Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ready or not.....

my bags are almost packed. my boarding passes are printed. my carry-on is filled with things to keep me entertained during the 20 hour journey. i will be spending the first six days in El Alto, Bolivia and they last five days in Lima, Peru. each place has it's own unique set of challenges and adventures. El Alto sits at 13,300 feet so the altitude alone can present a variety of issues. the plan is to hit the ground running as soon as i land so i am doing my best to prepare for the first adventure in bolivia while i am still in southern california. i am excited to experience life in these two communities. i appreciate prayers for health and safety in these next few weeks. i will hopefully be posting updates as i travel.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Aren't you.....

this phrase has been a part of a lot of conversations i've had this week. aren't you scared? nervous? anxious? excited? to be honest, i am a little bit of all of those things and each one is wrestling for my attention throughout the day as i teach classrooms full of kids that also need my attention. i have a to-do list constantly running through my mind of all the things i need to get done in the next four days. important things like going to the bank to get cash for entry visas or go get passport pictures taken so i can get into bolivia. it seems like the list keeps growing and i keep putting this stuff off because other things come up. it's funny because all the other things keep me from over thinking about what life will be like if I choose to call one of these places home. i am taking 10 days to explore two countries in the hopes of calling one home for the next few years. when i stop to think about seems kind of crazy, exciting, hopeful, new and scary all at the same time. i know i have been called to these places to live among the poor and vulnerable so i am confident that God is present with me as i pack and prepare in the next few days. i am confident that God will provide the peace I need as I explore the possibility of living in one of these countries that are known for violence and drug trafficking. God has been faithful in the past and i know He will be faithful again.

as i look forward to leaving, i have found myself looking back at pictures and journals from past trips. i have a wall of photos in my room that reminds me of the sweet moments i have been given to learn from those in poverty. chasing children around an open lot in uganda and as well as singing worship songs in swahili with my translator as we walked from hut to hut sharing the good news. remembering sweet adrian from ecuador that loved laughing as he was pushed around in a wheelbarrow and the excitement of kids out in the village who crushed flowers to create paint to decorate our faces. the hospitality of a family in costa rica that had such pride in showing us all of their country and would not let us pay for anything. the women in kolkata that are always in my mind and a reminder of the joy found in such dark places. giving Bibles to people who walked for two days in china so they would finally have their own copy of God's word. thinking back to my first trip to spain which would set my love of travel and adventure in motion. it is these memories that provide peace. it is these memories that remind me why i choose to go to the ends of the earth. it is these memories that keep me moving forward in finding joy and providing glimpses of hope in dark places.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

next steps

ever since i left kolkata, i have been thinking, dreaming and praying about what life would look like after serving among the poor. it has been over a year since i said my goodbyes to the women who taught me what it means to hope for something better and love each other well. over the past year i have continued substitute teaching which is always an adventure and had the opportunity to work at forest home christian camp over the summer. it was one night during worship at summer camp that i knew it was time to move on to the next great adventure God was calling me to which turned out to be south america. i sent an email that night to start the process of dedicating the next few years to living among the poor and vulnerable in either peru ( or bolivia ( with word made flesh. i will be visiting lima, peru and el alto, bolivia march 27-april 7 to see where and if i can see myself living and serving for the next few years. i am following the path God has laid before me knowing that He is faithful and will provide for these next steps. as i look back on my journey through life, i can see God's hand along the way providing opportunities to develop skills such as spanish and teaching but close doors i was determined to walk through. i majored in spanish in hopes of doing international marketing but God had other plans and closed that door. instead i became a substitute teacher and learned to enjoy conversations with kids and having time to travel and learn what it means to love from those living in poverty. i learned what it looks like to desperately depend on God when my heart hurt for those i became friends with as they suffered at the hands of an unjust system. i saw God's faithfulness to provide just enough strength to get through each day in spite of the diseases that attacked my body. God has used the last few years to transform my heart and passions to seek out opportunities to serve those forgotten by the rest of the world which has led me to this next adventure. i ask for your prayers as seek God's will in these next steps. i would also accept words of encouragement.