When meeting someone for the first time, we often ask people what they do for a living. While there’s nothing wrong with a nice, simple, clean answer, I’ve wrestled for a number of years with not placing my identity in what I do, but rather in who I am.
So, who is Rebecca Howan?
I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a little sister, a niece, and an aunty to a gorgeous and cheeky 20-month old girl. In the words of Shakespeare, I am little but fierce, and not only come from a line of wonderful and loving men, but also from a line of strong and empowering women who I am blessed to call family.
I am a girlfriend and friend, an empathetic laugher and crier, an advice giver, and trusted listener.
I am a Wellington waterfront lover, and call the South Coast my home where I have been born and bred. In true Wellington-style, I am an avid flat white drinker and brunch eater, and a quirky Cuba Street lover.
I am a singer and a musician – I trained as an opera singer when I left school and have a Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance Voice from the New Zealand School of Music. However, a couple of years into my degree, I decided that the opera lifestyle was not for me, so now I am an organiser, an arranger, a spreadsheet creator and list maker, and have been working as an Executive Assistant, most recently at New Zealand Red Cross for the Secretary General and National President.
While I may not be an opera diva, I am a passionate chorister, and I have been a member of many local and national choirs including the New Zealand Youth Choir and The Tudor Consort in Wellington.
I am an art lover, a gallery visitor, a theatre go-er, a poetry appreciator, and a music listener. I think that all forms of art are beautiful and meaningful and profound, and I love different forms intersecting with each other to tell stories and convey emotions.
I am a Jesus-follower, and have called The Salvation Army in Newtown my church whānau since I was born. I am a worshipper, a preacher, and a leader, and I love the diverse, messy, and beautiful community that I am a part of, with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Next year will bring a significant change for me as I move to The Salvation Army’s Booth College of Mission to become a cadet and will train to become a Salvation Army officer. I’m so excited to become a minister, a pastor, and a mission director, but also a community connector, a bridge builder, an influencer, and a joy and life bringer. As my session name states, I am a holiness reflector (Lord, may that be true of my life).
I am a writer, a blogger, and a communicator, and have been writing blogs to process my thoughts and encourage and challenge others since I was at university. I am a constant journal writer, a quote collector, and a thought analyser and processer, and always have a notebook and pen on me to capture thoughts at a moment’s notice.
I am a world traveller and a diverse culture experiencer. I am a nature walker and a natural beauty beholder. I am a postcard collector and a sentimental hoarder. I am a people lover and a very loud laugher.
It can be hard to summarise and capture a life in a few hundred words, when so much is learned and experienced in the day to day moments that are never written down. But think of this as a starting point, a glimpse into my life right now, with more experiences to be had and things to learn along the way.
Rebecca Howan is from Wellington, New Zealand, where she works as an Executive Assistant in the humanitarian sector. She worships and serves at The Salvation Army, and is passionate about music, travelling the world and building community.
You can read Rebecca’s previous columns at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-howan.html