Saturday, July 30, 2011

Photo Shoot with Little *D*

The other day, my little buddy and I were wearing "matching" least as far as purple was concerned. :) So we thought it would be fun to have a photo-shoot!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Set Apart Girl

Ever since the latest edition of Set Apart Girl hit cyberspace in the beginning of July, I have looked forward to reading it. However, due to a busy new life here in Bolivia, a shared internet cable for several weeks, and a connection that isn't always speedy, I have not had the chance to relax in front of my laptop long enough to enjoy the magazine until tonight. Once again, I have been blessed!

This month's feature articles are encouraging as ever! And the beautiful photography/graphic design is a treat for the eyes, reminding me that dignity and beauty are noble aspirations to strive for even surrounded by a dusty city and the messes that fourteen children so easily create. :)

I was especially blessed by Leslie's article in the Set Apart Motherhood column about creating a beautiful environment in your home even in regards to the children's areas. The pictures look likes something out of a home decorating magazine about which you always question the reality of! But I have been to the Ludy's home and seen it with my own eyes, so I can truly attest to the reality of these pictures. When I visited several years ago, I remember being awe-struck by the loveliness of their home thinking it was the most warm, welcoming, beautiful home environment I had ever been in - including the children's bedrooms! So, yes, those pictures are the real deal and definitely possible to emulate! As I've been working this past week to help bring order and tidiness to Casa de Amor House II where I now live, I have found this article to ring true with the desires and aspirations of my own soul. :)

I was also especially blessed by the article about detecting a true Warrior-Poet from an imposter. After a year that has included several new experiences with guys that I'd never had before, I could really appreciate the wisdom of this article.

And of course, having been engaged in Pro-Life ministry for four years at Care Net Pregnancy Center, I was delighted to read Leslie's article about standing for the unborn. She not only poignantly expresses the importance of being involved in the battle for life, but she also gives many practical suggestions for how to do so.

So my friends, when you have a free hour of quiet, I strongly encourage you to boil yourself a cup of tea, turn on some soothing music, and enjoy the contents of this month's Set Apart Girl Magazine! May the Lord use it to draw you closer to Him!

Love Stickers

Morning Hair

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Day the Dog Died in My Arms

She escaped from the backyard in order to walk with us to school. We tried to get her to go home. Busy streets were not the place for her. But our gangly little dog was too delighted to zig-zag in and out amongst our band of happy children, barking up a storm and enjoying the morning walk with everyone. The children eventually gave up trying to send her home and were really just as delighted to have her along. So, we tripped over her the whole time, shielded her from big street dogs, tried to quiet her yappiness, and worked hard to keep her penned in at the school courtyard when she was confused and wanted to go home.

Finally, all our little people were settled in their classrooms and the tía and I made for home with Naira darting all about us. We successfully crossed the first busy street. She stayed right by our heels. On our second street crossing, Naira got spooked by a neighbor dog and backed into the street right in front of an oncoming van. Thankfully, he saw her in time to break hard. Whew. That was close.

We were less than a block from home when the biggest and scariest street dog emerged. The one the children have nicknamed "El Lobo" (the wolf - although he doesn't look like one). Poor Naira was scared out of her wits. El Lobo chased her down the street. She whined and cried and tried to get back to safety with us. We tried in vain to help, but the two dogs were running all around too fast for us to do much.

At that moment, another van came rumbling down the cobblestones. This driver, too, saw our frantic little pup's confusion and slowed down to allow her to get out of the way. Well, she escaped his front wheels, but in her fear of El Lobo, she had an accident with the back wheels. We don't know exactly what happened, but there was a minor collision; it appeared to us that Naira's back leg got hit. I thought we would have an injured dog on our hands, but that it wouldn't be too serious. She stumbled over to the side of the road where we were standing and collapsed in the grass. It seemed she was fainting or going into shock. I'm not really sure. It was very strange. Gingerly, I picked her up and we made for home. As we were walking, she seemed to be struggling to breath, and then she went limp. I didn't realize it until we got home, but in that moment, our poor little Naira died.

Perhaps she had a heart attack. Or perhaps her injuries were internal and much worse than we realized. Whatever the case, it was hard to believe the little dog that had followed us so happily to school and back was suddenly gone. I had not developed much attachment to Naira yet, considering that most of my interactions with her were to chase her out of the house or lecture her for getting into the garbage...again. But I knew the children loved her and played with her all the time. How were they going to take the news?

We explained it to them gently upon their dismissal from school. There were gasps and questions, but no tears. The whole situation opened up natural conversations about death and heaven and animals dying as we walked home. Upon our arrival, they all wanted to see Naira in her cardboard box. She looked the same as before; no blood, no visible injuries. Just very, very still. She was a source of fascination for them all the rest of the day as they constantly visited her box and bent over her with compassionate faces. They also poured out their child-like love on Naira's little sister who was whining most of the afternoon in loneliness and confusion at all of a sudden being tied to a leash (we didn't want any more escapees).

We talked about having a funeral for Naira, but we had no shovel with which to dig a hole. Late in the afternoon, the children decided to try anyway. Armed with sticks and a broken hoe and anything they could find for digging, they began to chip away at the hard-packed earth in the backyard to give their doggy a proper burial. It was so sweet to see their united efforts. They had a project. It gave them purpose and they diligently worked as a team for a long, long time before dinner. I'm afraid they will have to keep digging all day tomorrow with their pointy sticks in order to have a hole big enough for Naira. But at least they're motivated. Some are even looking for buried treasure while they're at it.

Though but a skinny little pup, Naira's passing made me realize how fragile life is and how unexpectedly death comes. As I shared with the children, we never know when it will be our turn to die and face our Creator, and therefore, we must always be ready.

What about you? If you were to be in an accident, develop a terminal disease, or experience some other tragedy and die, would you be ready to meet the Lord Jesus Christ and give account for your life? Unlike animals, we as humans are made in the image of God with a conscience that knows right from wrong. When we violate that conscience and willfully choose to do wrong, it's called sin. Lying, dishonoring parents, hating, stealing, lusting, coveting; rebellion, pride, selfishness; these are but a few examples of the sins we as a human race commit all the time and the list could go on and on an on. Sin separates us from having a relationship with our Creator during this lifetime because He is holy and just and righteousness, and if we were to die and be held accountable for all our sins before this Holy God, we would deserve an eternity separated from Him in hell.

But the good news is, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." We were designed for LIFE; life in fellowship with our Creator right here and right now, life everlasting in His presence forever. The only way to be rescued from the everlasting death we bring upon ourselves through our sin is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our sin by offering Himself as the atoning sacrifice, dying in our place...the place of execution. He allowed His blood to be spilled upon a Roman cross because "the life of the blood is in the flesh." Only His blood was a worthy sacrifice because only His life was perfect, pure, and holy, acceptable to the Father. He said in His own words, "I have come to seek and to save the lost...I have come that they might have LIFE and that they might have it more abundantly...I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." He died in our place and then came to life again, offering this same resurrection life, this everlasting life to all who will believe in Him. Believing in Him means turning away from a trust in anything else: good works, idols of wood or stone, church membership, baptism, family religion. None of these things can save from God's wrath or justify one before His holy standards. Only the Lord Jesus can step in and say, "This one has been cleansed by my blood, this one is forgiven, this one bears my righteousness. This one has been given everlasting life."

My friends, we need not fear dying or standing before our Maker if we are clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. In Him we have hope!

"He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life..." (1 John 5:12-13)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jesus Heals, Not Band-Aids

Today, I extracted a splinter that was deeply embedded under the toenail of one of my four year olds. Poor little girl. It was a painful process, but by God's grace and with the help of a needle and tweezers, we were victorious!

Afterward, as the little one proudly sported a Band-Aid on her big toe, my 7-year-old theologian declared, "Jesus has healed her, not the Band-Aid, right?"

"Well, Jesus will heal her," I said. "It will take time, but yes, you are right. He is the Healer, not the Band-Aid."

"Yeah, the Band-Aid is just there to cover the toe so she won't get a splinter again."

Glad we got all that straight. :)

Counting, ever counting...

July 17, 2011

89. Orange butterfly flitting by

90. Just enough yogurt to go around for Sunday breakfast

91. Songs in church reminding me of RGBI

92. Delicious pizza smells filling the truck on the way home from church/pizza parlor

93. The reminder to pray for a passion and a love for this ministry

94. Clean clothes smelling fresh off the line

95. A restful nap

96. Dancing in a circle with happy children

97. The privilege of washing dishes and scrubbing bathrooms

July 18, 2011

98. Gooey chocolate brownies

99. Adorable kid-crafted card messages for Kaley as she prepares to leave

100. Sturdy Skechers sneakers providing support for long days on my feet and walks on cobbly stones

101. Emails from Aunt Nora and Mema (family news!)

102. My new, little blue notebook for scribbles

103. Chapstick

104. A good meeting with House 2 staff

105. Tía Sarin's laugh

July 19, 2011

106. Socks that match

107. Bedtime stories

108. Sparkly belts

109. Homemade cake

110. Sunshine beaming through the clouds onto the mountains - breathtaking!

July 21, 2011

111. Singing with children as we walk to school

112. The wonderful feeling that comes with de-cluttering and organizing

113. Warm acceptance amongst the tías with whom I work

114. Airborne drink packets helping me lick this lingering cold

115. Chirping birds

116. Delicious desserts, fellowship, and a message I needed to hear at a ladies' tea at church

117. Fernando Ortega songs to sooth my spirit after a busy day

118. Children's hugs and kisses

119. A splinter extracted from under a toenail with minimum blood and no need to go to the doctor

120. Encouraging emails from prayer partners

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Children At Play

Battle of the Broom Sticks!

Can anyone say, "Drama Queen?"


This is our youngest. Yes, she is adorable. And yes, she knows it. :)



Gathered around Tia Katrina's computer for a bit of show and tell.

Good night!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mark Cahill's Latest Newsletter

I received this newsletter from Mark Cahill last week and thought it was worth sharing! It seemed like a good follow-up to the Discourse on the Word Calling as well as practical inspiration for all of us to share our faith no matter where we live or what we do. Enjoy!

What is Full Time Ministry?

So, we are about halfway through the summer now: How is your witnessing going? This is turning into a fascinating summer for me! I have been meeting so many people and have had amazing conversations about the Lord!

One atheist I met told me he was having his bachelor party in Las Vegas just to ‘sin’ for the weekend! Wasn’t that an interesting way to phrase it? Even he knew what he was going to be doing wasn’t right. He knew right from wrong! He told me he was a pretty hardcore atheist, but that he would read my book and get back in touch with me. I’m excited to hear his thoughts.

I went to a couple of baseball games in St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play, and one of my friends who plays for the team told me he was watching me in the stands witnessing! I had so many neat conversations in those stands. I have already gotten two emails from people that I met at the games! One of the conversations was with a Muslim man from Iraq who is a dentist here in the States now. We had the most interesting talk about religion that lasted for several innings. It was like the game didn’t exist. He was such a nice man. Actually, he was one of the nicest men I have ever met before. Friendly, kind, generous, loving towards all, and he has even been on medical mission trips with Christian organizations. But of course, we know that it is not by works that someone gets to heaven. That is why we talked about who the Biblical Jesus is. I want to make sure this man is born again and saved before he dies.

You see when I was at that baseball game, I was actually in full time ministry. But there is a common misperception that really needs to be corrected as we head toward the return of Jesus Christ. People always ask me, “How can I get into full time ministry?” What people are forgetting is that if you are breathing, and you are born again, you are already in full time ministry! Satan is just tricking you into thinking that you are not. Remember in Matthew 28:19, 20 when Jesus said,

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

People call that the Great Commission, and that is every Christian’s call into full time ministry! That is why I stand at my front door and pray each day before I walk out it. Because I know when I head out that door, I must be in full time ministry mode. Just today, I had this great talk with Joe, who grew up Catholic, but now doesn’t really believe in much at all. It was a great talk about our Lord. He even told me that there is another Christian man who has been witnessing to him! I get so excited when I get to water a seed that someone else has already planted! Praise the Lord for those folks who are in full time ministry everywhere they go!

Today I also met someone in the Atlanta airport who told me that I sat next to his dad a year or two ago on a plane flight!! Isn’t that an amazing “coincidence”? Kyle said he was so glad that we met, and he knew that it was meant to be. I am so glad that I was in full time ministry mode when I left the house both today and nearly two years ago when I met Kyle’s father!

Last night, I had this incredible talk with a waiter. Justin grew up Catholic, but his girlfriend is Christian. He told me that she is trying to ‘get him saved!’ So we talked about what that meant, and why you need to do it. He had so, so many good questions. Oh, by the way, he wasn’t even my waiter! I am so glad that I was in full time ministry mode at the restaurant last night.

Moms and Dads: You are in full time ministry all day, every day with your kids.

Students and Teachers: You are in full time ministry all of the time as you interact with fellow students and teachers. One football player I know reads his Bible at his locker. He told me that so many times another player has walked over and asked what he was reading and that it leads to the most amazing conversations! I know one teacher who talks about Jesus in her classroom. She tells the kids if they want to get in depth about it to come to her room at 3:31—one minute after the bell rings! She told me that many times she has had a line of students at her door at the end of school!

Businessmen and women: You are in full time ministry mode representing the Lord when you do business in a Christian manner versus doing it the world’s way.

I know a doctor who witnesses to every single one of his patients!! I can’t tell you the number of doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and business folks who have my books in their waiting rooms or lobbies for their patients or customers. I have heard from folks who have picked up a book at one of those places, and God used it to impact their lives.

Workers: You are in full time ministry every day. It is your job to share your faith and act like a Christian should in the workplace. When I was teaching at a Christian school, I hired a former professional baseball player to speak at an athletic banquet. As we spoke before the event, he told me that he worked for a cable company and laid cable. Inside, I was wondering, why do you do that? I, of course, thought that he was a millionaire from his pro baseball days, but then I started wondering how he had lost all his money. I shouldn’t have made that assumption. He looked at me and said, “I lay cable, because it gets me into people’s homes, so that I can talk to them about Jesus!” I can’t even begin to tell you how humbled I was. Here was this amazing, faithful man of God who stood for the Lord every single day in his ‘regular’ life. Why? Because he was in full time ministry mode everywhere he went.

A lady emailed the ministry recently and said that she had been struggling a lot with things in life. God sent her a Christian dishwasher repairman who witnessed to her and encouraged her. I am so glad that man realizes that he is in full time ministry.

Do you remember the great story of Jesus and the woman at the well? In John 4:6-10, it says:

“Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Jesus was tired from the journey. He stopped to sit and get a drink of water. But even when He was tired and thirsty, He was in full time ministry mode, and that allowed one of the greatest stories in all of Scripture to occur. Why? Because the soul of that woman was more important to Him than that drink of water!

The great story of Paul and Felix in the book of Acts has always fascinated me. When Paul got before Felix, he began to speak truth. Acts 24:24,25 states,

“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”

Paul was in full time ministry mode. He was going to speak truth to Felix no matter what. Of course, he wanted to be set free, but Felix and Drusilla’s souls were much, much more important to Paul at that point than his freedom.

As one of my friends puts it, ‘ministry is not an occupation but a commandment’! Remember that full time ministry isn’t working at a church or a seminary or traveling and speaking at conferences. I have known so many people who work at places like that who become completely stagnant. They lose their zeal; they lose their passion. Why? They are completely removed from lost people. They get away from the great thrill of planting seeds with the lost. Don’t let that happen to you! You do not want to be lukewarm. Remember that if you are born again and breathing, you are in full time ministry every day! It leads to a very fascinating and satisfying life.

Until the nets are full,


A Morning at the Baby Home

Feeding time at the zoo. :-)

Missionary Kid Ben lends a hand.

Adorable, blind little J works her way around the entry hall according to routine in order to come to lunch.

Kati helps out with Baby C while she eats.

A cheerful tía feeding her little birdy.

I got to hold the smallest member of the household while feeding one baby and jiggling another in a bouncy seat with my foot. Yes, multi-tasking is a must at the Baby Home! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Counting More Gifts...

July 7, 2011

51. Juicy apples

52. Encouraging emails from friends

53. 5 minutes of peaceful quiet in the midst of a chaotic day

"You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept...if I make you light-bearers...I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there...shine!" Matthew 5: 14-15 The Message

July 11, 2011

54. An array of beautiful flowers lining the streets ~ a feast for the eyes!

55. The smell of roses

56. The gentle splash of a park fountain

57. Fresh, cool mountain air

58. Delicious tacos for lunch

59. Encouragement and admonition from the Holy Spirit at church

60. Tia Rosa and Tio David's willingness to babysit, giving us an afternoon off

"Joy is perfect acquiesce in God's will because the soul delights itself in God Himself." H.W. Webb-Peploe

July 12, 2011

61. Sunrise over the mountains

62. A hot shower I only had to reset once :)

63. The invention of the whistle

64. A new soccer ball and its ability to make little boy eyes light up with delight

65. A nail through the shoe of J.G. that did not penetrate the foot

66. Jean pockets

67. Morning exercise up the mountain

68. Sweet and spicy hot tea

69. Ladies' Bible study in a beautiful, clean home that seemed like a palace :)

70. Words of wisdom from Beth Moore

71. Skype call with my friend in Canada; edifying conversation

"Serve the Lord with gladness...Enter into His gates with thanksgiving...Be thankful unto Him." Psalm 100:2, 4

July 13, 2011

72. Little D's fever breaking during the night

73. Beautiful vista overlooking the city

74. Palm trees

75. Delicious, meat-filled empanadas

76. The fun of grocery shopping

77. A key to the back kitchen door!

78. A doorknob on my bedroom door!

79. An email from Tara

80. Safety from the Lord during night travel

"God delights to meet the faith of one who looks up to Him and says, "Lord, You know that I cannot do this - but I believe that you can!" Amy Carmichael

July 16, 2011

81. Time at an internet cafe

82. Bright, yellow flowers adding a cheerful touch to tables and bedroom

83. Sweet-smelling hand soap

84. Friendly people to give me directions on the streets

85. Sweet baby smiles and caresses on the trufi ride home from town

86. Volunteer fellowship around the table during a newsletter-stuffing party

87. Soft, scented kleenex - so much easier on the nose!

88. Butter and honey sandwiches - a taste of home!

"And let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing." Psalm 107:22

Friday, July 15, 2011


This blind beggar lady was singing at the foot of the Cristo statue we visited the other day. My heart went out to her and I felt so blessed that God had permitted me to live such a different life.

Visit to "El Cristo"

The other day, some fellow CDA volunteers and I visited the tallest statue in the world which also happens to be one of the most famous tourist destinations in Cochabamba: El Cristo.
Even though I'm not a big fan of statues of Jesus, the trip was an enjoyable excursion, especially for the sake of enjoying God's beautiful creation.

Bus ride across town to the park entrance: 1.7 bolivianos

Use of the public restroom while waiting: 1 boliviano

Roundtrip ticket up the mountain: 8 bolivianos

We made it!

So delighted to see the Word of God given credit at the base of the statue!

With fellow CDA volunteers: Katie and Hannah

Passage inside the Cristo: 1.5 bolivianos
Taking a picture out the hole on the way up...

View from the top...

There are some things money can´t buy.
For everything else, there´s MasterBoliviano. :)