endings and beginnings…

Some of you may have noticed that while I am still Ben, I can no longer, by any stretch of the word, be “in Rio.”  Therefore, in the interests of upfrontness, above-boardness, and transparency, we’re going to try something new – moving over here to wordpress.

In one sense, nothing’s changed – it’s a different format, but all the old stories, writings, comments, etc., have made it over.  It’s updated a little bit, but it’s all still here.  And yet I feel as if this is my life.  I spent almost four years on the old blog.  The past six years I have lived in Brazil.  It’s been seven years since I interviewed and camed on staff with WMF.  Nine years ago I was beginning my journey, preparing to go to Nepal on a “Servant Team.”  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It was a family.  It was people – people who loved people.  People who were passionate, excited, and idealistic.  People who wanted to share Christ’s love with the least of these, with the poorest of the poor, with the most vulnerable.  And I wouldn’t trade a single moment of those past 9 years.  I have learned so much from this community that has walked with me, alongside of me, and ahead of me, calling me to fully be who I am, who I was made to be, and who I could be.  This community has encouraged me, challenged me, and co-labored with me, and I am so grateful.

But now I’m no longer on staff with WMF.  This changes things.  So much of my identity was wrapped up in my work, my mission, my vocation.  I worked with children on the street.  I worked with people who lived in slums.  I was a part of something.  As I left Brazil for the last time several months ago, I wondered – “Now what?”

Who am I?  Where do I find my identity?  Is it in my vocation?  Is it in what I can accomplish?  And how to do I integrate my life in Brazil – the good things, the habits, the relationships with the poor – into my life here in North America?  There is much I don’t know.  Much that I am seeking to understand.

And my hope is that this will be a place for us to explore together some of those questions, to dig into what it means to be human, to reflect on the beauty that surrounds us, to question the assumptions that undergird our “normal life,” to tell the beautiful, painful, and rich truth about my life and our lives.  And if in the midst of that I can tell funny stories or a picture that moved me or a stupid YouTube video, then that might be a part of this journey as well.

It feels good to be writing again.  It feels good to be sharing.  Thanks for listening.

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