Thursday, June 26, 2008

How we roll at the Hacienda… [Update.]

I realize that I haven’t done an update in awhile…so here ya go!
I had surgery last Monday to get the rest of my wisdom teeth out. It was so much better than last time. I slept through almost the whole thing. I was SO swollen for a few days. I pretty much laid in bed for the first three days. Read. Slept. Watched movies. Listened to podcasts. I was really excited when I finally got out of the house on Thursday night! Recovery is going a bit slower than expected…so I’m enjoying oatmeal, yogurt and applesauce for the time being. But I really can’t complain, life’s good!! I expect a full recovery by next week!
Monday was the holiday San Juan, so we celebrated by setting off fireworks. We later found out that that’s illegal in the city! Oops! San Juan is a cultural celebration when the locals set fires to warm up the earth. This week contained the shortest day, and the “coldest” day of the year, and my grandma, my cousins, and two of my brothers’ birthdays + my grandparents 53rd anniversary!
This week we have been having Vacation Bible School at the Center. There have been a LOT of kiddos! Yesterday there were nearly 50!!! On Monday a little girl named Sarah came with her brother Elias. They walked in holding hands and as they were walking by I said “Hola!”, Sarah turned around smiled really big and ran over to me and gave me a hug! It was so cute! I had never even seen her before, but apparently that simple greeting was all she needed to warm up to me! It made my day!! (hopefully hers too!)
Yesterday we went out to Villa Israel to tutor. All the kids were there because they are on “vacation” from school. We had a really good day tutoring and playing with them. They are just SO CUTE I can hardly handle it!!
On the intern end of things here, Andrea left on Friday, we all went to take her to the airport, and what do you know, there was a blockade! So we parked on the street and walked. I met some girls from Florida. They were here with their youth group on a missions trip and were on their way home when we saw them at the airport. It was really encouraging talking to them and hearing their hearts for helping others.  I know my own sisters (who are in Jr. and Sr. high) just got back from a local mission trip and were also super excited about how God blessed, provided, and empowered specifically during that week. I think missions is something every kid should have an opportunity to do before graduating from High School…but that’s just my personal opinion…!
Stephanie left on Saturday morning…she will go see a doctor once she gets home just to make sure everything is okay, but she’s doing so much better!! God is so amazing! I actually got to see her without sunglasses a few times before she left!
Katie #2 arrived late Saturday night. Two weeks after scheduled arrival time. They are not messing around when they say that you need a yellow fever shot before coming… and apparently there’s a shortage of the vaccine in the US. We’re very glad to finally have her here! She was here two years back helping with the kids at Frutillar and building the Villa Israel home. So it’s really cool for her to see it now with kids, and I think it’s really cool to hear how her internship was then, and to hear how she learned from it and what she wants to do differently this time around…
Katie #1 has been here for two weeks, though I’m not sure if I’ve officially written about her yet. She’s interning at the Center, but hangs out with us in her spare time. (Incident-ally Katie’s middle name is Joy…the same as my twin, Katie Joy!!)
Tiffany is gone for the week helping with a Youth Camp for the teens from the Inter-national Church. She’s been really involved helping to lead the camp.
So, it’s just Adrian, Katie, Katie and me here in the hacienda this week…and Pop Tart!

Say Yes to the Best…

[sequel to ´the struggle against mediocrity´]

Soo, I’ve been thinking for a long time about what I wrote about last week...and I was still thinking about it this week and thought that I should maybe clarify a few things…I still think it is discouraging how easy WE settle for mediocrity…

I’ve been reading a book by Brother Andrew, “The Calling”. He talks about how we waste time when we try to figure out what God’s will for the rest of our life is, or when we spend so long trying to make sure that we’ve heard a definite call from God. He points out that all God wants from us is obedience today. As we daily obey Him then He will lead us to where He wants us. And I thought about that, and I think it’s true…we spend so long sitting around waiting for an audible voice, or something to just drop in our laps, or we get so worried about what we are going to do with the rest of our lives to make a big difference and don’t worry enough about what we are doing today.

I don’t want to knock a 9-5 job. God leads us to different things at different points in our lives, and we need to obey Him before any fancy ideas that we can only make a difference if we have a job with a good salary, or a high profile job in the community, or if we are a pastor or missionary.

Being a stay-at-home mom can affect the lives of not only your children, but your friends, babysitter (believe me I know from personal experience!), doctors, etc. Being an employee of a non-christian boss can have a lasting impact of his ideas of integrity, work ethic, and God. The possibilities are endless, I just want to challenge all of us, to follow God. If He calls us to a lower profile job, then go for it and make that your missionfield. If He calls you to do something that seems impossible, trust Him when He says that when we are weak THEN He is strong…

He’s good. He’s faithful…no matter what. And all He expects is obedience…no matter what. My pastor said that God expects obedience no matter what. He won’t sit back and say, “Okay, you’re right, I understand that you couldn’t do what I told you to that one time…but next time…”

I know that sometimes we don’t know where God is calling us. I personally fear that I’ll get to the end of my life, and feel like I never did anything because I didn’t know what He wanted me to do. But my friend Karen, encouraged me that sometimes we have to go with what we know. We know generalities about God, like that we are supposed to be sharing Him with others, we are supposed to help the poor, orphans and widows, we are supposed to be people of integrity, we are supposed to marry other Christ-followers, etc. So that kind of gives us something to go on…and we have to just pray that He will guide us and sometimes we have to just go for things and pray that He will stop us if that’s not of Him… We can’t just expect things to fall in our laps, we have to do our part too.

Umm….I guess that’s all for now. Who knows, I may have a follow-up blog next week too, as I explore more what this means…

However, I would like to leave you all with a verse that caught my attention this week…

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,

making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

As always, feel free to comment…

Monday, June 16, 2008

The struggle against Mediocrity

Soo... this week I've been reflecting on my life, and also thinking about some friends--who shall remain unnamed. I see this recurring pattern of maybe when you're little having dreams of being a doctor, or teacher, or missionary or fireman and then growing up and either getting a decent job at a factory, or daycare, or retail store and settling. Just like that, done. How does that happen so easy? What happened to those dreams of wanting to help change the world? What happened to going for something big without worrying about "failure". What is "failure"?
I don't have a huge speech about following your dreams, but I think to some extent we should follow our "dreams". We have God on our side.
So what's the worst that can happen? Say we try teaching and then decide that we like working in a daycare better? At least we know that we tried, right?
I was reading Ephesians 4 and in verse one it says: "Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called". And I just think of a lady from my church. When I was in high school she asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I responded that I wanted to do missions work, she then replied, "I used to feel like God was calling me to do that. Then I got married." And I thought to myself, I never want to have to say that! Even if I try it and God says he wants me to do something totally different I don't want to have to live with regrets. I want to make the most of every opportunity. Whether it's whitewater rafting in the jungle, or taking a few minutes to talk to a lonely old woman, or letting little kids paint my nails (or knuckles) 5 different colors. I'm here because God led me here, and I want to walk worthy of that calling. If I have to humble myself and apologize to my roomates for not being a thoughtful sister, then I will.
Maybe your calling is to be a youth worker, or a fireman, or a stay-at-home mom, I just want to challenge you, first of all to go for it!! Second of all to hold me and those around you to follow the dreams God has given them. Let's not settle for mediocrity when the sky's the limit. because God's on our side. Right?
So feel free to comment, good or bad on this blog...
Love you guys!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Escalators, Dances, and Stairs. Lots of Stairs.

Jaclyn left on Saturday. One of the hardest goodbye’s I’ve ever said…at least over the last few months. It was my last thread of familiarity as far as housemates go. First it was Michelle with whom I was also very close and then Jaclyn. She and Michelle were both so great at making me feel included and helping me to feel like I belonged. They are both dear friends and I hope to stay in touch with them FOREVER!!!
We took the kids from the Frutillar orphanage to the airport too (Along with Popi, Sofia and Vicenta-the houseparents and helper). It was the first time they had ever been there, and were so fascinated by the escalator. They just wanted to ride up and down all day long. It was really neat, I thing, although hard for them to be there. I reminded Jaclyn that the last thing she would see in Cochabamba would be the very reason she came here. I hope she thought that too.

Sunday we climbed up to the Cristo-an incredible workout since you have to climb like a MILLION steps to get up to it! There was a cultural dance performance thing that we watched it was cute and somewhat amusing, the band who set up there for what I thought would be a concert, were only lip-syncing the whole time!!

Tuesday Kim, Elaina and I went out to the Food for the Hungry office (Fundacion Contra el Hambre) to help Nate work on the bunkbeds for the new orphanages in the Chapare. It was fun. I even got to use some of the big tools!! Then he and his wife Cindy along with his mom and grandpa who are visiting from the states took us out for pasta. They were really encouraging!
Tuesday night was Mallory Timmer’s graduation party. Remberto and Vick were there with their baby. It was SOOO good to see them again!! They will probably forever be some of my favorite Bolivians!!

Wednesday at the Center I was talking with Toti (David’s wife. They run the ministry at the center.). There’s this one boy in particular at the center named René who for some reason every time I see him, I just feel for him. He comes very faithfully and he’s one of those kids I just want to see him come to know Jesus. I want everyone to come to know Jesus, but for some reason this kid has a special place in my heart. Don’t know why, but he does. I was asking Toti about René today, and she talked about him and a few of the other kids and about some who had accepted Christ and never come back, some who had accepted Christ whom she could see a change in, and some who haven’t--yet. Then she told me that she prays for them everyday. She said she made a commitment to God to pray for all of the kids every day. And I felt somewhat convicted. I pray for them. But not NEAR as faithfully as I should. Or want to. So I’m going to start. Last night.

That’s all for now I think.
Keep on keeping on, ya’ll!!