Hey, everyone! It has been a loooong time… Some days it feels like I really don’t have a lot to write about. Faithfulness to Jesus most often looks like loving Him to the steady beat of everyday life. But admittedly I do have a few significant updates to share, which I suppose is bound to happen when I don’t write anything for seven or eight months… heh.
The holidays are always bittersweet when spent away from home! Although I missed my family dearly, I was very glad to be able to be with my favorite person (Juan Luis 😁) for Christmas! We got to see some beautiful places with some dear friends, and it was a refreshment to my soul. One thing that kept standing out to me was how good God is to have given us the ability to respond in worship to Him when we encounter the awesome beauty of His creation! I got to enjoy exotic waterfalls and ancient ruins, but enjoying time with people here was the best part.
Come mid-January we were back in the swing of school. We had a good finish overall, but I got sick a few times and we missed several days. Yet I am so thankful when I think about the many ways that my students grew this year. I’ve had the privilege of seeing weaknesses strengthened over the three years that I have taught them, one of my favorite things about being able to stick with the same students year after year. Often I thought of the verses that say that we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Sometimes progress is slow and unnoticed, but steadily plodding in the correct direction is sure to produce results! We finished school at the end of May and took a trip to a couple of beautiful places in Bolivia (a river with natural hot springs and a rock called the Devil’s Molar). It was a lovely way to celebrate!
Our schoolhouse was finally able to get a signal booster installed! This means that the cell phone service is stronger now. Honestly, that’s not saying much, as the cell phone service there used to be almost nil, haha. But I am very excited, because now it’ll be strong enough for me to have the internet as a resource to use in my teaching, and I have the security of knowing that we could call for help if there were an emergency at the school. The booster wasn’t installed and running until our last day of school, but at least I got to use it for a day!
At HERO we recently received three more children, a sibling group rescued from a neglectful and abusive situation. Pray for their healing, their freedom from fear, and that they would surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive eternal salvation in Him. What a gift to be able to share His love and His Gospel with these kids!
Personally, this was a hard year for me. I walked through some intense loneliness, depression, and disillusion. I realized to a greater degree how weak and dependent I am. I still don’t understand some of the things that I was struggling with and continue to struggle with.
But I know that our God is a redeeming God, and I know that He is with me and was with me in every moment. I know that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose – and I know that that means me. Though I don’t know why and may never know why I had to go through some of the weakness and hurt that I experienced this year, I do know without a doubt that God will not let a moment of it go to waste.
This year also had several highlights, and most of them involve my fiancé. The biggest of those highlights was him asking me to marry him! We had known for a few months that we wanted to get engaged, but doors were closed and at times I wondered if God would ever open them. My trip to the States for school break would be soon, and I was doing my best to come to terms with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to get engaged before leaving Bolivia for the summer.
But God had something else in mind! Juan Luis came to the big city to spend the day with me before my flight. It was the first chance he’d had to buy an engagement ring. He wasn’t sure how he’d be able to get one while I was hanging out with him, but he was convinced that God was leading him to ask me to marry him before my flight. So at one point he left me out on the street while he went around the corner to get me “a surprise.”
Meanwhile, I was refusing to let myself assume that he was getting an engagement ring because I was so afraid of another disappointment on top of things I’d already gone through that year. But my fear was unfounded. We got back to our friends’ house to get things in order before he had to catch a bus back home and I had to catch my plane to the US. They were all outside, so we had a special, private setting for him to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him.
I said yes, and I cried, and we prayed together. Dear friends took us out for cheesecake to celebrate, and we said goodbye. It felt like a dream for a while, but it’s becoming more and more real and wonderful and terrifying. God had grown me in so many ways and taught me so many things through my relationship with Juan Luis, and I know that will only continue. I’m so excited to get to know Juan Luis more, to get to spend my life with him, and to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ more deeply as a result.
The Lord has done great things, and I am excited to see the great things He will continue to do! He is so worthy, friends.
May He bless you abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord!
His and yours,