here find: a simple girl's journey with an incredible God to Bolivia to serve in orphanages. all the adventures, struggles, and victories pre trip, trip, and post trip. stories of His faithfulness. and hopefully a smile.
I normally prefer to fly early in the morning. I don't know if I have ever flown at night and sat by a window.
Tonight, I left Coch and flew to Santa Cruz. Coch Valley is strikingly beautiful. It is a huge, densely packed city, full of lights. At night, from a plane, it looks like God spilled glitter from Heaven onto a black sheet in a perfectly precisioned manner.
It must've been one of the prettiest things I have ever seen.
Blue, Orange, and white glitter, sparkling down below. Looking just like the magical city that stile my heart 6 short weeks ago.
Cochabamba, I will miss you, and your surprising beauty. You hold a special place in my heart, and I long to return one day. I hope for the day when I can call you home.
A man told me to go up the electronic ladder to immigration. He meant escalator.
Trying to leave the country....my bag was searched twice. Once because I have a flashlight, and it showed up on the xray. The second time almost everything was taken out of my carry on. My bags of coffee were cut open and he smelled them to make sure I wasn't smuggling coke. He complimented how good the coffee smelled. (I laughed. It is great coffee) I was then questioned by two men. I then thought I was in the clear. But then a woman directed me into a room and patted me down.
So glad my Jesus was with me. I wasn't freaked out.
I was humored that little, missionary, me appeared to be a threat. But grateful they are strict on drug trafficking. I believe Bolivia is the 2nd or 3rd biggest coke distributor in the world. And the good ole US of A is the number one consumer in the world. Interesting fact.
I am now in a room waiting to go to the gate. It's after one in the morning and I am getting tired.
Hoping we board soon. I am looking forward to a nap en route to Panama!
I am now in Miami. My flight home has been delayed by three hours. I am just ready to be home. I am tired. I am tired of sleeping in airports and airplanes. I am anxious to see my family.
But even here, God is using me.
A woman ran up to me, and frantically asked if I spoke English. She then shared that her daughter is having her first baby in Miami. The woman is from Chicago. She was so upset because she got a cab to see her daughter, but was $17 short. Her bank card wasn't working, and she didn't know where to go next, or what to do. I handed her some money, and asked if I could pray for her. She started crying, and agreed. She was overwhelmed by me, but I just told her, its just Jesus. Please be praying for Joann and her daughter Sarah, having a baby.
I am so glad He is using me in tangible ways in foreign places, and home too. What a good God we serve.
Flight should leave around 10! Be home early tomo morning!
Here it is. My last day. Ready or not, it snuck up, and is here.
I gave Bolivia my heart, and it gave me the best, most fulfilling 6 weeks of my life.
I have wept, prayed, laughed, danced, ate, held, comforted, observed, fed, cuddled, played, ran, fell, shopped, soothed, researched, worshiped, listened, read, slept, brushed, painted, smiled, and fell head over heels in love. I have lived life to the fullest, and served in Jesus' name.
I will miss so many things here.
My roommate, Kathryn. She can make me laugh in an instant. We both sleep talk in the night, and normally one of us remembers parts of the conversation. (me: I thought there were wood forest animals here.....) She has been the sounding board to my breaking heart. She has prayed for me numerous times and is always encouraging me to "take it to the Lord." She is the first person I see when I wake up, and the last before I go to sleep, normally because she runs into my bed and says without fail, "who moved this bed here?"
My housemates Jonathan and Devon. Two of the sweetest people I have ever met. When I was really sick, Jonathan brought me yellow gatorade all the time. He is young, so the three of us girls have adopted him as our little brother. He is full of life, and is always thinking about adventure. Our last night together, he blew up balloons and brought home ice cream. Devon is my soul sister. We have much in common. Except height. She is 12 inches taller than me. And she doesn't like coffee. She is always trying to spend a little but more time with her Jesus, and I just love that about her.
I will also miss not driving. Hopping into a taxi or trufi and paying pennies to go wherever you want. No more "Voy a bajar a la esquina por favor."
I will miss my street kids. So much. Friday afternoons I will be wishing I was at Plaza San Sebastian feeding, giving medical care, listening, and praying for them.
I will miss the warm South American sunshine! Perfect for awkward tan lines, making me smile, and drying clothes in the backyard.
I will miss the orphanage, and the most delightful kids ever!
I will miss the other missionaries down here, serving. I love their encouragement and love.
I will miss staying up late laughing.
I will miss trying new foods.
I will miss praying over the babies at the Nutrition Center, and telling them God has big plans for them.
Some of my favorite moments:
Being called mom by a beautiful orphan girl.
Meeting my Compassion International girl, Karen.
Getting lost looking for the church.
Finally feeling better!
Falling in love with glue sniffers.
There aren't too many things about Bolivia I didn't like; being sick, no flushing toilet paper, and how time doesn't really matter to anyone, having to turn the water on outside before taking a shower, and dogs everywhere.
There are a few things I am really looking forward to once I arrive home; giving my daddy a huge hug, baking without altitude issues, eating olive garden, visiting with friends, holding babies, sharing what Jesus did, sleeping in my big bed, flushing toilet paper, warm water, using my phone, Target, seeing my grandmother, going to my church, praying with my girls, etc.
God is good! My flight is supposed to leave at 840 tonight. It has changed 3 times already....BAH! I arrive in Detroit tomorrow night, with a lot of layovers and flights in between. Please be praying for safety, smoothness, and God's favor. I brought 100 lbs of luggage. Used/gave away/etc about 55. But then I went shopping, and am bringing 45 lbs of stuff purchased here. Oh boy. Need God's favor for baggage fees for certain!
Love you all! M
I plan on blogging when I get home. Kinda a follow up on what He is doing, where He is taking me, and how I am serving. :)
First off, I am begging for your prayers for my family. Especially tomorrow morning. Please be lifting them up in prayer. We believe in a Sovereign God, but in the midst of chaos and confusion, it is hard to always feel that. So please, pray earnestly for my family.
Tomorrow I get to spend the day with my compassion international girl I sponsor, Karen. I am overjoyed, and have been looking forward to meeting her for months! I can't wait to see her, and her beautiful 5 year old smile!
I only have 3 more mornings to wake up in the beautiful city that I love so much. Be praying for many opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am also exhausted. I need to be renewed and refreshed.
Also, be praying for smooth travels home. I just rechecked my flights, and one flight keeps changing times. 5 airports and multiple flights and layovers. Asking for prayers for smoothness, and an uneventful trip back home.
Asking for prayer for transition back home. I do not want to become comfortable. I want to be ready and willing to wherever God calls me. I also would like to move closer to family. I don't know what that means, or what that looks like. So much uncertainty, but such a sovereign God, who has it all under control. I know the mission field is where I am called, just not sure where, when, or how.
I feel like the past few blogs have been just prayer requests. But I know there is power in prayer. There is power in Jesus' name. And I need that power. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me, Bolivia, my family, and the people I have fallen in love with here. I am so blessed to have such a diverse group of people loving me, encouraging me, and praying for me.
Today was a hard day. By far the hardest I have had in Bolivia.
I received an email telling of a devastating family tragedy.
Please be praying for my family in this time.
As I have had some time to begin to process the best I possibly can, I have realized some things to be true.
-God is still God.
-My Jesus is real.
-When life or death doesn't make sense, He does.
-He conquered the grave.
-He is sovereign.
-"Daddy" has a plan.
-He is close to the brokenhearted.
It was emotionally draining seeing my street kids for the last time today. When I walked into the plaza, some girls shouted "Senorita Meechelle esta aqui!!!" They remembered my name, and were excited to see me. Thank you Jesus for little smiles in the midst of tragedy.
I am exhausted. I am spent. I am broken. I am nothing. I need Jesus to be all that He says He is. I need to rest in His arms tonight.
Please be praying for my family and our broken hearts. Please be praying for me as I only have 4.5 days left here. Be praying for strength to be His hands and feet. Be praying for my transition back home.
Do your eyes ever burn from crying so much? Do you have emotionally draining weeks? Do you weep when you are rejoicing, and sob when you are heartbroken? Does something funny make you cry? Do you sit in silence for hours reflecting? Do you get so many goose bumps from what God is doing, that you need a blanket? Do you feel like at any second you could fall apart?
The blog I had planned on writing this morning was a much different tone. I had planned on going to the jungle today. There are blockades again, and some transportation went on strike. So plans changed, and I stayed home. I was a nice, reflective day.
This week I have been begging God for two big things. 1. He would give me a week full of opportunities, so I can be the hands and feet of Jesus to many more people before I leave. 2. My heart to be broken, to see people the way Jesus does, and love them with His love.
Well, He granted me those requests. I have seen more brokenness and destitution the past few days than in my previous five weeks here. I am naturally a bit emotional, but I have wept numerous times this week. I feel like I used all my tears up for a long time.
This isn't a depressing blog. I promise.
I have wept with joy when hearing of a miracle of my friend's adoption. I have sobbed quietly as I prayed for a homeless women, as she trusts in my Jesus to take care of her. Big tears have rolled down my cheeks as I read God's word, and am reminded that it is real, alive, powerful, and personal. I have sniffled when a woman speaks truth into my life and encourages me, as I share my dreams and passions. I blubber when the Holy Spirit stirs in my heart to give to a baby's surgery. I cry when I realize without a shadow of a doubt that my calling for the next season of life is home. I smile and tears overflow knowing I get to see my daddy in just a few days.
I also have cried myself to sleep thinking about Claudia on the streets, due to have her baby within days. I have choked back tears while holding an orphan, who called me momma. I weep openly knowing I am leaving the city and people i love so much in less than a week. I cried like a baby today while reading an incredible blog. (www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) Silent tears have soaked my shirt when I realize I can't take my babies home. My heart breaks for the kids on the streets. I sit in the corner and talk to God and I weep.
I am coming back to my home changed, I hope. I don't want to wear blinders, and ignore the pain in this world any longer. I know hope, peace, true love, freedom, rest. His name is JESUS. I want to share Him with the world. I want to bring him to broken people in Detroit.
I am excited to come home. I know my God is doing something in metro Detroit. I can't wait to be apart of it.
A wonderful woman who has a home with 31 girls, and has been a missionary to Cochabamba for 17 years had me over yesterday. I was able to share my story, dreams, fears, and passions. She shared the same with me. I told her how frustrated I am coming home now. There is so much to do here, I want to be here, I love it here......... She reminded me of a story.
God gave Joseph a dream about his future. It didn't come to pass for years and years. Joseph went through many trials and obstacles before he got to where he was meant to be. But the whole time "the Lord was with Joseph" (Genesis 39:2)
God's timing is always perfect. He is deliberate. He sometimes takes us somewhere to develop our passion, and somewhere else to train us, and then another place to use that. Wherever He takes you, He equips.
It is storming very hard right now. The wind is slamming windows and doors shut all over the house. The thunder and lightning are fierce. I am glad i remembered to take the clothes off the line. So grateful for dry clothes. i think thunderstorms might be more intense here than home.
Be praying for the health of my roommates, Kathryn, Devon, and Jonathan.
Also be praying for my last few days here. Only six days left. And be praying for my transition back to the USA. There are still uncertainties at home. But I can't wait. My God is going before me. He is making the path smooth. He is working upstream.
I can't wait to share more. BIG things in the works. I know it.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Yesterday was a rough day. It was busy from sun up, to sun down.
At Casa Verde (where I live), we (me, Jonathan, Kathryn, and Devon) had morning devotions and coffee together. I shared how Jesus commands us not to just love the people who love us, that is what the pagans do. Love everyone with a love that is only from Christ. I then shared 1 Corinthians 13, and how its not just for weddings. If we don't have love, everything is worthless.
I then went to women's Bible study, where I led. (Mike and Bonnie had their last judge audience for Gracie's adoption. After 8 years, Grace is officially their daughter!) So, I led the study. We are going through the book of James with Beth Moore. The resounding theme is "faith without works is dead". I have loved the past few weeks learning about the ministries, journeys, struggles, and passions of these women. We have been as a group doing practical things to live out our faith. We brough basic things (toothpaste, shampoo, shoes, etc) to give to those who need it. We wrote cards of gratitude and encouragement to people who have made a difference in our spiritual walks. We have prayed together. I love these women. Young, old, Bolivian, American, we all love Jesus and want to be His hands and feet. Tuesday mornings is such a treasured time in my week.
After Bible study, a group of seven of us went to the nutrition center up the mountain. The nutrition center is not an orphanage. Some of the babies there are orphans. They have babies and toddlers that need to be nursed back to health. Some are babies that have been abandoned. Some are babies that mom needs help caring for. Their main goal is to get these babies healthy. Moms can come in, and they teach them how to care for their babies. There are babies with birth defects and other reasons for abandonment. Once a baby is at its ideal weight, he leaves the center. If he is an orphan, the center will find an orphanage to take him. If he has parents, they will take him home.
I don't think I was prepared for my visit there. We got there, and were quickly given babies to feed for their lunch. The first little girl I fed was maybe 18 months old. All of her teeth were rotten. She hated sitting in her chair, she wanted me to hold her while I fed her.
The next baby I fed was only skin and bones. He looked like a newborn. He weighed less than some newborns. He is nine months old. He cant raise his head up. His wrist is about the same size as my thumb. His ribs stick out so much, you can see them through his clothes. His name is Brian. As soon as I held him, he grabbed a fistful of my hair and smiled as he tried putting it into his mouth. He struggled with the concept of swallowing his food, just like a newborn. After a few bites of feeding him, his mom showed up. My heart rejoiced. Little Brian has a mommy that loves him so very much. She told me that he has been in the center for 5 months. They can't figure out what is wrong. He eats, but won't gain any weight. I watched as his mom held him, singing over him, and telling him how much she loves him. It was such a tender moment.
Another baby caught my attention. His name is Nestor. He is 15 months old, and so thin. He isn't much bigger than Brian. His mom was there too. She shared with us that little Nestor has a hole in his heart. The surgery to fix it costs $1,000. She has $500. Until she can get the rest of the money, he stays at the center, and she prays.
There was another baby. I don't know his name. From what I understood, he is an orphan. He might have downs syndrome. He was in his crib when I found him. I played peek a boo with him, and he laughed and laughed. I picked him up, and my heart melted. He had a bald, flat spot on the back of his head from being in his crib all the time. I couldn't wait to hold him, pray for him, sing over him, and just love on him. He loved my hair. He buried himself in it. he ate it. He pulled it all over my face. He held onto it in his little fist as if his life depended on it. He was my baby, if only for a few moments. He was mine. I was in love. It was time to leave and I placed him back in his crib. He looked at me with his huge, dark, sad eyes, and I was undone. I needed to get out of there. I got into the car, and big, silent tears began to fall. Tears of frustration, anger, a broken heart, longing, wishing, etc.
We then got lunch, and went to an orphanage, Casa de Amor. This is not an orphanage that is apart of IOU (International Orphan Union) that I am working with down here. The orphanages we have are different than most. They are home style. A set of parents, and no more than 12 kids in a home. They are not up for adoption, but will live there until they become adults. Their lives are constant. It is modeled after foster care in the states. Casa de Amor is a normal orphanage. Their goal is to get kids adopted. We visitied House One. House One has the youngest kids. There are currently 13 babies and toddlers.
A few of the kiddos: -Josie. A 3 year old little girl who loves feet, and is completely blind. -Mattais. A sweet baby boy who was given up by his mother because he has cleft pallet. -Gilmer. A toddler boy who lost his mom in a gas explosion accident at home, and has a scar on his face from it.
There was a little girl who was two years old. She carried a tattered baby doll everywhere. She referred to me as "momma" numerous times. Oh how I wish I could be her momma. Her big brown eyes and beautiful black hair was gorgeous. We fed the kids after they woke up from their naps, and then played for a little bit. She continued to call me momma and loved to sit on my lap. She was not happy when I left. She tried following me out the door. Big, dark eyes questioning, "Why are you leaving me momma?"
That night a larger group met at the plaza where we do baby washings on Saturdays. We split up into two groups and walked the streets, dark alleys, and other plazas, looking for the homeless. We gave them a banana, sandwich, and a piece of bread. When we knew them, we gathered around them, and laid hands on them, and prayed for them.
I met Maria Elena. A blind women who plays the tambourine on the street for money. She asked us to pray for her son, Marco.
We went up to glue sniffers, old, young, men, women, kids, babies, giving out food in the name of Jesus.
What a long day. Many tears were shed. Looking through the eyes of Jesus is hard. Seeing brokenness in its finest is heart wrenching. But it was an amazing day. Poverty, orphans, sickness, lost and broken people who Jesus loves.
Heading out now to visit a home with 31 teenage girls. Pretty excited. Love, M
This passage of scripture has been floating around in my brain the past few days.
When I serve a street kid a plate of food, a cup of juice, give a shot, hold a hand, pray over them, listen when they share, I am actually doing it to my Jesus. WOW!
"For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" Matthew 25:35-40
I have been reading "When Invisible Children Sing: A true story of five street children, an idealistic young doctor, and their dangerous hope" by Dr. Chi Huang. Oh my word! I highly suggest getting it, and reading it. It is about street kids in La Paz, Bolivia. It gives a very accurate look into the life of street kids. I sob while reading it. It reminds me so much of the kids who have stolen my heart here in Cochabamba.
Claudia, a girl who lives on the streets and is always high from sniffing glue is 8 months pregnant. Andrea is a girl who is always high from glue. She runs up to me the second I walk into the plaza. She wants me to print off pictures and bring them to her.
I have such a fire in my heart for these girls on the streets.
When I left home, I thought I would fall in love with sweet, innocent, brown babies. I thought I would want to take them home by the bushel. I had no idea I would instead fall in love with unkept, rough, druggie kids who live on the street and have done things and seen things that would make me vomit to know about. Kids no one wants to acknowledge or even want at all. But I love them and have such a heart and passion growing for them.
Lord, what do You have for me next??????????!!!!!!!!??????????????/
I only have 10 days left in the city of eternal spring. Be praying for so many opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Be praying that the people will know His love. Be praying for me as I prepare to leave, I think it will be the hardest thing to leave.
Be praying for the cities of Detroit and Cochabamba for God to pour out His power.
Also be praying for members of my family, as we celebrate one of us going home to be with Jesus.
So excited for this upcoming week. I have a feeling BIG things are on the way.
I like to believe I am in control. Don't most of us? By admitting that God really is in control (which He is, regardless of whether or not we acknowledge it), we let go of any false sense of control we cling to. Surrender is sometimes an awful, bitter pill we must swallow. But it is beautiful when we do.
Yesterday Devon, Kathryn, and I went to lunch. We then went to an internet cafe to take care of a few things, and Devon and I planned on going to the ladies' tea at church. I have been here for a month. I know the city pretty well. I knew how to get to church. Or at least, I thought I did.
We left the cafe at 4:00, the tea began at 4:30. Perfect amount of time to walk a few blocks, and get there on time. Until I realized, I couldn't find the church. I had been there enough to know where it was, but we were coming from the other side of town, so I got confused. Devon and I walked for hours in neighborhoods, up and down the main road. We asked people. No one knew. We got on our knees on the sidewalk, begging God to give us direction. Nothing happened. I knew where we were the whole time, just not where the church was. I wanted to cry. We were supposed to be there. I don't know too many other times when I had been so helpless and frustrated. (It was daytime, I was not alone, we were in a safe part of town, so all of you worriers, just calm down!)
Devon kept reminding me that we weren't in control. God is. If He wanted us to be at that tea, He could've made a way, without a shadow of a doubt. But because I was desperately clinging to the false sense of control I had in the situation, I was getting frustrated. I was allowing Satan to steal my joy. When I began to let go, and let God, I realized, it was a beautiful day, and a perfect walk. I was able to converse with Dev, and get to know her.
We finally decided to just go home. We walked blocks and blocks and blocks. All the buses were full, and not stopping. And the taxis were asking for two much money. (stinks to be a gringo sometimes) We stopped at the tienda across the street from home and got ice cream cones.
It turned into a fun night. I was able to show off Cochabamba a bit. Nothing I could've done in my own power would've changed the situation. But God was in control. He had us in the palm of His hand. My humanity couldn't change our situation.
The whole time when looking for the church, I kept thinking, "if God just leads us in the right direction, or the church just pops up, or a stranger tells us where to go, etc then we have a great God." Hahahaaha. How quickly I forget, He is great regardless of me, regardless of what He does or doesn't do. He is in control. He is not a puppet. He is God. He is worthy of praise and honor whether or not life is going the way I wanted. He is God. and I am not.
Today the three of us girls made fruit skewers and bought drinks for 80 kids at the after school center. We went up there, and all were assigned a classroom. I had 4th graders. I helped with homework, and helped pass things out. I taught a few kids some English words. It was a fun and busy day.
Tomorrow is my favorite day of the week. I'm going to the plaza to work with glue sniffers. Please be praying for that.
Less than 2 weeks left here. How is time flying by?
Life is still very uncertain in the future. Continue to pray for direction, smoothness, and clarity.
My three roommates just got home, and I smell chicken! So I will write more later! Love, M
I went with Kathryn this morning to pick up the newest member of our team, Devon. She is from Texas, and is here for a year. We had a blast yelling at her from the observation deck! What dorks. We got home, and got her settled in. Be praying for her, she has a case of altitude sickness. She had a layover in La Paz. La Paz is the highest capital city and the highest airport in the world. So, she isn´t feeling the greatest. We took her out to lunch at one of my favorite places, Sumo. They have yummy panini sandwiches and fresh juices. We popped by the internet cafe to touch base with the world. And next, we are going to the ladies´tea at church.
Nothing too crazy or new has been happening here.
Kiddos havent had school the past 3 days due to blockades. There are blockades because people are protesting. I´m not exactly sure what or why.
I got a manicure for about $2 USD. It was very nice. The girl who works at the little salon is Sonya. Be praying for her. We are becoming friends, and I want to share more about my heart and passions, but my Spanish is struggling.
I only have 2 weeks left here in this beautiful country. I have started making a bucket list of all the things I want to do before leaving. Hoping to get as much done as possible.
Sunday a few of us went up to the Cristo statue. It was the tallest Jesus statue in the world until Poland finished theirs recently. It was pretty amazing. We were able to walk up inside about up to the arms of Jesus. The staircases were narrow and winding. I think it may have been a once in a life time thing. Was not a fan of being inside, but glad I did it. To dispell many rumors, I did not go to Rio de Janerio. The Cochabamba Jesus statue is in the valley, and is actually larger than Brasil´s. I am still in Bolivia. HA HA! It was a beautiful view! I´ll throw pictures up later!
Yesteraday may have been my favorite day here.I love loving the glue sniffers and street kids. I want to share so much, but words feel inadequate. So here are some pictures to show you some awesome kids that Jesus loves desperatley. Please be praying for them.
Just a warning, this blog contains multiple images of people getting high.
The group is gathered around, listening to Psalms 111 being read.
Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD;they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
Listening about HIS name being Holy.
A glue sniffer reading about HIS name being Holy.
Me and some girls.
She´s 19, that is her son, and they live on the streets.
Hair brading and glue sniffing. Right after this picture, I saw a man beating a woman, dragging her off a bench, and kicking her. Some of the guys from my team stepped in, and broke it up. First time I had ever seen that, but that is just life.
A stray dog sleeping in the plaza, where they normally sleep.
Me and one of the boys.
My heart goes out...
Couple of the boys.
They love the stray dogs.
My favorite pic.
okyy, this is not the greatest picture. But this is the jail. it is illegal to take pictures of military or police, and I didnt want my camera taken. This jail is on one of the sides of the plaza. Sometimes when you walk by, you can see baby feet hanging out of the windows. If mom goes to jail, all of her kids go to jail with her. Ponder that for a bit.
As you can tell, it is broken here, but there is hope, and His name is Jesus. Please be praying for this place I love so much.
Today´s adventures include orphanage time, and baby washing! And it is so lovely out today, I love sunshine.
I love getting emails. I just discovered I can get emails on my kindle, without going to an internet cafe. So if you ever want to shoot me an email, send to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be praying for a possible opportunity I might have to fly to La Paz, Bolivia before leaving to possibly do something with human trafficking. More details to come, if things unfold. It might be a shot in the dark. But God knows my heart, my dreams, and desires. Praying things come together smoothly, timely, and cheaply. I'll keep you posted. Love, M
p.s. I am leaving to go work with street kids down in the plaza in an hour. Be praying that they see Jesus in our actions. Pray that I have Jesus' eyes and heart, and love with His love.
Yesterday was my half way point in Bolivia. I left Detroit 22 days before, and will be back home in 22 days. Half way. That means every day is just another day closer to home, to leaving the beloved people and place of Bolivia.
Last night I was blessed to skype with three of my dearest friends. I met my one friend´s brand new baby boy. He is the most perfect baby. I am already in love.
I loved seeing my friends. But the reality that I´m not here forever started to sink in. I know that may sound strange, but I can´t picture my life back home. It´s so different than what I´m living here. There are certainly things I really miss from home. (My two best friends kiddos, Olive Garden soup, breadsticks, and beliini iced tea, my bed, my family, a shamrock shake, being barefoot, etc) But I am not quite ready to be back.
After talking to my friends, I went to bed. I sat up in bed, and started freaking out. The uncertainity of coming home was overwhelming. So, please join me in praying for a few things.
1. I am almost positive I want to move this spring or summer. My friends, family, church, ministry, places I babysit, everything is 25+ minutes away from where I live now. I have no idea what this means exactly. I have looked at a couple houses to rent before coming to Bolivia, and everything kept falling through with roommates, etc. I know I want to be in Clarkston. Please be praying for mountains to be moved with that situation. There are so many uncertainities. But being away is making me want to be much closer to the people important to me.
2. Please also be praying for wisdom on what to so with my car. If you remember past blogs, she barely made it to my parent´s the day I left. There were lights on her dash, noises, weird driving, all sorts of issues. I don´t know if I should get something different, or keep trying to fix her. I will be close to broke when I return, so I really need God to make the past smooth on this one. I am so uncertain.
3. And the biggest one......I really think Bolivia is where I am supposed to be. Long term. I dont know when that means, or for how long. I am praying, and asking you to pray with me. I know it will need to be in God´s perfect timing. And somehow, finicial needs will need to be met. I want what God has for me, and I really belive that is to be here. There is so much work to be done here, and I have such a heart for the people here. Please be praying as I seek Him.
As I sat in bed, worrying, I was reminded of what Jesus says... Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith. So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Things are going very well here. Please continue to pray for my health. Headaches and fevers this week :( Can´t wait to share more about what God is doing in Cochabamba.
Praising Jesus, I am FINALLY feeling better!!!! I am not quite 100%, but headed there! I ate yummy Brazilian for lunch today, and it settled well! Thank you all for praying for me. I am so grateful for my support system all over. I am loving being out of the house and seeing sunshine again.
Friday afternoon, I went to a plaza with Steve to work with street kids. Cleferros (spelling may be off) is the slang term for ¨glue sniffers¨. They live on the street, washing car windows at intersections for change. They carry little bottles of glue to sniff to get high. And they need a real Jesus.
I knew Friday would be uncomfortable. But, in no way could I have been prepared for what I saw. Within seconds of walking onto the plaza, my eyes filled with tears. I convinced myself it was not the time or place to lose it. I had been praying for me to have the same eyes that Jesus has, to share in His heart. If His heart breaks, I want mine to break. Oh, the depth of brokenness has never occurred in my heart before Friday.
There were quite a few volunteers on Friday. We quickly assembled, and prayed together. There were believers from multiple countries gathered together to serve the least of these.
We split up into different stations in the plaza. There was a medical station, offering wound care. There was a station set up to wash feet and hair. I was handed a bag of nail polish. I stood in the midst of the crowd like a deer in headlights. I didn´t know what to do.
A girl in her teens came up to me. She spoke only Spanish, and asked me if I would paint her nails. Paint nails? Of course, I can do that. So, I took the bag over to a spot in the park, and we sat down. She picked out a color, and I began to paint her nails. Once we sat down, she pulled out a bottle of glue, and began sniffing it. I was surprised. I live a pretty sheltered life back home. No one has ever gotten high so close to me. This wasn´t something on the big screen, or in someone´s story. This was my real life. And it was happening right now. I began to pray for that girl. I am so thankful that Jesus is real, and He loves that girl as much as He loves me.
A crowd began to form, and I had the privelege to paint many nails that day. Women in their 50´s, girls as young as 12, all living on the streets in a hopeless life. My heart broke for them.
I never knew painting nails could be used to show the love of Jesus. But isn´t it the coolest thing ever that I was able to use something I am good at to love a broken woman? Being one of five women in my family, and babysitting a lot of little girls has given me much practice for this moment. Praise Jesus, He prepares us when we are unaware, and living life in obedience.
Next to the nail painting station was the washing station. A lot of the boys wanted to wash their hair. They kneeled over a babytub, and scrubbed their hair with soap, while a volunteer poured water over their hair. Many of the boys removed their shirts before washing their hair. Their chests, stomachs, and backs were covered in scars made by knives. They live hard lives on the streets.
The medical section was interesting as well. I was told a story later of a man being stitched up after being attacked. When asked what happened, a girl exclaimed with a smile, ¨I did it, I´m the one who cut him!¨ When asked why, she replied, ¨He raped me.¨
After everyone was washed, attended to medically, and nails painted, we gathered together. A volunteer stood in the middle of the circle, and read the Bible, and shared Jesus. We then passed out cups of juice and sandwiches. Afterwards, we just spent time talking to them and just listening and loving.
I was exhausted physically (first day out of the house all week), and emotionally. We got in the car. Steve said ¨that´s a lot to take in, huh?¨ Words couldn´t even describe. I don´t have enough time to tell you all the stories, sights, smells, conversations, etc. I was invited out to dinner that night, but was still feeling sick, so I went home. I went straight to my bed. I ended up sleeping 15 hours straight that night. Haha....I was spent.
It is now Sunday. I still have faces burned into my mind. I have sobbed over them, praying for them. I am excited for Friday to come, so I can go again.
I never want to leave something like that and not be heartbroken. I want to always have the heart of Jesus.
I promise feel good stories to come. But I am quickly learning, life isn´t always feel good, and rated g. It is ugly, raw, and painful. That´s life. But, I do have exciting stories to share soon as well.
Keep me and the city of Cochabamba in your prayers.
If you know me, you would know that I am always on the move. I thrive on being busy. I go, go, go, go, until I can't go anymore. I schedule things back to back, just to squeeze as many things in a day as possible. That is my life. Well, that was my life.
I have been sick all week. As in, I haven't left the house since Sunday afternoon. It is Thursday night. I am losing my mind. I didn't come to Bolivia to sit in bed. I came to serve. I want to serve. I was fine for my first week and a half. I know what life is like in the city. I have seen the brokenness, the pain, and the darkness. I want to be a light, I want to love, I want to share Jesus. I want to hand bread out to the homeless. I want to whisper in an orphan's ear how beautiful they are. I want to hold gauze while a street kid gets stitched up. I want to hold a malnourished baby and pray over them. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I want to go. I want to do.
Last week, I woke up with an upset stomach. Everything I ate went right through me. I couldn't eat anything. Not the most fun thing ever. I was sick one day, fine the next, sick the next day, and then sick for days. I hated it. There were suspions that I had parasites. So, my house mate took a sample into the lab, and we discovered I had a nasty bacterial infection.
So, I started taking an antibiotic. It cleared up the issue quickly. But, in return, it gave me severe dizziness and nausea. The dizziness has been so bad that if I move my eyes too fast, I feel like my world will crumble. The nausea is so bad, I gag eating a banana, or taking pills. This is not what I signed up for. The side effects of the pills was worse in my mind than the original upset stomach.
So, I haven't done much. Sleeping is a nightmare. Every toss or turn makes the dizzyness and nausea worse. I have been miserable. I just want to get out of bed and serve. I did not come to Bolivia to lay in bed.
This morning was the hardest. The three of us living at the guest house do a time of devotion and prayer together. We watched a video about how "Daddy has a plan." Our Heavenly Father has a plan. We just need to trust him. We read verses that proved this. He is holding me in the palm of his hand. He has a plan for me.
But still my humanity cried out. Why am I sick? Why can't I serve? I feel useless. I haven't done anything. I am a hinderance to the team. What is the point of being in Bolivia, if all I do is sit in bed? I feel lazy. I feel pointless. I was angry. I was exhausted.
I sobbed to my friend this morning. She held me, and reminded me "Daddy has a plan". There is probably a lesson to be learned in this. But, He's got me.
We found out there is a mediciene to help combat dizzyness and nausea. She went to the pharmacy to pick it up. I took it, and napped. She woke me up to check on me, and I still felt awful. She ended up getting me soup and bringing it home. I slept some more.
All day long I slept, and reminded myself "Daddy has a plan". I became angry at God a few times. I am good at serving. I am not good at sitting.
And then, my 'aha' moment came.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
One thing is necessary. Sit at the feet of Jesus. Listen to His words. Rejoice in who He is. Give glory to His name. Soak up His teaching.
Serving is good. But sitting is better.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
So, I am know there is much work to be done out there. But I am going to try to just sit at the feet of Jesus. Read His word. Worship who He is. And relax, knowing, "Daddy has a plan."
I really want to be well enough to serve tomorrow. There are a lot of opportunites to be involved with.
Please join me in prayer for restful sleep, a sound stomach, dizziness to be gone, any weakness to be filled with strength, any lingering infection or side effects to be done. In Jesus' Name.
I am sorry I haven't been too diligent about blogging much lately. I have so many stories. I hope to share them soon.