Monday, September 28, 2009

Miracles keep happening...

In about a week and a half I have a team coming from Greenville, South Carolina... Brookwood Church. I love these guys and I am super excited to see what the Lord does with them this year. I think back to last year when I didn't know them yet. The Lord must have given Daniel (the leader of the group) an extra measure of grace when he was told a 26 year old was planning his trip... thanks for believing in me Daniel! And now I think about this year and I can barely contain my excitement!
Here's why: normally the planning is the most stressful part of any trip. As I was sitting at the bus terminal in Bolivia, I started thinking about everything I needed to do to make it happen. I had in my head that we would have a big concert in San Sebastian (the plaza in front of El Sendero), but as I sat and prayed about it, the Lord said NO.
SO... I started brainstorming with Jesus of all the things we could do. When I got back to Loja, I was talking to Colin about one of my ideas to have a concert in the Tecnica (the Catholic University). Several people had told me that there was no way I was ever going to get a concert there, but as we talked about it, the Lord brought to my mind my friend Matt. Matt is an English guy in charge of the English conversation club at the Tecnica. I decided he would be the perfect person to talk to... and 5 minutes later he walked in. We talked for about 4 hours about all SORTS of stuff and he said he would love to help me out. I was thinking that maybe we would be in a back auditorium or something and before I knew it, he asked me... "How does 11am in the cafeteria sound?" First of all, the Tecnica is Catholic so the fact that they would LET us in is a miracle. Second of all, the cafeteria is RIGHT in the center of campus. Third of all, 11am is right in between everyone's classes when they hang out! I was not expecting THAT to say the least.
On top of this miracle, the Lord has BROUGHT the people I need to talk to into the cafe as I was working. One day I needed to talk to the pastor of one church and the youth pastor of another church... that evening they BOTH came in within 30 minutes of one another. He has provided people to cook, bake and show the team around. He has provided translators and speakers without me even raising a finger.
The Lord has provided opportunities I could never have imagined and people I could never have asked for! Seriously, I CANNOT wait to see what's going to happen...

Monday, September 21, 2009

4 Months from TODAY...

Today is September 21st... Four months from today I will be making my way back to the United States. To be honest, it scares me even more than coming here in the first place. I think back 2 years ago when I was getting on the plane and I am just amazed at how the Lord has chosen to use me. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!?
In honor of the time the Lord has given me here, I would like to share something that happened this weekend. Those of you who have kept up with me will remember my friend Leydi. I met Leydi about a year and a half ago and since then the Lord has been working in her life. For the past 8 months or so, she has showed absolutely no interest in the Bible, the gospel or anything in between. That is when the Lord told me to back off. I have shared the gospel with her, she knows the truth but has no interest in hearing it. The Lord told me to love her, pray for her but to stay back until she was ready to move forward.
A miracle happened this week. She came to the cafe to let me know she is pregnant and she is getting married in 2 weeks. But bigger than that, she said that while I was in Bolivia she tried to call me... she wanted to go to church with me. I almost fell off of my chair. I told her I would love to have her come with me to church next Sunday and we've agreed. It's a date.
I have known the Lord is at work in Leydi's life since the moment I met her... I have prayed for her, with her and have asked you to do the same. I am asking once more that during this time of change, the Lord would move in her life in a mighty way and that she would come to know HIM as her Savior.
As I think about saying goodbye to Loja, it makes me want to cry... but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord brought me here for many reasons and that His Word does not return void.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

If he says pray, you PRAY... if he says run, you RUN!

What would you do if the Lord asked you to do something weird... that was my dilemma many times during my trip to and from Bolivia. I will give you two examples...
Number one... I had arrived in Santa Cruz at 2 am where I was warmly greeted by an immigration officer wanting $135 from me for a visa ONLY because I was a US citizen. After I had paid, he told me that he could not put the visa in my passport because I did not have a blank page in my passport. After much pleading, he put it in the back (though he informed me that he shouldnt have). After a goodnight sleep, I spent the day with Debbie and Graham Frith, SIM missionaries who started El Alfarero (one of the reasons I went to Bolivia). At 3pm, with plenty of time, we got in the car to make the quick 20 minute trip to the airport. When I arrived there, the man behind the counter informed me I was at the wrong airport and there was no way I was going to make my plane. As we ran back to the car, I began to pray. I only had 3 and a half days in Sucre to get to know the cafe and if I missed this flight, I would only have 2 and a half days. Graham informed me that we would try but it was pretty much inevitable that I would miss my flight, seeing that the journey across town was 40 minutes. By this time it was 3:15 and my plane was leaving at 4:00.
As we sped along the road, the Lord told me to pray, and not just to myself, out loud. Mind you, I had just met these people a little more than 12 hours before. But the Lord would not let it go, so I asked them if it was ok and I prayed... more like begged the Lord to make it possible.
We came barrelling into the parking lot and I jumped out of the car as Debbie grabbed my suitcase. I saw a sign that said, Must be checked in 20 minutes before the plane takes off... I threw my passport down on the counter and said, "Please tell me I made it." The man looked at his watch and said, "You made it by 2 MINUTES." Thank you Jesus.

Story number two... on my way BACK to Ecuador, I had to change flights in Lima, Peru. I only had one hour to get to my next flight and when we landed in Lima I realized the flight was a bit late, so really I only had 45 minutes to get to my next flight. While I was waiting for everyone to get off the plane, the Lord told me "Run." And I thought to myself... really?? I still have a bit of time, I will be fine... not to mention, I am going to look like an idiot running through the airport. But he kept speaking to my heart, "Run." So as soon as I got off the plane, I started to do my fastest speed walk I could. Everyone around me, as suspected, looked at me like I was crazy. As I rounded the corner for the security check in, I looked behind me and saw a plane full of people coming from a different direction, delaying the people on MY plane for who knows how long. I barely sqeeked through security as the line went from 10 to 200 people. WOW... I should listen to the Lord more often, dont you think??
I seriously am amazed at how the Lord took care of me on this journey... from big things to small things and everything in between he watched out for me. Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Motobike experiences in Bolivia...

Mari told me that we were going to go around to the different pueblitos around San Ignacio to visit the mission churches that the Jesuits started. That sounded like an awesome adventure to me, but then she said, "Can you drive a motorbike?" So "drive" is a pretty strong word... my dad taught my sister and I how to drive a motorbike before I left for Ecuador, but I never thought I'd actually use it, especially not driving the crappy roads in Bolivia! Thankfully enough, Diego, another guy that was with us offered to try his hand at it, though he had NEVER driven one. Needless to say, this left me very nervous and holding on for dear life.
We started our little adventure at 9am, with the Bolivian sun beating down on us and mosquitoes hitting us like the front of the windshield. It was quit an adventure to say the least... and this is where the Lord began to speak to me.
For the first hour, I was having a heart attack... the roads were horrendous and I thought we were going to die at any moment. All I could do was stare at the bumps and holes in the road and pray, 'Please Lord, help us to get back in one piece.' But then the Lord said to me, why are you so consumed with the road? You're not driving. You're either going to trust the driver or you're going to get off. If you trust the driver, it means you can look at the amazing view around you and leave the driving to him." I realized that is like my relationship with my God... I am a control freak and more days I stress about next to everything going on, but the Lord was trying to say to me, "Do you trust me? Do you trust me to drive you in good places? Do you trust me to have your best in mind and keep you safe no matter what the path in front of you looks like?" So as we drove down that dirt road, I began to just trust and take in all the scenery. Can I tell you the journey was much less stressful. So now, I just need to apply this same principle to my life... trusting that my Driver will take care of me no matter what the road in front of me looks like.