Monday, January 7, 2008

Rewind, then look forward

Life sure moves on in funny ways. Exactly one year ago today I was transitioning to living in Ecuador, doing a study abroad to get some Spanish credits and learn about living alone in a new culture and adapting to a new language.

I remember crying and being more than a little freaked out the day I left Maryville. Arriving in Quito, the capital city, didn't quite work out as planned either. I got into the airport only to find myself escortless and rideless. The person who was supposed to pick me up and take me to my hotel for the night never appeared, so I jumped in a cab, showed them the name of my hotel, and off I went on my adventure.

By Sunday, January 7 (today's date), of last year, I was bored at my "new home" and ready for my classes to start so I could get back into the swing of Spanish, learn my way around the city, and meet some people to hang out with. Read about my first days here. "Last night" (last year though) was Seis de Enero, an odd celebration that at least gave me something to do, but began to indoctrinate me into life in Cuenca. Here's the link for that post. A year ago today, I didn't really have much of an idea of how life would go down there, I was just ready for it all to really start. Things quickly changed when classes began, providing me with activities, friends and memories that make me laugh and make me cringe.

My time spent down there taught me a lot about myself, both good and bad. If I could re-create that experience, I would do so in a heartbeat. There are so many situations that, looking back, I am ashamed of the way I handled things and I wish I could rewind and re-do it. However, I know that we learn from all of our experiences, both good and bad. I definitely learned a lot about my weaknesses, my strengths, and my complete inadequacy for taking the Gospel to the nations on my own. When I rely on my own strength to share my faith in hard situations, I faily miserably, because I have no strength apart from Christ, who gives me fortitude to do His work.

So, looking ahead then from my Ecuadorean adventure I can say that I am asking God for the chance to once again live in another country, with the purpose of reaching people with the good news of salvation through Jesus. Maybe this time, I won't try to do it on my own, because I know that doesn't work. This next time, I can only hope that Christ would be the focus and the driving force of all I do, so that it will be His name that is made great through the experience.

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