Jane and Jerrell Ross Richer
Tuesday, October 18, 2022

If we were to sum up our life since April 2020 in one word, it would be: uncertainty. Our journey taught us to embrace the ambiguity – the unfolding of God’s will is always a mystery.  


During our eight years of seeking spiritual understanding alongside the Cofán people, we have learned to experience God more deeply — we have been challenged to give up any notion of finding God in certainty, conformity or control. God has been faithful to meet us even in the “valley of the shadow,” in the pause, in the in-between.  


God met us by challenging our assumptions through studying Native Christian theology and when we struggled to learn basic linguistics.  


God was present with Jerrell when his mother, Florence, breathed her final breath and with Jane while she cared for her father, Felton, through the last stage of his life.  


God comforted us as our nest emptied of three of our four children. 


God guided us through an unwelcome journey with epilepsy 


God picked us up when we were disappointed by three failed attempts to travel to Ecuador. 


God healed our bodies of Coronavirus 


When gun violence touched our family, God drew near.  


When depression threatened our relationships, God gave light. 

 

Amid all this uncertainty, we were blessed by our visits to communities and home congregations. We praise God for the chance to be together again in person and for safe travels. Through our home stays, shared meals, and conversations over coffee, we sensed a deep love and commitment for indigenous people of Ecuador and around the world. 


cofan congregation

 

Our time living in the Cofán community in Zábalo, Ecuador, brought new understanding of the threats faced by Indigenous Peoples worldwide and we are feeling called to broaden our work. 

 

We recently expanded our community by joining the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition, an Anabaptist group which works diligently to break down structures that continue to systematically dispossess Indigenous Peoples of their ancestral lands and human rights. This connection widened our circle of awareness to include 


These are just a few examples of why we feel that God is calling us to reimagine two-way mission and our initial call as international service workers.  


We are tentatively planning to travel to Ecuador again in January. We realize that much has changed in more than two years since the global pandemic and we do not know what to expect, what the local needs will be, and how we might accompany church leaders in the future.  


Our faith in the relationship between God and people, and the elusive goal of our global community as a manifestation of the Kingdom of God that Jesus talked so much about, nurtures a desire to seek balanced relationships with the Cofán people, as well as other Indigenous Peoples. 


We sense that our gifts are found in connecting people, and we perceive God urging us to use those gifts to facilitate connections between people in the Americas. We welcome your continued prayers and support and look forward to sharing with you in the coming months as this emerging call unfolds. 


It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since we joined Mennonite Mission Network. Countless of you partnered with us since the conception of this two-way mission. We thank everyone for your prayers and faithful support for our family through numerous transitions. Our fellow seekers in Ecuador appreciate your continuous prayers and petitions on their behalf also. It is incredible to see the rich diversity of the people God has joined together through love, faith and hope. 


 

 

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https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4792/Recognizing-our-gifts-can-lead-to-a-call-to-a-broader-mission

Jane, Jerrell and their children work half the year with indigenous church leaders and families in the Ecuadorian rain forest, and half the year as educators in the U.S. 

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