Wednesday, August 26, 2009
That's right. Our "stay-cation" has come and gone. And it was a blast. Instead of spending our vacation money on gasoline & hotels, we decided to explore the Metro Atlanta area. We went to a lake, a kiddie amusement park, a state park with a famous waterfall, a dollar theater, a dairy farm (for the tour of the plant), and to Bruster's for ice cream! Plus, the kids didn't have to miss their 2 classes at Timothy Ministries on Saturday. (We were very blessed to receive scholarships for the 4 oldest kids to attend a once-a-week private Christian school. They love it! All four of them have a Spanish class, and the 2 oldest have a math class while the 2 younger ones have a science class.)
Now, for some reason, Chick-fil-a seems to enjoy humiliating people who are desperate for a free meal. So, we all dressed up like cows last month and were rewarded with yummy FREE meals of chicken.
Plus, we celebrated Connor's 4th birthday at the beginning of this month, complete with some VERY blue icing on his cake!
Good times this summer. Good times. And now, we're back into the homeschool swing of things.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
NOTE: Click on a picture to see the full-sized image, esp. on the ones that are overlapped and partly hidden.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Some of you know that joining this missions team to
still plenty dangerous). And I also survived the bug bites and whatever diseases were lurking and the pollutants I breathed in and crossing streets full of crazy taxi cab drivers. And it was all worth it. I could tell you of the skits, the testimonies, the 3-night youth conference, the Children’s Church lessons, the care group meetings, the powerful times of Praise & Worship, the fellowship with Bolivian brothers & sisters in Christ, the street evangelism and the people who prayed to receive Christ. But more than anything, I want to tell you about 3 moments that stood out to me.
On our very first day in
Then, the following week, while we were at the orphanage in Caranavi, loving on the 85 children there, a few of the preteen girls brought me a little 16-month old girl who was the size of an 8-month-old . She had arrived there last year in a bad state of malnutrition and was still catching up. But, as they handed her to me, not knowing that she wasn’t available for adoption, the girls started saying, “Adoptar. Adoptar. Adios, Bella. Vas a los Estados Unidos. Vas a aprender ingles,” which meant, “To adopt. To adopt. Goodbye, Bella. You’re going to the
But the most profound moment for me came one day as I was serving in a ministry center in the Red Light District just outside of
anointed them with perfume. Of course, the Pharisees maligned her for that. But, even if she hadn´t been who she was, it is still true that his feet were going to get dirty again. And yet, that act of service was so precious to Christ that he had it recorded for all time in the Gospel. So, it hit me that, as I was scrubbing little letters, I was scrubbing little letters for Jesus. I was truly washing his feet because I was doing it to the VERY least of these, and he counts that as precious. At the same time, though, I was also slammed with the thought that Jesus is just as
So, I went all the way to
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
As for our team's impact on the Bolivians of the Sovereign Grace churches there, I think it's safe to say that many, many of them were greatly encouraged by the sermons, the testimonies, the fellowship, and the mission work we all did together. I was amazed by the dedication of the church members, esp. the youth and the young adults, who set aside their normal routines in order to share those 11 days with us. Whether we were painting or cleaning or doing street evangelism or playing with the kids at the orphanage in Caranavi, there was always a group of young adults from the Bolivian church right by our side. It's exciting, too, because they are the next generation of the church there, and our visit inspired them to persevere in their Christian walk, even in the face of govt. persecution.
It really touched my heart as a number of different young ladies came to me and thanked me for praying with them during one of the 3 youth conferences that we held. Since it can be rather intimidating for me to pray in Spanish, I was depending on the Lord for the words to say, and He was faithful.
I also had the privilege of serving as an interpreter during a care group meeting that we were part of, as well as during our time at the orphanage, and at a center for prostitutes, where we heard the heartwrenching
testimony of a woman who was able to leave that lifestyle, by the grace of God.
Plus, I taught two different Children's Church lessons, with about 20 kids each time, and I was thrilled to discover how much scripture those kids had committed to memory. We made bead crosses that consisted of the "Colors of Christ," and they also amazed me with their understanding of the symbolism involved (e.g. Black = sin; Red = the blood of Christ; etc.)
I did a whole lot of scrubbing while the rest of the team painted, since I quickly came down with a respiratory infection from the 1st batch of paint that I was exposed to. It only kept me in bed for a day, though, causing me to miss the visit to the homeless shelter and one of the afternoons of street evangelism. Otherwise, I was able to participate in all the activities. And, since I had drastically restricted my diet before the trip to get my IBS under control, my digestive system was able to handle everything I ate. Even while other team members came down with some serious stomach problems, I stayed healthy, praise God.
My favorite events in Bolivia were probably the evenings of the youth conference. Our team did a skit to illustrate the power of prayer over the bondage of sin, and our team leader gave a series of inspiring messages that spoke to my heart, too. Best of all, though, were the times of of praise & worship in Spanish, with thrilled me to no end, both in La Paz and in Caranavi. I have returned with a fresh determination to teach this beautiful language to my children. I also had some great conversations with the children and the house mothers at the orphanage, offering them encouragement in various ways.
All in all, I'm exhausted, but I feel the fulfillment of having stepped out in faith, serving the Lord in a way that I wouldn't have chosen on my own. And, I'm already seeing the fruit of that obedience, even in the realm of my own household. In my absence, my mom made some real progress with the kids in areas that I had been neglecting, and she's leaving me with a list of things to continue working on, lest they return to their old habits. This was a huge blessing for me, as the job of motherhood can be quite overwhelming.
So, for all those who walked with me through my doubts and fears about the trip and who supported me with either prayers or finances or both, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. After what I've just experienced, I don't think "life as usual" will be looking the same, and that's a good thing.