by Joy Casey
When facing a transition of some sort or other I ruefully remind myself there is only one constant in this life: change. Change can be invigorating or dreaded — sometimes both — with nostalgia usually thrown into the mix.
Becky Burns has been a stabilizing presence at my right hand since the inception of ministry in Ethiopia. In 2008 she and a friend traveled to Ethiopia with me, and God knitted her heart with the people and culture of Ethiopia. Becky said yes to God’s call to serve, and we are so thankful she did! She has painstakingly built the infrastructure of our organization that has allowed expansion of Kingdom work that engages God’s people either directly or indirectly on the mission field.
She walked the oftentimes hard road of international adoption with hundreds of families, lending strength, empathy and resources during transitions and rejoicing always at seeing the children grow and blend into their new families. When international adoption closed, she championed the miracle of local adoptions never losing her sense of awe at how God re-writes the life stories of these little ones.
Our Mana Gammachuu preschool and kindergarten wouldn’t be what it is today without Becky. Her Master’s Degree in Curriculum Development afforded her the expertise to design scope and sequence and outcome reporting for our rural school. So much that is implemented with the children can be directly attributed to her input.
Becky’s husband, Jeff, has also been an integral part of our work. He has traveled numerous times with me to Ethiopia taking exceptional pictures and video. Once home, he turned his attention to editing creating many promotional videos for us to use. Whether in Ethiopia or at home, Jeff (and Becky) could be relied on to faithfully pray. This power couple has done so much for NewLife behind the scenes, humbly and diligently using their talents to further God’s work.
When Becky let Jason and I know she would be retiring at the end of this year, I confess I did not immediately embrace this change. The three of us have worked seamlessly together for so long I could not imagine doing ministry without her wise and prayerful input. Who will edit my writing and design websites, newsletters and reports? Who will I turn to with technology problems? Who has a seemingly unlimited reservoir of pictures when I need them – and the list could go on and on.
Through the years Becky has stayed in touch with many of our adoptive families and friends of the ministry. Below is just a sampling of esteem justly deserved —
Adopting internationally comes with so many uncertainties. Becky was a huge support to us throughout our adoptions and an encouragement to us after we brought out girls home. She was always a phone call or email away when we had questions…and there were a lot of questions. There were several times when my emotions were running high during our wait and Becky didn’t hesitate to pray with me and remind me that God is in control. She has been a blessing to so many of us and we are grateful for her faithful service. Enjoy this next chapter, Becky! ~Jennifer
Becky is a mighty prayer warrior, a faithful friend, and an incredibly committed voice for the fatherless. For eight years and three adoption journeys, Becky faithfully walked with our family through so many highs and lows as we fought to bring our children home. She was always a voice of truth fused with hope, exactly when we needed it. We are forever grateful for her deep dedication to the work God called her to and for her dear friendship. ~Jonathan and Tara
Becky’s departure from this life-saving and life-changing ministry fills us with sorrow. We have worked with Becky for fifteen years and she has taught us so much! We are extremely grateful for her tolerance, persistence, patience and stamina throughout the course of the years we have worked together to complete our tasks. We wish her the best and will always count her as a dear, personal friend. ~Abebe and Abonesh
Finding Becky’s replacement was daunting. Of course Christ is the real constant in our lives and He is ever faithful. Under Becky’s gentle tutelage, Kim Koch has gathered the administrative reigns of NewLife Ethiopia and is capably filling some very big footsteps. Becky is delighted with her protégé and can step away from fifteen years of ministry satisfied with what she has accomplished and certain her hard work is in very good hands.
Saying goodbye to a trusted colleague and friend is not easy. Becky is transitioning into a new phase of life with her husband, and all of us at NewLife Ethiopia eagerly anticipate the good things God has in store for them in this new season. Well done, good and faithful servants!