Monday, July 28, 2014

Goodbye & Hello

The last two weeks have been crazy, but also great! It is hard to believe that two weeks ago I was anxiously waiting to see if my visa for Bolivia would come or not! I haven’t done a great job of updating you all since then because everything happened so fast, but I will try to give you a quick summary. (Just kidding, this is probably the longest blog I have written.)

Two weeks ago, I got word that my visa would come in on time to leave the 22nd, and the next day I was fully funded and able to buy a plane ticket. Obviously God’s timing was much better than mine, and He has been so gracious in the way He has provided through all of you! So thank you!

By the time I had a plane ticket, I was four days out from leaving. At first I thought I was crazy to try to leave that soon, but as soon as I started saying goodbyes I realized that four days might have been perfect. Because I had left the country for long periods of time before, I didn’t really think it would be hard to do it again. But two years is a lot longer than 3 months, and so I was very thankful for the way God allowed the time of goodbyes to be short and sweet.

My Homegroup and church has been so supportive, and they prayed for me, and sent me off with encouragement and lots of sweet notes. I got to meet up and have a LOT of coffee and great meals with friends, and I could not be more thankful. Some friends came and had possibly the weirdest going away event ever, where they celebrated all of the birthday's, Christmas' and even weddings I will miss over the next few years. I got to spend time with my family, and wrote a ton of thank you notes. So many of you called, texted, and emailed me to let me know you were thinking and praying. Each time I teared up a little, so know that you are loved and appreciated.  I know I have said it before, but I am reminded again and again of God’s love and faithfulness through all of you, and I am so thankful.

On Tuesday my family took me to the airport, and several friends came as well. We prayed before I walked through security, and I felt this strange peace all the way to Bolivia. The flights were super smooth, and I didn’t get sick in La Paz!
First Flight from Dallas to Miami
Flying from La Paz to Cochabamba is a short flight, but I have never sat by the window. This time I got to look out at the mountains all the way. There were little villages scattered throughout the mountains, and I began to get so excited for how God might work over the next few years.
Mountains from La Paz to Cochabamba
I spent my first few days going back and forth between the girls house, and the school I will be working at. I was so excited to see the girls, and they were excited to see me….  for about three minutes. And then the wanted to play Temple Run on my phone.  We know where their priorities really are. J  It has been so good to see how they have grown over the last year. Several of the girls  have started to read, and they have all grown in different ways!
Some of the girls at Casa de Amor
I have really enjoyed getting to know people at Carachipampa, the school I will be at, catching up with friends here, and learning what it will look like to live here long term. The first question everyone asks is, “How long are you going to be here?” I have loved being able to tell everyone that, God willing, I will be here for two years. At least. I am excited to see how God will work, and so thankful for your support, both prayer and financially that makes that possible.  
View from my window on the school property

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bienvenidos a Miami!

Bienvenidos a Miami!

Hello! As I write this, I am sitting in the Miami airport waiting for my flight to La Paz, Bolivia.  I have heard Miami called the Capitol of South America, and that definitely seems to be true. The airport still feels like the World Cup is going on – there are vendors everywhere, and the majority of travelers have jerseys! It is so interesting to be surrounded by so many different languages, and still be in the U.S.

This afternoon I went with my family to eat tacos one last time before entering the land of Taco-less Bolivia. After lunch, we went to the airport and my family and a few friends dropped me off. It was hard to say goodbyes, but also exciting to finally be so close to getting on the plane. My family and friends prayed for me, and I headed to security. I was the ONLY person going through the line, and had the nicest TSA agents I have ever met. I don’t know if I just got lucky, or if it helps to go through security with tears in your eyes. Either way, the agent APPLAUDED me on doing things well and quickly. I was shocked.

I got Starbucks one last time, and have been enjoying free wifi and sending as many texts as I want before I leave.

I am so excited to go, and sad to leave. I can’t wait to see how the Lord will work, and feel honored and completely unworthy of going. Please continue to pray for relationships with kids, new friends, old friends, and co-workers. Pray for open doors, and soft hearts!

SO CLOSE!!!!  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

God is Good. God is in Charge of Everything.

Hello friends & family!

My original goal was to post a blog every week with an update, but the last few weeks I have had a hard time thinking of anything to write that would be interesting enough to read!

I don’t know that this is actually interesting enough to read, but I do want to be honest and realistic, and not just post when things are going really well (AKA how I want them to go). :)

Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to work with pre-school and kindergarten age kids at church. Each week the kids learn a story that shows a characteristic of God. There are five main characteristics of God that the kids learn, and two of them are that God is good, and that God is in charge of everything. Those both sound like such basic things, but over the last year, the Lord has sweetly reminded me of areas in my life where I have not fully believed them. I don’t often doubt that He is able, but I do doubt that He knows and wants what is ultimately best. If I believe that God is in control of everything, AND that He is good, there is a peace that goes beyond what I can explain. That doesn’t mean God is a genie and gives me everything I ask for, but it does mean He does what is best – whether I understand or not.

So the other day as I sang “I Surrender All”, I caught myself praying, “I’ve surrendered everything…why are you taking so long to bring this visa in?!” In that moment, I was so convicted of the fact that I obviously have NOT surrendered everything. Although I know God is in charge, I don’t trust Him to be good.  I too often want my timeline to work more than I want God’s will. God is infinitely wiser than I am. He created the world, and knows what is to come. So who am I to demand that God work in the way or time that I think would be best?

I once heard someone say that God answers our prayers the way we would pray them if we knew the big picture. I am confident of the fact that God hears the cries of His children. I also know that like children, sometimes we ask for things that are not really want we need. I am thankful that God in His mercy doesn’t give us what we ask for, but in love, like a good parent, He answers us according to His goodness by giving His presence.

And He is always enough. :)