Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Year In Review

New Year 2010
New Year 2011
This year, I was going to skip my now-traditional year-in-review post. I felt like there wasn't that much to talk about, or not that much to reflect on. But then I started looking back on past blog posts, and I LOVED reading those posts from 2011 and 2010.

So, I don't want to miss this opportunity to review twenty-twelve, the year the world was supposed to end. But I will have to really rack my brain, because I have been a lazy blogger this year, and the only old journal I have in Quito only goes back to April of this year!

Here goes...

January: Alex and I celebrated Christmas and the new year with our good friends in Arequipa. Work resumed in Cusco, with Kathy and I working in Lamay, Coya, and Santiago. Tyler and Amy brought a ping-pong set back from the States that can be used on any table, so we started having ping pong nights!

February: We had a short-term team of five men come and build the first ever MOBILE foam chapel out of styrofoam bricks. We continued church services. I made homemade Pop Tarts, which might qualify as one of my proudest moments of the year.

March: I started to work more in the church plant sites of Oropesa and Huaro. We painted the foam chapel, and also began preparations for handing over the church plants to local leadership. We filmed the testimonies of our contacts, which I will always cherish. The Cusco team travelled to Arequipa to do a time of debrief with the Well-Being Team.

April: Since it was the Cusco team's last month, and we had done almost all of the leadership-handover, we got to do some fun things, like visit the Chocolate Museum of Cusco, take a day trip to the nearby city of Abancay, and go on several trips for coffee in our brand-new Starbucks. We also had a goodbye service at the home church in Cusco, and said our goodbyes to our dear friends and disciples. At the end of the month, Tyler, Amy, and Alex headed to the United States, and I went to Arequipa.

May: I was able to take a couple weeks of rest in Arequipa, recovering from the hard work of being a 40/40 and preparing for the next task of helping with short-term projects. May was maybe the first time in my life I have experienced real homesickness. But then it was off to the jungles of Peru for the first time, where we did a short-term building project in Puerto Maldonado with a team of college students from Southern Nazarene University. We built two chapels and did several outreach events, and I got to hang out with a monkey and zipline across the Amazon!

June: I went back to Cusco to prepare for the short-term project, and the first two weeks of June were all about preparation: organizing transportation and setting up events. Then a team of about forty people came, and they built two chapels for the churches I helped to plant, and did countless impact events, visiting schools, hospitals, orphanages, and plazas to reach out to people in these small towns. We dedicated the churches, and I will always remember hearing the disciples say, "Now we have to fill this church!"

July and August: I went back to Cincinnati! Chipotle, Graeter's, the Reds, and time with family and friends. I spent a week with kids at camp. I also spoke a total of twenty times to various groups about what God has done and continues to do in South America. I took a road trip with my dear friends Katie and Kristen to Chicago to get my visa for Ecuador. God provided financially in amazing ways, paving the way for me to return to South America.

September: I left the USA and went to Colombia, earning a new stamp in my passport. I spent two weeks in Cali, becoming completely immersed in the church there, and growing spiritually in intense ways. At the end of the two weeks, I made my move to Ecuador, beginning my job as SAM Mobilization Manager.

October: Off and running in my new job, making new contacts, following up with candidates, receiving training with Rachel Kuhn, and getting to know Ecuador, traveling to several cities, including Santo Domingo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, and Shell. I also celebrated my twenty-third birthday.

November: With Trevor having arrived at the end of October, we were able to visit two youth camps and generate new candidates. We had our first interviews and approved the first five 40/40s. We had a big Thanksgiving celebration with many missionary families in Ecuador.

December: More interviews, more speaking, more travel, and more new candidates and new 40/40s. Completely falling in love with Ecuador! Also visiting some very special people in the States for the holidays.

I was dead wrong about not having much to say this year, and in thinking not much happened!

 God has been so wonderful to me in 2012. I can't begin to sufficiently praise him for what He has done. He has poured his love on me and allowed me to swim in oceans of mercy. He has healed my heart and restored my soul. He has continued to call me and to equip me. I thank him and praise him.

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