This month I finished the study on "Praying Gods Word" by Beth Moore with the ladies' Bible study/prayer group on Tuesdays. This Tuesday group has been going steady since almost the beginning of our time in Tarija. It's not big; sometimes only two or three ladies come and I think the most has been six, but it's a great group and encourages me a lot. I love to teach small groups of women and love the intimacy that comes from meeting constantly and praying for one another. Every time we finish a study I ask the group if they want to take a break or stop for awhile and each time they say they need the group and want to continue. God is working though the studies, talks and prayers. Silvia, the landlady, told me last night she has decided to start meeting with us on Sundays and I think it's because of all the prayer time we have had with her over the last two years. She loves God and recognizes how much she needs to be in contact with Him but she is in some ways timid in her faith and likes hearing others pray. Please continue to pray for the women who come to this group, that we can all be stronger in our walk with God as we walk together and that God continues to show us His heart and will.
Two university age girls have been talking with me a lot as they go through some hard times. One came to a class on Tuesdays on resentment and was convicted she needed to forgive her mom and try to re-connect with her. She struggled with it but knew God was calling her to act and eventually did. She felt a burden lifted and a peace she had been missing for awhile. The other is dealing with the consequences of sin even after stopping and confessing to the leaders in her church. Sin is so sly and promises enjoyment and other things when it really is just a toxic that destroys. She is continuing to walk with God but it is a struggle to hold onto the hope and grace in God when people judge, blame and condemn. We as humans so often want people to "fix" things before we forgive or to "prove" their repentance before we embrace them when only God can fix things and He does it by working on our own hearts and although there is eventually fruit of our repentance, God never withholds His love and welcome until we "prove" something. We could learn a lot from a God who invited Himself to eat at a sinners house before the man gave back what he had gained dishonestly and a God who washed His betrayer's feet and shared the Lord Supper with him knowing what he was about to do. Change comes from connection not separation and not condemnation.
(Photos left to right: Birthday of Pilar with her friends, Zeineth's birthday party, Pilar and Zeineth doing homework together.)
My family is still very much in transition and that will be the norm for awhile. Zeineth Catalina Grace Myers (Catalina means pure so her name means "pure grace") is legally my daughter as we have had the last court hearing but I haven't received the paperwork yet. I need the paperwork to start working on getting her birth certificate, ID card and passport so I can start working on paperwork to apply for a US tourist visa for her. Never ending paperwork! She started pre-K and is happy going to school. She struggles a lot with all the changes and has a very strong character that refuses to back down. That will be such a blessing for her in the future once she learns to direct that strong will wisely but right now it can seem like a constant battle. We are all learning a lot about ourselves, especially how much we don't like change and how self focused we can be, so God is definitely working on us as we learn to love better, have more patience and think of others. Pilar celebrated her 10th birthday at the end of May and before that I decided to celebrate Zeinth"s birthday too. Her birthday is in February but I didn't want to wait almost a year to celebrate it so we had an adoption/4th birthday party for her. Zeineth had a tooth infection and so we have been going to the dentist a lot but it is better and we should only need to go once more. Pilar has had a cold which has been lingering with a cough and congestion and has had a couple of rough days. Winter vacation for the girls starts next week and so they will have two weeks off from school which will be a good break for them. Life is full but it's full of blessings and transformation.