One of the things I love is how God can make a seemingly “in the moment/casual” thing into something more. It gives me a lot of hope for what we are doing now and trust that God can cause growth and blessings out of small things.
One example of this is Rosanna. She was a mom at the kindergarten that Pilar attended and near the end of the school year she happened to mention to someone else (as all the parents waited outside the school for the kids to be let out) that her daughter was going to take swimming classes and I asked her where the place was. That was it. That’s all we spoke to each other and it was the first time we spoke. Then our girls ended up going to the pool at the same time and we would sit outside waiting. We each are more introverts than extraverts and it makes me smile as I think of us each saying hi and then pulling out the books we had brought. But slowly we started talking about books, about English, about the girls. Pilar stated inviting her daughter over to play or for sleep overs. The girls went on to attend the same school for first grade and we’d see each other there or on the weekends as the girls got together. We had a couple of deeper conversations right before we left Sucre, but really it was just a casual friendship. While in Argentina we stated getting together on whatsapp so our girls could have some sort of interaction with another kid during quarantine and our conversations grew as the friendship did. We started studying the Bible and it’s something we’ve kept up this year. While in Sucre, Rosanna came to some of the events we had and met others and is now attending more and more of the activities and worship times there. Little things can grow into big things.
This month has had quite a few small things that may grow or have grown into something more. First was that on the last day we were in Sucre I was in a market and someone I haven’t seen in years greeted me. He and his wife run a homeschool organization and after school program. Years ago, I taught a Bible class for the youth there but it was only for a couple months because then we went to the States for Pilar’s paperwork and it was just never picked up after that. He said he had been praying that God would send someone he trusted to help him in his organization. They are now doing more and more with troubled and abused youth and have contacts with Bolivia’s version of CPS and the courts. He asked me to consider teaching Bible classes to a group of girls and giving them one on one time to talk if they wanted. He also wanted me to help the kids that are in Open English to practice their conversational English. I told him I’d need to pray about it and that honestly it would be better to find someone in Sucre who could be physically present but that he could message me with his thoughts on it and I’d get back with him. Then nothing. Didn’t hear from him so I thought he’d found someone else until a couple weeks later he messaged me. After hearing some of the girls’ backgrounds and struggles and after saying I could do the English conversation but use the Bible (which he was so excited about- he really understands that all the education doesn’t mean anything without God), I agreed to give weekly classes for three months. I don’t know how it will turn out but am prayerful that God will use this time to encourage this group of youth and to help bring about some healing in their lives.
I am also looking into seeing if I can find a way to help in an organization here that helps women or young girls who are in hard times. Please be praying that this can happen.
Another thing that happened this month was that I had a three hour call with my friend Vanesa in Argentina and we went through the 12 trunks that I had there to get rid of things. That’s right, 12 trunks. Full of the things we had kept from our lives in Sucre and things I had taken for the home we had planned to make in Argentina. I had basically all we would need to set up a home there from pots and pans and sheets to clothes for Pilar for the next two years and our books and the toys and things Pilar had wanted to keep. There was no way we would ever be able to bring those 12 trunks to Bolivia and I’ve had to re-buy a lot of those things to set up our house here. So for three hours we did a video call where I said “yes” and “no” non-stop. At the end I was an emotional wreck as going through it all was an overload but also because it reminded me of all our plans and dreams for Argentina. We still have three trunks- mostly filled with books (lots of books) that can’t be found here and some of Pilar’s special toys, some family photo books and homemade Christmas ornaments, etc. The borders to Argentina are still closed but when they open three trunks are doable to bring back. What grew out of those three hours? I felt drained and sad but also relief. Relief that the decisions were finally made and that what was left was doable. I felt peace in knowing that these things would be a gift and blessing for others. I was reminded how easy it is to get attached to things and hold on to them even when I don’t or can’t use them and that my security and identity comes from God, not things, and that the things that are most important to me are the relationships I have. I was reminded how little we actually need and how much God provides. I was reminded that although things don’t always end up like we planned or hoped, God is in the now and He is working through what is happening and that His purposes are eternal.
Please pray for me as I prepare for a conference in Cochabamba. The church in Cochabamba has asked me to speak at their annual women’s tea this year. I really don’t enjoy these formal public speaking events but I also think I need to grow in this area so I said yes. They didn’t give me a topic but wanted something that would be encouraging during this time of difficulty with the pandemic and the missionaries leaving. This will be next month so please pray that all goes well and that the time will be a blessing for everyone.
May God open our eyes to what is eternal and the blessings He has so richly poured out onto us.