Rostro de Cristo orientation is quickly coming to a close and on Tuesday I will be in Ecuador! I feel like I have been waiting for this day for so many months and now that it's actually here it seems so surreal. It definitely comes with a mix of emotions - nerves, excitement, curiosity, etc. but overall, I am just so ready to finally be in country and am feeling more and more blessed every day for this opportunity!
My apologies for taking so long to finally get a blog post up. I just want to take this time before I go to share with you all what I'm doing and why I'm doing it!
As I have shared with many of you, I will be spending the year in Guayaquil, Ecuador serving with Rostro de Cristo (translation: Face of Christ). As a Rostro volunteer, I will be serving the community of Duran, outside of Guayquil while upholding the five pillars of Spirituality, Community, Simplicity, Service, and Hospitality. Another big focus of Rostro is on accompanying; being instead of doing and focusing on relationships with my community mates and the people that we will be serving. This for me, was the biggest draw to Rostro and I am most looking forward to living out this aspect throughout the year.
Last week, I learned that I will be living in the Arbolito community (translation: little tree) with six of my fellow volunteers while the other seven will be living in Monte Sinai, about 45 minutes away by car. Once we arrive in Ecuador in a few short days, the current volunteers will help us get accustomed to life in Ecuador and we will visit all of the work sites with them and then decide as a community who will work in what placement so I will be sure to send along some updates once that is decided.
As this incredible journey has begun, I have been reminded more and more how grateful I am for this opportunity and how it is exactly where I am supposed to be. Meeting my community mates, attending sessions about spirituality and mission, simplicity, and the cross-cultural context; I have been feeling very affirmed that this is what I was called to do and that there will be so much opportunity for learning and growth over the upcoming year.
I am looking forward to sharing this experience with you all and I want to take the time to thank everyone who helped me get to this point. As Tracy Kidder writes in his book Mountains Beyond Mountains about the life of Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health: "Lives of service depend on lives of support." Over these past two weeks I have thought a lot about how wonderfully true this statement is and there are so many people for whom I am grateful. For my mom and sister who have endlessly supported me as I have answered the call to service, for my friends who dealt with my stressing over the application, the interview, and the waiting and for all those who shared in my excitement the day I found out this was really going to happen. For my many mentors at Stonehill College who helped me throughout my discernment process and who have encouraged me to pursue this opportunity and for many others, I am eternally grateful for you all and feel so blessed to have you in my life. I would also like to take this time to especially thank all those who generously donated to Rostro de Cristo on my behalf to make this experience possible from the financial standpoint; I was overwhelmed by your generosity, love, prayers, and well wishes and for that I am very grateful.
I will leave you all with the song that inspired the name of my blog, Below My Feet by Mumford and Sons. Thanks for reading and I will try to post again soon! Sending lots of love!