Days and events have passed since the last time I wrote for the blog. I am still in Bolivia and am ready to leave for Buenos Aires tomorrow, although to speak in truth I think one is never ready completely because it is difficult to leave family, brothers and siters in Christ and friends.
While I was getting my suitcase packed, it is inevitable that I thought of what has happened in the last month, things that I have lived and memories that have come. It has really been a month of enjoying the love that I have received and giving love. (I think the commercialism has done it’s job because the Valentine’s Day is in the air.)
So, thinking of this day and all that has passed, I want to pause in the words of Jesus from John 15:12-13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Two verses that has made me think in this high level of love, who’s great example we have in Jesus, but it also makes me ask: Is my life an example of love? Do I love and am I loved like Jesus?
During this time I have reflected over this, love in its different forms. From my actual perspective during this time (traveler and visitor, I can say that the love of the Father never stops surprising me. I am not in my comfort zone, with people I’m used to being around, being in my own house, not even in the community with which I meet. Nevertheless, being outside of my norm almost always fills me, it fills my tank with love.
So that you can understand a little, I have been doing a lot of forms and paperwork- many of which needed to be certified in completed in distinct provinces and made me travel from one place to another. A couple of times was in three distinct cities in less than a week. In the majority of the times traveling, my funds were limited, so I traveled with the minimum of a backpack and I stayed with other Christians or friends and sometimes even with people I didn’t know.
The second week of January, I went to LA Paz and there I was able to assist a Bible study. It filled my heart as five very happy people shared this time with me I stayed with the Lopez family, who really are the best when it comes to hospitality because they will come and meet you wherever you happen to be, they offer you the best of what they have and they take care of you like you were their own daughter. Their love for people they know and don’t know always impacts me.
The third week of January I went to Sucre and the youth camp. It was a great time, not only because I could see and spend time with people I have known for many years, but also because I could see how they have grown and because their simplicity and humility of heart is an encouragement for my life. Personally, I never feel like a visitor with them; I continue to be a part of that group or maybe it’s because they make me feel that way. Because time is short, I have to take advantage of the time we share: activities with the youth, sharing with the married group and taking time with individuals.
In my last trip for paperwork, I went to Tarija where my cousin lives and took advantage to see her. Her life and heart always impact me and I learn a lot from her. She is a single mom also and is almost always there for when someone needs something, fighting for justice and her capacity to give all when she sees a need. It was with her that I visited the prison last month.
There were also times I was alone, alone with the Father, the God of surprises. He always opens doors to places where the paperwork is long and tangled. He was taking care of me when I was in unknown places and made me feel loved, loved by others. The last few paragraphs seem like they are from a traveler’s diary, speaking of specific people and places, but really it is more than that. It is about how God provided quality times, spaces to reflect, places to laugh and eat too much. Times where I received love and could give it.
I don’t want to stop here only with memories of how beautiful it was to travel with Jesus and share with His community. I want to continue learning how He loves and of His diverse forms of love: hospitality, benevolence, encouragement, etc. All that I receive.
“… You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:14-17
I pray that we continue to cling to the friendship we have with Jesus and know Him more and more, because through this relationship and His example we can produce a lot of fruit wherever we might be. May we love one another as Christ has loved us!
In order from left to right: Spending time with the Cabrera family in Sucre; The Lopez, missionaries in El Alto, La Paz; With the youth in Sucre; With the women in Sucre; Dinner with some of the married people in Sucre; In Sucre, the activity that we planed with the deacons for the youth: a dinner and games.