Busy? Rest on Him

I am tempted to fill this post with all my plans for the next few days, but the truth is that that's not what glorifies God right now.  So pray for me as I'm gone this weekend, but let these lyrics stay with you.

  1. We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
    We go not forth alone against the foe;
    Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
    We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

  2. Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
    In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
    Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
    Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

  3. We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
    And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
    Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
    “We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

  4. We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
    Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
    When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
    Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
  5. -Edith G. Cherry


Birthday Pics

I've had 4 birthday celebrations this year (plus an unexpected cake), each with a different group of people.  That is definitely the bummer of growing up in one place, putting down roots in another, then being abruptly relocated for a year.  However, with FOUR PARTIES (!!!!) it's also the bonus.

I'm missing the picture taken at one of my parties, but I'll explain each of them in chronological sequence.

October 10th: Brunch. WI.  My mom made the delightful salad that I mentioned earlier, and I enjoyed being with family and family friends.
October 10th: Evening. MN.  My friends (who I like to call my TC fam) in the Twin Cities took me out to Gandhi Mahal's, this amazing Indian restaurant.  The food was spectacular, and it was wonderful to just be with them.  Afterwards, we took some "family" pictures and celebrated with apple crisp and Dr. Quinn episodes.  
Enjoying the delicious food

This one accurately capures us

Oct. 11th: Airport.  FL. I bought myself Chinese food and Dr. Pepper to celebrate.  

Oct. 12th.  Classroom.  Bolivia.  My students surprised me with wonderful cupcakes and cards.  I was so grateful, and I love them a lot!  (Picture coming)

Oct. 13th.  Goodbye party for missionaries.  Bolivia.  The cake that I thought was the despedida cake was actually for me, and my church family sang Feliz Cumpleanos to me.  

Oct. 17th.  My house.  Bolivia.  We had a little "party," meaning that four people came over, and we watched Horton Hears a Who!  My roommate Adreana baked a delicious coconut cake for the occasion, and it was a great time!

So, have I enjoyed my birthday?  Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.  Thanks to everyone who helped make it a cross-continentally special!

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
-Psalm 121:8



Today was so full I just need to write what I did so that I don't forget.

1.  My kids earned a party, so I took popcorn and refresco to school and we watched The Borrowers.  This one was so much more chill than our last party.
2. Parent Teacher Conferences!  I was so nervous; sweating a lot, but they went really well.
3.  Lunch with one of my student's families.  They were so great!  I had lots of fun and ate a typical Bolivian dish with chicken, rice, and tomato/onion salad.
4. Played Wii with my student.
5. Went to the violin concert of another student.  Great Bolivian/Korean/Dutch/United States experience.
6.  American pizza with Korean and Bolivian stories.
7. Waiting for sleep.

So tired.  So glad to be living in another culture for a year.  

P.S.  I actually love being with people.  


Lessons Learning

They aren't lessons learned yet.  I'm still in process.  I know, I know, I know with my head that "God will provide for my needs according to His glorious riches in Jesus Christ."  I know in my head that "His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness."  Speaking truth to myself helps, but it seems that sometimes I learn best through experience.  

For example, at the beginning of the school year, I kind of had this idea in my head that God's power being made perfect in my weakness meant that when I let God use my weaknesses, suddenly I would be awesome at everything I had struggled with before.   Never taught an entire classroom?  No problem, God's strength will make your weakness go away.

Well, that is not what Scripture says.  It says that God's power is made perfect is my weakness, not my skills.  Uh, this means that I am so imperfect as a teacher.  I think I'm feeling the first-year-teaching blues.  My lessons aren't head-turning enough.  My homework is not mind-penetrating enough.  My discipline isn't life-changing enough.  

Also, my students are SINFUL!  But that's another post.

Anyway, I've been feeling this inadequacy lately.  It's heavy.  But as I mourn the fact that I don't know how to best teach the steps of long multiplication and division, I also remember the encouraging words a friend left with me when I stayed, "The LORD protects the simpleminded, when I was in great need, He saved me."

He is the one who saves.  It's His power that is made perfect when my weaknesses become evident.  And best of all, He receives the glory, honor, and praise due His name.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all those things will be given to you as well.
- Matthew 6:33



My dream and, I hope, my calling, are to one day work with an unreached people group in the middle of nowhere and raise a family in the wilderness with the tribe as our closest friends and supports.  Maybe God has that for me someday.

But this year, He has called me to be in support ministry for people who do things like that.  I actually am enjoying this support work more than I thought.  One of the amazing things I'm getting to do this year is invest in MK's.  I'm so excited that last night a high school girl who I've known for a few years asked me to begin being her accountability partner!  God is good to me.  I'm also discipling/mentoring another high school girl.  Both of these ladies are wonderful, and I'm so grateful to get to learn from them and with them this year.  

Praising God that even when things are hard He brings me opportunities to praise Him.

I feel the need, after reading what I wrote, to qualify my words by saying that sometimes I'm grumpy about being in a support role, some days I wake up and don't want to teach (gasp), and every day I sin.  More than once.  In case I made myself sound like I always love life and am never discouraged or sinful.  I am the greatest of sinners, but God uses me anyway.


A Taste of Home

Sometimes, I just wish that I could be home wrapped up in my Mom's quilts against the cold air of Minnesota or Wisconsin.  Some things make me feel especially like I'm at home.  Like this:
Straight from the bogs of  Marshfield, WI

Thank you soooooooooooooo much Rachel, Cacey, Nicola, and Lacy for this WONDERFUL birthday gift!  It was the perfect way to make me feel at home here.



I'm not sure exactly what stage of cultural adaptation I'm in.  Ha, of course that's the first way I evaluate myself.

Life since coming back from the States has been so strange.  Sure, I'm sleep-deprived and about as emotionally exhausted as is possible for me, but I feel like this is something more.

It used to be (from when school started Aug. 10 until maybe a month ago) that I would wake up in the morning, and it was an adventure to be in a whole different world.  It was exciting that I had no idea how I was going to make it through the day doing something I had never done before.  When I was lost in my classroom, I would just stand in front of my kids, pray, and make something up.

I guess I still do that.  I did it today with devotions.  "Quick, what did I read this morning?  How can I make my students excited about what I got excited about?"  It still worked pretty well.  Philippians 1:6- God doing a good work in my students and bringing it to completion- how could you not get excited about that?

But I digress.  I just felt weary today.  I even felt like the way I view my students has changed.  At the beginning of the year, I was ready for whatever cultural MK/Bolivian stuff they could throw at me.  I remember counting my Sharpies after the first time my students used them to make sure they weren't stolen.  Now I know that I really need to watch them after I tell them to put their comic book away because they'll be reading it under their desks, but I'm realizing all the ways that I don't know them.  

I don't know where their attitudes come from. What goes on in my Bolivian kids very blended families?  What about the boy who spends one night at his mom's house and the next at his dad's?  Why is one girl refusing to do homework to the extent that two F's will now be on her report card?  How clearly were the lines drawn this week when the most popular Bolivian boy gave a back eye to the loudest MK?  How do I teach a class like this?

Maybe it's just the weight of this week's events, or maybe it's just me adapting, or maybe I'm just plain tired, but something is different, and it makes my stomach knot up.  It makes my head hang, and sometimes it brings tears to my eyes.  Pray for me, friends, as I trust God's plan in bringing me to Santa Cruz and to this school.

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 1:6


My Beautiful Family

The children that are nearest and dearest to my heart and their parents, grandparents, aunts, and friends.

Words can't really help these pictures.


A Special Welcome

Apparently this country in which the only certain thing is uncertainty wanted to give me a special welcome today.

My flights were wonderful yesterday.  Both perfectly on time.  I actually enjoyed my 12 hour layover in Miami, and God definitely had His hand in every step of the journey, from my Starbucks frustration to making a friend on my flight to Santa Cruz.  He also had His hand in what happened when I got there.

Heather was late in picking me  up, and I wondered why.  When she arrived (actually only about 5 min late), she was...sweatier than usual.  She had walked over 2 kilometers through a bloqueo, or road block, that was set up to protest a new customs law.  This protest was peaceful, as are almost all of them in Santa Cruz, but it was also LONG. 
Photo by El Deber

Heather and I left my suitcases at the airport and carried my carry-ons on the long walk back to her car.  I finally got home at 10:45 and was in school, teaching, by 11:30.

Back at school, I really did have a special welcome. The guard, secretary, and principal were all involved in a secret alert signal for my arrival at the school.   When I walked in my classroom door, my students yelled "Happy Birthday" as I walked in and my substitute had baked cupcakes for all of us!  I missed them a lot.

Overall, it's good to be back.  I'm exhausted.  Pray against bullying and pray for peace in my classroom. Praise God for a safe journey.



I'm celebrating my birthday today in the airport while I wait for my flight back to Santa Cruz.   Highlights:
1. I need this time to process the last three months and catch up on email/other stuff.
2. Nicola drove me to the airport this morning.
3. I get to see my sister again in 17 hours!
4. I'm doing many things I enjoy: reading blogs, people watching, walking around, reading, writing, people watching, watching the news, people watching.
5. This is a new experience.  I love new experiences.

Lowlights (if you will):
1. No one else is here with me.
2. Starbucks would not let me have my free birthday drink because the airport won't accept that. 

Here is my birthday lupper (eaten at 4pm, that isnt' really lunch or supper):
Chinese food for my last day in America


I'm sitting in the Miami airport trying to decide how in the world to write the last 7 days.  Write a sentence, erase it.  Repeat.

Let me give a few highlights.
- My mom and Cody Kargus came to pick me up at the airport.  My mom lost it when she saw me; it's good to know that you are loved.
- Going for runs in farmland!
- Pizza hut with Janna, Jessie, and Derek.  I feel at home with these friends.
- The apple orchard with Nicola- her first trip to an orchard!
- Pumpkin Spice Latte (this picture is especially for my friend Amy in Bolivia, who writes this great blog) (Also, my friend Cacey now works at Starbucks and I got to see her in action- it was great)
- Hanging out with Cody and Ellen and watching God put all the right people in my path at Northwestern College
- Applebees with friends I grew up with
- Getting to see my grandma and grandpa- my grandma and I had a good time and I love just being with her.
- Talking with my sister Lindsey
- Raking fall leaves with my dad

- Sharing at my church on Sunday.  I was so encouraged by all the hugs and blessings that I received!
- Hanging out with family and friends at a brunch my mom whipped up (pictures to follow of cute nieces and nephews)
- Eating my mom's salad at that brunch
- Going to my Spanish church!
- Celebrating my "birthday eve" with my Twin Cities family (pictures to follow)

My schedule over the last week has been full to say the least.  I loved every minute, though.  God is so good to me; I can't believe it!

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
- Ps. 34:1


My American Breakfast

After running past recently-harvested corn fields surrounded by brilliantly-colored hills, I sat down to this delicious breakfast.

Greek yogurt, PB&J toast, coffee, water, and... HONEYCRISP apple!!!

Praise God for a good time here!  Details coming soon.


Bienvenidos a Miami

I did not think that I'd be home this soon.  I'm sitting in my bedroom in Wisconsin, marveling at the softness of my bed and the convenience of the radio alarm that woke me up this morning.  I will write about being home soon, but first, Miami!

My purpose in going to the US at all was to get my visa so that I can stay in Bolivia for a year (right now I'm on a tourist visa).  The most accessible Bolivian consulate for me was in Miami, so I flew in Sunday night to be picked up by some missionaries here.  Jeff and Kathy were wonderful to me!  Besides Jeff using his cultural-awareness skills to get all my Bolivian paperwork done in 45 min. (a true South American miracle!), getting to see the moons of Jupiter on his telescope, and getting to talk about teaching with Kathy, here are some highlights of my 36 hours in FL.

Wading in the Atlantic in West Palm Beach

Driving along South Beach to take in the sights

Fish and chips at John G's

Pastries at the famous Versailles bakery
Jeff's sister and niece took me out for ice cream and encouraged me a lot!

And perhaps my favorite, sitting in their back yard reading and resting
This wonderful couple made sure that I was comfortable during my short stay in Miami, and they were also flexible when my quick visa trip allowed me to go home two days early.  

God provided in allowing me to get my visa, allowing me to change my flight for only $2.50, and allowing me to not have to pay to check my bag on my domestic flight (since I actually came from Bolivia).  This is not even mentioning that He provided support and encouragement for me through my time in Miami and the wonderful people I met there.

Current status: Physically tired from all I've been doing, Spiritually renewed
Course of action: Spend as much time as possible with family and friends and try to fit my life for the next ten months into a 50lb suitcase.

Now off to MN and then back to WI.  Thanks for following my adventures!

Photos from:
My camera



My students and I had a discussion on Thursday about us truly being aliens in the world since we belong in heaven.  I started the discussion to redirect some name calling, but I have realized the truth of that statement today.

- I forgot my debit card at the ATM and it got sucked back into the machine.

- I got the wrong size passport photo taken.

- I'm cranky.

All of my traveling "plans" are not turning out as planned.  I just want things to work out.  I'm making a lot of work for others with my mistakes and failures.  May God get me safely to the land of cheese without too many more alien moments.


During my senior year of college, I relaxed by curling up on our couch-pulled-out-into-a-bed with my roommates and watched movies.  When I was at my parents house, I would chill with them in the living room watching Food Network.  At my house in Bolivia, there is no one to watch movies with, no cuddly couches, and definitely no Food Network.  So, I read.

I LOVE reading.  When I was growing up, my family joked that I would grow roots in the couch from the hours I spent devouring books.  However, college made me a lazy reader.  I skimmed textbooks and had little time for anything else.  I'm hoping that will change

I just finished a great book that I would recommend to anyone who likes South America, anthropology, or just a page-turning true story. 

The book gives an insider look at the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia or FARC, through the eyes of three Americans who were captured and held in the jungles of Colombia beginning in 2003.  I couldn't put this book down the last few days, so now have about 5 hours to pack for my upcoming trip to the US, but I finished a great book!