Fireworks over Quito, New Year’s Eve 2012

Last night at 3:19am, I awoke to the sound of fireworks outside our bedroom window. But they weren’t just sparklers and firecrackers, these were loud aerial fireworks that went off at a rate of 1-2 per second for a full 6 minutes. My initial reaction was one of anger – “Who in their right mind is setting off fireworks at this hour?! Don’t they know people are trying to sleep? What blatant and callous disrespect for others!!”. But then I had to remember that we live in Ecuador and this sort of thing is normal. It goes right along with the birds singing every morning at 5:00am, the stray dogs barking at joggers around 5:30am, and the gas trucks appearing at 7:00am to honk their unique horns as they slowly crisscross the neighborhood in search of customers. It’s annoying at first, but you get used to it.

(In fact, I’m actively listening for a gas truck as I write this. Everything here runs on gas and we’re almost out. Each month or so, we need to exchange our 4 large propane tanks for full ones so that we can keep cooking, taking hot showers, and drying our clothes.)

As you may already know, we’ve been in the midst of a big decision recently – whether to stay in Ecuador and at Alliance Academy for a 3rd year. Last year, the decision was easy. We felt like we were just getting started and choosing to stay for a 2nd year was a no-brainer. But some things have changed since then (we’re having a baby, for one). It feels as if there are a thousand different factors that make this year’s decision more difficult. It’s not only about the costs (both monetary and otherwise) of staying another year, but also whether we still feel God calling us to serve here. We’ve also had to re-imagine what life in the U.S. would look like. Where would we live? Where would we work? Where would we go to church? How long could we get by without a car?

When we moved here, we felt a very clear calling from God. We didn’t know all of what He was calling us to, but we were willing to follow His lead regardless of the potential challenges and pitfalls along the way. And we’re both glad we did. Our experiences here and our opportunities to minister to students have truly been unique. At the same time, we don’t feel like God has called us here indefinitely and it may be that 2 years is all He had in mind. And yet despite our countless prayers and discussions over the past several months, we have yet to feel a strong answer from God – in either direction. We know His answer will come, but in the meantime we’re left to rely on our intuition and gut feelings and that doesn’t feel like enough in this case. As a pragmatist, I tend to focus on the logical and practical reasoning behind a decision, but that trail of thought can sometimes minimize God’s role in the decision-making process. There’s a large part of me that is ready to leave the 3am fireworks, the barking dogs, and the gas trucks, but our decision can’t be based on those things. It’s more important for God to get His way than for me to get mine.

And so, we continue to pray and discuss and wait. We’ve been working with the school to flesh out some possible scenarios for next year, but it could be a few weeks before we have anything final. At this point, we’re hoping to have an answer by Christmas, but with God’s timing, you never really know.


doug December 6, 2013 Ecuador