Blessings in Rockville

Greetings Friends & Family,

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a month since I’ve moved to Indiana, and started in the ministry at the Rockville Correctional Facility. There has been so much happening in this short time: hard and good blessings, and I’m grateful God is faithful through it all.

I’m becoming more adjusted to the Rockville facility as I’m interacting and counseling the ladies, and beginning to establish relationships with the staff and guards. When I first started it was still so intimidating, but now I see the prison as just another mission field that has it’s challenges and joys. Every time I walk into the facility and go through security I’m reminded where I am and humbled God has given me this opportunity.

I’m beginning to establish a routine and jumping into the rthymn of what goes on in the facility. My days fill up quickly and there is never a dull moment. Currently I have a nice balance of one-on-one counseling, being present in meetings and PLUS groups; attending the Divine Hope Bible study on Friday night.  I see someone for an one hour session and usually able to meet with 3-4 ladies a day since I have work around the facility’s schedule. In May I will begin teaching “How People Change” weekly for the PLUS (Purposeful Living Units Service) ladies. I have never taught this material, but I’m very excited to teach this course from CCEF. The core of PLUS is to help women change and be purposeful in their walk of faith, and this course will really help the ladies dig deep inside and encourage one another. Today Chaplain Deakins asked how much responsibility I would like to take on in the facility… Oh boy! It sounds like I will be able to keep busy! The other facilities where Divine Hope serves in are blessed to have many opportunities, and it’s neat to see God unfolding this in women’s prison too.

IMG_20180419_172338_564I’m officially part of the Rockville Correctional Facility team

While I’m not in the facility I’m still busy as I’m part of the Anema family, and I have projects outside the prison. The task I’m focusing on the most is a devotional for Anchor Ministries for the month of February 2019. When I first agreed to it I was under the impression the ladies in Rockville would be writing some of the reflections. After speaking with the editor, Kathy Daane, I was informed she would like me to write the entire devotional. June 15 is my deadline which is sooner than I first thought. This is a top priority! The theme I have decided to focus on for the devotional is Forgiveness. It is such a crucial part of the ladies lives in Rockville, but also for every Christian as we are all called to forgive, show mercy, and love even when it’s hard. This devotional is distributed widely across the nation, and in other countires which is really neat. I count it a humbling honour to have this opportunity. I’ve been doing study of some key words in the Hebrew and Greek for the devotional which is very stretching. Pastor Anema is very knowledgeable in Hebrew and Greek, and I always appreciate his insights.

Here some prayers requests from the Divine Hope Bible study:

-a sister who was on life support is functioning at a good level!
-prayers for children’s spiritual and physical health
-praying that guardianship of her kids goes to her mom
-prayers for Chaplain Hayes
-prayers that they will become virtuous women
-prayers for all the children that they be kept from negative social issues that are around them
-for family members in need of salvation
-for a mother battling cancer and in a weakened condition
-for those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts
-for PLUS ladies as there have recently been more challenges in the group

 

I’m excited to share Erin Hiemstra and Jessica Bout plan to travel to Indiana this weekend. I’ll meet them for supper in Rockville tomorrow night (D.V) and they’ve been approved to come with me to the Friday night Bible study. It will be encouraging to have familiar faces from back home and share in their fellowship this weekend. Please pray God keeps them safe on the roads, and bless our weekend together and with the Anema family back in DeMotte. Anyone is welcome to visit the Rockville facility anytime!

God has stretched me not only in the prison ministry, but also personally as my family have been praying and providing care for my Grandpa who suffered a severe stroke. I was blessed to spend more time in Illinios with my family recently and help support my Grandma & Grandpa. It was difficult to see Grandpa after his stroke and face the reality of his condition, but I’m learning to trust God’s sovereignty in it, and know there is a greater purpose behind all of this. I’ve been so thankful to spend time with family, and know God is using this to deepen relationships.  We’re thankful Grandpa is with us! We would appreciate your continued prayers as it is a long journey, but we always have hope.

20180414_113128

The words from Isaiah 40:28-31 have especially encouraged me:

“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

I am comforted to know God is always present to hear my prayers, and I cling to the promises He gives through faith in Jesus Christ. May you also be assured of His promises, and hold onto Him no matter what you are facing.

Please pray God will give me the strength, wisdom, and perseverance to faithfully fulfill my tasks in the prison, but also the projects – especially writing the devotional. Also that I would know how to wisely balance my time between ministry, relationships, and rest.

Blessings,
Rebekah

Advertisements

Blessings in Indiana

Dear Family & Friends,

It is a blessing to have some time to write you. I am very grateful for a smooth transition to Indiana and the blessings God has given since moving. I am very humbled for the opportunities God is unfolding since starting the work, but also joining the Christian community in DeMotte. I’ll highlight a few for you.

Divine Hope Board Meeting:

Shortly after I arrived I had opportunity to attend a Divine Hope board meeting and officially meet all the board members and professors. This was a blessing for all of us. This provided me with some insights into Divine Hope, and I also had opportunity to introduce myself and answer any questions they had for me. Pastor Anema assured me the men were very encouraged by the time we had together. The March newsletter will officially announce the work in Rockville and highlight some details for you. The team of Divine Hope and the Rockville facility are very excited for this opportunity!

Rockville Correctional Facility:

The women are very excited there is now opportunity to receive Biblical counseling in the prison. These women are hungry for the Word, desire to change, carry deep wounds, and are fighting very serious battles. Since it is not possible to reach all the needs of the women, I’m working with Chaplain Deakins to organize a schedule that will allow me to wisely use my time and reach the women God brings my way. To start, I’m focusing on one-on-one counseling and any of the women requesting this service need to agree and respect the Biblical foundation I have as a counselor. I have opportunity to be part of other chapels and activities in the prison so I can receive a better understanding of prison life too. I’m in Rockville Wednesdays-Fridays and they will be long days. I could easily be there longer, but we’re doing our best to set up a healthy boundaries. Wednesdays I drive 2 hours to Rockville which requires me to leave by 6:00 in the morning to be ready to start by 10:00. (There is a time change from DeMotte-Rockville. Rockville is on Ontario time and DeMotte is an hour behind). Fridays I will stay to join the Divine Hope Bible study starting at 7:00pm- 8:15pm and make the drive back to DeMotte. This week we are finishing the book “Excelling in Relationships” by David Meengs and after we will start a book by Rev. Nathan & Paula Brummel. Friday evening we will continue the study on depression. It has generated many, many questions and discussions. Please pray the Lord gives me the clarity, strength, love, and wisdom to help the women understand depression Biblically and provide tools that will point them to their faithful Saviour Jesus Christ as they struggle in this. Every week we ask the ladies for prayer requests which I’ve highlighted for you.

Prayer Requests:

  • A friend’s 3 year old daughter has cancer
  • A sister who is pregnant
  • Spiritual health and strength for friends and family members
  • A mom with spinal issues
  • Relationships with loved ones to be healed
  • Family members who are evacuating due to flooding
  • A daughter and her spiritual growth
  • A fellow inmate that is on a slippery slope
  • Thankful that a fire in the house didn’t hurt the kids
  • A young grandson of a friend that has cancer

Vision of Hope, Layaffete:

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Faith Biblical Counseling campus in Layaffete which was inspirational! The campus consists of a Christian school, church, counseling centre, community centre, and the Vision of Hope (women’s shelter). I was able to have a tour and speak with someone at Vision of Hope to understand the ministry for the women better. The intention of this visit was to determine if Vision of Hope would allow women from the Rockville facility to join their program once they are released. It is very difficult to help the women establish connections and Christian community once they are released. I amthankful to share that Vision of Hope will welcome women to apply to be part of their housing program. This would be a real answer to prayer! Once inmates are released from prison Divine Hope is not allowed to connect with them until their parole is finished. The opportunity to point the women to Vision of Hope and know they are in a safe and Christian housing program that will help establish them into society would be a huge blessing for the team of Divine Hope.

 

Rockville Devotional Opportunity:

Last week Nathan Brummel shared an unique opportunity that I will have the priviledge to be involved in. Haven Ministries in Riverside, California have a radio and publishing ministry called Anchor Devotional that has partnered with Divine Hope. They would like to feature devotions from the Rockville facility for February 2019. Divine Hope has had opportunities to have men from the prisons write reflections to form a devotional, and now they would like to have a devotional from the women’s prison. I will be in charge of organizing the devotional, teaching the women to write, and working with Anchor to piece it all together. I love writing, especially devotionals, so I look forward to this opportunity. It will be a lot of work, but I believe this will be an excellent opportunity for the women to use writing for personal growth and learn to clearly communicate the Biblical truths they are being taught by Divine Hope.

Rockville Conference:

We are in the early stages of planning a series of weekened conferences in Rockville facility this summer. Divine Hope has hosted conferences in the past, and one of the professors suggested to do it again. The women would be very excited for this opportunity and it would be a great joy for us to host an event for the Rockville facility. The professors have asked if I would bring theme suggestions to the board, and would be willing to speak alongside with a number of other women. The first conference we would hope to host would be in June.

The Lord has blessed my time richly and as you can see we’re working on many developments! Please pray God would give wisdom and direction for all the details and we would faithfully serve as He leads. We bring all these opportunities to the Lord.

DeMotte Community:

I am blessed to have my homebase with Pastor Anema and family, and worship with the small URC in DeMotte. I have been warmly welcomed into the church and many share in the excitement that I this opportunity to serve in the Rockville facility. I am grateful to the Anema family and can testify that God is strengthening and blessing the relationships. They are a wonderful family to join. I enjoy being apart of the kids lives, and have the wise and loving influence of Pastor Anema and Renee.

My family:

Last night we received news my Grandpa suffered from a stroke and there are serious concerns. I’m thankful I’m only 3 hours from my family in Illinois now. We’re waiting to receive more updates, but my Grandpa’s condition is not the strongest. Please uphold my immediate family back in Wyoming, but also the rest of my family in the States.

I personally ask you to pray God will give me the strength, wisdom and ability to serve faithfully in Rockville as the news of my Grandpa is on my heart. I trust the Lord will provide grace and His love will uphold me during all of this. I have a lot of preparation to do for Rockville and need God’s strength to help me focus.

I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

What is the “wave” in your life that is tossing you about? The “wave” will look different in each of our lives, and it is my prayer that whatever the “wave” is that you and I will look to the Rock of Ages. It is a blessing that we support one another in this journey, and share in the sweet fellowship found in Christ alone.

I am very grateful once again for the prayers, words of encouragement and support many of you have given me. I wish I could thank you each personally, but since that’s not possible I would like you to know I am very very humbled and grateful.

Blessings,

Rebekah

BWT: I don’t have any new pictures to share with you. I need special permission to take pictures in the Rockville facility, but I’ll share a few in case you missed them.

20180202_092127 (1)

Ariel-View-of-Rockville-Correctional-Facility

Front entranceRockville Correctional Facility

Just a few of the many cards and letters I received… Thank You!20180307_225904

Enjoying dollhouse with Liberty AnemaIMG_20180203_162836_830

 

 

 

 

Rockville Correctional Facility

Dear Friends,

I apologize I’ve not faithfully been writing. The Lord has taken me on an extraordindary journey! It is with praise and thanksgiving I can share with you the Lord has opened doors for me to serve as a Biblical counselor in the Rockville Correctional Facility of Indiana. I’ve received approval by U.S customs and now it will be busy with final preparations, funding and officially moving! I am very humbled and excited for this opportunity to serve in ministry alongside of Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary and offer Biblical counseling and teaching to the women in prison.

I would encouraged you to read the article by The Gospel Coalition to have a greater insight into the work of Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary.  https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/maximum-security-seminary/

Please uphold the prison ministry of Divine Hope in your prayers. I will share how the Lord led me to this prison ministry and give you more details of the counseling ministry I’ll be doing in Rockville. Stay tuned for updates!

Blessings,

Rebekah

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Rockville Prison Sign20180202_092127 (1)Rockville Correctional FacilityAriel-View-of-Rockville-Correctional-Facility

 

 

The Best is Yet to Come

For You [Lord] know better than I
You know the way
I’ve let go the need to know why
I’ll take what answers You supply
You know better than I

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face

“God works in mysterious ways”  – William Cowper

“Helen Keller said, “When one door closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

Have you ever struggled to trust God’s providence in your life?

I have learned in a very personal way that God’s ways are higher than my ways as I reflect on the year the Lord has led me through. It is been a life-changing year and a whirlwind in many ways. Those who have been trekking with me know I was given the opportunity to experience life and ministry in Ecuador. You know the people there and ministry have touched my heart, but it was not God’s will for me to return to Ecuador in this season. He used the opportunity to force me to re-examine my life and desire for ministry. He used people in my life to loving speak truth into my life to help redirect my steps to follow God’s leading.

I’ve learned sometimes God allows us to wrestle, to struggle, and to wander through the wilderness in order to lead us to back to the right path. He doesn’t promise it will be easy, but we can trust it is for our good. He will never let us to walk alone and will faithfully provide for our needs… but in His time and in His way. That can be hard, right? It is when we surrender our lives completely to Him, search the Word to enlighten our hearts and pray “Thy will be done” that God begins to give peace and direction. It might not be in the timing we would like, but He will provide for His children.

I walked through a season of trying to understand the “whys” in my life, but in time God provided clarity to realize I don’t need to know the “whys.” There is not peace in having questions answered, but knowing the One who holds the answers. Jesus is the Prince of peace. I have placed my trust in who He is, not in the answers He can give me. This keeps my focus on Jesus and growing deeper in relationship with Him. It is in the waiting season God teaches a greater dependence on Him. I trust the direction He provides and walk forward in faith… pressing onward!

The Lord has been quietly orchestrating the opportunity to serve with Divine Hope Reformed Seminary in the Rockville women’s prison. Do I understand why God used a mixture of exciting and painful steps to lead me to this possibility? No, and I may never understand the “whys”, but I can trust the best is yet to come! The Lord knows better than I, and where He leads is where I desire to walk. No marriage, job, or pleasure in this life can replace the peace and joy God gives. His sovereignty is perfect. Is this where I imagined my life? Not necessarily, but I have to trust it is good because I’m seeking God’s direction, not my own agenda. I’m excited for where the Lord is leading and humbled He unfolds possibilities I would have never imagined. It’s by grace alone!

Are you struggling to understand God’s providence in your life? You’re not alone. It is my prayer the Lord uses this time of honest wrestling to shape and stretch your faith. Hold fast to the Word. It will light the way. Hold onto Jesus.

The Lord calls us to be faithful. Let’s focus on building and advancing His Kingdom. We know Who holds our future… we know Heaven awaits us… the best is yet to come!

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face

Blessings,

Rebekah

20170803-5D8-9099

Sovereign Over Us

…You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined
Who could understand Your ways…

These words by Michael W. Smith have been instrumental in my life and to this day his song speaks immensely. God’s providence can be hard to understand, but it’s beautiful that we can trust His plan is best. Lately, my series of blogs have been in connection with Ecuador and how the Lord has put the ministry on my heart. The Lord used my time there to open my eyes, change my heart and test me in ways I could have never imagined. I’m thankful how God is using it. I know many of you still wonder when…if I’ll be returning, and I can only say that this is God’s hands. The ministry and the people in Ecuador are very much on my heart and desire to see where the Lord will lead. I will continue to study Spanish and personally grow with the prayer to be used in this ministry. I’m learning to trust God’s ways are higher than my own and when the season is right He will orchestrate every step. I’m resting in His providence. I’m also learning how Satan would like to use this season of waiting and preparing against me and become a time of restlessness. The Lord has openened doors for me to pursue the counseling field and I’m humbled by the “unexpected blessings”. There are so many opportunities and the Lord continues to “fan the fire”… to be used by Him in ministry and see how He orchestrates it all for a greater plan in store.

It is a journey and I’m thankful I’m not walking it alone. I’ve been given the gift of a loving, supportive and wise church family as well as those closer to me to walk step by step. I’ve come to see how others really care and those who want to grow make the effort to walk the extra mile with me. I’m blessed.

I’m thankful to also have such dear friends in Ecuador who I continue to grow in relationship with… despite how hard the distance is sometimes. You learn to be creative and work hard to grow in relationships when there’s so much distance. I’m so grateful to be part of their lives, and I know God is testing and strengthening this love. We know God is the foundation of our friendships and He keeps the bonds of love strong… by grace alone. It is a gift that I never take fore-granted. God works in mysterious ways and I never imagined how He would use the people in Ecuador to change my life.

I know and trust… “the best is yet to come!”

You’re faithful forever… Perfect in love…
You are sovereign over us.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…” Ecclesiastes 3: 11a

I wonder… how could these truths and lessons be applied in your own life? We walk this journey together and I pray this will be a blessing for you. God uses different situations, people, challenges, desires…etc in our lives to shape us and stretch us to trust Him…even when it hurts. What a comfort we can rest in His perfect providence and we don’t walk this journey alone. May we be faithful in walking alongside one another and pray God will show us how to hand in hand together… with our eyes fixed on Jesus through every step and bump along the way.

Blessings,

Rebekah

20170803-5D8-9077

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections 💜 Ecuador 💜 Canada

Greetings!

It’s been some time since I’ve taken time to sit and write. Some have mentioned I’ve been far too quiet lately! This month marks 3 months since being back on Canadian soil after spending 3 months in Ecuador. I don’t know how to express the changes and growth made over the past 6 months. When I think of the excited yet very uncertain girl I was in February, I’m humbled to see just how much God has stretched me over these months. I had no idea how completely life-changing Ecuador would be. But I also had no idea how difficult coming back would be. The Lord tested me in Ecuador and these 3 months in Canada has been filled with just as many tests. There’s no book to tell you what will happen next or the challenges and joys you’ll experience.

It has been a rollercoaster ride in many ways. Family and church family are certainly a blessing, and close friends to walk alongside me as I process things. I’ve been an emotional wreck sometimes, lonely, I’ve struggled to reconnect, but God has used people to speak truth in love to help push me to take the steps I couldn’t. When placed in a new country, culture, and community it is brutually humbling how the Lord uses it to expose your greatest fears, insecurities, and heart struggles. When returning to your home there’s the temptation to fall back into those same comforts instead of being willing to grow in the areas that you’ve beeen challenged with. I often feel like I’m stumbling along the way, but by grace alone I know God is preparing me for what He has in store.

So where am I now?

I’m thankful for the road God has led me down and I’m excited to keep growing. I desire to use the gifts God has given me locally and also take time to prepare my heart for missions. The apostle Paul talks about being content in every circumstance, and I am content how the Lord is using me presently. Does this mean I have forgotten about friends in Ecuador? Does this mean my heart doesn’t ache for the people in Ecuador?

No, I miss them. There’s not a day when I don’t communicate with someone from Ecuador. I pray for them constantly. Just as God gives parents a deep growing love for their newborn and I’ve been given a love for the church family and people in Ecuador that I can’t express. There are great needs in Ecuador that can be overwhelming, but I continue to pray about them. I recently finished reading the book Trafficked – a British girl who is sold on the streets by a man who claimed to love her. It was heart wrenching and difficult to read, but it opened my eyes to hear Sophie Hayes’ story and the evils in this world. These evils happen close to home and worldwide. I thought about Ecuador. I thought about the abused women and girls who don’t have organizations or family to help them. My heart breaks for them and I keep praying.

It is humbling to share the journey with so many and every step taken the Lord shows more needs and my prayer is to be part of the Kingdom agenda. There’s been a lot of wrestling, but the verse from Jeremiah 6:16 has helped me so much.

Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Stand at the crossroads. Look (search). Ask (for wisdom) where the good way is; and walk in it. There is peace walking where the Lord leads, and unrest when walking the selfish path. This for all of us… no matter the place, stage of life or situation. We are all tempted to walk our own way in every situation instead of searching to find the good way. Where God wants us to walk… even if it means high cost. The way without God is far worse and I’m learning to lose your life is gain.

I count myself so rich to have loved ones here and in Ecuador, and that both share pieces of their lives with me. I pray these bonds continue to grow as we walk in the good way.

Blessings,

Rebekah

20170803-5D8-9099

20170803-5D8-9120

Where is Home?

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I say I’m safely back in Wyoming, and slowly adjusting to Canadian living. Where is home?  I realize home is not so much a destination, but where the people you love are. I have a home here, but have found a home in Ecuador.

This week I had opportunity to attend the URC missions conference for a couple days in Guelph. It was very refreshing, and gave me time to catch up with different friends in missions, as well as form new relationships. I was encouraged by the seminars and hearing what the Lord is doing around the world through different missionaries. It was also an opportunity for me to receive some rest and reflect.

My final week in Ecuador was a growing time and rich blessing in many ways. It was good to spend more time in Quininde, assist in teaching the children, and also just living everyday life with the teachers. I’ve come to respect and appreciate the teachers much more after experiencing the difficulties they face everyday with the children. They are many joys, but also difficulties. Please continue to pray for the teachers, the children, and that the Gospel will be given through their lives and teaching.  I also had the opportunity to start teaching music/ recorders which was really neat. The children have no knowledge about music so it was really good to get a taste of the needs.

IMG-20170508-WA0004

A special part of the week was celebrating Dr. Yeny’s birthday! The teachers threw a surprise party for her which was so fun! The party was held at the Dos de Mayo site. We decorated the room and practiced singing “feliz cumpleanos… ” for her. The cooks also prepared a delicious meal for us! I can now say I ate crab soup…. or should I say a crab sitting in the soup. I can’t say I was excited to try it, but I mustered up my courage, broke the legs off and sucked up the meat. It didn’t actually taste too bad!

timthumb

Dr. Yeny 🙂 Dr. Yeny

It’s hard to believe a week ago I was in Ecuador packing and enjoying my final days in the fellowship of Fred and Arlene.  I sit at my desk now and look at my suitcases… I still haven’t unpacked them. I’ve been grateful for the “welcome backs” I’ve received, but the reality is that this transition is hard. I think I’ve talked with my friends in Ecuador more than my friends here which makes me realize the reality of connecting with people here will take time. Three months seems like a short time, but it’s amazing what can all happen during that time. Life continues on and is busy for many.  I’ve changed in many ways. I would really appreciate your prayers as I continue to find my way back here, and also that the Lord will give wisdom in terms of the future. Should I pursue life here in Canada or the ministry in Ecuador? There are many needs, and I’ve had a taste of where the Lord could use me in Ecuador. There’s a feeling of loss inside, but at the same time, my life feels so much richer because of the experiences I’ve had in Ecuador. The valley moments have drawn me closer to Christ, the challenges on the mission field have humbled me, and the new relationships have brought so much joy and love to my life. I count myself so blessed to have a church family here and in Ecuador who love and support me!

Before I bring this reflection to a close, I have a couple of very special people to thank. I can’t express how much I’ve come to appreciate and respect Fred & Arlene. They’ve welcomed me into their home, been there through the ups and downs, have challenged me in my faith, and have loved me for who I am. I’m so grateful. Missions is relational, and growing in relationship with them has been instrumental. I praise and thank God for giving us a special friendship. It was a blessing to just live life with them and see what they go through in everyday life.  Missionaries can be seen as heroes, but it’s important to remember they are ordinary people and have many hidden heartaches and challenges. May we be faithful in encouraging them and upholding them in our prayers.

Fred and Arlene, I miss you and love you!

Arlene

18446678_10154715187811701_1151731916282718213_n

The whole journey to Ecuador has been a gift  and all glory is given to God! The Lord is faithful and if I have been a blessing to the people there in any way, I know it is by grace alone. Thank you for your love, support and prayers! I’ve been humbled by so many prayer warriors on my behalf and ask you to continue to pray for the people in Ecuador.

I trust in the Lord’s timing He will provide the opportunity to go back to Ecuador or pursue other areas of counseling and ministry here. I do look forward to seeing where the Lord leads. Until I can share more with you… may God be with you.

Blessings,

Rebekah

Final Week in Ecuador

Dear Family & Friends,

Greetings! I’m spending this week in Quininde which is a blessing. I have had opportunity to spend more time with the children in the projects and help wherever needed. We had a goodbye party for one of the teachers/helpers Wednesday night and it was really neat to be in fellowship with all the teachers from the projects. They sure can have a lot of fun together which is a joy witness!

Sadly, I’m facing some stomach issues again so I’ve had to spend some time in bed. I’m thankful to have Dr. Yeny close by to help and encourage. This morning she reminded me not to feel bad about going through sickness and this is all part of the growing experience of missions. I’m staying with two of teachers from the projects which is really encouraging. I appreciate them and as young ladies we can have a wonderful time fellowship together. It’s been a real blessing.

Dr. Yeny would like me to play recorder for the children on Monday, Lord willing, which would be really fun. We hope and pray I am feeling well enough to spend more time in the projects. Your prayers are always appreciated!

I’m writing this from my phone since I didn’t bring my laptop to Quininde so in closing, I must say I’m filled with mixed emotions because this is my final week in Ecuador. I have experienced some hard moments, but also many encouraging moments. I have grown in different ways through my stay in Ecuador and I have so much to be thankful for. The church family in Quito, the community of believers in Quininde, and especially Fred & Arlene have been instrumental in my life. I will miss them dearly. My perspective on missions is richer and have witnessed some of the realities that people don’t talk about. We can romanticize missions, but there are intense struggles on the field missionaries endure that we often never know about. Please pray not only for the remainder of my time in Ecuador, but for the children and teachers in the projects, Dr. Yeny, the church in Quito, and Fred & Arlene Jonkman. The work will continue on and I pray you will faithfully uphold them in your prayers, even without these blog updates. Fred & Arlene are preparing for a Word & Deed team that arrive May 15 so please keep them and the team in your prayers.

I thank you very much for all your prayers, support and love. Lord willing, I will return to Canadian soil May 13 and possibly be able to worship in my home church Sunday afternoon. I will send another blog post to close off this journey in Ecuador.

Blessings,

Rebekah

A few pictures from an outing with some of the young peoples from the church in Quito. The scenery in the mountains was inspirational.

FB_IMG_1493999530464FB_IMG_1493999555976FB_IMG_149399956230720170429_120353

Many Blessings

Dear Family & Friends,

Greetings!  The weeks are going by quickly, and I’ve experienced many blessings over the past couple of weeks. I’ll try to quickly highlight for you.

First, I was encouraged to have Grace come and visit us in Ecuador for a week. We were refreshed by the sweet fellowship together and share in many conversations with Fred & Arlene. We had time to see some sights and travel back to Quininde for a visit which was really nice. The visit went by quickly! Grace is back in Costa Rica, and today I’ve returned to Mariana’s. We continue to move forward in our journeys.

 

IMG_20170407_152826_845

Reunited! We sent this photo to our mothers first! 🙂

IMG_20170413_181336_155

IMG-20170411-WA0005

The progress being made on the medical centre in Quininde…

Second, many of you have asked about my health and I’m doing well. I had a few weeks where things were up and down between the infection and parasites, but I’m grateful my health is getting better. I’ve been challenged to see every experiences has an opportunity for growth.

Third, in the last few weeks I’ve really felt more “at home” with the church family and growing in friendships within the church. I’ve been encouraged and very thankful for this gift the Lord has given. Yesterday, we shared a special breakfast at the church hosted by the gentlemen and we had a wonderful time of fellowship. I also enjoyed a great game of soccer with the young people before and after church – it felt so good to play! It is refreshing to worship with the people here and also see how they grow together as they face different experiences. Please continue to pray for the church family in Quito. There are many joys and blessings, but also deep struggles these people endure.

Saturday, Fred, Dago (the pastor), Marcos (Dago’s son) and I went on an adventure to a farm where Marcos lives during the week while he studies.  I really enjoyed being on the farm again! The property is beautiful and I was refreshed by the sights, and fellowship we had together.

beautiful

One of the stunning views

Marcos

Marcos and I took a hike through the property. He let me taste corn cane…sweet & very good!

IMG_20170415_153859_877

Guinea pig anyone? 🙂

It has been refreshing to have a break from classes and have some different experiences. It’s hard to believe my weeks are winding down here in Ecuador. It’s very bittersweet to be honest.  As I said earlier, I’ve returned to Mariana’s and I plan to study for 2 more weeks yet. Mariana was happy with my Spanish which is good, but I confess my biggest struggle is having confidence. We will continue to work on translating counseling material together and I’m sure share in many conversations. I hope to return to Quininde after this and have more opportunities to get a taste of the work there. I really enjoy the children and people there, so I’m looking forward to that time.

I would appreciate your prayers as I continue the studies and work hard in the gifts the Lord has given. Please also pray I would make the most of every opportunity here, especially as the weeks wind down. It really is bittersweet as my heart has found a home here in Ecuador as well. I would also appreciate prayers that I would be given wisdom in what path the Lord would have me continue to pursue.

Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement! I hope and pray you had a blessed Easter. May you continue to live a life that reflects the love Jesus has for us!

Blessings,

Rebekah

Sowing Seeds…

Dear Family & Friends,

I am very thankful to share I’m feeling much better this week and very grateful for all the prayers. I was humbled to have so many prayer warriors. The Lord redeemed the time as I grew spiritually and it gave me a new perspective on some matters. It was a blessing in disguise. I feel stronger and trust the Lord used it as a time to teach me and renew my heart for the work ahead.

This week I returned to Mariana’s to resume classes and it has been a real blessing! I’m thankful I didn’t loose my Spanish training and the Lord has been very gracious to me to give me opportunity to make more progress. Mariana and I started to translate counseling material I brought from one of my CCEF courses and what a neat opportunity it has been! The course is called “Counseling Children and Adolescents” which explores difficult problems youth wrestle through and seeks to equip parents and other adults how to walk side by side with children in their pain. It challenges me to really think through matters and also try to guide Mariana as she has many questions. She seems to really appreciate the material and it generates some thoughtful discussions. One day we somehow started discussing Christianity and Catholicism and the Lord gave the opportunity to express to Mariana how our faiths are different. She often says our faiths are similar, but we haven’t discussed the key difference so it was very good to try to begin sharing the truth of the Gospel. Please pray as have these conversations together, and that the Lord would equip me with the clarity of the Word so I can be a light in Mariana’s life. I’m growing as I’m challenged to think through matters and share my faith. As we work through it page by page, word by word, I pray the Lord will work in her heart as seeds continue to be planted. It is very humbling and encouraging. After finishing translating a particular section of the material she made a photocopy of it and gave it to a friend who was visiting because her friend has some difficult struggles with a son. That was a neat moment!

This week I have received some wonderful encouragement from different people back home and here in Ecuador which has been very refreshing. I’m also growing in the relationships I form here with Mariana’s family which is a blessing. Today was Fran’s birthday (Mariana’s husband) and this morning in classes Mariana asked if I would make meatloaf for special dinner. She knew I made meatloaf at Jonkmans and wanted me to make it for them so I agreed. My intial thought was…what if they don’t like it? I’m thankful to say they loved it and Fran appreciated it. After a special meal we played a game and then had cake together. It was neat to share in the celebration for Fran’s birthday and contribute to the meal.

The candle was lite, lights turned out and we sang Feliz Cumpleanos… 20170330_205204

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Jose, Fran (holding Maria’s baby) and Mariana (missing their son, Jaun Pierre) 20170330_205521

We keep sowing seeds… through relationships, everyday conversations, translating counseling material and we trust the Lord of the harvest who is sovereignly guiding every act of love. Recently a friend shared this verse with me which encouraged me as I think of the task the Lord has called us to. It is also a timely reminder to keep ourselves in the Word and maturing spiritually so we will shine for Christ, but also remember it is by grace alone through faith in Jesus that we will grow and shine.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. -Daniel 12:3

Next week I hope to return classes, and then Grace Korvemaker arrives next Friday for a week to visit, the Lord willing. I’m really looking forward to spending time together! Grace continues on with the work the Lord has called her to in Costa Rica and she’s a huge blessing to me. We have the special opportunity to encourage and challenge one another as we go through similar experiences and wrestle through questions and frustrations together.  So the work continues on and I have much to look forward to in the coming weeks! Time is flying!

Please know your prayers and support are not taken fore granted. I continue to think and pray for you as well and I’m thankful to hear from many of you! May the Lord bless and continue to use you wherever He placed you. We labour together….sowing seeds…and give glory to God!

Blessings,

Rebekah