Friday, January 31, 2014

Just Go

I'm 19 and I'm living in Pucallpa, Peru for 8 months. I'm working at a medical clinic, teaching swimming classes, doing evangelism, and working with children at a local orphanage. It's crazy awesome sometimes and other times a real struggle, but nevertheless God is at work and I am so glad that I decided to go as a student missionary.

I remember last year around this time, praying hard about whether or not I should go. In my heart, I wanted to serve so bad, but when I would talk to my parents or other friends about going, many of them advised me to wait another year saying that I was too young. Without full support from my family, I didn't want to go. I started praying to God that if it was His will for me to go as a missionary He would make it perfectly clear by doing three things: giving me my families support, giving me a friend on the same trip, and giving me a sign so that I could know without a doubt that He was calling me now.

I had Peru in my heart the whole time, and I wanted to go so bad. The only thing that was surprising about my location I was applying for was that it was a medical clinic. Ever since I have been young, I have hated/ had serious fears about the medical field. So what was I doing applying to a clinical missionary site? I wanted to go somewhere where God would have to work in me and give me His strength where I was weak.

I prayed and prayed through February, and March when I went on a short term mission trip with the Gym Masters to the Dominican Republic. When I returned, I did the Daniel Fast with the intent of discovering God's will and if He wanted me to go. I asked my parents every month starting in September if I could go, and for the first time, when I came back in March from the Dominican, I had their approval. On the Gym Master mission trip, I also met a girl named Becca, who just like me had applied to AMOR Projects. Thus God was answering my prayers! One night in March, I was star gazing with my best friend and prayed to God that if it was His will for me to go, He would give me a shooting star. That night I got not one, but three shooting stars. That's when I knew I was going.

Going as as student missionary has been an experience I will never forget. God has been teaching me so much! I've become more outspoken, more of a leader, overcame many of my medical fears, and most importantly learned how to truly trust God in a different way. My eyes have been opened to how much of the world lives. God has been at work in the breaking and remaking of my heart.

Yes there's been struggles- real struggles- that are hard to understand until you just go. But God has proven faithful time and time again, and has never let me down. I have been through worms, a serious allergic reaction that seemed like leprosy, lice, dreads and mold, bucket showers, frogs, and homesickness that never seems to go away- yet through it all God is here.

Because I chose to follow God across the world, wherever He would lead me, into a clinic where I HATED doctors, shots, and the medical field... God has blessed me so much more than I could ever begin to describe. He helped me teach more than a 100 kids how to swim, helped me overcome my fear of the medical field and learn to give shots, meds, and blood sugar tests, helped me raise over $2500 for orphan kids so we could give them all Christmas presents, and helped me travel to Buenos Aires, Lima, and Machu Picchu with some of the best friends and the best sm family in the world.

You say your thinking about going as a student missionary? Why don't you start praying about going as a student missionary? If you have been given the idea, the hope, or the dream of going as an sm, it is probably a God thing! Don't just ignore the feeling to go or make excuses. God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called by His power and grace.

College is the easiest time to take a year and travel the world sharing the love of God. If you're worried about taking time off from school, realize that you can always get a degree or take classes later. If you don't think you can raise the money, why don't you pray and test God? I challenge you to pray, to pray hard, about whether or not God is calling you to go as a student missionary and to listen and obey whatever God is saying. I challenge you to go serve.

Matthew 28:18-19
Go ye therefore into all the world, and preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded. And I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Somewhere in the Middle

"Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle


Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle"

-- Casting Crowns--

Somewhere between the rich and the poor
Somewhere between the saint and the rebel
Somewhere between the American lifestyle and the slums
Somewhere between homesick and never wanting to leave
Somewhere between loving God and being totally burnt out
Somewhere between surrendering all and totally forgetting God

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

If we are in the middle, God is giving us a choice- to keep going or to look back to the world. To follow God and persevere trusting that Jesus will continue to work in you, or to go back to your old ways and let Satan rule your life. You get to this point with Christ, where you realize He's not a Santa Clause God- following Him is not following yourself, it will not be easy- and you can choose to stop if you want. But if you want to continue following God, you have to go all in.

I used to think being an sm for a year was going all-in. I thought that surrendering for a year meant I was totally going crazy for God and that my relationship and walk from Him would be set after this year. Let me tell you: I was wrong. God doesn't want one year, He wants my life. Don't get me wrong, being an SM is a great start. But God is calling me for so much more. He says that's great you gave me one year, but what about your future, your career, your talents, your friends, your future husband, your time.. I want everything.
And honestly it's hard because my selfish desires clash with God's desire. But lately God has been telling me, make your choice...

I can't be caught in the middle.
I can't be looking back at my past while trying to face my future.
I can't cling to my selfish ambitions or hopes
I need to surrender them to Christ.

Then the Lord told Abram, ‘leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you.’” – Gen 12:1 

So are you in the middle? Did you start surrendering but never finish? Are you stuck? Then you need to jump, you need to leave, you need to change. Pray to God and ask Him to take you out of the middle. Ask Him to lead you to a place where He can circumcise you with His love and spirit and give you a new heart. Ask the Lord of Mercy to take you out of the middle.

Ezekiel 36:26  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

In the end, between Satan and the Lord- Satan gets the middle because they are not covered in Christ's blood. Thus we cannot be caught in the middle. Pray that God takes you out of the middle today and truly teaches you surrender.

I love Lima.. and traveling

Today is our last day here in Lima, Peru. Tomorrow we fly to Cuzco where we will visit Macchu Picchu and then we fly back to Pucallpa for 3 months more of service. Traveling has been so much fun. I wish I could travel forever, but that would be expensive. I guess in a few days I will be ready to return to AMOR Projects and jump back into clinic, teaching English, and swimming lessons.

Yesterday we went surfing again. I am doing alot better and working on turning and standing up for a longer period of time. We also went to a chocolate museum yesterday. We learned all about how cacao was made from the plant to the bean- the grinding process- and finally we made our own truffles. Peru is the 13th leading exporter of the cacao plant and all the countries that produce cacao are right along the equator line.

I have met alot of interesting people from many different countries while traveling. Many of them travel to escape the realm of the sad life they live- often running away from a divorce or from a bad family background- looking to something new. Often they travel from hostel to hostel in South America hanging out with random people they meet and partying all night long at bars.

Staying at hostels is now something I'm totally ok with and actually recommend doing. Of course you have to look for safe ones, but for $8 a night plus breakfast and wifi- it's really not too bad.

I guess that's all for now- I'm so not ready to go back to the clinic- 3 months- I think that will go fast..

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every evil pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Random photos =)








Entitlement

 Side note: The more I learn about Jesus, the more I begin to hate myself. People often think "Oh your a missionary- a super Christian- your a girl that does the right things." But honestly it's not like that. Day by day while I'm here in Peru and South America I am being convicted of how sinful I am and how far away I am from Christ. I am learning to hate my sinful self a little bit more. I am learning that I can't trust myself, because as Paul says I do the things I hate. Does that mean I can keep sinning? No I must constantly fight the battle against sin and selfishness... but I must fully everyday rely 100% on Christ and not on my own strength.I am learning not to love myself for who I am- because that would be selfishness- but because Christ is living and remaking me.

"So often, we feel like we deserve things. We have a right to certain things.
We feel like we deserve running water. We feel like we deserve our dinner’s to be cooked by our parents. We feel like we deserve a house over our head, and a warm bed to sleep in.  We feel like we deserve a smart phone. That we should be paid a certain amount of money for our jobs.
This is usually because it has become the norm for us. We are so used to having things a certain way, that we begin to expect things. It can begin with things as little as expecting a car ride home from church, and skipping the thank you because they “should’ve given you a lift anyway.” Or, someone has been doing other favours, such as taking out your trash every week. Then one day, they forget to, or they are unable to. Because you feel entitled to that person doing you the favour, you complain, you demand things from them, and you are offended." http://audriculous.wordpress.com/

Before I came to Peru, I thought I deserved alot. Afterall, I make good grades in college, am a "good kid", have a nice well off family- I thought I deserved love, to be taken care of, to be protected, to be provided for, to have clean water, to be healthy, to receive the best education, to be able to have any career I choose, to have toilet paper.. the list goes on.Yes I thought I deserved those things; I thought I was entitled to them.

And then I came to Peru as a missionary and realized: no one owes me anything. Life isn't just or fair- one person does not deserve one thing or another. No  race, class, or achieved person deserves to be taken care of any more than another does. Money is simply money- often used as a ticket to entitlement- money can be gone with the wind in a number of seconds due to an accident, a death, a mistake, a lawsuit. Race is simply family history- back ground- DNA, a chance. Achievements are only temporary, comparative, quantitative, something only to be remembered...

What makes one person think that because of their money they deserve to be waited upon by a servant while a baby across the world deserves to die?
Or because of race one person can receive free medical treatment but another one deserves death from a terminable disease? No of course it's not fair. It's not fair that in America people have so much that they waste and are dying from obesity of eating while other countries are starving and malnourished.
Are we entitled?
We are not.
Do we feel entitled?
Often we do.

We must ask God to open our eyes and realize that we are not entitled, we do not deserve what we have been given. We are blessed- we are fortunate. And we are blessed by God- with His money, family, friends, and gifts- so that we can bless others.

We are not entitled to houses, bathrooms, friends, loving families, food, or safe jobs
We are gifted by God
And sometimes we are given challenges, and struggles to strengthen our faith
God does not promise us easy, rich lives if we follow Him
He does not promise us entitlement to anything
But He tells us that because of His grace, He will give us the best thing in the world- the thing we don't deserve at all- a place in heaven- the home and palace of Christ Himself- for all of eternity.
God has given us so much more than we deserve because the only thing we deserve is death for our sins
Thank God today for your blessings and for salvation.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Monasteries and thoughts about church

Happy Sabbath everyone. Since it is God's special day what a perfect time to think about God's house and the place of worship itself- the church. Today in Lima we visited the palace, St. Francis Monastery, and the Iglesia Compania de Jesus Catholic Church. Both of the cathedrals were astounding- I can't even begin to describe how beautiful they were. The art, the architecture, the designs, and the paintings- everything was perfect, gold plastered, oil painted, massive...

There are so many beautiful Catholic churches around the world! I can't help but think that some of the other religions like my church SDA's are missing out on some of the beauty and aspects of worshiping Christ by not taking the time and money to invest in a beautiful house for the presence of God, as well as art and architecture that reflects His character. We're talking about God's house after all- does He not deserve the best?

I know most SDA churches I've been too are simply buildings with hard seats. I'm not excited to see the building. Unfortunately, nor often do I come with an attitude of reverence knowing that I am in the house of God Himself. What a shame! EGW says

          "From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people. There has been a great change, not for the better, but for the worse, in the habits and customs of the people in reference to religious worship. The precious, the sacred, things which connect us with God are fast losing their hold upon our minds and hearts, and are being brought down to the level of common things. The reverence which the people had anciently for the sanctuary where they met with God in sacred service has largely passed away. Nevertheless, God Himself gave the order of His service, exalting it high above everything of a temporal nature."

1 Kings 8:10-13 talks about the house of God being a Holy place- where the glory of God can be revealed. Thus are we prepared for the glory of God to be revealed in our churches?
Is the church structure prepared to demonstrate God's glory? And even more importantly are we the people prepared for God's glory?

Exodus 25:8 Let them construct a sanctuary for me; that I may dwell among them.

In the Old Testament, one thing that we can learn about God, is that He cares about beauty, order, and details. We can see that with his directions and requirements for the sanctuary. The sanctuary has absolutely perfect design reflecting the heavenly sanctuary. Only in somewhere so pure can God's glory be revealed.

2 Samuel 7:5-7 " .. Would you build me a house to dwell in?.."

Yes as the New Testament explains, our temple for God is our body- God wants to dwell in us personally- how wonderful! But shouldn't we still pay attention to our place of worship? When I went in the Catholic churches, I was stunned by the grandness and it reminded me of the purity of Christ. Then I saw paintings of the twelve disciples- and looking into each painting helped me paint their stories into my hearts. There was a huge library full of books of the Bible to study and memorize and ancient documents the teacher would study. There was a kitchen where everyday San Franciscans come and cook for the poor and a beautiful garden center where God's glory in nature could be revealed.

I believe that God speaks to everyone in different ways and often with many different things: nature, paintings, music, architecture, words, friends, art- I just love that you can hear Jesus' voice in so many ways at the churches we visited today. I love the spirit of holiness and purity- it helps me see God clearer.

 Today is Sabbath and I encourage you to look into visiting a beautiful church, or invest time or money in making your church beautiful (after all it is a meeting place for the glory of God to be revealed). Art depicting Biblical stories can do wonders for helping to see the Bible come to life. Beautiful music, and gentle instruments can help you listen to God's voice. A nice outside park or area with benches and a place of open nature would be a nice release for people to see God.Most importantly, it is important that we change our own hearts and come to church with a heart of reverence and willingness to see God, share God's glory, and learn more about Him.


Acts 7:8 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?

Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf
1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf

1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf

1 Kings 8:10-13 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. read more.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/House-Of-God#sthash.BTGZaPin.dpuf

An Ocean

An Ocean

Your love is like an ocean
You will never dry away
Your grace doesn't abound in seasons
But in constance like the waves
Your power like the rushing, roaring, waves
That can knock anyone off astray
Your mystery incomprehensible
Like strange creatures in the bay

When we dive in
Head first, heart given in abandon
And choose to swim, float, and surf
No matter what may happen

That's when you help us rise and jump
And teach us to walk on water
We fear not what the Oceans bring
Because we have access to their maker




We went to the beach yesterday- the Pacific Ocean- and I loved it! The place I feel God most out of anywhere in the world is at the Ocean. Some people fear it- the sharks, jelly fish, huge waves- but I feel God there. When your swimming in the Ocean you just have to believe. Just like our walk with Christ, there will be waves that knock you off your feet, in circles, and cause you to gasp for air. But don't panic, you will stand up again and each wave you take on prepares you for an even bigger one. Just keep swimming- little by little- and you'll make it. Just keep following God- day by day- and trust me, you'll be ok!

I absolutely LOVE surfing. I'm definitely just a beginner. I've been maybe 5 times total, but the adrenaline of riding a wave just makes me go crazy. Yesterday I got a surfing lesson and a huge board. It wasn't totally necessary, but it did make it extremely nice to be able to catch and ride so many waves much easier. The Pacific Ocean was frigid- out on the coast of Lima in Mariflores- but the wet suits made it quite warm and we had an amazing time!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just traveling the world with my best friends

Sometimes my life just surprises me and I want to scream "Is this really real?" God has been so good to me, and so many of my dreams are coming true! Right now I'm in Lima, Peru and just hours ago I swam in the frigidly wonderful Pacific Ocean! Tomorrow I get to surf there and I absolutely LOVE surfing! I just spent 5 days in the beautiful and wild city of Buenos Aires! I am having so much fun! To hit up the highlights so far we have seen all the main tourist areas of the BA city: Central, Recoleta, La Boca, Palermo- searched for the amazing "Evita"'s mystery grave and found it, ate at the world famous Tortoni Cafe, and learned the 8 steps to tango and watched a fancy tango show! Tango is so fun! We also went to some parks where I made friends with a local juggler- juggling is a sure way to make lots of friends! Buenos Aires was a really fun and chill city. Now we're spending 5 more days in Lima and then hitting up Macchu Picchu! I'm having a ton of fun and traveling with amazing friends!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goodbyes

Today as I boarded my first plane ride that begins my 2 week adventure to Buenos Aires, Lima, and Macchu Picchu with my best friends I can't help but imagine how it will feel when I am flying home. After all the next plane ride after this trip will be home. It's only 3 months more after we're done traveling- that is so crazy to think about and imagine! On one hand, I can't stop dreaming about seeing my family again and running into their arms. Yet at the same time, I can't imagine saying goodbye to AMOR, to my missionary family, and to the orphanage and all the kids and projects..   I can't stop thinking about my last goodbye- just a week ago- I said goodbye to the orphanage kids. They hugged me and didn't want to let go. They kissed me multiple times and brought me small presents. They loved me and I loved them. I do love them! I can't stop thinking about them. I want to protect them and I can't help but cry out for them and advocate "Who will love these kids?" "Who will protect them from all this pain?"     I will never forget them. I can't- their pictures and stories cut deep into my heart. I will never forget Patty- the 16 year old girl who made us feel like we had a purpose and a place in the orphanage- whose smile and laughter could change anyone's mood. I won't forget running my fingers over her many scars on her broken skin- from the places where she cut herself. I remember taking a sharpie and drawing a heart next to her scars and pleading with her never to cut again. God who is going to love this sweet, confused girl? I won't forget Nicol- teaching her English on the porch or dancing with her in the rain- or when she told me about her dad and her mom. Her dad hit her with his belt ON HER FACE how messed up is that? She is only 14 and she has grown up feeding herself with rain water and sugar. Now she's a bigger girl and friends tease her and call her "gordita" (fat). Who will tell her she's beautiful? Who will take care of her? Or baby Joshua who is 2 years old and raised in a house with babies and single moms- but has no mom or dad of his own. Often the kids put him in his crate because there is no one who cares about him. Who will tell him bedtime stories and kiss his cheeks goodnight?  And the thing is there's 86 more kids just like this with similar stories.. And then another hundred thousand around the world. But does that make it ok?! Because there's so many does that mean we can cover our eyes or turn away our heads or just forget or say it's just the way it is? Because to me IT'S NOT OK. I'm crying for these kids. I don't know what I can do but I know I have todo something. I know I can't save the world but I know I can impact someone's life. When I went back to visit the orphanage Monday, Nicol told me when I left Patty and Nicol cried. They cried. Well now I'm crying for them. Dear God, Help these kids. Please love them! Please show them someone cares!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Circumcision

Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."


Today missionaries at AMOR got the interesting opportunity of watching a seven month baby boy get circumcised. An American couple, fellow missionaries at Peru Projects,brought the baby in- apparently circumcision is not very common for Peruvians. 

I was very surprised at how difficult the procedure was. The baby was wailing and crying, the father had to hold him down. It made me think about Biblical circumcision. How awkward and painful it must have been for grown men to get circumcised- how unpleasant. Was it really worth all of that to God? Apparently so, which makes me wonder what the full purpose of circumcision was and how Christ wants to circumcise our hearts today.

From what I've been studying, spiritual circumcision is when we let the Holy Spirit take off our fleshful, natural selves and clean our hearts by faith. It's circumcision by the Holy Spirit- nothing we can do. Thus we pray, read our Bibles, and open our hearts to the Spirit's work. Then as He begins to change our hearts we bear patience, perserverance, and much faith.

Circumcision of the heart is painful and not easy- yet at utmost importance with our walk with Christ. As God starts to work in our lives, often He takes us to places that our uncomfortable. He makes us question our identity and everything we used to believe in. Often He totally transforms our lives in a completely new direction. It's difficult- yes- but when we are right and clean with God, we experience an unimaginable peace and comfort- feeling totally safe and secure in who we are as Christ's children.

My friend Katie Kat and I were talking about life today and how we were amazed at who we were. We couldn't believe how much we have felt God changing us since we got here. We talked about the struggle to become hard-hearted and to want to yell out at God "Stop, take me back." Yet through our struggles here at AMOR (physically: worms, lice, illness, cold showers; emotionally: questioning purpose, tiredness, watching poverty and people in pain, and spiritually: shouting Why? at the top of my lungs) God is circumcising our hearts for His glory.

It's not always a beautiful thing-- 
when the doctor did it there was blood squirting everywhere and the baby even peed. Likewise often I feel like a mess, wonder if I'm doing the right thing, and question the very core of who God is and what He made me for. It's definitely the hardest year of my life spiritually.

Yet circumcision is important and necessary. God promises to finish what He started and to create in me (and YOU) a new heart. Last week God gave me this Bible verse and I think it is my new favorite: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26 God is at work and He promises to give us a beautiful heart like His: one that's not selfish nor greedy but one that loves, is tender, is generous, and compassionate.

I don't know about you, but I want a heart like Christ's. When people see me, I want them to feel loved. I want them to see joy. I want them to find hope. I know without a doubt that I can not do this on my own- but I have faith that Christ can do this in me. 

Circumcize the foreskin of your heart, and no longer be stubborn Deuternonomy 10:16


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Somethings have got to change: 2014

Feliz Acouna- or Happy Sabbath to ya in Chippewa! Today I visited San Juan Church in Pucallpa and it was a great change of pace and start to the new year. I just loved the native tribal ladies- the same ones we also see 'round town selling us jewelry and handmade goods with their cute Peruvian outfits and deep wrinkles from years of working in the sun. This New Year has started with a bang with orphanage goodbyes and memories that will last forever, lice, parasites, new student missionaries Andrew and Kristen coming to AMOR, as well as our sm family of Allie, Lisa, Arrie, and Seth returning, preparation for travel in only 4 days, a new computer,  and a change of major!!

Wow that's a lot I know- so let me try to rewind! My third week in the orphanage went quite well overall. We had fun with the kids playing Peruvian Monopoly, making edible dough, coloring, exercising, and listening to American music. We also taught English lessons to some of my favorite teenage girls ever Patty and Nikol! And finally but definitely not least, I lost my heart to the cutest boy on earth Jorge- an eight year old who has muscular dystrophy but walks around and laughs like a normal kid.

The orphanage was hard- Yes! But it was an experience like no other that I know I will not soon forget. These kids have buried their way into my heart! I know that I will think about them often, think about their faces, their smiles, their energy, and their lives knowing that most of them will continue to struggle or go back to a family that can hardly provide for their needs. One story that I feel I will never forget is the story of my dear friend Nikol. She is fourteen years old and her dad was fourteen when he had her. When she was five years old, her mother left her and her father for another man (her daddy's brother to be precise). Social services took control of the situation and talked to Nikol's mother while Nikol was present begging her to take care of her child. Her mom replied that she didn't care what happened to the little girl and wanted her lover instead. Thus at five years old Nikol felt unwanted. Nikol's dad did not have enough money to take care of her and provide her food. Her house had no lights nor clean water. She would wait until it rained to fill up buckets of water to drink and she would add sugar to give her energy to go through the day. She wasn't given food nor any materials for school. Over the years gradually she has gotten a little more support but nothing adequate for her needs. She gets one sole for lunch and one from dinner. The poor girl is starving! Starving for food, starving for love, starving for a true family!


When I heard her tell me her story for the first time I wanted to scream. It's so unfair! What can I do? I have to be able to do something I told my friend Megan. Stories like that can't be that common- but they are. And it frustrates me so much! I want to help these kids- I want to change their lives- I want to have the power to fight against injustice and for children's rights...

Thus while I'm still brainstorming and praying about ways to help the orphanage more and more and how we can really reach these kids.. I decided to change my major to Global Policies and Services with a minor in international rescue and relief. I've learned upon coming here that the medical field isn't what I built it up to be. I don't hate it but I don't love it either and to be honest I believe that physical therapy would be a little slow or boring career for me. I feel called by God to serve Him, to stand up for children's rights, and to travel around the world, to be a missionary for a time, and to understand global problems- thus with much praying, thinking, and contemplating with friends- I believe that GPS with a minor in rescues is right for me.

So new major, said goodbyes to the kids at the orphanage... NEW COMPUTER =) I believe I should be able to blog a lot more lately. Big thanks to the most amazing family in the world that I love and miss every single day and for Allie and her family for bringing this computer.

And good news- I'm now lice free! Thanks to my superhero Lisa who spent like two hours combing through my conveniently short and thin hair taking out all the knits. And I'm also taking a parasite test to find out what kind of wormies I have in my stomach (Fun Stuff in Peru!!)

So Happy New Year everyone! I hope you make it a good one. Something God has been teaching me lately is the power of perspective and positive thinking. My verse for the week is Philippians 4:8 and I'm trying to really trust God with this year as well as the rest of my life. Sometimes even when situations don't make any sense to us, God has a perfect plan that you will see later. I love you lots everyone and I thank you so much for your support. I truly appreciate every prayer and message of encouragement more than you know. Often it's the little things that keep me going! Te quiero mucho! Dios de bendiga!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Orphanage week 2

Orphanage Experience Part 3
Two weeks done- only one more to go. I’m mostly relieved, because being at that orphanage has been 10x harder than I ever imagined, but I’m actually going to really miss those kids and the quiet time I’ve had with God there.
I fell in love with those boys there- casa ocho- I want to take them all home. And then dear little Patty and Nikel, who are silly and crazy older girls, whom we teach English lessons to every day. They are doing so well and learning so much- who will continue to teach them? And cute little Julie who wears little skirts and is so skinny, who will play the animal game with her? A few of these prescious little kids have somehow already weaved themselves into a place in my heart.. and I know they won’t soon be forgotten.
Last week was significantly better than the first- not that it wasn’t hard at times- because it definitely was… and I’d be lying if I didn’t mention many afternoons we would lie in our beds covered in sweat whining that we’d have to get back up and play with the kids or help in the kitchen. It was still hard to love sometimes- especially when dirty smelling kids would reach for your hand or pull on your hair— and my initial instinct would be RUN and go back to sleep. But overall, last week Megan and I came prepared. We were ready for the mystery meats we might have to disect with our hands, the hot rice we would have to serve, the smells we would have to live with, the toilet that would refuse to flush, and the bucket showers which we would soon learn to LOVE.. We were prepared to have extra hours when all we would be able to do is sit in our small house, fan ourselves from the heat, and read, write, or talk about God, life, and big words like IMPACT, LOVE, and PASSION and how they affect us..
But this past week we got smart. We decided that to the best of our abilities we would remain positive, look inside with a new perspective. Every night after a light dinner we would exercise for about 30 minutes on the court outside and then lay down and stare at the stars. And when we started gazing at those wonderous stars..
That’s when we began to come ALIVE!
We’re in Peru, we’re in Peru we realized. This is it- the sm year we’ve been waiting for, we’ve been dreaming about- and this moment, this day is never going to be relived. Do we want to go home? Maybe- Do we love the orphanage and all the staff here? Maybe not. But honestly that doesn’t matter. What matters more is God and what He is calling us to do. 
I don’t want to live this year- no matter how hard it may be- wishing it was over.. only to go back to the states and miss it.. No! I don’t want to go back to the states the same way I came.. No! God is at work here! God is at work in our hearts! And sometimes even when it seems we’re not making a huge difference in the world- no we’re not gonna be superheros like we maybe once hoped-but no matter what- God is at work! Do you want proof? Look inside our hearts!
You see you go to be a missionary because you think you have something to offer the world, you want to change it, want to save it— but then when you go, instead of you grabbing the world in your hands and spinning it all around, the world grabs you and even greater God holds you. You realize that YOU are the one being changed! YOU are the one gaining a new perspective, learning how to love, and learning about the reality that millions face every day.
So yes I hope and pray that I can make an impact. That through me- God can change a life or plant a seed of hope. But I’m learning now how little this sm journey is about me helping others or even service but more about God helping me learn to follow Him wherever He leads.

Word Pictures of Orphanage (week 2)


* I’m serving overcooked rice in a dirty, fly filled kitchen at an the Adlea Infantil Orphanage in Peru. There are 89 children that need to be served as well as about 10 staff. The rice is overly cooked making it hot and sticky. All I have to serve with is a 3 inch long metal scooper. The scooper is burning hot because it has been left in the bowl of rice far too long. Every scoop of rice I work to dig out for the children burns my fingers beginning to form little red blisters. I scramble for a wet cloth to wrap around the spoon but it falls into the bowl of rice and I quickly grab it and throw it to the side hoping nobody saw. I feel the impacient stares of the tias or house moms waiting for their kids to be served and I remind myself the rule that no child can eat until all 89 have gotten their food and said grace. So I serve rice as fast as I can, trying to ignore the pain, scooping and passing, scooping and passing, scraping the sides of the very bottom of the bowl- scooping and passing, and then I realize a thought so glorious.. So this is what it’s like to feed the orphans in Peru!
*The “special” children - who have disabilities I cannot even begin to explain or diagnose- have a corner of the room where they lay on two black mats. When I come in, their mouths are open revealing crooked teeth and mouths that reik from not being brushed. They are laying down with one arm awkwardly reached up into the air, gawking at me. I was given a bowl with “normal” foods (rice,mystery meat, and an egg) as well as a cup of water and told to feed them their lunch. As I looked down on them- dirty and rotting in their own waste- I couldn’t help but be disgusted. I finally worked up the courage to get down on their level and sit on the mats with them. Alright I thought let’s get this thing done.. and I whipped out the food ready to stuff- unfortunately for me though the girl refused to open her mouth. “Oh brother” I sighed. But then a sweet nine year old girl who lived in the house runs over, yanks the girl into a sitting position, and begins to kiss her cheek. I look at the small girl with awe and admiration, saying gracias, and trying the food game again. “Put the plate right under her mouth the girl says, and pour in a spoonful of water after every bite.” Taking my spoon the young girl begins to show me and then hands it back to me. After her teaching and demonstration, I can’t be a coward, I begin to spoon feed this special girl her lunch. I pray for God to change my heart and help me to love, even when it’s not pretty, like the young girl.