Well, my family got a great surprise today! Heather called me on Saturday saying that she might get sent home because of the political rest in Bolivia, and that she wanted to surprise Mom and Dad if she did come home.
So, last night I drove to the airport with Amber Kargus, and we got to spend time with Ellen Warneke on the way! They we picked up Heather, went to spend the night at Ellen's, and drove home in the morning.
Man was my family surprised! She is only home for three weeks hopefully, so we'll see if things blow over down in Bolivia. Please pray that they will so that I can go! I really want to! Also pray that I would seek God's will for my decision if things aren't completely calm.


Bolivia Needs Prayer

The country of Bolivia is in a lot of turmoil right now. The quick background is that some of the states in Bolivia want autonomy from the national government, and in the last three weeks they have started seriously protesting.

About a week ago 8 (I think?) people were killed in a riot. Since then the total number of people killed due to the violence of the protests there has reached 30 if I understand the news right. It's really sad to hear about, and this news makes me worried about the missionaries that I know there.

Fortunately, the city that Heather lives in seems to be pretty calm. She is able to go about her ministry and just doesn't have gas for her car. The US government has pulled all of its non-emergency employees out of Bolivia and yesterday the peace corps left as well. Things may look bad, but i'm praying that it will blow over soon.

The exciting news is that, in faith, I bought my plane tickets yesterday!!!!!! I leave the US on October 21st!

Please pray for things to settle down quickly, and pray that these acts would cause the people of Bolivia to be more open to the gospel as they see the frailty of human life.

Thanks and have a great night!


Why I'm going to Bolivia-- Part Three!!

I'm sorry that this is getting so drawn out! I'm almost to the present, I promise!

Well, I was praying about how to spend my semester, and God laid Bolivia and also my home on my heart immediately. I emailed Heather to see if she could let me follow her around in Bolivia for awhile and maybe even do a language school, and she was pretty excited about that. Through more prayer and communication, I decided to head to Bolivia for the months of November and December and to stay home and help my grandma for the months of September and October. As the time for me to buy plane tickets is drawing near, it's looking more like I will be spending part of October in Bolivia as well because I'm very excited to go there!

I plan to arrive in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and spend a day or two recovering from the plane ride and just getting used to Bolivia again. Then I will take a bus with my sister to a city about 14 bus-ride hours away where I will take two weeks of language school (yay!). Hopefully this will help my Spanish enough that I will be able to confidently find my way around the city of Santa Cruz and have meaningful conversations. I'm a Spanish minor in school, so last time I went to Bolivia I felt like I was right on the brink of having both of these things.

After my language school I will head back to Bolivia and spend six or seven weeks helping out my sister in different orphanages and probably traveling to some orphanages by myself to work with the kids- maybe help older kids with their English homework or hold classes for the mentally disabled boys at Eben-Ezer. I'm so excited about this part of my ministry because I will be having that consistency that I talked about before with the kids and be a part of my sister's church, which is just a really cool thing.

Here I am in Bolivia at an orphanage. The kids love cameras! :)

So that kind of tells you where I'm at right now in terms of Bolivia. Right now I'm living at home, helping out my grandma as my job, spending time with family and friends, and taking some distance education credits through Northwestern.

You can definitely be praying for me as I prepare for Bolivia and while I'm there. I'll post more specific requests later. Have a great evening!



Bolivia- Why Am I Going? Part Two

As a quick review, reason one that I'm going back to Bolivia is to build some consistency with these kids. They have too many people who come into their lives once and then leave, so I'm trying to at least come into their lives two or three times.

How can I go back? I'm in school!
Well, God seems to definitely want me there. I had my Fall 2008 schedule all planned out and went to meet with my advisor last week to finalize the rest of my college schedule. It turned out that some of the classes that I was trying to get out of the way couldn't be taken care of until I took a summer program called SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics). That meant that I had 6-8 credits that I needed to take this fall to be able to graduate on time-- not enough to be a full-time student. I decided to get those credits taken care of by going to Spain to study abroad. I could fulfill my Spanish credits and a few other credits that I needed and experience a new culture and get really good at my Spanish. The plans for Spain came together in a few weeks, and by the time summer came my program was almost ready to be finalized.
I headed to Arrowhead Bible Camp where I was counseling all summer. As people shared their life stories during staff training, God kept bringing the fact that I was going to Spain back to my mind. I really wasn't satisfied with going to a place where I had no church body and where I had no plan for ministry. I kept on thinking of how if I went to Spain I would have a good time, but if I did something else I could be serving. I started praying a lot about whether I really wanted to go to Spain. I realized that I really didn't want to, and I think that God was glorified with my decision.
I was at Arrowhead Bible Camp with two months to plan for my semester, and that will have to be where we pick up next time.
Stay tuned for God moving my heart...


Wesley's baptism

Happy Monday!

I promise to write more about Bolivia very soon, but I just had to get a picture up of my nephew's baptism. I was asked to be the godmother/sponser of my four month-old nephew Wesley Aaron when he was baptized, and that was a really cool thing. I'm not used to babies being baptized, and I'm not sure that I agree with the doctrine behind it, but it was a really cool thing just to dedicate his life to Christ and to promise to bring him up in the Word-- God's truth. Here is a picture of the pastor, Shawn (his other uncle sponser/godfather), and me with Wesley in his shiny white tuxedo. :)

Also, he was smiley the whole church service. He's actually a pretty smiley baby in general. He almost made all of laugh with his goofy-happy expressions up at the baptismal font. What a cute guy.


Bolivia- Why Am I Going Back?

Since the main reason I'm writing in here is to talk about Bolivia, I thought that I'd start sharing some of my motivations for going. I spent the summer of 2007 in Bolivia with my big sister, Heather, who is a missionary there, and one other girl. I had a great time, but more importantly, I really started to connect with a lot of the kids there and especially with some of the young women who were my age in Heather's Bolivian church.

I need to back up a little. My sister works with orphanages in the city of Santa Cruz in Bolivia. She is a chiropractic care and provides care to about 12 orphanages there, and spends intentional relationship-building time with about three of the orphanages. Sam (the other girl who went) and I spent the majority of our time in Bolivia helping out at one of these orphanages which housed 13 mentally disabled boys. We worked with these boys on their regular schooling which was drawing shapes and learning colors for most of them, and one hour two days a week we did a special class with them. We were trying to teach the boys about praying for others and about the church as a body, so we taught them about Israel. They did a great job making crafts, but man were those hours trying times. 13 boys in a small room with only two of us to help with the "projects." These boys had ranges of ability and cognition from about 6 months to about 12 years. You can imagine the craziness. We got to know these boys so well, though, as well as some girls from a different orphanage.

Here is the group picture that we tried to take with the boys. They would not stay in the same place for long enough to take a very good picture. :)

Anyway, something that these kids experience all the time is people leaving them. First of all, they are orphans, so their parents have left them. Then, they constantly have workers and directors coming and going in the orphanges-- it's very hard work so I definitely understand, but it's still sad. On top of all this, there are many short term mission teams who come and make relationships with the kids and then leave. These teams do a lot of good in the homes, and the interaction that they have with the kids is good for them, but also hard. I went to be with them last summer for 10 weeks, which isn't exactly a short time, but neither did I really stay. I want to go back to put some consistency into their lives. Especially because I'm beginning to feel as though God might have some kind of more permanent place for me in Bolivia in missions, I want to form relationships.

This isn't all I want to say about why I'm going to Bolivia, but I need to collect the rest of my thoughts more, so I'm sure you'll see more soon. Thanks!


Yay Blogspot!

Welcome to my blog. I decided to start keeping an online journal of sorts for a few reasons.

1. I have a lot of time on my hands for the next month and a half.

2. I will be traveling to Bolivia and I always have people who like to stay updated on what I am doing. This will hopefully give those who want a more in-depth look at what I'm doing a chance to do that, while those who just want a quick review of my time can just read my email updates.

3. I'm not in school this semester and it actually feels good to write something that isn't for homework and that won't be proofread or critiqued for grammar or style-- although I do love grammar. :)

For those of you who will be reading this, thanks! May what I write be written for the glory of God and the edification of others.