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

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

 

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

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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.

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One of the stunning views

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

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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

God’s Ways are Higher than Ours

Dear Family & Friends,

I would like to start with words penned by Frances Ridley Havergal (hymnwriter of Take My Life and Let it Be) because her writings have encouraged my heart this week.

Be Not Weary

Yes! He knows the way is dreary,

Knows the weakness of our frame,

Knows that hand and heart are weary;

He, ‘in all points,’ felt the same.

He is near to help and bless;

Be not weary, onward press.

This week turned out very unexpected and I was reminded of the verse from Proverbs 16:9: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

Last weekend I returned to Jonkmans feeling a little bit off, but truthfully I didn’t think too much about it. By the time Sunday came I wasn’t feeling very well, and after church I was in bed for the rest of the day. I thought after a good rest I’ll be fine and will return to language school Monday morning. Well…the Lord had different plans. I wasn’t able to keep food down and the pain I had wasn’t improving. Monday night felt long as I was restless and couldn’t sleep well. Tuesday morning Arlene brought me in and spent the day getting tests done, hooked up to an IV and waiting for results so we knew what was going on. We were relieved when the results returned showing I had an intestinal infection and it wasn’t more serious. While laying in the bed trying to rest the following words from the song, Through It All, were singing through my mind…

Through it All

If you would like to listen to the song …. Throught It All

Music is often the first to uplift my soul as I sing precious truths in my heart that keep me focused on Jesus and thankful He is always near. The Lord has been very gracious and faithful as I continue to gain strength and I’ve been reminded to pray “Thy will be done” every morning. I want to share a verse that one of my dear nieces gave me right before I left for Ecuador. I don’t think she realized how much it would mean to me. It sits on my desk and this week the verse has become even more of a personal prayer to me.

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I know many of you have already been praying for me which I truly appreciate. I confess I have felt a little discouraged as I have spent the majority of my week in bed, but the Lord has also been gracious to let me have good chats with Arlene. She reminded me this week has not been wasted and God continues to work in me, not by me. The Lord has given me a new perspective on some matters when it comes to the mission field. I remember near the beginning of my time here I asked Fred one night about the balance one should have when it comes to depending on people and God. It might sound strange, but I have had the fear that I will depend too much on people that my faith and trust in God doesn’t grow. Fred reminded me that God does work through people and we need community everyday as  we grow closer to Jesus. This week was a humbling reminder just how much I need others and God. I was very thankful to have Arlene by my side, and I know I had people praying for me. The Lord also used this week to teach me to grow closer to Him and I take comfort knowing He is always with me even when others cannot always be near.

I would like to close with the finishing words from the poem, Be Not Weary…

  Look to Him who once was willing

All His glory to resign,

That, for thee the law fulfilling,

All His merit might be thine

Strive to follow day by day

Where His footsteps mark the way.

Look to Him, the Lord of glory

Tasting death to win thy life;

Gazing on that ‘wondrous story,’

Canst thou falter in the strife?

Is it not new life to know

That the Lord hath loved thee so?

Look to Him who ever liveth,

Interceding for His own;

Seek, yea, claim the grace He giveth

Freely from His priestly throne.

Will He not thy strength renew

With His Spirit’s quickening dew?

Look to Him, and faith shall brighten,

Hope shall soar, and love shall burn

Peace once more thy heart shall lighten;

Rise! He calleth thee! Return!

Be not weary on thy way,

Jesus is thy strength and stay.

-Frances Ridley Havergal

Thank you for your continued prayers. I take it day by day as the Lord unfolds His plans for me in Ecuador. Until next time….Blessings!

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Thank You!

Dear Family & Friends,

I just wanted to send a quick note to express my special thanks for the prayers and many of the encouraging notes I’ve received since beginning at language school. Last week was exhausting and a little bit difficult adjusting, but I’m very thankful this week I’ve seen improvements in adapting to the culture, building relationships and with the language. It has been a blessing and I don’t take any of it foregranted! The little victories made in the everday life here, relationships and Spanish encourages me a lot.

Today when I finished classes Mariana was very glad to see the process I’m making and I can honestly say that things are beginning to really sink in and I’m able to express myself a little bit more everyday. The studies are still tiring, but I’m not nearly as exhausted as last week. This week has gone by quickly and  tomorrow I’ll head back to my home base with Fred and Arlene. I do look forward to my weekends with Jonkmans as it is a time of rest, refreshing fellowship and worship with the church in Quito.

I’ve shared in some meaningful conversations with the other students here also. Many of them have a lot of traveling experiences and I’ve been humbled to hear their stories. They’ve walked through some difficult times and because of it they’ve asked me some meaningful questions. I couldn’t help but sense that some are really searching for a purpose in their lives. We’ve enjoyed some fun moments together as well. The photo below shows Tobias showing me how to make his own pancake recipe. We all enjoyed the late snack together.

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Mariana and I continue to also have some very good conversations together. I introduced her to Steve Green (who sings a lot in Spanish) and she was really grateful. We’ve had conversations covering a wide variety of topics! I’ll list a few to give you a taste:

-She asks about the church in Quito I attend and  specifically what are the roles of elders and deacons. One question she asked me, “who’s more important: the pastor, elders or deacons?” I shared that all the men are meant to work together for the growth of the church. I pulled out my Spanish Bible using verses to explain the roles of elders & deacons, and said that the pastor is empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach with authority of the Word and God so he is used in a different role, but that does not make him better.

-Somehow we started talking about dinosaurs which led her to ask what happened to them? I pulled out my Bible and we turned to Genesis starting with creation to the flood and discussed some of the different thoughts about what happened to dinosaurs. I’m no expert, but I wanted to express is that God did create dinosaurs and they did not disappear because of the big bang theory.

-Mariana has also confided in me with different struggles their family is enduring and she’s personally walking through. One afternoon we took a walk together where she really opened up which was a blessing as she has kept a lot locked inside. She expressed to me her heart is broken. I don’t seek to say too much in response, but simply listen and just want her to know I care and will be praying. There’s so much cultural I don’t always understand and the best I can do is show God’s love and continue to pray. I would appreciate prayer warriors on her behalf and for myself as it is clear that the Lord is orchestrating every detail. I trust He placed me in her life during this time for a purpose and I’m humbled to walk alongside her. I never know what questions she might ask next!

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Thank you family and friends for listening and continued prayers. You are a blessing and I know it is God alone who gives the strength for each new day. I have so much to thank and praise Him for as I begin to feel more at home in Ecuador, build relationships, and the many open doors to share Jesus and His love.

May the Lord richest blessings be with you. I know He continues to use His children around the world and hope you’ll be a blessing where you are. Keep looking to Jesus for every day you face and whatever you may be walking through. I love hearing from you also!

In His service,

Rebekah

Ecuador (2)

Blessings in Ecuador

Saludos Familia y Amigos,

It’s hard to believe it is March already! It seems like a long time ago since the team was here, but still very encouraged by the time God gave us. I have had the blessing to fellowship more with the church family in Quito, and Fred y Arlene have been an encouragement to me. I’m thankful and very blessed.

And now…

Comienza el trabajo – work begins!

This morning Fred y Arlene brought me to Marianna’s house, my spanish teacher, and I’ve completed my first morning of classes. I was encouraged by my class this morning. The Lord graciously gave opportunity to speak with Marianna about my faith and church. Yes, we did study Spanish, but as I was sharing my story through my broken Spanish the Lord opened doors to share the Gospel. Marianna has a Catholic background and seems very open to discuss faith matters. She asked me, “why do you believe in God?” I had to take a moment to reflect, then shared how my adoption story into the Batterink family is a reflection of how God adopts us into His family. I expressed that I did not choose God, but He chose me first. I desire to obey, love and follow Jesus, but it is by grace alone. She asked what kind of books I read so I showed two books I brought with: Trusting God – Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges and 31 Days towards Overcoming Adversity by Joni Eareckson Tada. She took an interest in the books and started looking them up online. She was listening to a video of Joni speak (with Spanish subtitles) and she nearly had tears. I was touched. I shared with her that I had opportunity to meet Joni at the CCEF conference last October and showed her a picture of Joni and I. Marinna had lots of question after that for me. I am thankful for the opportunity to share through my broken Spanish about God and look forward to studying and further conversations with Marianna. Please pray I will stay focused on learning Spanish and be given the strength to press on; also that seeds will be planted Marianna’s heart, and will trust God will work through this. This afternoon Anna-Lynn (another lady living here) and I went for a walk to a local park, and as we were walking I was refreshed by the beautiful scene before me. We can see the valley below with the mountains in the background. How can one study with such a view?

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The past week has been spent adjusting and preparing for the next step at languague school. I have been through some ups and downs, but the Lord has been faithful. I am growing through the process and learning to trust in God as I face the changes. I’m not only learning to draw closer to Him, but also have been encouraged as I reflect on the gift of community that I’ve been given. I am thankful for my family and friends supporting me through this journey, and the new relationships I’m forming here in Ecuador. The Lord has been gracious to place such people in my life, and I’m especially thankful for the gift Fred & Arlene are to me. I know I can’t do this alone and I’m thankful.

The next four weeks will be spent at language school from Monday-Friday. Fred will pick me up Friday afternoons so I have the blessing to spend fellowship with God’s people which I will be thankful for. After the four weeks Grace Korvemaker will be visiting so I will look forward to that visit and we hope to travel back to Quininde.

You may not receive too many updates in the next few weeks unless there are special updates and prayer requests to share. I would like to thank everyone once again for the prayers, support and encouragement. I am blessed and very humbled.

I thought I would include some pictures from the team and from the church in Quito.

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Dos de Mayo project

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Church in a village near Dr. Yeny’s

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Thankful for Fred and Arlene (who’s missing)

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Young Peoples Group

20170222_203602Farewell to the team

In Ecuador

Dear Family & Friends,

I was very blessed and encouraged to be part of the team this week, and humbled to witness how the Lord worked in our lives during the time in Quininde. The men and women accomplished a lot of work, but the relationships that were formed and deepened was even more beautiful to witness and experience. I am sure you will be receiving updates and hear many stories from the team members in the coming days and weeks ahead.

I am thankful to say that I am settling in well here at the Jonkmans in Quito. It was a little strange saying goodbyes to the team and watching them drive away in the bus, but at the same time I had a peace inside. The Lord has been preparing my heart for that moment and I am excited to be staying in Ecuador. It was so encouraging to reconnect with friends, the children and teachers in Quininde that I met last year. The Lord confirmed this past week that this is where I need to be for this season of my life which is very encouraging. There is so much work to do, relationships to build, and language to learn! I am ready to begin. Once the team left we (Jonkmans, Melissa and I) have had time to clean up and opportunity to receive much needed rest. I have slept so well and didn’t realize how exhausted I am. A lady from their church is getting married so this afternoon we have some preparations to do, and attend the wedding tomorrow.

We have decided that I will wait until March 6 to begin at language school. Right now I’m settling in with Jonkmans and next week Arlene and I plan to travel back to Quininde for a  couple days to do some follow-up work from the team. I’m looking forward to returning with her and see what further work the Lord is preparing for us to do. Arlene has mentioned she would like me to teach recorder to the children at the projects, and assist her in equipping the teachers with some basic counseling skills for abused children so they are better prepared to help and care for the children in the projects.

Right now I need to focus on learning Spanish, the culture and the people. Pray the Lord will give me the strength and focus to learn the language and begin to build relationships. Please also pray for Fred & Arlene has they catch up on their work  and move forward in their work the Lord has given them. Pray too that I might be an encouragement and blessing for them during my stay in Ecuador.

I have been very encouraged and humbled by so much support and love I have received from many in the last few weeks especially. I was really touched by the encouragement the team gave me as we were saying goodbyes. It was a little emotional, but they were happy tears as I was humbled by the love they gave. Pray the Lord will also use the team members as they have now returned home and will be an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands back in their own families, communities and churches.

I apologize I don’t have any pictures to send at this moment, but in time I will work on uploading some pictures to share with everyone.

Blessings,

Rebekah