“I love you so much I don’t have the words…” The sentiment is beautiful, but if you stop there- let it trail off- set the pen down before the attempt is made- the beauty is lost. “I love you so much I don’t have the words” is how you begin, or conclude, or bridge the gap between two particularly wordy paragraphs of a long love letter full of insufficient verbiage.
I don’t have the words yet, though. I mean, I can talk about being here, sure. But I don’t know how to say it in their language. They ask me, “How do you like Cuenca?” And all I can manage is, “I do. I like it. It’s beautiful. The people are good. The church is very good. [My hosts] are kind.” That takes me a minute or two… more, sometimes, and with a handful of extraneous dondes and disculpas thrown in for effect.
How do I like Cuenca? It’s unreal. Someone planted a city between mountains, and it lights up at night. Loud children on the busses speak better Spanish than me. Rain falls twice in a day, or thrice, and five times some days to show off. Heaps of fresh produce spill out of stalls in sprawling markets full of people with whole lives, and I’m still struggling with “What is your name?” I’m living in a city full of souls, and I can’t remember how to ask people their name.
I drummed with the worship team for the first time on Sunday. This was also my first week of teaching English club for a whole bunch of 12-18 year olds, and they’re considering a group for older people that may start up later on. My brain is sore from learning and living so many new things, but it’s a welcome soreness, from growing. The last few weeks have felt like checking out the weight rack in the gym and trying different sizes one at a time. I know what I can lift, now. I just need to pick up the weights.
Would you pray for me? Please do. Pray that Spanish keeps coming, not just for my own sake, but for the kids and teens and adults I’m ministering to and with. Pray that I quickly learn to teach, and that I have the wisdom to teach things that matter. Yesterday my English group listened through “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.” We talked about what it means for God to be holy. What it means that he’s “high and lifted up.” Man… pray that they remember that more than the “Directions Song.” [aside: I wrote the “Directions Song.” I’m actually pretty proud of the “Directions Song.” It’s just not as important as Jesus.]
Pray, too, that my heart and head can settle here for the time that I’m called to be here. It’s been a few weeks now (woof… three, as of tomorrow), but I’m finding it’s taking a while for my system to adjust. I still wake up some days trying to figure out where I am. I still stumble through cultural customs and “How are you”s and “How long have you been here”s with the grace of an elephant on skates. I don’t mind embarrassing myself so much as making other people uncomfortable. Pray that my head can catch up with my heart.
And thank you, thank you for listening, reading, and praying. Thank you all for the encouraging messages you send, and for your calls. They matter. They lift me up on harder days, and launch me on better ones. And thank you also to those of you who have given money to help with this mission. It means more than I can say, but I will certainly keep trying.
Spanish is coming, coming, poco a poco. I can talk longer and more specifically with my hosts every day, and new words come with every conversation. The word for mercy sounds like misery, and so coincidentally reminds this foreigner of the cross every time I sit through a church service. And the words for naming someone and loving someone are too similar for me to ignore.
I don’t have all the words, yet… but I’ve got the ones I need. And more come every day, by the grace of God. That’s enough.
I am still raising funds for this trip — and in fact, have a little way to go before I’m done. Would you consider helping me in this? It would mean the world to me. 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. Thank you, and God bless you. >> bit.ly/seth_ecuador