Friday, July 24, 2009

Bolivian Blessings

Well, I survived the flights, the Road of Death, the bacteria, and the pollutants; and in return, I now have a whole new set of brothers and sisters in the Lord. The past 13 days seem so surreal, though, that if it weren't for the 400+ photos I took, I might be wondering if that was really me in Bolivia. In any case, I'm back with my five little muffins on Drury Lane, and I think I've jumped back into motherhood with a renewed sense of purpose, to truly raise these "treasures from heaven" in the admonition of the Lord. That's the strongest impact that my time in Bolivia had on me.

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.


  1. Yay! You're back! :) I loved reading all the updates you sent and it's nice to see photos too, now. I'm so happy that you were able to go on this trip, and I know the people you met are grateful to have spent such meaningful time with you! (And I KNOW you wanted to bring that baby girl in the picture home with you :D)

  2. Glad you got home safe and sound!

  3. I am so proud of you for stepping out of the boat like that. I know it took a lot of preparation and planning and God is honored by your sacrifice.

    Love you,

  4. So proud of you! :) So good to hear that all went well and that you did not have to call my baby brother :). Welcome back Angela! It was fun to read about your time in Bolivia. Thanks for posting! Did you like the food?

  5. Thank you for sharing your time with us! So very encouraging. So VERY glad you got to go!!
    Vikki Walters