I am Grateful…

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, p. 109

When I think about my first year in Colombia with the Seed program, it has been an experience of grace (“unmerited favour”). I have received so much from so many while myself only giving a little to few. The appropriate response to this inequitable exchange should be gratitude, and I am truly thankful for so many things. To name just some:

I arrived in Colombia without the ability to speak Spanish. For the patience and help of many people, I have learned a lot.

For this I am grateful.

I have learned many things about a different culture, the Colombian context, agriculture, the social ministries of the church, life in general and myself in particular.

For this I am grateful.

I have eaten so many meals and stayed in lots of houses by the generosity and the hospitality of people throughout Colombia, particularly Chocó. While Chocó might be one of the economically poorest regions in Colombia, the people’s hearts are golden and their food is “rich” (delicious).

For this I am grateful.

Within the communities, my partner organizations, and the MCC team I have met many wonderful people that have accepted me with openness and kindness, and with whom I have shared many great experiences.

For you all I am grateful.

For my friends and family around the world, thanks for your prayers, your messages of encouragement, and your support of me. It means so much to me.

For you all I am grateful.

For my fellow Seeders, thanks for your friendship, your insights, and the way that you encourage and inspire me through the work that you do in different parts of Colombia. You are all invaluable to our team and I have been blessed by and through each one of you.

For you all I am grateful.

For Brendah and Carrie in particular—because you have to interact with me most days—thanks for your tolerance and grace with me and my many shortcomings.

For you both I am grateful.

For Carolina and Giles, my great facilitators, thanks for your help, patience, continual support, and the way that you encourage and challenge me.

For you both I am grateful.

For my mother and my father, thanks for all your love, encouragement, prayers, and support; it is a foundation on which I can always depend.

For you both I am more grateful than I could ever say.

For God—Father and your mercy, Jesus and your example, and Spirit and your comfort—thanks because in you I have hope and reason to persevere in the midst of my many frustrations, fears, and doubts.

For you I am more grateful than I could ever know.

15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. […] 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

~1 Thessalonians 5: 15-18, 28

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