Thursday, January 29, 2009


Meaning: “To take care of”

As I was walking down the street today I realized that Ecuadorians are really good at doing this word.
I saw a dad effortlessly scoop up his 7 year old daughter and carry her down the street.
I saw a little boy hold his grandma’s elbow as she waddled her way down the street.
I saw two friends showing love as they walked arm in arm down the street.
And I can’t forget the little old blind man with a cane waiting to cross the street. I saw another man who was walking with his girlfriend stop, take the man’s arm, and walk him to the other side.
This is cuidar; the way that they look after one another. And I began to think about the way God cares for me. A El, le encanta cuidarme. “He loves to take care of me.” He is that Father who effortlessly draws me close to his heart as I hurt. He is the One who makes the effort when no one else bothers. This is my Savior, the One who gave all to truly take care of me. And for all that and more, I just feel like I need to say thank you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Instant wake-up...

This morning I sat in one of Loja’s many dodgy clinics waiting for my blood to get taken. I was a little bit crotchety and anti-social due to the fact that I was woken up at 6:30am and had to fast for the test. There was a woman sitting next to me holding a piece of paper about prenatal care and a required blood test for pregnancy. As she sat down to get her blood taken, the woman asks her, “How old are you?” The response blew me away, “14.”
It was an instant wake up for me… and it broke my heart. Here was this girl, 14-years-old and alone getting blood testing and prenatal care. How alone must she feel? But that is life here… I can’t tell you how many girls I know in University who have 5 year old kids and have already been divorced by the time they are 22. It is an epidemic here… girls who desperately need love, have never seen the love of a Father, and will get “love” wherever they can get it.
For some reason, my heart has always been broken for girls like this one sitting next to me. I wanted to just reach out a girl her a hug and tell her that she is not alone.

You hear my cry
You will catch every tear from my eye
And you watch over my life…
I know that I’m safe and sound
So now I sing…
Lord you are perfect in all of your ways
You’re not easily angered
You make no mistakes
No nothing can stop you
Nothing can stand in your way.
-Nothing Can Stop You
Enter the Worship Circle

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The wild ride continues...

Sitting at the living room table watching the warm rain pour down my windowpane I am reminded that I am home, in Loja Ecuador. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here an entire YEAR! One down, one to go…
December 2008 ended with one wild ride that didn’t slow down from the time I stepped foot on American soil until I stepped off. From December 8th until January 6th I had 9 flights, was in 4 states, spoke at 3 churches, had 2 road trips and got to see 1 cute little nephew! It was a month well worth it.
Out of all the people I saw and all the things I did, I’m trying to pinpoint one thing to share with you and it would have to be the very last message that I heard in Loveland before I got on the plane. Our pastor was speaking about the power of the Holy Spirit and how He doesn’t have boundaries, but sometimes we like to draw these lines of what God can and cannot do. In that moment, the Lord spoke to me about this next year. Most of you know that I am changing jobs starting February 1st … I’m going from volunteering at El Sendero to managing it. And the Lord told me, Are you willing to cut all boundaries of what I can and cannot do? Are you willing to walk not having a clue what you’re doing in order for me to blow you away with my power?
This means a lack of control on my part. It means that I will have to let go and let God do whatever he wants to do whether or not its in my “plans.” If you know me at all, you know that this is very difficult for me. I like to at least FEEL like I’m in control. But He is saying to me: Are you willing to let go of ALL control in order for me to work?
That “lack of control” started as of this week with the train for this new manager position. He is showing me that everything is his. I have to LET GO of everything that defined last year AND everything I “hope” will be this year.
Even in the face of all this scariness, I want to say: YES! I don’t want my dwarfed dreams, I’d rather take the dangerous road. So here’s to one great adventure!
This next year is going to be a trip… one that I could never dream up, I’d love if you’d come along for the ride.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Can God use a cattle herder?

Yesterday Nicole (my roommate) and I were talking about how the Lord likes to use ALL the experiences that we’ve had for his glory. Nicole said that since she’s been here the Lord has used her love of music, baking and the English language. As I started rattling off my random list: Youth minister, Barista, EMT, can salsa, knit, and sing. And then I blurted out, “And I can work cows! But God has yet to use my cattle herding skills for his glory here in Ecuador.” We laughed and I didn’t have a second thought about it… until this afternoon.
Five of us girls decided to go to Vilcabamba to climb Mount Mandingo. About half way up we run into 3 bulls, a cow and 2 calves. The girls start freaking out about what we do about this situation since they are RIGHT in our path and don’t look like they’re planning on moving anytime soon. So what do I do? Do what I would do if I were helping my friend’s family move cows… made some fun cow movin’ noises and moved those lovelies right down the path until we could get by.
It wasn’t until we were walking down the mountain that I remembered what Nicole and I had talked about… I laughed to myself. God doesn’t waste a single gift, talent or skill that you randomly pick up on a ranch in North Dakota.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Small problems make big blow up…

It always starts out with something stupid doesn’t it? For me, it was an annoying customer that turned into me losing it… not to the customer, mind you, but I felt like I lost face with some of my volunteers and employees. I apologized and all, but still felt really stupid.
And then came the real blow. I got home and Satan began with his lies… you can’t do this. Why would you even THINK you could manage a cafĂ©? You’re so stupid and worthless.
Did you know there is a reason that God never meant for us to be alone? Because you need other people in your life to speak those words of truth into your heart when Satan is coming at your with both guns blaring.
So listen to the words of truth… in your weakness, He is strong. He knows what He’s doing and He doesn’t make mistakes. You serve a faithful God. Listen to His heart for you instead of Satan’s lies.
That may just be me speaking truth to myself, but if those are words that you too need to hear, know that your Father stands with open arms ready to give you a hug when no one else can.
“I love you O Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” –Ps 116:1-2