It’s ironic. People fight through barriers to receive that blue passport. That blue passport that is perceived to secure power, freedom, and success to many people around the world. I had a right to that blue passport because I was born in the United States of America. Millions have obtained citizenship after years of hard work, thousands of dollars, and obstacles most native-born people would not understand.

It allows me to live in this country without fear of deportation. It allows me to do a lot. Period.

But on Monday, I went to the consulate in Manhattan with all my paperwork translated to Spanish, my mother’s and father’s Ecuadorian documents and became an Ecuadorian citizen.

I couldn’t help but feel joy and pride as I held my new red passport.

It represented a part of me that I hold closely. A land and country that my parents left over two decades ago but that never left their hearts and minds. It’s the country that holds stories of my childhood where my grandpa taught me math and where my grandma raised chickens and spoke to her plants. It’s the place my family always let me know I could go back to.

Ecuador is the the country that has stamped my heart not only because my people and culture stem from there, but because it has enamored me uniquely. One month from today I will be back for only God knows how long to serve and work with Covenant World Mission in education, sports development, and the arts. It’s really a dream come true.

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