Saturday, May 29, 2010


I finally got to go visit Joel, Brandon, Samuel and Erland. (The four brothers who lived in the orphanage when I lived here who have since moved to another house). They live about 45 minutes from the city, and I had to go in public transportation and switch busses about 30 minutes in. I didn't really have any idea where I was going, I had hoped to meet up with a guy from Ireland who works there with Latin Link, but we didn't find each other. So I was asking lots of questions, and kept my phone numbers handy. I eventually made it and was so proud of myself! The boys now live in a home called Pequeno David (Little David) which is a transitional house which works with the parents (education) to help them get their kids back. The boys are doing very well and the plan is to help them get back with their mother my the end of the year. As soon as the two younger ones (Samuel and Erland) saw me they ran to me and gave me the best hugs! It was so good to see them! I spent the whole afternoon there, we played checkers and legos, they made cards for their mom, and seemed to get along very well with their peers. I hope to make it back before I leave also.

Yesterday we had Bible Study with the kids from Frutillar. So there we were marching up to the hacienda 7 kiddos, two sheep, one dog, carrying two bottles of pop and an empty cake pan. Did you ever have a moment where you stop and try to capture a specific moment in your mind? I have lots, but this was definitely one of them. Bible studies are generally short, as keeping the attention of seven kids between 6 and 13 is pretty difficult. The kids seem to enjoy it though, and all volunteer to read out loud, or close in prayer. We also celebrated Dalia's birthday this week.

Annie left yesterday morning and the kids were so cute as they prayed thanking God for sending her, and giving her safety in her travels. We miss her already!!

This week was Sydney's graduation week. We had three celebrations for her (family, school, and ceremony.) She was valedictorian and gave a speech last night. So proud of her! Emily also graduated from 6th grade. She's grown up so much since I've been here (although she hates when people always say that!), but she's become quite a young lady. :)

I had a really interesting talk last night with a young Bolivian lady at the graduation ceremony. She asked me if I was a Christian, which gave us a chance to talk about God which always causes me to reflect on my relationship with God and how I'm doing.

We attended the International Teams monthly prayer meeting/Bible study on Friday also. The Spies have been heading this up, as an opportunity for the I-Teams missionaries to share, fellowship and eat together! (Kate made an awesome cake for Nate's birthday). We actually kept the taxi waiting so we could get a piece to go, since I knew it would be fantastic.

The Spies also had us over for dinner on Wednesday night. It was a really nice time visiting, and Kate and I spent hours talking about missions, family and everything else. They are so gracious, and I hope to be just like Kate when I grow up!

On Wednesday Sam and I went out to the Villa Israel home (which is currently empty). It's only been a month since Annie cleaned it last, but since no one is living in there it was super dusty. WE spent hours cleaning, since a potential house parent couple was interviewing on Friday. It was really weird to go back when there were no kids there! :( On the way back the trufi (bus) was stuck in the market forever. There was lots of traffic so I decided to try to take pictures and capture some of the real Bolivian culture for you guys (once I can finally post pictures). Well, I took a few fotos, then a hand reached into the window and grabbed my camera in my lap. I firmly grasped it with my other hand and just held on to it. The trufi was moving and the man had slight momentum too as he was on a bike. In the end I won, but I got an ugly cut on my hand. Apparently he had been watching the taxi and ridden by one way, but returned to see if he could swipe my camera. The ladies sitting next to me became so angry! I felt really bad, just seeing the ugliness of sin, and although a camera is just a material possession-which if lost wouldn't have been the end of the world-it's the root issue of sin. (which if we're honest, exists in each one of us too). Anyway, I still have my camera--Thank God! As I still have two more weeks, and I haven't been able to upload any pictures, though some are on Sam's laptop.

Soo...that's the week in brief. I have no idea what's going on back in the States at all--or anywhere else for that matter, so feel free to let me know anything important that I should know. I almost forget that there's a whole world out there too!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Week 2.5

"Bolivia makes me so tired", That is a quote from the missionary's daughter. It really kinda does, but maybe that's because we are so busy all of the time. But it is definitely worth it.

This week: (as of Monday)

The Brazilian team who was staying at the hacienda left Friday afternoon. I had a nice talk with one of the men from the team. He was a professional soccer player and gave his life to Christ five years ago. Now he and his wife are going to Chad to be missionaries. They are training here in Cochabamba at one of the seminaries.

We spent a morning at the nutrition center. It is clean and well run. The children are on specific meal plans, as the goal is renourish them. However, there are only a few nurses, so we went and held the babies, played with them, and fed them lunch. It was really neat, but kind of sad at the same time. Some mothers were there and an Aunt came to visit her niece too, but in general there were a lot of babies and not a lot of people to hold them. So we enjoyed helping out with that. The center is way at the top of the hill in a really neat neighborhood. The taxi/trufi driver nearly got in a fight with a motorcyclist on our way back. That was interesting...

At babywashing on Saturday afternoon, we once again combed lots of heads of thick tangled hair. We played with the kids and painted their nails too. The Timmers are in charge of babywashing now. We brought down a lot of clothes from the donations brought by teams. Two tents are set up and the babies are washed and then given clean clothes. Their hair is combed and braided and sometimes they receive bracelets, or get their nails painted or color pictures. It's quite neat.

This weekend I'm headed off to Potosi for a week. I always get a little nervous for these trips. It's very rural, dirty, and you never quite know what to expect... But I love going there too, because it forces me to rely on God to take care of all the details. And the kids are wonderful; the people gracious; and the scenery beautiful.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The week that flew by

It's very hard to believe that I've only been here one week! We've been very busy, and it feels very good to be back in Bolivia.

Let me try to summarize this in a way that will hold your attention.
I've gotten to see a lot of old friends, kiddos that have grown up a lot, and experience a bunch of new things too. That's the short version.

And THIS is the long version:
I went to the center (which is a lot more structured and seems to be meeting the needs of the kids even better as they build up their team and experience), the kids at the orphanage are doing well. We celebrated Viviana's ninth birthday yesterday, and visitor Sam F. taught piano lessons to the older 4 on Saturday; the Timmers are in charge of Babywashing now. I combed an braided a lot of heads of long tangled hair on Saturday. :)

There are currently two interns here; Annie and Sam. They both came from England, but Sam grew up in Spain; This week there is a group of Brazilians staying at the hacienda, I will spend the afternoon with some bolivian children and an Irish missionary, and have dinner with an Australian family. Talk about multi-cultural!! I love it!
On Monday (our "day off"), we went up the mountain to a place called Parque Tunari. The missionary that drove us up there had heard that there was a lake somewhere and we were determined to find it. We drove through the winding roads, turned around a few times and after a little over two hours we found it!! It was deserted, we saw only a couple of shepherds and a fisherman the whole day. It was beautiful! We took a picnic lunch, because we were higher than the tree line, after searching in vain for enough wood to build a fire, we decided to go back down to the woods. We built a big fire and cooked some pork ribs which were delicious. The day was amazing and a really good time to get away from the bustle and get lost (almost literally) in God's creation.
The missionary family I've been staying with has had loads of Bolivian friends over all weekend. It was really neat to talk with them. We played volleyball for five hours on Sunday night, We had a campfire and Bible study on one night, and on Sunday afternoon they made coffee and brought traditional bolivian appetizers. Delicious!

I've been staying all over the place here in Cochabamba. I've been here seven nights and stayed at three different places. Everyone is so kind, and I've had lots of good meals and I've only had to cook like once!

My big project has been organizing the ministry room. This is where all donations are dropped, and let me just say that God's people have been very generous! I've already spent hours in there, and probably have a few more.

We've had a lot of fun with "Flat Stan", this is a project of my little brother (Tim) for school. He gave me a little paper doll called Flat Stanley and my job is to take pictures of him all around Bolivia so Tim can experience South America via Flat Stanley. We've had a blast with this, and will probably have a rather large album of Flat Stan pictures. WE had to get him Laminated the other day due to the "harsh conditions", though maybe it was just due to him being handled so much!

Annie and I attended the missionary women's bible study on Tuesday morning. They were finishing up a study by Beth Moore and it was so good. I learned a lot, and I think I will try to do the rest of it when I return to the States.

Coming up this week:
Visit with Samuel and his brothers (who are at a different home now)
Spelling Bee (for missionary's daughter)
Feed kids at the nutrition center
A trip to Chapare (Jungle) ...potentially
Graduation celebration (for missionary's other daughter)
Annie leaves! :(

Thanks for all your prayers!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

6 a.m. in La Paz

I arrived in La Paz at 5:11 a.m. The city was still asleep but the airport is bustling. I feel sleepy and short of breath (from the altitude) but so glad to be this far. I just purchased my plane ticket to Cochabamba but it doesn´t leave until 11:40 a.m. For my overweight luggage it cost me a grand total of $4.50. Not too shabby.
Yesterday went so smoothly. All of my flights were virtually on time and I met some cool people on the plane (ironically both were involved in the cattle industry. Coincidence? I think not...!) Anyway, I was able to sleep a little this time. I planned better and got window seats so I had somewhere to rest my head and I slept on and off the whole overnight flight. Now...well I could sleep but don´t really trust my belongings to stay put.
I anticipate a busy week, but I´ll try to write often. I can´t find my card reader so I can´t post any pictures... Sorry!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Control Freak?

This week, some things went down, that I was not expecting. Through some misunderstandings and miscommunications I kind of thought I was not going to be at my job any longer. No one's fault, but I'm sure glad I took the time to go talk with the person about it.

It was stressful, let me tell you. I thought of how much I've learned and grown at my work. I thought of all the kids I care so much about, I didn't even think I was going to get to say goodbye and it HURT. I cried, and struggled with what the right thing to do was. I had a few family members and a close friend pray for me, but since I was uncertain as to what was going to happen, or what was really going on with communication about the situation, I didn't feel that I could really talk about it to others. Anyway, I finally came to the point where I surrendered it to God. I knew I could probably never find such a cool job (though maybe not even true), I knew it would be hard to lose so many friends, mentors and all my kids. And what would I do with myself?! But I finally realized and admitted that it was out of my hands, and I would be okay with however it turned out.

THEN, I went and spoke with my boss about everything. It turned out some bad timing, a bad situation and bad communication all contributed to this chaos. They decided that I could move to the girls house (which I'm currently very excited about...because after all, "Girls are better than boys"!! Lol, I'm just kidding. I like them both;).

Then I came home and thought, "Did I like majorly overreact?!" I don't think I did. I think we worked some things out in the process. I realized that even in the bad times, that I like what I do. I think it was good to get some feedback, and give some too (and they were really nice!)

Most of all, I think this dramatic situation reminds me of Abraham and Isaac. God gave Abraham something really cool (A son in his old age), something that was promised to him, something that seemed so impossible, and something that he loved very much. Then God asked him to surrender it. He asked him to kill that dream. Maybe God wanted to know if Abraham loved that gift more than The Giver.

That's how I felt about my job. Okay, fine. Sometimes I might brush off God, and say that I'm already doing ministry. I don't need to worry about anything else. After all, "I have a mission field right where I'm at"--sometimes we do say that. (In the USA, I mean). Anyway, I realized that if God calls me somewhere else--which He very well may--I'm gonna have to give up some really important things. Things that I'm selfish about, when it may be an inconvenient time.

I experienced the same test of surrender about my family about two weeks ago. I really felt like God wanted me to think about what it would be like if I lived thousands of miles away on another continent. It scared me. That's where I feel safe. But I knew that sometimes we don't get to stay where we feel safe. And He broke me, I finally gave up trying to hold on to them so tightly, and surrendered. Gosh, it was HARD. I cried for two days (not when they could see me of course! ;)

Through both of these experiences I've found a peace. I can't really explain it, it's like when I finally let go of the two things that I really wanted, I found a peace. And I look at both things in a completely different perspective. I really want to make the most of my time here, because I know that one day I might be somewhere far away, and I'll miss them and only have my memories that I make now to cherish. But when God calls us, He will be faithful to take care of us (and the ones we care about).

Hmm, that's my 2 cents for now...

Keep posted for some Bolivia news!!! I'm leaving next Wednesday! Praying to get a visa tomorrow!