It’s the holidays and ’tis the season to be… busy, thankful, excited, generous, exhausted, contemplative, joyful, creative, drained, celebratory. Perhaps the thing I’ve noticed the most, though, is that it’s the season to be together. That’s not always an easy task, given all the other attributes of this time of year that can get in the way! But one of the things I have treasured most about living in Ecuador is the space it has allowed us for togetherness.
We got to celebrate Thanksgiving with some other families from the school and together enjoyed tender turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans and even delicious pumpkin pie (which is a feat since you can’t buy pumpkin here!). Honestly, we were pretty exhausted from the weeks prior and weren’t sure a house-full of people was quite what we were craving, but the time spent with people who have become some of our closest friends was really a wonderful way to celebrate. Together.
There was also a Thanksgiving assembly at the school where the entire student body, preschool through 12th grade, gathered together. These are always interesting and challenging events since of course what would captivate the attention of a preschooler is often very different than what would enrapture a 12th grader! As the speaker took around a mic and let students reflect on what they were thankful for, the diversity in ages, cultures, and English ability was significant, and yet there we all were in one place. From the Ecuadorian Middle Schooler who shared her gratitude for friends and weekends to the toe-headed preschooler who proclaimed into the mic his thankfulness for their “big red car but the engine blew!” the students expressed their gratitude – together.
Many days our lives feel too busy and full to be sustainable. And often they are. But when I stop and think about the community we get to love here, I realize just how unique it is. Not only is it a microcosm of global cultures, but it’s a place where we live life together. There are few other places I know of where you often run into coworkers and friends at the grocery store, going out to eat, or just taking walks past your house and can stop to catch up for a few minutes. Where students greet you at the movie theater and want to know how you liked the film the next Monday morning. Where several others comment on being woken by the same loud party at 2am because so many people live in the same neighborhood. Where I get to walk to and from school with my husband, go grocery shopping with him, see his wonderful self unexpectedly during the day, and debrief our mornings over lunch. Ministry here is not confined to 8-10 hour work days. It’s 24/7. But so are the blessings of the togetherness here.
And blessings have abounded through living this life and doing this ministry together with each of you! While most of you are not neighbors we get to see regularly, we are often reminded of our dependence upon people in our global community to get through each day, to make ends meet, to find encouragement, and to seek the Lord’s will for our ministry. And the gratitude that flows from that experience is like none other! Thank you so much for your prayers, emails, cards, financial support, and faith in what God is doing through us! We couldn’t be doing this if we weren’t all in this together.
December 3, 2013 Ecuador