Waiting | Week 15 Update

It seems like the theme God highlighted for me this week was waiting. This having been the first week of Advent, it seems fitting! 🙂

It was also timely, because I did a lot of waiting on Monday and Tuesday! We went into the city of Santa Cruz to FINALLY continue my immigration paperwork! The blockades had prevented us from moving forward with it for about a month and a half… whiiiiiiiich meant I spent about two weeks as an illegal immigrant. 🤷‍♀️ That’s something I never thought I’d be able to say. 😂

Anyway, doing stuff like that means looooots of waiting. There was also a lot of needing to change paperwork and plenty of chances to practice patience. But I kept thinking about how Jesus never wastes anything. He had a purpose for every second we spent waiting or running around or resisting the temptation to bang our heads against a wall for a while. Making us more like Himself, giving us an opportunity to glorify Him by waiting the way Jesus would.

The plaza in Santa Cruz

In the end, we left Santa Cruz with all my paperwork submitted and the fine for being two weeks late paid. There are a couple steps left before everything is finalized, but I’m pretty much good to stay in Bolivia for two years now!

I got to also escort a couple home who are visiting for the next month to help with the children’s home. That was fun, despite one of the wheels on the bus going flat. They don’t go round and round so smoothly when that happens. 😆 Anyway, having them will be a huge blessing for our under-staffed children’s home!

A very broken bus wheel

That was just the beginning of this week’s blessings. Wednesday night… the electrify got connected!!! We wasted no time turning on every single light in the house and hanging up Christmas lights. My living quarters aren’t wired yet, but it’s amazing to have electricity in the main house!

Hooking up the electricity to the house! They leave the last little job for the homeowners to do.

Saturday was very special. A group from a colony down here visited the children’s home and brought dinner with them! After dinner we sang as they played music for us, and after that they gave a beautiful new pair of shoes to each child! It was like an early Christmas!

I even got to have an early Christmas… one of the guys who came had been trying to sell a guitar. He got to the place where he wanted to give it away, so long story short, I now own a guitar!!! I’d been playing others’ guitars, but I’m so excited to have my own. I named him Benedict. If you want some amusement, go look up what Benedict means. 🎸

Me and Benedict

Then the night ended with me teaching the girls at the home how to do the Virginia Reel. It was SO MUCH FUN. It dawned on me later that I had taught orphans how to dance. Jesus, thank You!

One other fun little note from this week: I’m going to start taking over writing newsletters and updating the Facebook page for the children’s home! If you’re curious, check out Hogar El Refugio Oasis on Facebook. 🙂

Here’s how you can be praying…

  • For the elections coming up in January.
  • For staff for the children’s home – especially a couple who will lay down their lives as house parents for the kiddos.
  • For continued wisdom and inspiration as I continue to teach.
  • That the last couple steps in my immigration paperwork would go well; for favor with the officials we work with and safety as we travel.

May Jesus richly bless you!

In Him,

Olivia

You Might Be an MK When…

She saw the Christmas edition of a coke bottle. There was something she couldn’t figure out…

Why is Moses holding a cell phone and a coke bottle?

Santa… Moses… 🤷‍♀️😂

Grateful | Week 14 Update

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, it felt like Jesus decided to give me a bunch of extra reasons to be thankful this year.

Monday, I made a new friend! Maria lives in Bolivia and loves Jesus with all her heart. I loved her and felt loved by her from the moment I met her – but I’m finding that isn’t too uncommon when meeting my brothers and sisters in Christ. What made my friendship with her especially encouraging was that she speaks very little English. Guys, I made a friend in Spanish! Haha. 🙂 I had lots of opportunity to speak to her, and be humble and admit when I really didn’t understand what was being said, and be humble and make mistakes when trying to communicate with her. But overall it was very encouraging, because I was able to communicate and connect with her much more easily than I thought I’d be able to! Maria was a gift from God – and the encouragement with my Spanish was an extra on the side. 🙂

The encouragement continued when THE ELECTRICITY TRUCK CAME!!!

The electricity truck that came. It’s blue. 💙

Remember the electricity being prayed for back in September? They told us that they wouldn’t have any more transformers in until the start of the year. When all the blockades went up, we wondered if it would even be that soon. But lo and behold, a shiny new transformer now rests on the Yoder’s property! I’ve never seen people so excited for a transformer before – though I think I had never been so excited for a transformer before myself, haha. This week they will inspect and hook us up officially. LET THERE BE LIGHT! 💡

That same day, the decision was made to finally process my immigration paperwork! With danger from riots and blockades, well, blocking, we hadn’t been able to work on that for almost two months. As I type this I’m waiting for Interpol to open so that I can pick up paperwork saying I’m not a criminal in any other countries. I’m not expecting that report to be too exciting. 😅 Anyway, it is going to feel amazing to finally have that visa!

Thanksgiving, we got the day off of school and celebrated with some of Phil’s family that live in Bolivia. It was a sweet time with amazing and beautiful food.

An American Thanksgiving in Bolivia!

On Friday the staff at the children’s home got the day off, which meant we spent the day there! It was fun to share lunch and dinner with them and spend some extra time with those precious kiddos.

So it’s been a sweet and refreshing week for me. God is faithful, always, but when things are going well and it feels like the heavens are opened to shower down blessings, I’m sure it blesses His heart to see His own delighting in their good Father who gives good gifts. Whatever situation you find yourself in today, I pray God will comfort you with the reminder that He is good, all the time.

Blessings in Jesus,

Olivia

P. S. Here’s how you can be praying this week!

  • That the final parts of my immigration paperwork will process smoothly and quickly! Hopefully the paperwork will be done by Christmas and I’ll had an ID card after New Year’s.
  • For truth and justice to reign in Bolivia; that things would stay calm and peaceful. Elections will happen again in January, so be praying that they will go better this time ‘round!
  • Provision of staff for the children’s home.
  • Continued creativity and wisdom for me as I teach.
  • That the floodgates of Heaven would open up and send down a true rainy season on Bolivia!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated for this by TR Noble over at Inside Cup! I thought these questions sounded like a lot of fun to answer, so I decided to play. 😊 Thanks for the nomination, TR!

TR’s heart behind her blog is to strengthen the bride of Christ. Her posts cover a wide range of topics, but it all ultimately points back to making Jesus the absolute center of our lives!

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a way for readers to get to know the blogger better, as the blogger answers a series of 11 questions asked by the nominator. Here are the questions TR had for me!

1. What led you to become a blogger?

When I first began blogging, it was to be able to share with others what the Lord was working in me. I’m also naturally wired as a writer, so blogging gave me the opportunity to write out my thoughts on something, which in turn helped to make whatever I wrote about more real to me. I suppose it could be summed up as one way I could bless others with what God was blessing me with.

2. What is the story behind the name of your blog?

When I told one of my friends back in Colorado about coming to Bolivia, she told me I should write a children’s book, “Olivia in Bolivia.” I have lots of little fans now expecting to receive the first printing. 😂 It stuck and became what I called my future Bolivian adventure in my head. Seemed fitting to use it as the name of a blog of my adventures here!

3. What is the purpose of your blog, i.e. what is it about?

The purpose of Olivia in Bolivia is to share with the world what God is up to in my corner of Bolivia, to bless friends and family with stories from my adventures here, and to share my life with others in general. God has given me new life in Christ Jesus, and that life is meant to be poured out!

4. Who are you? How would you describe yourself?

I’m a Christian, and that in some way affects and defines everything else about me. Jesus has penetrated every part of my life and my decisions reflect that. I’m naturally introverted and wired like a writer. Those two together make written communication my favorite, haha. I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m a teacher and a friend. I communicate more easily with kids than with adults. I love being intellectually challenged and stimulated. My head has to be convinced before my heart can be, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. I’m walking every day with Jesus and watching how He weaves my little daily steps of obedience into a grand adventure.

5. What is your belief system? Do you believe in God? Why?

I love apologetics, so I’m excited to answer this question! There are several reasons I believe in God. Some of them are personal; that is to say, I wouldn’t expect someone else to take that reason and believe in God because of it. Others are more universal; those are the reasons I would give to an atheist if they ever asked me to prove to them there was a God. I’m going to just give personal reasons here. So these are reasons why I am convinced, but I don’t necessarily expect them to convince someone else. 😉

I was raised in a Christian home, and honestly the first reason I ever believed in God was because my parents told me He existed. As I got older, my relationship with God shifted from being parental to being personal. I began to decide for myself to obey and follow God, and as I did I saw Him at work in my life. My relationship with Him is very much alive. He guides me and speaks to me. So nowadays I don’t believe in God because of what someone else told me; I believe in God because I’ve experienced Him myself.

Another reason I can’t help but believe in God is because of the work I’ve seen Him do, the lives I’ve seen Him change, the multitude of testimonies from others who know Him. He is at work in this world, and you won’t be able to convince me otherwise! 😉

6. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If so, tell what that means to you.

Indeed I am! To me, being a follower of Jesus Christ means knowing Jesus. Everything ultimately boils down to that. Because I know Him I love Him. Because I know Him I trust Him. Because I love and trust Him, I want to obey Him. To follow Jesus means to journey through life with Him. Sometimes where He leads is scary. But it is always wonderful.

7. What do you do? Do you have a career outside the home, or are you a stay-at-home mom or wife, or are you a volunteer or a retiree, etc.?

I am a volunteer teacher to missionary kids – which I guess kind of makes me a missionary, too! At least I can say I live on a foreign mission field, anyway, haha.

8. What fulfills you the most? The least?

I am the most fulfilled when I’m able to see my life impacting someone else’s. I suppose that’s part of why I love teaching; I get to see students grow and learn as a direct result of what I’m pouring into them.

I’m the least fulfilled when something confuses or frustrates me. Moments when my students don’t understand something and I can’t figure out why they don’t understand or how to help them are the worst thing ever. But what’s neat is that being confused or frustrated often causes me to determine to figure the thing out, and when I’m able to push through and not give up, that unfulfillment will turn into incredible fulfillment in the breakthrough that follows.

9. What motivates you the most? The least?

The most? Discovering or understanding new things. The least? Normalcy.

10. What is the most important message you wish to communicate?

I’ve touched on this a bit already, but knowing Jesus is EVERYTHING! If you think you need more faith, then you need to know more of Jesus. Faith just makes sense when you know who He is. If you think you need more joy, knowing Him will give infinite fuel to fire your joy. If you need peace, love, patience, seek to know Jesus and these things will be the natural result! There is no treasure greater than knowing Jesus. I’d argue that the point of life even is knowing Him. Seek Jesus, dear friends! He has promised you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart!

11. If you were to die tonight, do you have the assurance that you will spend eternity with God in heaven?

Yep, absolutely, 100%! 😁


My Nominees Are:

Honestly this is my least favorite part of these awards, having to pick people to nominate. 😆 But I shall sorta play by the rules and nominate just three. 😜

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 (or however many) new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

My Questions For You:

I loved Sue’s questions, so I’m mostly going to stick to them, though I changed a few things. 🙂

  1. What led you to become a blogger?
  2. What is the story behind the name of your blog?
  3. What is the purpose of your blog, i.e. what is it about?
  4. Who are you? How would you describe yourself?
  5. Why do you believe in God?
  6. What does it mean to you to be a follower of Jesus Christ?
  7. What do you do? Do you have a career, or are you a stay-at-home mom or wife, or are you a volunteer or a retiree, etc.?
  8. What fulfills you the most? The least?
  9. What motivates you the most? The least?
  10. What is the most important message you wish to communicate?
  11. What about Jesus do you treasure the most, and why?

Thanks again, TR; this was fun! Blessing in Jesus, everyone – and happy Thanksgiving! 🍽🦃🍁

Update | Week 13

Well, the unrest continues. After five weeks, it feels like a normal thing. Although the difference now is that the blockades and protests are by people who want Evo Morales back instead of those who wanted him gone. Please keep praying for peace in Bolivia; but pray for a peace that does not come at the expense of justice. Bolivia does not need peace that comes because those who are in the right surrender to those who are in the wrong. Pray that truth would reign and darkness would be exposed.

And thank you so very much for your prayers for Bolivia. God hears them. You are helping to move Heaven.

Urania moth

I saw the most beautiful “butterfly” ever at the start of this week! Then the next day, I found one at the side of the road that let me hold it!!! Jesus loves me, guys. Haha. I found out that it’s actually a moth. But either way it is an incredible piece of our Father’s handiwork! How He must love beauty, and what an eye He has for it!

Watercolor birch trees!

School is still going well. Recess is getting hard, and it’s been surprisingly wearing to not have the other teachers around! I guess I hadn’t realized before what a blessing it was to be able to stay in from recess or things like that. Yet “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,” and He’s definitely giving me all the grace I need to make it through each day.

(BTW – DEFINITELY look up the poem “He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnson Flint!!!)

One highlight from this week was leading the kiddos in making watercolor birch trees! If you’d like to try it out yourself, you can find instructions here: http://afaithfulattempt.blogspot.com/2011/09/autumn-birch-trees.html?m=1

A rainbow over Concepción

God is continuing to teach me to command my soul – to command it to not fear in the midst of the storm in Bolivia. To command it to rejoice even when the future is uncertain. To command it to love even when I’m tired. And though I don’t necessarily prefer being in situations that require such commanding, I am so grateful for the way those situations are being used by God to strengthen and build up my soul. When you remember the good that God will bring out of any situation, it seems you can face everything with a joy and peace that pass understanding.

Watch what my God will do, y’all.

And you can be praying…

  • For peace and justice in Bolivia; for truth to reign and darkness to be exposed
  • For wisdom for me in managing well my classroom
  • For staff for the children’s home
  • For things in Bolivia to stabilize enough to make it easier to travel around the country and to and from the country

And let me know if there’s any ways I can be praying for you! 😊

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

With love in Him,

Olivia

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. You could replace the word “school” with anything worth doing. What glory it would add to every moment of life if I did it with this singing in my heart!

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36, NASB

(P. S. – sorry for the sloppy handwriting 😂)

He Works All Things Together

This is part four of my story of how I got to Bolivia! If you’d like to read the other three parts, you can find them here, here, and here. 🙂

A year and a half ago, all my dreams came crashing down.

My dream to go to Central America. My dream to be on the mission field. My dream to work with orphans. I was two days away from seeing all of that realized, and it was all stripped away.

Before the stripping came, in the weeks leading up to my intended departure for Nicaragua, I became more and more excited to go. Preparations had me dreaming of the ways God would use me and the ways He would change me. My love for Nicaragua and the people I would meet there surprised me, and made the pain of letting go all the more piercing.

I knew that the Lord had a purpose in the midst of all that. I determined to cling to that, even if I never saw the reason. Sometimes I would wonder if I should have pursued Nicaragua at all, but the Lord gave me a deep assurance that at no point had I strayed from His will. So I moved forward, wondering what He was up to, but leaving everything in His hands.

The Stage Set

A dear friend of mine, Ruthie, was in town as I was walking through all this. This little point of trivia will become important soon. 😉

When I couldn’t go to Nicaragua that summer, I decided to attend some education classes at Ellerslie. There I met Dani, a fellow teacher and lover of Jesus. She also got to walk with me through the end of my Nicaragua journey, and became a sweet friend.

I continued to live life, walking in simple obedience each day, learning to live for Jesus in ordinary life.

At some point in all of this, I heard about a friend who had been able to spend time serving a family on the mission field in the Middle East. She primarily taught the kiddos so that the mother was able to focus on learning the language and serving the people. I thought to myself, That’s what I want to do on the mission field someday.

The Story Unfolds

Throughout my journey with Jesus, I’ve always felt a conviction that I shouldn’t pursue missions. I should live faithfully for Jesus and take whatever training I could get for missions, but not take the initiative in getting on the field. I don’t know why the Lord has lead me in that way, and I certainly don’t think that’s what everyone should do who wants to become a missionary. And maybe someday the Lord will lead me to actively pursue being with a certain organization or being in a certain place. For now, my story has been one of waiting, resting, and watching God work everything together.

Last year, in the fall, Ruthie and Dani went on a trip to visit a children’s home in… you guessed it… Bolivia. While they were there, they learned that the missionaries heading up the orphanage really needed a teacher for their kiddos, so that the mama could put more of her time and energy into the children’s home.

At some point during the trip, they both thought of me. Ruthie told me a month or two later about the opportunity, which lead to me being introduced to the Yoders, which lead to me flying to Bolivia.

The Curtain Pulled Back

Sometimes disappointments hit us and we never know why. I feel like I’ve had a special privilege in getting to see how my disappointment with Nicaragua lead me to the place I’m at now, and prepared me for the place I’m in now.

It’s beautiful that I’ve been so slow at getting my backstory out there, because just this week I realize another big way that Nicaragua prepared me for right now. Bolivia is currently in political turmoil. Violence in the streets, protests, blockades, food shortages. These really haven’t affected me all that much, but it is pretty bad in other parts of Bolivia. As I write this, the American embassy currently recommends that American citizens leave Bolivia.

This could have caused me to plummet into a whirling mess of “WHAT DO I DOOOOOO.” But I’d already thought through that. I’d already decided how far I’m willing to go. I’d already learned the leading of the Lord and how to know when He’s saying stay and when He’s saying go. I’d already counted the cost, learned that Latin America often has protests like this one break out, processed what it might mean if I were in the midst of one.

All because of Nicaragua. As things started to escalate here, I didn’t have to go through the same wrestling and figuring out of things that I had to last year. I already had a framework in place for civil strikes – which I’m guessing a lot of American’s don’t have, haha.

So not only did God use Nicaragua to being me to Bolivia, but He also used it to prepare my heart for what lie ahead. And even now, I know He is preparing me – and you! – for everything He is going to lead us into next.

The delay in having my dreams fulfilled caused some extra specifics to be added on. Now here I am, teaching in South America, serving, learning from, and living very closely with a missionary family, and getting the immeasurable privilege of loving and serving orphans. And so God worked out everything for my good, something I know He will continue to do, above and beyond all I could ask for or imagine.

The Desires of Your Heart

Friend, live for Jesus in every day. It is the small steps of obedience that we take in the ordinary that eventually take us down the path to the extraordinary. Put Jesus Christ first, dear ones, and everything else will fall into place.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4, NASB

His love for you is so great, He’ll likely even give you those dreams you thought didn’t matter – like seeing the stars from the Southern Hemisphere. Or encountering a wild tarantula. Or having a pet scorpion. And those can be the most fun sometimes, because it comes as a delightfully awe-striking surprise when you’re so caught up in love for Jesus that you don’t even see Him fulfilling those desires until you have them.

I think our God likes surprises.

Update | Week 12

The turmoil continues here in Bolivia. But I have a feeling then events of this last week will be in future history books. The president of Bolivia resigned on Sunday, and an interim president is currently in office. One might think this change would bring peace, but in some places of Bolivia the violence got much worse when President Evo left.

Still, peace is reigning where I am, and the local blockade is gone! It felt like a luxury to drive straight into town, haha. Things like this serve as excellent reminders of the blessings we take for granted. Gas and vegetables are still a bit iffy, but hopefully things will continue to settle down and soon return to a sense of normalcy.

My casita (little house) mate got a puppy! Her name is Tilly and she’ll melt your heart in less than two seconds, guaranteed.

In the midst of all of this, I’ve been learning a lot about commanding my soul. Like the psalmist who commanded his soul to hope in God (Psalm 42), wait upon God (Psalm 62), bless the Lord (Psalm 103), and praise the Lord (Psalm 146). I’ve been learning what it looks like to command my soul to not fear, to hope in God, to rest in the Lord. I always know in my head that I should do those things, but the recent uproar meant I had to actively choose them against a temptation to fear and despair. I praise God for the work He is doing, for how He is bringing good from what the enemy meant for evil!

One fun event from this last week was the closing program for the kiddos following Bolivia’s school schedule! That includes the kiddos at the children’s home and then a few from a nearby village. My students are following an American schedule, so we’re still in full swing, but we got to be a part of the clausura (closing program) still. I even got to join in singing a few songs for the program, which meant learning songs in Spanish and Latin!

Clausura decorations, pre-party

So this week, things have been quieter at the school house. In one sense it gave us more flexibility, but with great flexibility come great responsibility, haha. More decisions for me to have to make. And recess can be a little sad without everyone else around. Pray that I would have the wisdom and creativity to use even recess to help grow these children into adults who love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength!

And also pray…

  • For peace and justice in Bolivia. Please pray that truth would reign and that the evil works of darkness would be exposed!
  • For provision of needed staff at the children’s home, and strength and endurance for the ones here.

May the Lord bless you all with a greater revelation of Himself!

His and yours,

Olivia

Breaking News

President Evo Morales has resigned. Pray for Bolivia. This next week will be a test for her. Pray a righteous man would come to power. Pray against hate and mistreatment among members of opposite sides of the political spectrum. Pray that peace and justice would reign!

www.cnn.com/2019/11/10/americas/bolivia-new-election-audit/index.html

*as a disclaimer, not trying to say CNN aid my favorite news source. 😂 But this is a good overview of what’s going on in Bolivia right now.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started