Weeks 21-23 Update

These last few weeks have been full! My apologies for the lack of my regular update; hopefully no one was concerned, haha.

Week 21

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.

Driving! The dim lighting and bumpy roads made a clear picture nigh-well impossible. (Note I’m driving and not using my phone like the responsible young lady I am. 😜)

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.

Mavis shortly after she was planted. 🌺

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!

Week 22

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. 😊

The electricity party!

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!

Week 23

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. 😸

A picture 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.

With love in Him,

Olivia

Embracing Jesus | Week 19 Update

Happy New Year, everyone! 🎆

I got to celebrate the arrival of 2020 by camping with the Yoders! It was a ton of fun and a refreshment to the soul. And there was something so profound about waking up to the dawn of the new year on a mountain in Bolivia. I don’t know what all God has in store for 2020, but I can’t wait to watch it play out. He only does wondrous things!

Sunrise at Las Alturas

This last week, it hit me how much I was missing and at times physically craving the comforts of home. Things like soft carpet that allows you to lay comfortably on the floor whoever you want. Air conditioning to give you relief from uncomfortable temperatures. Being able to communicate with ease with anyone I met. Having access to WiFi almost everywhere – being able to use the internet as I teach and being able to watch as much YouTube as I want.

(Okay, technically I COULD watch as much YouTube as I want. I would just be paying for every megabyte of it, haha…)

I think the coming and going of the holidays made me miss such things even more. What I didn’t realize was that I had started to close myself off to what the Holy Spirit wanted to do in me because I was feeling sorry for myself. Unintentionally, I put up a self-defensive wall. Not that doing so unintentionally makes that less of a problem.

A friend spoke into my life, and God gave her the discernment to realize what might be going on in my soul. When I brought all of this to God, He accepted my repentance and brought me into a beautiful renewal of soul.

Choosing to embrace the miniature hardships, rejoice in these little trials, and thank God for the minor discomforts I’m feeling, gave fresh wind to my sails. It’s as if once I chose joy, Jesus gave me an over abundance of it so that I wouldn’t run out as I spent it. 🙂 When you think of it, do pray for me that I would embrace all that God has for me in this season (while also exercising the wisdom of not forcing myself to embrace any difficulty that isn’t necessary).

Oh friends, when we embrace HIM, the result is always LIFE!

Here is a two-week-old kitten. Because nothing says life like a kitten! 😸 Muffin’s babies 🙂

One special moment this last week was when one of the girls from the children’s home stopped by to give me a scorpion to replace Screwtape! It had been crawling across their kitchen floor, and since I had recently lost Screwtape they thought of me, haha. I still haven’t figured out a name for the new one yet… 🦂

A volunteer for the children’s home will be arriving on Friday this week! I’ll be going into the city to pick up my Bolivian ID card when she comes. She’s a dear friend, so I’m very excited for that! Please pray for safety for her and us as we travel, and a good transition for her and the kiddos and staff at the children’s home!

I knew I’d been accepted into the family when the dogs started following me on walks.

Also pray…

  • For staff for the children’s home!
  • For provision of teachers for the orphanage’s school
  • For spiritual protection and discernment for me and the Yoders
  • For fresh inspiration as we near the halfway point of the school year!

May our wondrous Jesus fill you with His life as you embrace all that He is!

With joy in our Jesus,

Olivia

Long Distance Fellowship | Week 8 Update

Today was Election Day in Bolivia! Things should be calm today and even in the next few days, but there is potential for emotion to erupt into action in the weeks to come. Please be praying for favorable results from the election, and for the peace of Bolivia in the coming months! Pray that these elections would be another tool God uses to advance His Kingdom Bolivia.

This is Muffin. Cat pictures make every blog more interesting, right? 🐈

One thing that kept coming to mind this week was the incredible blessing and strength that comes from comaraderie. Missions can be a lonely course for many. So many people who choose to faithfully follow Jesus, whether at home or abroad, face being misunderstood or even rejected by their friends and family.

This is a hardship I’ve not had to walk through. I’m blessed beyond measure by the family and friends in my life. I am showered with love and support and prayers. Friends consistently messaging me to see how I’m doing and to hear what God is doing in me.

This is not normal, and I am so very grateful. But it’s grown in me a desire to make sure that I am being that friend who is building up my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Many times, people will show a lot of interest in the ministry someone is doing. Less often will a person reach out to hear how a missionary is doing personally.

Dear brothers and sisters, reach out to your siblings in Christ! Let them know they are loved and remembered. Bear one another’s burdens. Pray for one another.

It seems to me to be a biblical principle that those who help support a laborer for Christ will share in the reward that laborer is given. (Matt. 10:40-41, Phil. 1:3-7.) Whatever reward God might give me for the work I am doing now, many will be sharing in it.

Are there any rewards you’ll be sharing in?

I don’t know what this plant is, but it’s beautiful! We were awing over it outside. Then one of the girls picked it for her mom. We were a bit disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to watch it grow. “Mom, look what I picked for you!” “Oh. That’s sad.” 😂

Join in my reward! 😉 Please be praying…

  • For Bolivia as the election results come out
  • For continued rain
  • There’s going to be a biiiiig party at the children’s home this week to celebrate their electricity; lots of important people from the town nearby are invited! Pray that doors would open for the Gospel, doors of opportunity for physical and practical needs to be met would open, greater favor would be gained with local authorities and leaders, and more connections would be made. As well as everything going well for the big party, haha. 🙂

And for those wondering, Screwtape is doing really well. He seems to have recovered from his encounter with the broom, and got an enclosure upgrade this week!

Never forget our greatest reward, Jesus Christ Himself. Never stop pressing on so as to attain Him!

Looking unto Jesus,

Olivia

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