Hope | Week 41 Update

A week ago, I thought I’d be writing this update from the United States, and then taking a break from this blog while I enjoyed my time at home. Then my flight from Bolivia to the United States was canceled. Then I found out that there are no flights to the US currently available until July. So it seems my adventure in Bolivia is going to keep going longer than expected!

Some furry friends live at the mission base I’m staying at. They have a way of reminding me that I’m loved. 🐶

All of this was hard to accept at first. I usually don’t struggle with being homesick, but when my expectations came crashing down, I just wanted to be home. To see my family. To hug my dad on Father’s Day. To splash through a creek somewhere in Indiana.

And the challenge to my soul was this: choose hope.

The truth is, I have every reason to hope, and to rejoice, in the middle of disappointment. Ours is a God of redemption. He works out everything for good for those who love Him. His will is my sanctification and He is working good in me as I wait. He is sovereign, and none of what has befallen me is out of His control.

Even knowing all that truth, hope had to be a choice for me. I didn’t really feel like hoping at first. But as I chose to believe what is true over what I felt, what I felt began to match what is true.

I do have hope now – genuine hope. I receive my current lot and choose to rejoice in it.

And there are precious gifts I can rejoice in. I’m in a safe and peaceful place, surrounded by friends who love Jesus. I have WiFi and hot water (oh you guys, washing dishes with hot water is such a luxury you have no idea 😂) and access to a drying machine!!! I feel a bit spoiled.

My one big struggle is lack of responsibilities leaving me with lack of motivation. There’s definitely lots I could be doing! But I’ve been struggling with gathering the desire to do it. 😅 So you can pray for me there! And you can also pray…

  • That a flight would open up before July! Like, that it would open up this week! Tomorrow!
  • God would send volunteers to the orphanage.
  • That everything that God is wanting me to learn in this season, everything He is wanting to do in my soul, would be completely worked in me.

Dear Christian, precious in God’s sight, you are never forgotten by our Father and you always have reason to hope. May our Father shower you with His goodness!

In Him,

Olivia

Week 39 Update

School is pretty much wrapped up now! Final grades are put together and my classroom is all cleaned up. All that’s left are parent-teacher conferences! Er… conference. Haha.

My cleaned-up classroom ❤️

It wasn’t until I was staring at my clean and empty corner that I felt all the end of school feels. It’s always bittersweet for me. The joy and fulfillment of a completed year. The sorrow of saying goodbye to the way things were. The excitement for the year to come and all the good God is going to do in it.

So with all that finished, last week was very laid back for me! I was able to spend time tutoring one of the girls from the home, which gladdened my teacher’s heart. I’ve been able to read more (it’s really standing out to me how much the NAME of Jesus is emphasized in Acts! This feels so significant but I haven’t yet studied this out thoroughly). I’ve also been able to continue managing the media for the children’s home.

Took some pictures of the new pig pen this week for HERO’s Facebook. Couldn’t leave without a shot of me with my new friends. 🐷

We had a south wind come through on Friday and Saturday, and that meant chilly weather! Which also meant I got invited to have a movie afternoon with the girls at the children’s home! That was a blessing to my soul. I don’t see them as often with school being out, so I was very glad for the chance to spend time over there!

Still no clear indication of when I’ll be able to go home. I’m doing well despite that. I feel very safe and at rest where I am. I long to see my family, so that hurts. But God has been giving me His peace and patience. He has used friends and family to remind me that He loves me and He remembers me. And just as I expected, He is doing a lot in me with the extra time I’ve been given. And knowing Him, it’s only going to get better!

We visited a GORGEOUS spot on Wednesday night! A rocky cliff that overlooks the children’s home and more. We watched the stars and talked about the love of God and finding our identity in Him. It was everything my soul needed.

Here are some specific ways you can be praying for me and the ministry here!

  • That I’d be able to get home soon!
  • That I would be open for everything God wants to do in and through me in the week-ish that I have before leaving Bolivia
  • For continued safety of health for the orphanage and everyone involved
  • That new volunteers would be able to come soon! And that travel would open for the teachers to be able to come and continue their work.

Jesus’ sweetest blessings,

Olivia

Weeks 36-38 Update

Wow! So much has happened these last few weeks!

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.

Bouquet my student gave me 🌸 Love the reminder of God’s bounty that the flowers of the field are!

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?

Playing in the creek!

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.

Some of the flood damage. And yes we drove over this thing 👍🏼

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 😜
Some pretty white flowers! I’m pretty sure these open at night and close in the morning… if anyone knows what they are, let me know! 😁

Jesus is good! May you know His goodness to a deeper level than ever before!

Because He lives,

Olivia

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

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