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Potosi Reflections

This trip taught me so much, but I believe the overall lesson was a real-life look into trusting God for every step of the way including where you will sleep each night, how you will get from place to place, and what you will eat for each meal.  It truly was a trip of faith-testing, and I really enjoyed learning to just relax and enjoy the ride!  Let go and let God, and He will take you on some amazing adventures!  This trip was also extremely humbling and a great reminder of how blessed yet ungrateful I often am.  These people who had nothing were willing to sacrifice time, food, beds, and vehicles to accommodate total strangers!  We hadn’t made reservations and sent out flyers 3 months in advance, but they left everything to come hear the Gospel and make us feel at home.  They were so joyous about even simple things we handed out like a teddy bear or a shirt!  Their attitudes taught me so much!

One final thought, then I promise I will be doneJ  Ephesians 2:8-10 really jumped out to me this trip.  I have heard these verses many times but saw them in a different light as we served in Potosi. 

Ephesians 2:8-10   “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

Now there is so much you can reap from these verses, but I just wanted to share a few thoughts.  I love the contrast in these verses.  First, we are not saved by anything we could possibly do on our own; “works” do nothing to close the gap sin has created between us and God.  However, once we are saved by simply believing in and accepting God’s marvelous grace, then we become His handiwork.  Yes, God created us to serve Him, but then sin got in the way.  Now, He uses Christ’s righteousness to re-create us into beings meant to do those good works that couldn’t save us in the first place.  Only through Christ, can we do anything good, and what a tremendous honor it is that God would choose lowly, sinful humans to do His good works!  The sacrifice involved in serving others is often seen in a negative light because our human desires cause us to cling to our possessions and our control.  However, I think God wants us to learn to live a totally backwards lifestyle.  Sacrifice should be seen as a blessing!  God is allowing us to be used as His tools as He loves and cares for His people.  This trip gave me just a peek into the immense blessings God will pour out on you when you loosen the grip on the blessings He has already provided and take a leap of faith.  What an honor it is to love God’s people! 

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Potosi, Bolivia 2013 Summary

I know you have all been waiting anxiously to hear about my trip!  I apologize for the delay in getting it to you.  The trip was such a whirlwind that it has taken me a few days to debrief and figure out exactly what happened.  I hope this summary brings the trip to life for all of you.  I will be posting pictures as well to help you visualize what I say.  First and foremost, I want to thank you all so much for your prayers and support because I know this trip would not have been possible without them!  I feel truly blessed by what you sacrificed for me!

Here we go!!  Let’s start from the beginning; Sunday, December 30th, I flew out of Atlanta by myself and arrived safely in Cochabamba the morning of the 31st, greeted by friends with smiling faces and cheers.  Everything went smoothly after a slight scheduling mix up that God kindly brought to light just in time!  Wasting no time, I went to the market that day to buy some supplies for the trip, took a much-needed nap, and then enjoyed a lovely New Year’s Eve party with both Vargas families, Kristina, and the Seles, visiting from Ohio.  The following morning, after a few hours of sleep, we were up early and off to the airport to pick up the rest of the team. 

Let me take a moment to briefly introduce our team.  Kristen was our brave team leader from Texas, who has organized this trip for the past 5 years.  She once lived in Bolivia for a year and has a huge heart for the Bolivian people.  She brought along her twin sister, Katie for her first trip to Bolivia.  Kristen’s old roommate Cristi, who is from Idaho, also came along for her first trip out of the United States.  Another Katie, also friends with Kristen, lives in Cochabamba and joined us as well.  Laura, who lives in Cochabamba and has been my friend since pre-kindergarten, also joined the trip for her third year in a row.  Laura did some recruiting for this trip, convincing not only me to come along, but also a friend from La Paz, Bolivia, named Mariel, and her friend, Kristina from Denmark to join as well.  Our Bolivian team leader was Dr. Jorge, a doctor who travels around to villages providing healthcare year-round.  He also brought his patients (Eliana and Jesus), who were living at his home while the baby recovered from malnourishment, as well as his niece (Maritza) to help with the cooking and translating.  Carlos, a professional clown, also joined to complete the crew.  So there you have it, Texas, Idaho, South Carolina, Bolivia, and Denmark all mixed into one motley crew that soon formed a close-knit family!

The next couple days were filled with planning, organizing donations, re-packing, and a few tourist stops at the market and the Cristo.  We were supposed to leave late Wednesday night, but our first change of plans gave us a delayed start, leaving at 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning in our own private bus, rented for the trip.  Now let me pause to give a one word summary of the entire trip: faith!  This is where the adventure began and from this point forward we were fully relying on God for every step of the way.  God certainly taught us to trust Him and step by faith in everything!  Basically nothing in the plan I gave before we left happened on the trip, but God’s plans are perfect!  Our first stop was supposed to be at 2:30 that afternoon in a town that we never made it to.  We started off the trip stopping to fix a tire on the bus, always reassuring.  We soon found out our bus driver was not in any rush, as our trip turned into an all day experience.  The country was beautiful, so it was a nice ride admiring God’s creation!  We finally stopped in a town called Macha when it became dark outside and found a hostel to spend the night in.  The next morning Dr. Jorge kindly fired our bus driver because he kept complaining about the muddy roads.  Dr. Jorge went with him to find another vehicle and left us to find the local Evangelical church in the town.  We found the church had no pastor, but a very nice woman invited us to stay in a little house owned by the church.  This was great news but meant we had to move all our luggage and donations 6 blocks uphill!  We put on a very fascinating gringo parade for all the people of the town, fighting the high altitude as we carried all our stuff up the hill.  The lady then brought us potatoes, and our cooks made us a delicious meal of rice and potatoes with a little meat on top.  After a little relaxation, it was time to prepare to do a program for the kids of Macha.  Carlos painted all our faces, and Kristina dressed up in a huge dog costume.  The kids began showing up long before we were even ready and with very little preparation, we put on a program filled with clowns, songs, verses, games, puppets, magic tricks, and a Gospel presentation.  Carlos led the show!  We then sent the kids home with cookies and had a church service with a few of the adults.  After church, we had a great devotional time back in the house where we all got to know each other a little bit better by sharing what God was doing in our lives.  Then not long afterwards, we passed out on our straw mattresses for some much needed rest. 

The next morning, a minivan showed up to take us to the next town.  Now 13 of us and all our stuff were not all going to fit, so we left some donations there, hoping someone would be willing to bring them to us later.  Then we all piled in on top of each other.  The nice drivers dropped us off in the next village, named Tomaycuri, where we unloaded all our stuff in front of the church.  We found someone to let us in after a little searching and set up camp in the church, just a small one room sanctuary.  We had the privilege of meeting a Bolivian missionary named Felix, who had lived there for years and was now bed-ridden due to his extremely severe arthritis.  This man who had stepped out in complete faith to reach people with God’s love was now abandoned in a town he had gone to minister to just waiting to die.  However, he did not let that rob his joy or prevent him from doing whatever he could to continue spreading the Gospel!  We washed and cared for his well-worn hands and feet as a small token of our appreciation for his awesome example.  He also wanted to sing with us and then spent the rest of the day with us, attending the kids program and church in spite of his feeble condition.  He was such a great example of how God wants us to surrender our lives completely to him, so he can use us in mighty ways.  Our kids program there was very similar to the first one, except I took the part of the dog this time.   We were also able to take the kids and even some of the adults to the local school to play games! 

The next morning God provided another ride, and we did it all over again in Titiri!!  Some nice women fed us lunch there as one of our cooks had left to accompany Katie back to the city because Katie was very sick.  After our kids program there, we had to step out on another limb of faith as only some of the team could fit in the jeep, so the rest of us waited in the church hoping the van that brought us there would come back.  In God’s providence, it did, and we arrived safely back in Tomaycuri to spend the night!  Dr. Jorge was gone all night trying to get another vehicle, and God provided once again with a jeep.  At this point we had lost 4 people, Katie, Maritza, Eliana, and Jesus, so we were down to 9, a little snug but perfect for the jeep.  We traveled to Collpa to do our last program and hand out toys, toothbrushes, medicine, and clothes.  Then we headed out to find the hot springs!  None of us had showered in 5 days at this point, so we were very eager to get there!  However, when we finally arrived, God gave us a real life example of the skit we had been doing with the children.  The skit was about Mary and Joseph looking for room in the inns of Bethlehem and challenged the kids to open their hearts because Jesus was knocking.  Every door Dr. Jorge knocked on was answered by silence.  We all jokingly repeated the main line from our skit with the kids, “No hay campo!” (There is no room!)  God did eventually provide a church in the city of Potosi, just like He provided a place for Jesus’ birth.  It was a great blessing, and we did eventually get our much needed showers in the hot springs the following day!

That night, we had a few more faith-testing experiences on our bus ride back to Cochabamba as Dr. Jorge almost missed the bus, Kristina was sick most of the ride, and a few of us banged our heads on a very hard TV.  Yet God was still good, and we all made it safely back to Cochabamba!  God did test my trust one more time on my return trip to the States when a flight was cancelled, and I was stuck alone in Santa Cruz for a couple days.  Just as in every other situation, He cared for and protected me once again.  He is so faithful!

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Memories

Well, I have been back in the States for a little over a week now, and honestly, it has been tough.  I miss Bolivia a lot, but I think that is a good thing.  It is a sign that God has really given me a passion for the mission field.  I would appreciate your prayers as I weigh my options for the future.  God blessed me with an amazing 6 weeks in Bolivia, and I truly enjoyed every minute.  I realize I have not been the most interesting blogger, so I am going to attempt to add some more interesting stories. 

Once a group of volunteers from the hospital and I were attempting to go to a local orphanage on a trufi.  Like I’ve said before, trufis are similar to taxis that look like the Scooby Doo van.  They are all on a set route and are labeled by number and a sign saying there final destination in the window.  We were told which trufi to get on but could not find that particular one, so began asking.  The first driver we asked told us we needed number 107.  After finding one of them, we were told, no we needed a different number with a yellow sign on top.  When we found one and asked that driver, we were told we needed a blue trufi.  At this point, we were convinced we had been sent on a wild goose chase.  I’m sure we were quite the sight, a bunch of gringos wandering around the street looking for trufis.  We pressed on and asked a blue trufi driver, wrong again!  He told us to look for the trufi going to the cemetary.  Interesting, but we thought we might as well give it a try.  After much searching, we finally found one and turns out our information was finally correct!  We did finally make it to the orphanage and gained a great memory as well!  I need to go, but I will try to follow up with more stories soon!

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Catch Up

Well, once again I find myself apologizing for my lack of blogging.  Turns out blogging is not one of my hidden talents.  I was busy trying to enjoy every last minute in Bolivia and then travelling, but now I will try to catch you up on everything I’ve failed to blog about.  I believe I must start with a week ago Friday.  Friday morning I began the day with a very interesting experience.  For some reason I had volunteered to varnish the climbing wall at the Vargas’ house.   The bottom wasn’t too difficult, and I enjoyed working with my friends.  However, I soon discovered that it is very difficult to climb the wall and hang on while trying to paint it.  At the end of the task, I only fell once and ended up with more varnish on myself than on the climbing wall.  I guess my monkey skills are not quite as good as I thought, but it was fun and challenging trying.  The climbing wall did look a little better after I finished as well.  Afterwards, I showered to try to clean up a little with no success.  Turns out varnish doesn’t come off easily.  Then I went with my family to Carachipampa Christian School, where my dad used to work and I used to attend.  The school was out for the summer, so only a few workers were there.  But it was awesome to see the joy on their faces as they immediately recognized my parents.  There deep gratitude really reconfirmed what I already know as true: I have wonderful, godly parents.  They were all so excited to see my parents once again.  God has truly blessed me with amazing parents who have always put the needs of others first.   After my parents and sister toured the school and saw all the changes, I took them to Simon Patino’s mansion.  We road a trufi there and tried to get out when we saw the back of the mansion, but he said he knew a better place to drop us off.  He ended up taking us to the place where the workers go into the mansion.  Four gringos with a camera, and he thought we were workers?  We ended up having to walk about half a mile in the cold and rain, but we made some great memories in the process!  By the way, it is dry season in Bolivia, so it is not even supposed to rain, but it was good for the country since it is so dry this time of year.  We enjoyed the mansion as best we could in the rain and then headed towards the guesthouse I lived at while serving at the hospital.  It was neat to show my family all around where I had served, and I got to catch up with a few of the volunteers as well.  Then we trufied back to town and went shopping at some little shops behind the post office.  The first thing Becca and I bought were alpaca sweaters since we were freezing!  We made it back to the Vargas’ just in time for supper. 

Saturday morning, I began practicing with the team from Ohio to get ready for a drama we were doing that afternoon at kid’s club.  Somehow, I got volunteered to play the lead role.  Thankfully, I have been in dramas at my church most of my life, so atleast had some experience.  After as much practice as we could get in, kids club began.  I tried to pass out some pictures I had developed of the kids.  My dad and I split up the pictures and headed out.  I didn’t even make it a foot outside the gate and was completely mobbed by kids!  I literally could hardly move.  They all wanted to see my pictures and wanted a picture of themselves.  Even moms came looking for pictures of their kids.  It was made chaos and disappointment when I didn’t have a picture of a kid.  I hope to send more pictures down sometime to be passed out.  Then it was time for the drama.  We did it five times and I think there were still kids who didn’t get to see it.  The line to get into where we were doing it was crazy long!  All the kids were so excited and loved it!  One of the Vargas’ explained it to them afterwards, and I think we were able to get a great message across.  After the skit, I went out with my camera and got mobbed once again.  This time I had to be rescued by Jonathan Vargas because I could literally not escape the kids encircling me.  It still amazes me how excited they get over something as simple as a picture.  It is another reminder of how much I take for granted.  Saturday night, my family and I got to go to dinner at the house of some Bolivian friends.  It was great to catch up and they were very hospitable.  The food was delicious!  Becca had been feeling sick all day, so we left a little early and headed home (to the Vargas’).  We watched a movie and headed to bed.  Becca had a fever of 103 during the night, so it was a rough night for both her and my mom.

Becca stayed in bed Sunday morning while the rest of us went to church.  To our surprise, the whole service consisted of singing and sharing of testimonies by the whole team from Ohio and myself.  The congregation was very receptive and so thankful to all of us.  After lunch, we ate a snack provided by the church and headed to the Christo!  Becca still wasn’t feeling great but was thankfully able to join us.  The more ambitious of us walked up the over 2,00o steps while the rest rode up in a bus.  It was still tough but much easier than the first time I went up.  This time, the actual statue was open, so we got to go inside up to the arms and look out little windows.  It was very crowded, but fun!  We took lots of great pictures.  Then I attempted to run down the steps which was tough when they all began running together.  Becca was even feeling well enough to walk down.  We enjoyed a late meal when we finally got home and then the partying began since it was the Ohio team’s last night there.  We had a blast and eventually got some sleep.

Monday morning we said our goodbyes and my family headed out to run some errands and then meet some missionary friends.  We went out to the son of one of our missionary friend’s house way out in the country.  It was gorgeous out there, and we enjoyed a delicious picnic.  We then had a tour of the farm.  They had llamas, ducks, cows, bunnies, and guniea pigs.  It was really fascinating to learn how things were run on the farm.  It was definitely a side of Bolivia I hadn’t witnessed first hand yet.  On the way home, the missionary my dad and I were riding with stopped in a town just outside of Cochabamba to let us look for fireworks since it was the 4th of July.  He was very kind, and I think his curiousity got the best of him because he took us several places to look.  Fireworks have been outlawed by the government in Bolivia, so they were very difficult to find.  Finally, after much questioning, we found some at a little store.  They were hidden in the back, but my dad and I bought some anyway to surprise the Vargas’.  They were excited.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on a fire and then began the firework show.  It was probably the most interesting firework show I have ever seen on the 4th of July.  It was certainly the first time I have ever been cold watching fireworks on the 4th (it’s winter in Bolivia).  And one of the dogs really enjoyed the fireworks.  He was chasing them and trying to eat them.  I think he was more entertaining than the fireworks.  At one point, he was even breathing smoke! 

Tuesday, my family and I visited a missionary friend named Crystal in the morning, and she took us to some of the old places we used to live.  My mom loved that and took lots of pictures!  Our old house is actually being used as a language school now.  That afternoon, Crystal went with us back to the Vargas’ and we ate lunch and then went on a little adventure walk out behind their house.  That night we enjoyed a movie night with the family.

Wednesday, we went shopping in the morning to get a few more souvenirs.  Somehow, Laura and Sharleen convinced me to get my ears pierced while we were out, so I got to add that to my list of crazy things I did in Bolivia.  We then went out to lunch and said goodbye to Crystal.  We shopped some more and headed home.  That afternoon, we played some softball!  Becca and I taught them all how.  Then my dad took both Vargas families out for a steak supper at a nice restaurant that was one of my parent’s favorites.  There were 17 of us and it only cost 135 dollars!  Gotta love Bolivian prices!  We followed it up with some ice cream and then headed home to spend our last night together.  Laura slept over and all us kids stayed up until around 2 in the morning.  We had to get up again at 6 since our flight left at 8.  They all took us to the airport, and we said a tough goodbye.  It was very difficult to leave such great friends!  Our family enjoyed our time in La Paz the rest of the day after our flight.  We toured the Valley of the Moon, which was an amazing site, another awesome display of God’s creation.  We also saw our old apartment, ate at one of my parents favorite restaurants, and even saw an old friend.  Then we had an adventurous trip to the airport since our taxi got a flat tire and then got stuck in a crazy traffic jam.  We were literally partially under a bus a few times, but eventually made it safely!  We met back up with Anna, Kevin, and Sarah that night and had a safe but tiring trip back to the States without any complications.

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My Family’s Here!

Sorry once again for not writing in forever!  I’ve been slightly distracted since the team arrived and then my family’s arrival!  The team arrived last Friday a little later than expected but all safe and sound.  Saturday we played beach volleyball most of the morning.  I showed off my stellar skills, not!  But we all had a blast and got very sandy.  The afternoon was filled was again with kid’s club.  There is nothing more exciting than 600 kids running around in your yard.  I took pictures once again and let kids borrow my camera to take pictures themselves.  Everyone wanted to take a picture!  Luckily, my camera was only dropped once and seems to be fine.  It was totally worth it to bring smiles to their faces.  One of the team members entertained a huge line of children by simply lifting them into the air and setting them back down.  They all so desperately need love and attention.  Today I had the opportunity to print some of my pictures off, so I can give them to the kids this Saturday.   Sunday we all enjoyed church in the Vargas’ picnic shelter and then had a delicious meal cooked by the church people, followed by some soccer and fellowship. 

Monday we started work with the work team.  We sanded all the picnic tables, benches, picnic shelter, and playground.  Then we began to varnish them all.  Despite some sawdust in our eyes and sniffing a little too much varnish, all went really well.  Tuesday I abandoned the work team to go pick up my family from the airport!  I haven’t seen them in 6 weeks, so I was rather excited:)  But I also realized I have developed another family here in the Vargases.  Elizabeth teases me and bosses me around just like one of her own, and I fight with all the kids just like we were siblings.  God has truly blessed me by bringing them into my life.  My original family got some much needed rest during the day while I worked some more with the team filling sink holes.  That night my dad and I made pancakes for everyone (Mickey Mouse is our specialty, but we tried some other interesting creations as well!).  Wednesday morning we enjoyed an exciting shopping trip to the tourist section of the cancha, which is a market.  Then we enjoyed some traditional saltenas for lunch and got back to work.  We cleared weeds and trees and branches and thorns out of some land the Vargases have purchased but is currently not used.  They hope to eventually put a racketball court and prayer center there.  We made a huge pile of brush and were all covered in skratches and thorns by the end.  We were rewarded by a wonderful evening out to a nice restaurant.  Today I ran some errands with my fam in the morning and in the afternoon enjoyed my first experience paintballing!  The first game I was shot in the face, nothing like a face shot to break you in!  We really enjoyed shooting at each other, just like good Christians:)  Then we played some soccer and ate the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen in my life!  Well, I better go for now, but I hope to add more interesting stories soon!  Thanks again for the prayers!  It’s so great to have my family here with me to share in this amazing experience!

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Godly Chaos

It’s been a chaotic week at the Vargas’ house, but God has carried us through!  It’s been a great reminder that He is the one constant in our lives.  Tuesday night I joined the Vargases at a violin and piano concert in which one of their friends was playing.  The Vargas’ car had been acting up, but Hugo, the father, added some battery fluid, and it seemed to be fixed.  However, on the way to the concert, it began to act up again.  Hugo dropped us off and headed back home.  We walked a few blocks to the concert hall and soon got a call that Hugo was stuck on the side of the road.  Then Sharleen, the second youngest Vargas daughter, said that the peripheral vision in her left eye was really fuzzy.  Soon the fuzziness turned into no vision at all, and she began feeling dizzy and had a headache.  Thankfully, the mom of the Vargas’ friend was a nurse, so she sat down with Sharleen and gave her water while Elizabeth (Mrs. Vargs) called her husband back to figure out the car situation.  What else could go wrong?  The 3 oldest Vargas children and I decided to stay at the concert while the parents of the Vargas’ friend took Mrs. Vargas, Sharleen, and Leeann (the youngest) to the eye doctor.  Meanwhile, Hugo got the car towed home.  The concert was pretty good and the theatre was beautiful.  We enjoyed ourselves inspite of the sense of worry in the back of our minds.  But God knew exactly what was going on, and He had it under control.  Sharleen also went to a neurologist the next day and found out it was all caused by a migraine.  She has felt great ever sense and hasn’t experienced any more problems.  The car needed a new alternator, so the Vargas’ were able to purchase that and fix the car.  However, still be praying as these were all unexpected expenses, which is expecially tough for missionaries depending on support. 

We have continued cleaning and preparing for the team from Ohio that arrives this evening.  The older children also went to another concert Wednesday night to see two friends perform and really enjoyed ourselves once again.  Thankfully, there was non drama this time!  Yesterday was the San Juan holiday, so after some shopping and cleaning, we relaxed and partied!  We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, played with sparklers, and had a huge bonfire!  Then we ate cake, drank hot chocolate, and roasted marshmallows.  After all the fun, we just chilled by the fire.  The three oldest Vargas children and I topped the night off by jumping in the freezing cold swimming pool at 12 a.m.  Remember it is winter down here, and San Juan is traditionally the coldest night of the year.  But it was fun and definitely memorable, and we quickly ran inside to take hot showers!  What a blessing something as simple as hot water is, and yet I often take it for granted. 

I am loving the layed back Bolivian lifestyle.  I think we Americans could learn a lesson from these people.  Life shouldn’t be lived constantly stressed out and never getting a chance to rejuvinate.  God even commands us to rest each week in the footsteps of His example.  I hope I can take what I’ve learned about relaxing here back to the states and remember people are more important than schedules!  Thanks again for all your prayers God is teaching me sooo much!  You can pray for the team that will be here for the next week or so and also for my family as they fly down to join me next Monday.  Pray for the Vargases and other missionaries as well as they minister to the lost and needy people of Cochabamba.  Thanks again!

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Patience

Sorry for the delay; I have been experiencing technical difficulties once again.  This is just another example of opportunities God had provided to teach me patience!  I am definitely learning to relax and trust Him even when things don’t go as planned. 

So lets start back at last Thursday afternoon because I realized I forg0t to mention the mansion.  We got to spend some time as tourists as some of the volunteers and I went to Simon Patino’s mansion, which he never actually lived in.  We walked there from the guest house.  It was gorgeous!  The inside was very fancy.  A bunch of rooms all opened to a courtyard with a fountain in the middle.  The best part was that it was free!  After touring the house, we walked the grounds.  There were tons of beautiful trees and flowers.  It was such a contrast to the poverty surrounding it.  That night, we played wallyball again and watched the championship intermural volleyball game at the local university.  The hospital’s physical therapist had two sisters in the match playing against each other, which made it very interesting.  Friday morning I colored with children in the waiting room and ended up playing tag with two little girls.  The gardener really enjoyed the show when they ran out the hospital doors, and I chased them in my scrubs, trying to corral them back inside!  That afternoon, we went to Casa de Amor 2 again (kids ages 4-7).  First, I learned some more patience as me a few other volunteers tried to wash their car without a hose.  It ended up semi-clean but was definitely a challenge.  Then we gave out dresses that my friend’s grandma had made out of pillowcases to the girls there.  They loved them and immediately started dancing!  Then we played outside with the kids.  They all seem so happy, but I know something is missing in their lives.  I can’t imagine life without parents.  The tias at the orphanage love those kids so much but can never be parents to them.  I’d ask that you would join me in prayer for these precious kids!

Saturday, we planned to go to Pairumani State Park at 11:30.  We didn’t leave until nearly 1 due to several different things.  Once again, more patience!  But it was worth the wait.  There wasn’t much water in the waterfall, but the mountains were breath-taking!  It was such an awesome reminder of the awesome God we serve!  Later that afternoon, we went to kid washing again.  I got to help bathe the kids and then got my nails painted and handed out the silly bands I had brought.  I even helped bathe a 2 month old baby.  She was so fragile!  The silly bands were a hit, and I instantly made many new friends!  We went out to eat for silpancho and then enjoyed a very entertaining trufi (like a Scooby Doo van taxi) ride back to the house, which include a black light and some American pop music! 

Sunday, we went to a Spanish Presbyterian church and got lost on the way, more patience!  But we made it in time and enjoyed worshipping God in Spanish.  Then we went out for saltenas and went grocery shopping.  Another volunteer and I saw a girl passed out on the sidewalk and learned she was drunk.  It was hard to walk away, knowing we couldn’t help.  Once we reached the house, I packed to return to the Vargas’ house because there was a threat of blockades the next day (this could have blocked my way back to their house).  This was another unexpected change of plans, but I just had to remember God was in control.  Since then I have just been hanging out with the family and helping them clean to prepare for a team coming from Ohio on Friday.  I came down with a cold on Saturday, so it’s been great to get to a place where I can relax and have a mom to take care of me!

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