People often use the phrase "packing up and moving on" to describe a decisive move, as in someone who just picks up everything and heads to the next stage of life, and in the blink of an eye they are gone. I honestly don't think I am ready to do that just yet. Yes, I had to pack up all my things, clean my apartment, and say good-bye to many people that I love, but I cannot say that I am moving on. I am not ready, do not know if I will ever be ready to forget.

Sometimes it feels like a dream. I am mourning inside, as I remember all the joys I experienced in Ecuador. It took time, but I developed deep friendships and connections, especially with the children. Why is it that I had to leave just when I was starting to feel at home??

I think what I can do now is savor the beautiful moments that I had in Ecuador. I am not the same woman I was when I left the United States a year and a half ago. But that's okay. I now have new or renewed passions, new skills, and new perspectives on the world, which I can use in my new context. Now being back in my home country, I am called to a new ministry. I will be serving in Tuskegee, Alabama working with Alabama Rural Ministry and Tuskegee Wesley Foundation. My work will be coordinating work teams and helping with the kids' programs. I am excited and open to the possibilities that this new position will bring me, and the partnership we will have.

Here is the website for my new placement: http://www.arm-al.org/ I encourage you to check it out, and be a part of my ministry there!