If you’ve been following along since I started writing here, you might have noticed a recent change in the heading. Muse is gone. This isn’t because I’ve become a less thoughtful person, or my mind is any less prone to wander. (Those of you who know me personally are certainly aware that this is not the case.) It’s a change in direction — I mean, it’s a direction. I’m still wandering. But I’m going somewhere.
Home feels less like my house in Illinois since the last time I wrote. It’s less like the pub table and benches, the screen door to the deck, or the lights that skirt its railing and line our driveway like a runway. I’ve been away from this place, and I’ve missed this place, but I haven’t ached for the place like I’ve ached for the people. Maybe people could be home.
Anyhow. I’m heading out for a bit.
[All of the photos above are courtesy of the absurdly talented Ruth Gunderson.]
When my friend Adam mentioned Ecuador, I knew that it was right for me. That’s not in a, like, “ah yes – this is how life will be now. And I will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and make a profit” kind of way. I mean that the idea rang the right way in my chest and between my ears. I called mom and dad immediately, on a whim; they told me to go for it. (That wasn’t outlandish. Mom and dad like crazy ideas.) Then I called my admissions counselor at the college I’d been considering attending for more than a year prior, and she told me to go for it. (That… was a little outlandish.) I talked to the missions recruiter at school, and he told me that there was a position available. He’d speak with authorities at the church there as soon as he was able.
That was six months ago. Since then, I’ve prayed, sought counsel, and been approved as a Short Term Assistant (that’s STA, in Journey Missions-speak) to Iglesia Luterana Paz de Dios in Cuenca, Ecuador. Lord willing, I’ll be flying out of Chicago at the end of September, not to return until the beginning of next summer. People usually call this kind of venture a “new chapter,” but I’ve got an English professor uncle visiting this weekend who would slap me upside the head if I perpetuate the cliché. Thus, in lieu of the typical colloquial: I’m transplanting. I’m breaking apart, and I’m taking part of me somewhere else.
Would you pray for me? Specifically, would you pray that the breaking doesn’t hurt more than it needs to, and that whatever I need for the work ahead would be there when I need it? Even more, would you pray that God would shape me for ministry that He is already preparing in Paz de Dios, and open the hearts of people I’m supposed to meet, and know, and love? Missions books warn against thinking of yourself as a savior, or some kind of catalyst; I’m not there. (At least, I’m not consciously in that mindset- nor subconsciously, God help me.) I feel weak. I get tired. I know that this isn’t about me. Pray for wisdom, strength, and courage for me, from outside of me, because I need it.
Thank you for listening, and for waiting so long since the last time. And thanks for beginning to listen, if you’re new here. I’ll keep writing home.
p.s. Missions work is expensive. I’m saving up a lot of money on the front end of this trip, but the total cost is going to be about $6,500 dollars — more than I’ll be able to personally raise before the end of September. If you’re following along here, and you’d be interested in helping minimize that cost, I’d be deeply grateful for any help you’d be able to give. The link below leads to Journey Missions’ website, with options for either single or monthly donations. Please make sure to put my name in the “name of STA” field! >> bit.ly/seth_ecuador