In August 2011, I started as a short-term missionary for Serving in Mission (SIM) in the village of Gonzanamá in southern Ecuador. It was designed as a 6 months-1 year, God-lead-me-where-You-will mission trip. I ended up transferring to the El Sendero youth cafe ministry in Loja city, and staying another year. So it was two years that I spent serving in Ecuador.
Below you can read my motivations going into things – it’s the original text.————————————————-
I’ve always believed it was better for me not to keep a blog as a little cyber soapbox – though I’ve been tempted. But now that I’m heading over to Ecuador, I thought it’d be good to keep everyone posted on what I get up to, and hey, why not start early and fill you all in on my preparations too?
So what’s the deal with Ecuador?
In August, I’ll be starting as a youth worker in Gonzanamá, a rural town in the mountains near Peru and the Amazon. I’ll be working with a local church as a SIM short-term missionary (SIM is an international Christian organisation). I’ve got a one way ticket and will be there between 6-12 months.
It’s not completely random – there are a number of reasons I’m going. I won’t pretend they’re all selfless motivations, and I’m not ashamed of that either!
I’m graduating – finally! After close to six and half years in uni (all up, that’s almost two decades of school) I’m more than ready to do something totally non-academic. And non-Canberra.
More ministry. I’ve also been wanting to do more with and for the church. Everything I do is ultimately for God, but spiritually I need more than sporadic, or regular but part-time involvement.
I need some immersion. It’s like when you can learn a language and use it, and that’s fine, but there’s nothing like going to the place and living it.
In the last few years I’ve had flashes of what full-time ministry would be like, and it’s funny how for all the amazing, thrilling things that I have ever seen and heard and known, my soul is never more content than when I am serving Christ.
Because I can. It would be a bit much to say my whole life has been leading up to this point, but I can definitely see how the things that I’ve experienced had made this an easy and logical step.
In other words, in answer to why Ecuador and not some other ministry-related role – because I speak Spanish, because I’ve never been to Latin America, because I have a heart for the poor, because I have some experience working with young people, because I can rough it a little, because there is a real need there and this placement came up.
A small offering. Giving my life to God is a frequent and easy to say prayer of mine. I’m not really sure how well I’ve honoured that. I’ve never been an ambitious or career-minded person, but the older I get and the more I grow in my faith, the more I realise there is nothing more I want in this world, with my life, than to get to know Him more, reflect that in the way that I live, and follow the path He’s laid for me.
The next step. I have been blessed to have so many opportunities available to me. Post-uni, I could join the workforce in a whole range of capacities, in any number of fields. God can use me in more ways that I can comprehend, and that is exciting, humbling and confusing at the same time. I’m not sure where to go next, and I’m hoping missioning in Ecuador will give me some space and a clearer idea of where I should be heading, particularly whether full-time mission or ministry is a serious option for the future.