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Broken Vessels

By Rachel, REACH Team Ecuador

This reflection on Rachel's REACH experience was originally published on her blog, deloscielosblog.wordpress.com

To the people who didn’t quit, I write this dedicated to you: Alisa, Essie, Erica, Katie, and Brenda.

To the One who took our broken vessels and made them worthy, I write this for the glory of the Father!

I miss Ecuador, but even more I miss our team. Our little, filthy, close apartment of six girls, friends, amigas, sisters, and workers in a dry and weary land. Yet, a place where people learned together; where we laughed through the difficult, cried through the weariness and prayed through it all. A place where six VERY different people learned to work together, explore together, love together and just be together. Where daily life of working foundation shifts, eating ice cream, dead tired evenings ending with inside jokes, breaking everything related to the kitchen and telling stories brought us together. Oh how this team is one of stories and storytellers. A majority of our time was spent telling stories, stories of our day, of funny moments from last week, of our own lives, of our pasts, and of our friends and family. We even learned to tell the stories of our souls.

How absolutely honored and humbled I am to have had a part of joining and hearing five girls’ stories to the depth I did. There are moments I think about going back, to make a few more memories, grow a little bit more together like it was before: ocean trips, batido outings, apartment laughter, bus rides, and of course, child caring.

However, there is so much more to Team Ecuador, to people really, than beautiful memories. There is a brokenness within us as humans. Our team was no exception.

There was so much brokenness, but we made it through. He took our broken persons and changed them and allowed them to love each other and be loved by each other. A broken, but pure picture of the love of the Father.

The song “Broken Vessels” is a poetic form of Team Ecuador. The pain we saw each other go through, sickness, physical, spiritual, and emotional turmoil, the pain in the children, the weariness in ourselves, the broken hearts around us – but we made it through. He brought us through, through our circumstances, and over ourselves. He moved them aside every time we chose to turn to him. Took them away? The struggles and pain? No, not always. Presented a stronger power for us to run to? Absolutely. Cada tiempo.

“He used my wrong words, thoughts, feelings and decisions and changed them so that coming out of fires I am not burned, but purified.”God is God and I am not. I am not God nor do I want to be. I never can or could save myself from myself. Yet he not only rescued me, he CHANGED me. Changed me to be different, to a person of His desires. He used my wrong words, thoughts, feelings and decisions and changed them so that coming out of fires I am not burned, but purified.
It was still painful.

If I had to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat, because never do I want to go back to a heart that wanted me over God.

Will I ever feel that way again, me over God? Will I ever have to learn the hard way again? Yes and yes.

Does that make the past of hardships a waste?

Oh no. Nunca.

Would I want another month of another outreach of team mates struggling and watching them with no action I can do to release their pain? Another six months of hurting team mates with my flaws? Arguments, tears, earthly sorrows?

Of course I don’t want to relive those trials. But the growth. The fruit!!

I’d choose to follow him again, and I will keep choosing him. Again and again.

I would keep being wrong and brought to humility for the ways I’ve gotten to know him. And I will keep being wrong.

But there is a grace upon grace I will live under. Broken, growing, proclaiming and giving away my life for the rescuer to come and do what He does.

This love to live will keep going as a choice to be made as long as earth remains. New people, new sufferings, and new circumstances. I heard his voice for the first time in this way with these five people and that country, so they will always be part of the foundation God instilled in me.

If I could, would I go back to have those precious times again? No. I would not. Not because it was too hard, not because he wasn’t faithful, but because that was for then and I’m living in now.

Additional thoughts:
Living once again in the States, there is either a whirlwind of emotion, or not much processing at all. There aren’t words to how I’m doing, there aren’t emotions to describe how it feels to be back, or what living in another country for six months was like. Someday there will be words and feelings, but for now there are not. Thank you to everyone who extends grace to us as we re-integrate in a way that looks different than before.

Please pray for all the REACH 2016-17 participants as they continue the program through home assignment. Pray that they find helpful ways to process emotions and continue to be a light to those around them.