Short story about God's work in Bolivia:

Just today I began to realize what it means that I taught at an international school this year.  One of my students who is half Korean and half Bolivian and his Korean mom took me out for lunch.  His mom is a missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship here in Bolivia, and our lunch was delightful.  We ate lots of meat, and a waiter in a vest came and poured sparkling water into my glass.  We chatted about the weather, our plans, and the previous school year.  

True to Bolivian custom, we didn't actually start talking until we had finished our meal and had only a Coca-Cola in front of us.  Then, my student's mom started telling me her testimony.  Raised in Korea, Borneo, and Bolivia, her story starts with a Buddhist grandfather who was highly respected for having many wives and lost his fortune supporting his many children.  Her grandmother beat her because she ate bread that a missionary once gave her.  She went to VBS in Borneo, but didn't begin to trust God until a Bolivian Catholic priest shared the gospel with her.  

Cross-cultural, common thread.  God's word followed her through three countries and all kinds of religions and cultures.  I have been filled with joy in the way God works.  I am seeing how teaching this year has prepared me more to continue to do God's work of sharing His good news with the nations.


Highlights- Week 2

God has been faithful to me again, just like he always is.  This week I spent many hours with wonderful high school students and got to see them grow in their faith and be challenged to live for God at all times.  

I was not as faithful.  In taking pictures, that is.  However, I like to try to make up for my faults.  So... I, the artist (snicker snicker) drew you pictures on Paint to show you the highlights of my week.  Please enjoy.

This is at BASIC with high school students.  The students are happy because they learned so much about God.  Their hair is curly and wild to represent their youth.  I am happy because God taught me more about Himself.  My hair is straight because I am an adult.
Then, the students left on Friday, and I began my week of long and hard goodbyes.  First, I brought my friend Ally some coffee at her house.
Note the steam coming from the cups.  Picture not quite to scale.
On Saturday I had the opportunity to go to a cancer hospital in the city to share the gospel with some of the patients.  It was one of the first times I've had to share the gospel with so little context and in Spanish.  I loved the experience and hope to try again before I leave since we tried to bring some toys for the kids but were told to come back another day for that.
This is me holding a Bible and sharing the gospel.  
Today I had a wonderful (also pictureless) day at church and with the team who is down.  

Look forward to (with real pictures): A trip to the mountains with the team, more goodbyes, and moving out of my room.

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
- 2 Timothy 2:2


My Big Sister

My cousin Anton came down to visit us in January.  He made an amazing documentary of Heather’s work here in Bolivia, which can be seen on his Vimeo site.  I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Chiropractic On Mission from Anton Seim on Vimeo.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
- Isaiah 52:7



One of my minors in college was Intercultural Studies.  I love observing culture, being a part of it, trying to fit in (however strangely) in different cultures, and looking at cultures from a biblical perspective. 


Recently I’ve been writing some of my observations down and posting them on this new page in my blog.  I hope to continue adding to it in my last few weeks in Bolivia and then as I return to my “home” country.  I think that after my year in Latin America I will never really “fit in” in the US again. I am so glad that our eternal home is in heaven.


Highlights- Week 1

The next five weeks are my last in Bolivia (gulp, throat swelling, tear).  They are going to be CRAZY BUSY!!!  So, starting with last week (which will make for a total of six weeks), I’ll be posting a weekend (hopefully) post with some pictures and maybe a few words about my week.  The rest of my posts will be ones that I write whenever I have time and schedule to post throughout the week. 

Look forward to:
- Lots of high school and college students learning about and serving God in Bolivia.
- Goodbye dates with friends here.
- A trip to La Paz, Bolivia!

Last week and this coming week I am working with high school students from the school I taught at this year.  A team from my camp back home has flown down to lead a discipleship camp for them!  Here’s an idea of what our first week looked like.

Delicious fresh papaya from the garden
Loved this face too much to not include
Team-building activity
Fancy banquet after our day of service
The wonderful leaders I'm working with (minus a few)
A few students
Hello dessert that tasted United Statesy!


Twenty-three Places

As I transition from school teacher and worship team singer to dish washer and camp counselor, I am feeling pulled in a million directions.  No part of me wants to be vulnerable with all the new people who are going to be coming into my life in the next four months.  Massive transition

June: Discipleship camp
July: Work team/travel with friends
August: Home with family in WI
September: New life in MN

To use Matt Wertz's album title, I feel pulled in twenty-three places.  His song "Falling Off the Face of the Earth" fits my mood today.

Stay away from me
Cause I'll be gone soon
It's just so hard to let go once we've grabbed hold
It's nothing that you've done
You're not the only one
I'm just learning to be in twenty-three places

And I'm falling off the face of the earth
Crashing into bridges I burn
And I'm falling off the face of the earth
But I'll be home soon

Is this how the story goes
When rubber meets the road
Waving goodbye is so hard without hello

And I'm falling off the face of the earth
Crashing into bridges I burn
And I'm falling off the face of the earth
But I'll be home soon

I keep forgetting to
Keep you an arms length aways

Because I'm falling off the face of the earth
Crashing into bridges I burn
And I'm falling off the face of the earth
But I'll be home soon

I'm homesick for heaven


Singleness, Growing Up

My Grandma Kay passed away on June 3rd.  I found out the morning of June 4th.  That day was strange as I cooked for a team, went to worship practice for church, and helped serve at the tea fundraiser our church held.  I thought about her all day, but couldn’t be with other people who were thinking about her or who understood what she had been to me. 

Finally, later that night I had time to process a little.  One of the first thoughts that hit me was that my grandma will now never see me get married.  Although kind of a selfish thought, it was one of the more painful realizations that I had that day.  First, it made me realize that she was really gone.  Second, it made me realize how much I had wanted her at my wedding (Lord willing there will ever be one in my future). 

It also made me think that I’m 23, have no boyfriend, and have people around me getting older (just like I am) all the time.  I know that my parents want to still be young when I have kids so they can toss them in the air and babysit (at least I hope they want to babysit) for me.  I know that my other grandma would like to see my wedding before she goes.  My brother and sister-in-law would probably like their kids to have playmates before they are grown up and in college (my twin nieces are already in second grade, so college is really not far off).  My little sister is worried I will never get married, so for her, the sooner it happens the better.

I’m pretty excited about this possibly-one-day event, too, so what does a single 23-year-old girl do?  Trust God’s promises, I guess. 

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
   the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
   from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 84:11
If He truly is withholding nothing good from me, then He knows why my grandma won’t be at my wedding.  He knows that I want to have kids soon, but He also knows what is good.  I’d rather trust His wisdom than get my way.  Besides, trusting makes it a lot easier for me to keep serving Him where I am now, instead of doing everything in my power to make marriage happen sooner.  As the Psalm 84:12 says,
“O LORD Almighty,
   blessed is the man who trusts in you.”


Saying goodbye

It’s my last free week here.  The next seven weeks are camp, camp, hang out with camp people, team, team, travel, stop travelling/leave.  It’s weird to have so much time left in this country, but really to be done with my connections here.  I’ve spent my last visits with church people, school people, and some of my friends in the missionary community here.  I’ll be here for another month and a half, but I won’t really be here.


My suitcases still sit empty in my room.  My clothes are still hanging up.  I haven’t said goodbye to anyone yet.  It’s like I’m incapable of moving on.  Like I can’t move forward.  Once I finished teaching I realized how much I will hate leaving Bolivia, how much I love it here.  Now it’s warm during the days and cool during the nights, I’m starting to enjoy sitting around while I wait for things to start or people to show up, and I’m loving more than ever taking buses around, shopping in open air markets, and drinking Coca-Cola made from pure cane sugar.


I’m not ready to leave.  I’m not even ready for this partial leaving that I’ll be doing on Sunday—transitioning from missionary to team worker.  As I look back on what was probably the hardest year of my life so far, it has also been one of my most joyful.  I made so many mistakes, but I also let God use me in new ways.  I have loved being here in Bolivia, and although I couldn’t be more excited for the life ahead of me, I already miss my life here.


Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

- Nehemiah 8:10


Coming Back

School got out a week ago last Wednesday, and I have pretty much taken a break since then. Sure, I’ve applied for jobs, cleaned out my classroom, and spent time with the girls I discipled this year, but mainly I:


- read Mansfield Park

- spent time with Heather

- hung out with other teachers

- hung out with some teachers

- visited some orphanages

I have not written in my blog since the night school got out.  Maybe it was a mental block, maybe it was laziness, I don’t know.


However, after finding out that my grandma passed away on Saturday, I decided that writing helps me process, and I need to get back to blogging. I’m still finding it hard to write, so I thought I’d just start with some pictures.


This is the final social studies project my students did—Highlights of the Western Hemisphere



Graduation!  I met for discipleship with the two girls on the top.  Bottom left is my student with his graduating sister.  Bottom right has David who went to Arrowhead last year and Steven who goes to my church.



Bolivian Mother’s Day celebration at my church.  Special performances, a MARIACHI band, two good friends, and the cakes that Heather and I were in charge of making.


Well, I hope that posts will be coming much more frequently from now on.  Later this week teams will be coming from the US, and I’ll be with them until the middle of July.  Expect twice-weekly updates!


Grandma Kay




Grandma Kay

My dear, special-to-me grandma passed away Friday night.  I will miss her very much, but I will remember her catching me up on the activities of the birds outside her window, her soap opera characters, and my grandpa.  I will remember her desire for her family to do the right thing, all the things she taught me, and her generosity that helped me get through college.


I’m not quite sure how to grieve down here in Bolivia, but I am confident that God will bring Heather and I through this here in Bolivia as he brings my family through it back in the States.