Happy Halloween!

For the first Halloween in my life, I don't think that anyone gave me candy today. :) I definitely didn't miss Halloween, probably because I got to play with cute little kids.

The last few days have been really fun for me. I've been spending time doing orphanages with Heather, but also time at the Talita Cumi orphanage by myself. I work almost completely on the boy's side of the orphanage, because they seem to need the most help there. The boys are wild and don't always listen, but they are really cute and usually are quick to help.

One little boy was especially nice to me today. His name is Juan de Dios, but the boys sometimes call him Juan de Diablo because he's so naughty. Today as we were walking to a field to play soccer he told me, "I'm bad! If people don't do what I say, I fight them! I'm bad!" He sounded kind of bad, but you have to see the whole picture: Juan de Dios is the smallest eight year-old I've ever seen, and as we were walking he was holding my hand with one hand, and in his other hand was a water bottle that he brought that he kept asking me to drink out of so I wouldn't be thirsty. I told him I was pretty sure he wasn't bad and that he was quite the gentleman.

I hear these kids trying to be so cool so they can make it on the streets or even just in the home, and my heart breaks in a way. I don't want Juan de Dios to grow up thinking that they have to have the reputation of being "bad, real bad" just to get some attention or to get by. Pray with me that they see what our Savior has planned for them. He wants us to live lives that are so good that others may see our good works and believe (1 Peter 2:12). He gives us attention not because our behavior needs it, but because He loves us with a deep, unconditional love. I'm not sure how to teach this to kids, but I sure hope my actions speak louder than my poor Spanish.

Tomorrow we're going to cook lunch for Mi Gumi, a home for 12 girls. I will try to post pictures later.


Ministry and Mangos

Well, today I had my first Bolivian mango. It was wonderful! It was a lot more stringy than the ones that I've had in the US, but the flavor was so much better. I think that there are a lot of different types of mangos here, so I'm sure I'll get to try a non-stringy one too.

The last few days have been really good for me. I have been trying to decide and pray about what I'm going to do with my time here. It's been a good yet hard thing that there is a lot of need in the orphanages now. At least three of them that Heather is connected with are understaffed, so they could use me to come and take over a shift or two a week. I also found out today that I could teach an English class at one of the orphanages. I spent some time at Talita Cumi, which is an orphanage that houses boys and girls today. I was on the boys' side, and I had so much fun! I am not completely sure what I'm going to do yet, but I am excited for whatever I will do!

Praise God also that my Spanish has been improving! I am so thankful that I can understand a lot of what the kids say to me now, although I'm still really struggling sometimes. It really comes and goes right now. Everyday, though, is a little better


Going to Mi Gumi, a girls' home that houses twelve girls, and having all of them remember me. Ana, the littlest one, said that she cried when Samantha and I left last time.

Singing in church...our worship band is amazing!

Seeing cute faces like these.


What do I do?!?

It is my second day in Bolivia, and there is so much to say! It is really strange to me that I am finally here! The place that I am in in terms of what I can do here and my independence is very strange too.

First of all, I have to say that the situation politically here seems to be pretty calm. The one way that I can tell anything is weird is that there is a gasoline/diesel/natural gas shortage. It is pretty amazing to see all these huge trucks lined up for hundreds of yards to get their diesel, which is in very short supply. There is even less gasoline right now. Heather and I drove around for awhile this morning trying to fill up her car and didn't find any at all, which meant that we had to go to a different home than we had planned to. When gas comes into the city everyone lines up and fills up right away, so we are watching the news to find out which stations they will bring the next shipment to. I'm not sure exactly why there is this shortage. I think it could be blockades somewhere or maybe the government has some plan in all of it.

In spite of the shortage Heather and I have found a lot to do and we've been to two of the homes. Refreshing my Spanish has been soooo interesting so far. I have been really encouraged with how well I can communicate with the kids in the homes, because they are patient and will usually repeat something at least once so that I know what they are talking about. However, at the same time I am disappointed with how little I know. I don't feel confident being put into conversations with adults yet, which I REALLY want, so you can pray that God would expand my vocabulary and ability to understand the accent here quickly.
In my less than 48 hours here, I have learned that the need is great. There are two orphanages relatively close to where we live who are understaffed, so they could use me there. Also, I want to help out at Eben-ezer, the home for mentally disabled boys that I helped at before. I am praying for God's leading in this, and also that I would have the ability to do whatever He calls me to.

That whole ability thing is so frustrating for me. This is my third time in Bolivia and my third year of pretty intense Spanish study. I feel as though I should be able to be pretty independent here and not have to rely on my sister and other missionaries here so much. But so far I feel semi-helpless. I can have tiny conversations on my own but need my sister to translate far more often than I wish I needed. It is very humbling to come to serve and to see how much others have to serve me, and I'm so thankful for them.
You can pray that God would show me where He wants me and help me to be confident to use the gifts that He's given me. He won't give me more than I can handle, so I have to trust that His plan for me will be doable. Also, you can pray that I will be a willing servant in whatever way He wants me to serve. I really want to the least so that Christ can be the greatest.

I will post some pictures once I get the chance to take them, which will happen soon.
Love from Bolivia!



I am in Bolivia! I will write more here later with, hopefully, a detailed update.


Bolivia...Here I come?

I will know whether I will be able to go to Bolivia probably by the 15th and definitely by the 17th. I will let you know when I know! If not, this blog may become Kayleen's adventures in Mexico! :)