For one, Bolivia’s quarantine was extended, and at this point I’ll be staying in Bolivia until the start of June. My original flight was for May 19th, but due to current travel restrictions, trying to make that happen feels like a bunch of extra stress I’d like to avoid.
It was hard at first to think of having to wait longer to see my family again. But Jesus ministered to my soul in that time, from friends encouraging me and praying for me, to highlighting Scripture for me, like Colossians 1:11. But He’s also given me this sense of excitement for these extra weeks in Bolivia. It’s like a holy anticipation for what He will do. I’m not sure what He has in mind, but I know it can’t be anything short of wondrous!
We had lots and lots of rain this last week, which resulted in a few bridges being completely washed out! It also resulted in some fun during recess. Nothing like a raging creek to play in! 😃 Made me think, what if we carried that attitude when floods hit our lives? What if we played in the waters?
Last week was our last week of school! We celebrated Friday night with a very homeschool style closing program. It was a sweet night and a ton of fun. Now all that’s left for me is to finalize grading and get organized and cleaned up!
After that? Who knows! I certainly will have no excuse to be bored. I’ve been praying that Jesus will direct my steps and my heart and help me see what it is He is wanting to accomplish day by day. Maybe that will mean I spend a day alone with Him, maybe it will mean tutoring kids who are still in school, maybe it’ll mean something completely off my radar.
These last three weeks have had some intense moments. I’ve learned much about relationships, walking in unity and love, embracing difficulties as tools for good in the hands of God, and engaging in spiritual battle. There are chapters of my adventures here that can’t be shared yet. But believe me, God has shown Himself mighty and jealous on behalf of those He loves, and I have been basking in the glory of who He is and how He protects, provides for, and loves His own. He is so, so good, y’all!
Here’s how you can be praying for me:
Continued patience and long suffering with all joy as I wait for my chance to fly home
That God would continue to provide as quarantine restrictions can make getting necessities tricky sometimes
That God would prepare and bring the needed volunteers to the children’s home
That I would be able to live life to the fullest in the time I have remaining in Bolivia, and be sensitive to what God wants to do in and through me
That I would finally catch up on lost sleep 😜
Jesus is good! May you know His goodness to a deeper level than ever before!
He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me upon my high places.
I was pondering this verse the other day. My high places. Why MY high places? Why not just “high places”? Or “the high places”?
I won’t claim that I know what David himself meant when he wrote those words. But it got me thinking of mountains. Those things that seem too hard for me, those things that seem like I might never be able to overcome.
The difficulties I face aren’t all the same as yours. And it’s likely that the ones I face seem a lot bigger and more imposing to me than the ones you face, because those are the ones I personally confront. Those, in a sense, are MY high places.
Our God wants to set our feet on the tops of the impossible mountains we have to climb. He leads us in victory in Christ. In Him we are more than conquerors. And this is a reality He desires to live out in us! Whatever it is you face, our God is fully able to set your feet on your high places!
Take the very hardest thing in your life – the place of difficulty, outward or inward, and expect God to triumph gloriously in that very spot. Just there He can bring your soul into blossom.
Originally the quarantine in Bolivia was supposed to go until April 15; it’s currently set to lift on April 30. We’ll see what happens!
This extension has prevented volunteers from leaving the children’s home, who had planned to leave in April. They’re handling it really well, but please pray that God will open the way for them to go home!
My own flight home is scheduled for May 19th. Originally I’d wondered if elections would prevent me from flying on time, but now I’m wondering if the Coronavirus will instead! Please pray that borders will open up and travel within Bolivia will open again so that I can give my Dad and Mama a hug in May!
Meanwhile, God has worked a miracle in the midst of this nationwide lockdown – He brought house parents to the children’s home!!! Just like Him to put things together when it’s supposed to be the most impossible for it to happen! We are all rejoicing in what He is doing. But do keep the home in your prayers; a transition like this isn’t easy. There are good and beautiful things happening at HERO, but all the change isn’t easy on the kiddos. Pray for the wisdom of Heaven for the leadership of the home, that the peace and presence of Christ would rest there, and that the kids would adjust well and learn to love well through this.
As for me, things continue on relatively normally. A blessing this last week was that the kiddos from the home were able to come to the schoolhouse again! That made for a lot more fun at recesses, and my heart is always so happy to have more time with those precious kids. 😊
Sleep still isn’t great, but it was a little better this last week! Keep praying for me in that area; it would be great to be able to sleep well again haha. 😅
Exciting news though: I HAVE AN ELECTRIC SHOWER HEAD. 💃💃💃 In case you don’t know, that means that I now Can taken WARM SHOWERS. PRAISE JESUS. Haha seriously the only fear I had about coming to Bolivia that was realized was that I’d have to take cold showers. I’m grateful to have learned that I can survive such a trial… but I’m also glad that I don’t have to now haha! Haha I am genuinely grateful for the refining work Jesus did in my soul through that. But now I’m going to enjoy – and be forever grateful for – warm water coming out of a shower head. 🚿
Two weeks ago a small tarantula showed up in my room… so I named it Creep and caught it in a jar! ‘Cause that’s what you do with those, right? 😜 (Everyone says that I at least gave it an appropriate name. 😂) I then discovered that tarántulas are actually a mess to take care of so I left it go after a few days. Haha. But Creep was a lot of fun, and I’m glad for that gift from Jesus. 😁
Three weeks of school left! Which means three weeks left of my original commitment in Bolivia. So crazy to think about. Please pray that I can finish these last few weeks strong! It can be easy to lose steam as the end nears, but ours is a God who can make these last days the best we’ve had yet. I’m excited to watch what He will do!
And He wants to work wonders in your soul, too. May you know every day more and more of His love!
Bolivia is currently one of the countries with the strictest quarantine laws in place. Only people 18-65 may leave their homes, and only one per household, and only on certain days, and only on weekdays, and only between 8am and 12pm. Anything else requires a permit… or jail time and a fine. Exciting times! Haha…
The number of confirmed cases and deaths are growing in Bolivia, though it’s hard to know with great accuracy what the stats are. Still, we remain safe out in the campo. It’s such a blessing that when so many are cooped up in small houses, we are able to continue our work and to have something of fellowship with one another.
I keep hearing tales of those who are enjoying the forced time at home and away from busyness… but that hasn’t changed much for me. Though I’m kind of glad for that, to be honest. 😁 I’ll have plenty of time to do nothing when I visit home in May!
And it was recently decided that it will be just a visit… I’ll be flying back to Bolivia for round two in August, Lord willing! This has been my desire for quite a while now and I’m so excited for what the Lord will continue to do in and through my life as I love Him and love others in Bolivia.
Recently one of the older girls from the children’s home has needed some extra help with algebra, and it has been my great delight to be able to tutor her! I’m praising God for the ways He is using my life, even to meet practical needs like those. Surely if there is a reward for all those who give a child a cup of cool water in the name of Jesus, there is a reward for those who tutor in algebra and babysit and listen to kiddo stories! 😁
I got to add “Get chased by a swarm of bees” to my list of things I never expected to happen while I was in Bolivia. (It’s a constantly growing list. 😂) I went to investigate a fallen tree and found out there was a bees nest in it when I saw the little soldiers flying at me. I ran for it, but because I was giggling the whole time (might as well enjoy being chased by bees, right?) my students thought I was playing. I never got stung, but one of them did. Lesson learned; when being chased by bees, for the sake of those around you, it’s a good idea to show a healthy amount of panic. 🤷♀️😂
A new precious little girl recently came to the children’s home, somewhat of a George Mueller move with the current staff situation. Please keep praying that Jesus will call out those He is preparing!
And also pray…
That I’ll actually be able to fly home on May 19! Sometimes the current global situation makes that seem unlikely… Pray me home, guys. And then pray me back again, haha!
For protection from fear as the fight against Coronavirus continues.
That God would enable me to speak His life-giving truth into the lives of those around me, especially the kids I’m surrounded by.
That God would teach me what it means to truly take delight in my students and the other kiddos I interact with!
Dear believer, our God delights in you. Seek Him, and you will find Him.
Since this is the hot topic right now, yep, coronavirus is in Bolivia. From what I hear, things aren’t as crazy here as they are in the States, but schools and large gatherings are cancelled. We’re waiting to see if the hoarding starts up here… But for now the biggest way I’m feeling the impact is that the kiddos at the children’s home are doing school at home for now. Which means it’s just me and my three students at the schoolhouse again…
Wednesday last week was a very special night. The church we attend locally came out to the children’s home for a night of worship! It was such a sweet thing to come together as the body of Christ and remember that church isn’t a building, but a body.
Immediately after the worship night, I headed to Santa Cruz! Several errands were run, visits with friends were made, and I got my back adjusted by a skilled chiropractor. 😁 (I had a lot of pain because one of my ribs had shifted. It is now where it belongs again haha.) I also got to sit in Starbucks for hours and work on the newsletter for the children’s home. That was a welcome luxury. Anytime y’all wanna become more thankful for ordinary stuff, spend seven months in a country less developed than your own. It works wonders for your sense of gratitude. 😅
What else has worked wonders for my sense of gratitude has been my inability to sleep well for the last two months. Please pray for me. I’m feeling hindered because I’m so tired, like I cannot live to the fullest the life God has for me. Yet I am confident that He will not waste a moment of this trial. Still, please pray with me that this trial will come to an end soon. Pray that throughout it, I will grab hold of the grace I need to comport myself as the twice-born, royal daughter of the Lord of the cosmos that I am. The attitude of Heaven can be harder to carry when you’re tired. 😅
For inspiration for me to know how to make recesses enjoyable for my students when the other kids aren’t around
For staff for the children’s home!
For sanity and justice to reign as Bolivia handles CoronaVirus
May the peace of Christ dwell in your hearts! He loves you, and He is worthy.
I got to tag along with the Yoders on a trip to a city called Camiri! They went to drop off a young man named Juan Luis at the Facultad Bíblica de Camiri (a discipleship school) and make connections with the missionaries that run the institution.
Last year, I had joined the Yoders on a different trip, one where we accidentally ran into the Facultad Bíblica while they were on their end-of-semester tour. There was this overwhelming sense of foreshadowing, like God was going to do something significant with this connection. It was such a fun thing for me to be able to be a part of that trip and this one, being able to experience the foreshadowing and then the coming to pass!
The missionaries that we stayed with over the weekend treated us on Sunday to a trip to a creek and waterfall! It was absolutely gorgeous and right up my alley. Made me homesick; it was exactly the kind of adventure my brothers and I enjoy the most together. At the same time, I was enchanted by the fact that I was skipping through a sandy creek in the jungles of South America. Dreams do come true. 😁
During the weekend, God really highlighted Audrey Assad’s song, “Drawn to You.” On weekends like this last one, it’s pretty easy to feel drawn to Jesus. At the same time, He sweetly reminded me that no matter what has happened to me in the past, I’ve always been drawn to Him. And He seemed to promise me that no matter what, He will always draw me to Himself. And on my part, it was a chance to say to Him again, “Whatever comes next, Jesus, I choose You.”
The rest of this week was a bit of a blur, in part because of how tired I’ve been all week. I’ve been struggling with sleep for quite a while now but it seemed even worse this week. Friday morning I wondered how I’d be able to make it through school. I had to really grab hold of God – yet His grace was sufficient. This trial is not at all a fun thing to go through, but I am so grateful to God for what He is doing in my soul through this.
One fun thing I’m praising God for is my Spanish has improved a lot in the last week! It was like something clicked last weekend on the trip we took with Juan Luis. Learning a new language can be a discouraging thing at times. Most of the time, progress is slow. But I’m going to enjoy this gift God has given me and try to use it to the full! When you think of it, do keep praying for my Spanish learning. It’s getting better, but there’s still a looooooobg way to go. 😅
Here I go again, not posting for three weeks. 😅 One of these days I’ll get back into the habit…
Week 25: Feb. 9-15
The second full week of February was full of water! I got to experience the REAL rainy season downpours. Ponds were overflowing, which resulted in the road being washed out in one place. But thanks to local men and the guys working at the children’s home, a beautiful bridge now graces that spot. It did make going home from school interesting, though; there wasn’t a way across yet. So one of my students lead me through the brush, around a pond, and back to the road again. It was quite fun. 😁
Less fun was saying goodbye to my casita mate, Tania. I miss her a lot, but I’m also so excited for everything God has next for her!
We had our 100th day of school this week, so we had ice cream and brownies to celebrate. It was wild to think that a year before, the Yoders and I were just barely getting to know each other. It’s always fun to look back and remember where God has lead me!
And then came Valentine’s Day… remember the flowers my dad had sent me? They peaked at just the right time! It felt so much like my Heavenly Father decided to make it a gift from Him as well. 😊
Week 26: Feb. 16-22
This week, school started up again for the children at HERO! Recess is a lot more fun for my students now that they have friends around to enjoy it with, haha. 🙂 God so beautifully provided teachers. One is the pastor from the church the home attends. I love so much the thought of these kids’ pastor being able to invest so much in them!
The other teacher is my new casita mate! She speaks only Spanish, so I’m excited to have many more opportunities to practice as I get to know her more.
We had an unseasonal south wind (called a sur) come through! Imagine a cold front bringing 60 degrees in the middle of a midwestern summer in the United States and that was close to the equivalent. It was nice to enjoy the cooler weather for a few days!
Week 27: Feb. 22-28
This week began with Carnaval, which can be compared to Mardi Gras, though much more widespread. It’s a weekend of constant partying, throwing paint and water balloons at people, getting drunk, and over all making sure you get all of your sinning out of your system before Lent. Many churches will have camping trips that weekend to get away from all of that.
After three days of this, many of the children of those partying are suffering from lack of care. I was able to go with the children’s home to give soup and water to whoever would come for it. Things like this always remind me of Jesus’ words – “And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 (CSB) What a promise!
The children from HERO didn’t have school on Monday or Tuesday, so for recess one day my students and I made a bonfire! Moments like that always make me feel like a successful teacher. 😂
We had a really significant weekend this week, but I think I’ll save those stories for my next update. 😉 In the meantime, please be praying…
For staff for the children’s home.
I lost a lot of sleep this last month, and I’m pretty tired for it. Pray not only that I would sleep well, but that I’d be able to catch up on what I lost!
Soon will come the time to make decisions about what I’m going to do next year. Pray for me and others involved in that!
May your hearts find rest in the unwavering faithfulness of Christ.
It was another unique week here in Bolivia – though it seems more and more that unique is the normal. 🙂
My grandma had heart surgery toward the start of the week. It was hard to be away from home with something like that going on. I wanted so much to be able to be at the hospital, cheering her on in person.
Yet it was a sweet thing to be able to pray for her, and to know that those prayers mattered and were heard. There was also a sweetness in having a new opportunity to entrust those I love to Jesus. I guess I have to remember that I am able to love my loved ones from a distance; it just looks different than loving them when they are close by.
The most exciting event of last week was a wedding! A Bolivian couple that loves the Lord wanted dearly to get married and asked for help in putting the wedding together. The family I’m living with handled the reception, which means I had the joy of helping put that together!
It refreshed my soul to see the love of the body of Christ practically played out in serving that couple, and to see the passion for Christ that the groom has. But what filled my heart the most after the wedding was the reminder that Jesus is coming again. The Lamb will be married to His bride. How my soul longs for that glorious day!
As always, here are some ways you can be praying for me and the work down here!
This coming week will mark our 100th day of school, and our last week until the Bolivian students start again! Pray for continued inspiration for me, and a fantastic start for those beginning school next week!
Keep praying for staff for the children’s home, especially for men and houseparents.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and love. Jesus loves you so very much!
These last few weeks have been full! My apologies for the lack of my regular update; hopefully no one was concerned, haha.
I started spending more time with the staff at the children’s home (*coughFINALLYcoughcough* haha…)! Admittedly, a part of it probably had to do with the fact that Susanna is here! But in any case, it’s been great to spend time with them in the evening, talking and singing to Jesus together.
This week, I got to drive into town and get groceries! Haha sounds pretty mundane BUT keep in mind I’m in Bolivia. XD It’s amazing how good and freeing it feels to drive when you haven’t done so in a while! And it was very encouraging that I understood and was understood by the people I interacted with. I’m definitely still far from fluent, but thanking Jesus for the progress that’s there.
My highlight this week was the precious love of my dad. The Yoders had a friend, Rachel, come visit, and my parents had sent her a couple of things to give to me. One of them was an amaryllis bulb. (Not entirely sure how that one made it through customs, other than Jesus loves me. XD)
At first I was a little confused. I thought it was really sweet that they had sent that to me, but I could quite figure out why they had. THEN… I found a Valentine’s Day card.
See, every year, my dad gives me flowers for Valentine’s Day. When I lived states away from home, I could always expect a call from a confused grocery store employee trying to figure out where to drop them off for me. (I had odd living arrangements haha.)
I figured this would be the first year I didn’t get my flowers from my daddy. But he wasn’t about to give up so easily! So now Mavis is growing and reminding me every day of my father’s love.
Which reminds me every day of my heavenly Father’s love. He gave me a dad who loves me, and He made sure that flower got to me safely. But just like my daddy, He delights to give good gifts, He delights to remind His children of His love, and He won’t let anything stop Him from getting those tokens of His love to you. He thinks about you more often than my dad thinks about me – which, believe me, is a lot!
Dear saints, never forget: God LOVES you!
The before mentioned Rachel was a lot of fun to get to know! And was she a blessing to us. Joyce had just come down with dengue (which is what necessitated my getting the groceries the week before) and the timing of Rachel’s visit was perfect.
Also that week, a new volunteer came to the children’s home! Her name is Mey. She went to culinary school and is now the full-time cook for the children’s home! This was a HUGE blessing, so if you’ve been praying for staff, take a moment to praise the Lord for His provision through Mey!
Tuesday, Maria came (she visited us around Thanksgiving) with her boyfriend, and later in the week they were joined by others from a worship team they were a part of. It was so precious to have these believers (and especially Maria!) around.
They had visited to lead worship at a electricity party at the children’s home! The home has had electricity since mid-last year, but the civil unrest caused the original celebration to be cancelled. But finally it came! The party itself was edifying; getting a chance to see so many of the people God has used to do provide various things to the home, getting to hear the Gospel preached in truth and power by a Bolivian believer, getting to worship Jesus in song and in action alongside other believers. It was everything a celebration should be. 😊
Yet I think my highlight this week was when the worship team prayed for us before they left. Jesus did a powerful work of encouragement in my heart through their prayers and their words of encouragement. And it challenges me to remember the power that can come from the prayers we pray and the words we speak! Brothers and sisters, let us not fail to take every opportunity to build up the beautiful bride of Christ!
This week was a mix of very normal and very different in very good ways. 🙂 School was pretty routine (other than compensating for a water pump that isn’t working… but that accomplished feeling of cleaning bathrooms without any running water is pretty cool 😂). I got another new scorpion (fourth time’s the to charm? I promise animals in my care don’t normally die on me like this 😅). Still enjoying and taking lots of pictures of the kittens. 😸
Last Wednesday was one of those different days in the best of ways. Jesus gave me a special gift of grace, an unusually strong sense of joy in His presence. While I don’t want to ever base my faith on feelings rather than on truth, I intend to always embrace to the full those moments when I feel to my core that Jesus is ALIVE and worthy of all my adoration.
Because… Jesus IS alive and worthy of all my adoration. Whether I feel it or not. So I’ll ride the waves of His grace when it opens heaven wide and makes the spiritual feel real, and I’ll ride those same waves when it gives me the courage to continue to live according to what I know is real, whether I feel it or not.
This weekend was also different. The Yoder family was away, so everything was so quiet! It’s been incredibly refreshing. But it also included several opportunities to communicate in Spanish, so the practice was great and again, understanding and being understood is very encouraging!
Here are some prayer requests! Please let me know if there are specific things I can be praying for you all. 🙂
For details to come together for the children’s home school as the time to start approaches!
For a smooth transition when their school starts up again.
For staff for the children’s home.
Spiritual protection and refreshment of soul for all the staff and kiddos out here.
May Jesus Christ Himself encouraging and refresh your soul today! Always, He is enough.
This last week marched by pretty normally for me, but this last weekend was delightfully different! One fun event that took place during the week was a group from YWAM in Chile coming by the orphanage to bless the kiddos. I missed it, but by the stories I’ve heard and pictures and videos I’ve seen, I can tell it was a great visit.
Another fun little thing is that I’ve been able to teach everyone a tune for Juan 3:16 that I learned from a Spanish teacher at the last school I taught with! It’s fun to think of God storing up little things like that in each of His children, ready to be pulled out and bless those around them.
Now, Friday this week was a BIG day! The first thing I got to do was help pick up a friend of mine who came to volunteer at the children’s home! Susanna loves Jesus very much, and she will be here for the next three months. Keep her in your prayers as she pours out to see the Kingdom of God advanced in these precious kids!
I almost had the chance to donate blood for a very sick little girl, Valentina, on Friday. Long story short, the donation ended up not being needed, and she passed away that afternoon. It was a heavy thing, and it felt odd to be carrying the emotions of that along with the joy of having received Susanna. One thing I kept thinking about all afternoon was that creation is groaning. Things are not as they are meant to be. The world is messed up. But one day, Jesus will return and fix it all. Come, Lord Jesus!
Our last stop on Friday was Ventura mall to pick up my carnet (ID card)!!! So I’m officially officially a Bolivian resident now!!! (Again, not a citizen, just a resident. 🙂)
I got to enjoy the bus ride home with Susanna. It was a joy to be able to talk to her about mutual friends and hear about how things are in familiar places. As I was thinking about the comfort and security that comes with familiarity, I wondered what it would look like for Jesus to be all the familiarity I needed. What would it look like to go into the most unfamiliar place, but still feel at home because I knew Jesus was right there with me? Because I felt the familiarity of His presence and guidance, recalled the familiarity of His Word?
Always, Jesus is enough!
Please be praying…
For a good transition for Susanna and unity among the staff at the children’s home
For those who loved Valentina as they grieve her loss
For continued wisdom and inspiration for me as I teach
That God would bring staff and teachers for the children’s home