STAR retreat


It is hard to believe I have now been in Ecuador for two weeks. I have very much enjoyed it here. Yet I have discovered that if Colombians who migrate to Ecuador either as refugees or for other reasons find Ecuadorian culture to be quite different, the same goes for my previous Latin American experience in Honduras. There are a variety of cultural elements that are different, most notably foods, and every country has its own set of vocabulary. There are suddenly new words I must learn, and I have to be careful not to use words or phrases that only make sense in Honduras or Central America. Even so, I am discovering that climate influences the local culture, with a difference between the generally more open and amiable culture of hot, coastal regions versus the reservedness of people who live in the mountains.


This last week we had our STAR retreat with Paul Stucky, who traveled from Colombia. STAR stands for Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience, though in Colombia it is known as Church Coordination for Psychosocial Action. The retreat involved people who either work directly with the refugee project, have pastoral encounters with refugees (like myself), or are volunteers with the Quito church. We stayed at a campground owned by the Christian and Missionary Alliance church very close to the equator, but high enough that it got foggy in the afternoon and cold at night (fortunately there were wood stoves in the buildings).

Paul gave important information on the psychological stages of victims (which without healing can perpetuate cycles of violence), and we received important advice on how to converse with people that have traumatic stress, in particular engaging their emotions. At the same time, we also had opportunity to get to know each other better as a group, engage our own negative experiences and find personal affirmation.

IMG_0320We had really good meals brought in from town and some recreation time in which we played soccer. Unfortunately a number of people ended up injured, including César and Patricia themselves.

A song that got into my head after the one night when we sang various songs as a group ad hoc (And its translation).

I still have not quite gotten into a regular routine. I will be preaching in Calderon this Sunday and leading the small group meeting on Thursday. I have also spent some time visiting participants in the Calderon church, most of whom are Colombian refugees. This church is small, about 20 people that attend. It is also likely that I will begin an introductory Greek course (this was actually César’s idea, though I’m more than up for it) beginning mid-November. I have been staying at the house of Tatiana, who has been in leadership with the Calderon group, but I am moving to my apartment which will double as the place where the church will meet on Sundays.

5 thoughts on “STAR retreat

  1. Caleb,

    Good to hear from you. I hope you will have a good experience in Ecuador.
    I liked your notice of the difference climate makes, as well as cultures in Latin America.
    May all go well for you. Blessings.

  2. Do you remember reading about el monstruo grande y pisa fuerte in the Aramaic text of Daniel 7:7, 19?

  3. HI, Caleb, it’s great to hear some details about your arrival in Ecuador. I’m chairman of the Central Plains Outreach and Service Committee. We have a meeting next week and I’ll mention your blog for committee members to check out. Hi to Beth !! Have a great day in the Lord !

    Roger Farmer, Washington, Iowa

  4. This sounds like wonderful work, Caleb; life-giving to you as well as to the people you are in community with. I will keep up on your blog and keep you in prayer as you intend to live out daily the call of Christ.

    do well and be well brother.

    zachary k.

  5. !Que gusto leer de tus experiencias Caleb! I am enjoying reading about your new journey and all your insights. La cancion de Solo le pido a Dios es una de mis favoritas tambien. Wishing you well from here in Goshen y que Dios te acompañe.

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