Tomorrow morning we are headed to the camp where we will be spending the week with the Ayore girls and community leaders. We will not have internet until next Sunday, so I will not be updating this blog until we return to our main guest house in Santa Cruz. Today our team prepared the teaching and craft materials, and we are very excited for this coming week! I am very tired and need to sleep, so I will just write some prayer requests. Please pray! Pray for our week. Pray for safety in travel to and from the camp. Pray for the women who are going to the girls camp and the men who are going to the radio bible congress. Pray for health for our bodies. Pray that we don't get sick. Pray that when we are tired or weary or losing patience or feeling frustrated or anything else, that we would focus on God, because He is all sufficient and grants peace and wisdom to those who seek it. Please please above anything else pray for the girls and women that we will have contact with. Pray for our bible storying lessons, that the Truth about God would be evident and would enter into the hearts of all who listen. Pray that God gives us words to speak when we forget, and that he fixes any mistakes we make, whether they be cultural faux-pas (spelling? too tired to care...) or a mistake about what God's Word says. Please pray that these girls would see the hope and joy in following Jesus. Pray they would know Him. He is the Savior of the world. He is all powerful. He actually heals our brokenness. He created everything and will one day restore the justice that we as humans betrayed in our sinfulness. God is holy and good and can do nothing but good things. He has the power to rescue from death and give eternal life, and to change lives in this world for the better. One of the InterVarsity staff workers tonight asked us to think about how our lives would be different were it not for the Gospel. I almost started crying because I would certainly not be here in Bolivia if I didn't think God had the power to save. HE does. He is good. More good than I know. Please pray for this week, that God would be ever-present, and begin life-changing work in these girls. Thank you very much for reading and praying and caring and supporting me. There are no words to describe the gratitude in my heart for my Jesus and for you. All my love from Bolivia, Alexis.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Hola! Today we visited one of the neighborhoods of the Ayore people. Some of these young ladies and community leaders who live here will be attending the camp that we are working at starting Sunday. It was a little difficult walking through the camp because of the povery we saw, the trash on the ground, and the trench that lines every walking space where people go to the bathroom/throw trash/etc. I'm ashamed to say that my initial response to this camp was "when are we leaving?" I didn't like the smell. I didn't like that I'm a white girl in the midst of this and can leave and go to a clean house. While we played volleyball with the kids, twice the ball ran away from us and fell into one of the trenches. As it approached all the kids were yelling, but then afterwards merely rinsed it in unfiltered water and resumed playing with the ball. It made our team sad to see the conditions in which these kids lived. What was so evident to me, however, was that God has so placed in my heart a desire to love children. There was a baby sitting on the ground crying, with snot running out of his nose. An older girl next to him was kicking him in an attempt to make him quiet. I wanted to pick them both up, get them clean, wipe their noses, and just hug them until they knew the hope and joy that Jesus has for them. Later tonight, our team leader discussed Luke 18:1-8, and encouraged us that God is good, and desires justice so much more than we do, and is quick to avenge the injustice we see, however it may not seem "quick" to us. This passage in Luke is about the persistent widow, who was rewarded for her persistence when she kept pleading for justice. God says that he is quick to give justice and desires for us to ALWAYS pray and ALWAYS plead. It can be so easy for us to give up. We want to solve all the problems the Ayore people have, but we can't. But we cannot give up helping or trying or praying or loving. We must do all these things and be faithful in what He has put in front of us to be faithful in. Please, friends, pray for the Ayore community. They can be thought of as similar to gypsies, who face discrimination and who can't get jobs and are true outsiders of the community, both because of their past reputation and their minority status. There are only about 5,000 Ayore people, and what we are doing here in Bolivia is assisting the ministries here helping the people get to know Jesus, and physically loving them and helping them as well. What we are NOT doing is telling them they should stop engaging in prostitutation; for most of them, because of the discrimination and oppression of their people group, have no other way of earning money. It would be highly inappropriate and ineffective to try to change their minds about prostitution as a legitimate occupation. Our team is deeply saddened by the thought that anyone would have to prostitute themselves to survive, and it is our desire that one day the Ayore would be self-sufficient in other occupations. The camp we are working at next week is a Christian camp where we will be telling stories out of the bible in an oral "storying" version, as the Ayore people have an oral history, and learn well when told stories. I cannot wait to get started with this and to interact with the girls and pray continually for them. No one deserves to live next to a trench of urine and feces. No one deserves to experience the oppression and hopelessness these girls feel. Please PLEASE pray for the Ayore community. Pray for open hearts, and open minds,and understanding, and that they would experience love, that one day they would have peace. A doctor who works with them said that high blood pressure is extremely common among the Ayore, and she thinks it's because of the intense stress that they feel everyday. Please pray for peace for them. Thanks for reading and praying. It means so much to me. And now, here are 10 of the beautiful gifts God gave me today: 1) delicious breakfast of potatoes, chorizo, and egggs. 2) the green tablecloths on the tables in our guest house that have llamas on them and remind me of Emperor's New Groove. 3) Psalm 34. 4) Hearing out of the bible about God, and just knowing in my heart that what the bible says is so true. 5) Frosted Flakes in spanish are Zucaritas (i think)...we went to a store to get snackies. 6) trying Bolivian candy. 7) hearing Todd say all the different versions of "I said-a-boom-chicka-boom"....por ejemplo, "I say a broom-sweepa-broom." It's pretty funny. 8) Knowing that there is always hope in Christ. He promises to one day make all things new, to restore justice, to lift up the brokenhearted, to make a new earth with new bodies for us. 9) getting hugs from my new Bolivian friends. 10) meeting some of the Ayore women leaders--they are beautiful! Gracias por escucharme. Pray for these weeks and the Ayore. Gracias a Dios por todo. Love, Alexis
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Hola! I'm loving it here in Bolivia. This morning the team sat down after breakfast for a trip orientation, and talked about ministering across cultures and discussed how we dealt with conflict and difference. Our trip director, Matt Grimm, made an important comment about how when something is different, it is inherent in us to assign "negative" to it. Wherever you are, you can come into conflict with others or just begin to judge because of differences between you and another person. Especially in a country that is foreign to you, you can look at something and think it's not the way things should be done. I'm rambling, but this was an important concept for me to think about, how I react to new thigns. So far things have been great. Can't wait to meet more Bolivians! Also this morning we studied Psalm 67, which is about how God's intent is for "all the nations" to praise Him and know Him. There are so many different people groups in Bolivia, and so far we have been able to meet many Christians, and their love for God and their actions is so beautiful to see. I am very tired ahora, so am not writing prettily, so forgive me. But today was a good day. We exchanged money (tenemos bolivianos ahora!) and visited a market, and did the Lifehouse "Everything" skit with a christian group on campus here at a university. Then we went to dinner and ate delicious bolivian food, with fried cassava which is muy delicioso. After dinner I giggled uncontrorllably in the car with my new friend Christy as we played with the kids sitting in the "back seat." The kids belong to one of the staff workers of the GATHER ministry here in Santa Cruz. They are adorrrrabllle!! Now we are all taking showers and heading to bed. Tomorrow we will be meeting the leaders of the Ayore people group that we will be working with. I am excited! Also, for my personal records and for people who want a shortened version of what happens every day, I'm going to share a list of 10 gifts that filled my heart with joy today: 1. at breakfast, there was a tray of cut up bananas. they were mini and it was cute. 2. giggling with Christy and the kids. soooooooo funnnn...soooo much joy :) 3. the yuca frita that i ate at dinner. sencilla y rica. 4. the weather is gorgeous! it was 70s today i believe? and the sky was a beautiful blue and the clouds were pretty and the wind felt so good. 5. all my new friends that I've met 6. the limonada that we drank during dinner. had ten thousand cups of it... 7. the smell of sunscreen :) 8. having a cozy bed to sleep in (which we wont have next week as we stay in the camp) 9. Bolivians :) 10. THE LORD. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. All for now! Ciao Ciao! Love, Alexis
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Estamos en Bolivia ahora! We traveled for about 24 hours and got little sleep but we are all so excited for this trip! Our team consists of 10 students and InterVarsity staff. They are all very cool. And we are so very tired. We will be eating a delicious dinner soon and then will probably head to bed early. Gracias a Dios por protegernos. Thank you all for your support and prayers. Can't wait to see what God has in store for this trip :) Love, Alexis
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Hee! My heart is so happy. God makes me so happy and delights in giving gifts to His children. I don't deserve God's goodness but that's what makes my heart feel like it's bursting when He gives me good things anyway. I am so so so grateful for the generosity of those who have given their resources to this trip. I am almost there! If you are reading this and have given THANK YOU SO SO VERY MUCH! You have blessed me immensely! And for those who are considering giving, please do! I still have a little over $1000 to raise in these next 2 weeks.
I am BEYOND excited to go on this adventure with the Lord. The other day I started reading a book written by this lady: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/. Katie is my age and is living in Uganda caring for precious lives. Her story is incredibly inspiring and spurs me on to seek God's glory and not my own. I suggest you take a look at her blog :)
As I have FEWER THAN 2 WEEKS left, I present these prayer requests to you. Please pray for this trip, for all the students and leaders going and preparing to serve.
- That we would be safe during traveling to Bolivia and within Bolivia.
- That our hearts would be open to serve in whatever capacity God has planned for us.
- That we would see God's goodness and want to seek Him more and more each day.
- That the people we serve in Bolivia would feel God's love and show us better how to love in word and in action.
- That I would trust God for the rest of the funding I need for the trip.
- That the logistics of the trip would fall into place (visa stuff, etc.)
Thank you for your kind support and prayers. This life is so cool. Haha! God is just awesome and I'm so glad I get to share it with all of you. I am praying for you (all who read this blog!) as well. I love you and thank God for you.