Thankful for- Supporters

They couldn’t properly prepare for this.  I was not the missionary who was able to come, set up a little table at eight different churches, and give a little presentation wearing traditional clothing and bringing a cute little Bolivian guitar to entertain the kiddies.  No one got taken out to coffee to talk with me about the possibility of “coming alongside” my ministry.


They just got the news that I had stayed.  They maybe read my letter, or my emails, or just maybe they heard me talk nearly three months after the fact.  But my supporters, they obeyed God’s call in coming alongside me anyway.  I am very grateful to God for the people who have supported me financially this year.


It’s been a good year of trusting.  I have not always known where my food and housing money for the next months were going to come from, but God has been providing through people faithful to His call at just the right moments all year.  He has had a plan all along, and I have learned a lot about waiting to see what that plan is.


If you have supported me this year- thank you!  God has used you to meet a very real need.  I would not be here without His provision, which came through you.  Through your gifts, you have impacted not only my life but the lives of twenty fifth graders.  He is faithful.


And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

- Philippians 4:19



So, I don’t want to sound like a showoff, but I do want to show off what my great friends have done.  I have been so blessed by them as I've lived a continent away this year.  I got care package #3 today!!!  It is from one of my fellow linguistic major friends from college. She is raising support to go to Papua New Guinea, so it extra blessed me that she would send me a package.
Devotional book, Streams in the Dessert, which I can't wait to read!
Cute pot that sadly broke (I will still plant the seeds), Easter ears, stress ball (perfect for my class!), prayer card (my biggest request!), candle, cute bookmark, playing cards, notepad, and yes- DOVE CHOCOLATE!
Also this great candle that I am already putting to good use.  Cherry pie- so yummy-smelling!
Thank you, Catherine!
Feeling so loved!  This package came after a very stressful day at school, and I was so blessed by it.  I knew Catherine was sending me a package, but I was not expecting the mega shoebox filled with goodies. God and Catherine knew how to bring lots of joy to my evening.

Plus, another friend of mine from the camp I worked at last summer sent me an amazing drawing of Mother Teresa, one of my heroes!  I recently had time to frame it and put it with other pictures of friends who were at this camp with us‘

Finally, my friend Samantha who is living here for a year recently brought over both of her Aaron Rodgers jerseys, and we sported our Packer Pride together and took pictures.  So. Much. Happiness.

DSCN0909So thank you, friends, for being wonderful!  Hebrews 10:24.


Good. Friday.

Following Jesus is full of paradoxes.  Why do we call the day that our Savior died good?  I know the answer to that question- His death saves us from His wrath.  But when I started thinking about that this morning, I was blown away.  At the same time that I'm mourning Jesus' sinless death I am rejoicing in freedom to stand before Him.  I started thinking what it would be like to live under God's wrath rather than His love.  I can't really imagine it, but even the thought scares me.

I'm so glad that the story of Jesus doesn't end with His death, but it's good that we have a day that makes us feel the weight of His sacrifice. It's good for us to remember where we would be without it.

What do you think about on Good Friday?


Happy Birthday Wesley

A birthday blessing for my cute nephew who turns three today:

Colossians 1:9-12

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.


While I wish I could be home, I am looking forward to hanging out with this cutie in August!

Thankful for- People Who Pray

I don’t even know how to properly write this thank you post. There are so many people who have prayed for me and my class this year, and the results aren’t exactly measurable—but I know that they are huge!

First of all- To those who prayed for my fifth graders:  Thank you!
Before I went back to teaching after Christmas break, I asked everyone who follows me through email updates, Twitter, Facebook, and this blog to take an hour and pray for my students on the day before we went back to classes.  I have seen some really cool things happen to my students this semester, and I know it is in large part due to your prayers and our God who answers them.  Also, before the team I came down with left, they each committed to pray for a student.  It has been cool to see my students respond to the idea that someone they’ve never met is praying for them all year.  Thank you!

Next- Thank you to everyone who prayed for me- I have never felt prayers like I have this year.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog this year, you know that I went through a rough time of being homesick and struggling to find joy in what God had called me to do (teach) here in Bolivia.  I sent out several email, facebook, and blog pleas for prayer, and the God answered your prayers.  When I was going through a really hard time one of my friends sent me this message.
So a bit ago when you asked us to pray for you because you had been at that camp, and you just felt like throwing in the towel and leaving. I prayed for you that night, probably with some of the most intensity I have ever prayed, not in any way do I want to brag or anything that is just what the Spirit allowed me to experience. Anyway one of the things I prayed was, "Let me bear part of her burden" The next day I had one of the worst days in a long time. I felt awful, I felt totally out of it, and just spiritually and physically tired. I prayed all day, "God why do I feel like this, this sucks" At the end of the day I finally remembered what I prayed the night before, and it all made sense.
I had felt his prayers that day!  God works in really mysterious but really cool ways.  I am so grateful for all of your prayers!

God has been teaching me a lot about the power of prayer in the last few years, and this video has helped me see how God can allow puny little humans’ prayers to make a difference.

Anyway, I am very grateful for prayers, and there is no way that I could have made it through this year without them.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
-James 5:16


Information Overload

Ready to be bombarded by all that is on my mind right now?

- School ends in less than six weeks.  I have a lot of curriculum to get through, but more than that I want to end well with my kids.  I want them to not leave thinking about the facts they learned this year (does this make me a bad teacher?) but about how they were challenged to follow Christ and believe His good news.  How do I do this? Also, I’m pretty excited for the end of the year.  Not wake up at 5:30 every morning?  Yes, please!

- MY PARENTS ARE COMING IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS!  They’re coming down with a team of six from my church for a ten-day team.  Heather and I miss them lots and can’t wait to see them!

- I went to salsa dancing lessons with one of my friends here last week.  Because these were lessons, they are considered fine, but social dancing here is frowned upon by the church.  I can’t wait to go to a wedding and dance when I get home!  Electric slideLightning, anyone?

- My sister Heather is a great missionary.

- I am so grateful to have friends here, especially Bolivian friends.  I’m praying that God might let me know soon if he wants me to come back here (to work with a native group) after my ~2 years in the US.

- I have not cried in over two weeks!!!  This is from the same girl who cried at least twice a day in February.  God has given me joy and peace in teaching and in being here.  Thank you everyone who prayed and is praying!  Please continue to bring me before God.  Romans 15:13.

- My very dear friend and roommate for over two years is moving away from the Twin Cities right when I get back Sad smile so she can go to grad school and get her doctorate and help small children who have experienced trauma.  I guess serving God that way is a worthy cause, but I will really miss her.  I’m trying to figure out how I can get home soon enough to make a road trip out of her move-in.

- A joy in teaching over the last weeks has been listening to my kids pray in the mornings or before lunch.  They are so thankful to God!  One of troublemakers thanks God almost every day for me (funny because usually I am sending him outside or sending home something for his parents to sign).  They also pray for things like using BUILD (anti-bullying campaign at school), being unified as a class, being encouraging, and setting a good example.

- I am so thankful to have an accountability friend here!  I think Amy and I are kindred spirits.  I could talk to her for hours.  God created us to be able to share our joys and pains with others.  Gal 6:2

- Loving hearing sermons from my church every week!


Thankful for- Random Hours of Service

When I started typing this post, I realized that it truly has taken an army (or at least that number of people) to get me through this year.  Here are some of the people who have spent time in my classroom or outside of it helping with teaching things.

- Heather has come in once a week to do devotion and spent many hours correcting.  She gets her own post later.

- Adreana (my roommate) came in for two days last semester to help control my kids and subbed for me this semester while I was at camp.  She taught me how to be firm but fun!

coconut cake

- Amy came and taught my class a writing lesson, and taught me how to be a better teacher.

- Danielle and her mom Lisa came and offered their services in October.

- Emily has been faithfully correcting my Spelling workbooks each week.

- Hannah corrected some papers and gave me good teaching advice.

- Beth covered my class the week I was in the United States doing visa stuff.

- Sarah and Naomi came in just this week to take some of my kids out for special testing.

- Samantha comes in sometimes to do whatever I ask her to- correcting, hanging posters, organizing).

I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some of the wonderful people who kept me from total burnout this year, so if you didn’t make the list and you helped- THANK YOU! 

Love one another with brotherly affection… Contribute to the needs of the saints.

-Romans 12:10,13


Singleness, A Poem

I can't believe I'm posting this, but I love it!  There is good truth all through, and it expresses how I and many of my single friends honestly feel.  Especially if you're single, check it out.  It's worth it, and I love the African-American culture in it.

I originally got this video from The Resurgence, so if the video won't play, click on the link.


Thankful for- TA’s

Welcome to what I plan to make a seven part series of blog posts about those people have made this year possible.  Some African proverb says something like “It takes a village to teach a child,” and I say, “It takes an army to keep a fifth grade teacher alive.”


Last semester I was up to my elbows in grading every weekend.  There was a never-ending pile of papers by my computers, and I was S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D.  My sister volunteered hours of grading every week to help me stay sane, but I was still felt like my work load was growing weekly.  I could not get ahead.  So I asked my principal for help.


And man! did she provide.  I now have two TA’s.  Two wonderful junior students who give a few hours of each week to be bossed around by me.  Between their help and my finally becoming wise to the fact that my students can correct their own math papers and help with other correcting I left a reasonably small pile of papers next to the computer when I left school tonight.  Thanks to them, life is livable.


They make my room look wonderful.


They have done devotions with my students.


They are gracious to me when I am stressed or unprepared for them.


And most of all, they heard of my need and were willing to help.


Thanks, Rachel and Nick.  God shows his faithfulness through you.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

-Gal 6:2


My Phillips Dream

My passion:  Seeing God’s word go to all nations. 
My vision:  That people from every tribe, tongue, and nation would praise Him and that I could be a part of that happening.
This year that has meant that I live in Bolivia and teach fifth grade to twenty (mostly) international students.  And I know I am allowing these student’s parents to preach the gospel, and I know that I am impacting lives.  But for years there has been a dream in my heart that, Lord willing, will come to completion this August.
I called the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN) home for my four years of college.  There is one neighborhood in Minneapolis that has interested me since the very first time I drove by it and saw the famous LovePower Church sign right off I- 35W.
I first heard of Phillip’s neighborhood my first semester of college when I sat in Speech class and listened to the only minority student in our class talk about where he grew up.  South Minneapolis.  I don’t remember much of the speech, only that I was intrigued.  Then, my sophomore year, I started hearing about the amazing ethnic diversity that exists there.  Ten years ago, the neighborhood was 12% Native American, 29% Black, 22% Latino, 6% Asian, and 31% white.  In recent years, more and more refugees have arrived, making for a total of 100 languages spoken in about one square mile. (Statistics from PNN, Unreached Peoples)  In other words, the nations have come to Minnesota!
Ok, back to the dream.  I want to live in this neighborhood.  I want to be intentional in getting to know my neighbors.  I want to eventually have the opportunity to share the gospel with them!  And it’s so close to being a reality.  Last fall I was ready to move in.  I had a house with wonderful girls from my church to live with, I had job interviews with non-profits that worked with Latinos in the area, and I had plans!  And God had other ones.  He wanted me to teach fifth grade here in Bolivia. 
And to be honest, if God wants me here, then Phillips is a poor substitute for glorifying His name.  Honestly, there have been times this year that I’ve asked God why He didn’t call me to Phillips instead this year.  However, I have never wished to be outside of His will.
But I do feel like God didn’t give me what I have named “The Phillips Dream” for nothing.  I feel like  He just asked me to put it off for one year, to serve Him while I can in filling in a space here that He made just for me.  And I think this fall may be the time that I get to live my dream!
So my future plans?
- Live in Phillips for the next two years, starting in August/September of 2011
- Work with a non-profit organization where I get to use my Spanish and help Latinos in the Twin Cities area
- Become a member of my church there, BBC, and join their Nurture Program (missions training!)
- After two years, become a lifetime missionary wherever God is calling me!
I have learned to leave my plans completely open to God’s will, but I am excited that this might be what He is calling me to. I. Can’t. Wait.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
- Romans 8:28



Sometimes it seems like homesickness, cultural adaptation, and the feeling of being pulled in two directions would be better if, like missionaries of the past, I had kissed my parents goodbye and set off on a big boat to never see my homeland again.  No complications.

But then I see my nieces on Skype, and I am grateful for modern conveniences.  The following are some of the faces I have enjoyed lately.  Enjoy the faces.  No one really knew I was photographing them. :)