Fully Loaded

this has been an eventful week. literally we filled so many events into this week it has been crazy. tomorrow is a PD day which makes it all kind of worth it! it all started Tuesday when we got to sit down with most of the ladies of Highlands to choose Bible Studies. after just like one decision was made we headed to the high school soccer game. the energy was incredible, but they didn’t quite have enough to pull through a win. they played so great and I really enjoyed getting to see the other students cheer them on.

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that night i was hit with some pretty sucky news. my family had to put Toby, our dog of 13 years, down. he was blind, deaf, and just in a lot of pain, but it is still hard to hear that news when you are not around to do anything. it was the first time it has really hit me that i am in another country and not just a short car ride away from being there when my dog dies. the next day at school was rough (no pun intended), but those around me were so encouraging and loving.

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^^^ the team had a giant jersey hanging from the stands ^^^

that next night (Wednesday) i got to cross something big off of my bucket list! A BOLIVAR VS THE STRONGEST GAME. my roommate is the kindergarten teacher and her and another teacher were invited to the game with a few extra tickets. of course i jumped on that right away. so we dressed in our blue and headed up to the game. it was an incredible atmosphere. i really miss that stadium type atmosphere. we cheered for Bolivar as hard as we could but they, unfortunately, lost to the other La Paz team, The Strongest. i love the rivalry that these two teams have and i think i have finally chosen my side. after seeing them play again each other i am going to choose BOLIVAR as my team! after the game we were starving so we decided to get off the mini at a corner with a Bolivian food called “anticucho”… this is beef heart. yes i was scared to eat this, but once i saw it i decided it was a must that i try some. i think it is one of my favorite things that i have tried since i have been here. they pair it with some small potatoes and a spicy peanut sauce. i will definitely be eating that again!

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Thursday morning was not a typical morning. the new teachers had visa work to be done. we were supposed to be back at the school at 10:30, but we rolled up around 1:00. it was a bumpy process and i am so thankful for Monica [our immigration angel]. she has walked us through every step of this process and been so patient with us when we don’t understand anything they are asking us. i am also thankful that the process is almost over! Friday finally came and we got some wonderful relaxation time. MOVIE NIGHT! it was a night to relax and just be with each other. it was much needed.

Saturday morning/day was the most eventful day of the weekend. FOUR WHEELING. a bunch of of got together and went up to Mallasa for an adventure. we took the four wheelers across some of the most beautiful terrain i have ever seen. it was a side of La Paz i had not seen yet. the mountains were amazing. it was just simply breath taking. that is truly all i can say about it. pictures do not do the trip justice.

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fully loaded weekend, it was..

i am completely exhausted, but i would not change a minute of this weekend of fellowship with these wonderful people. every single day it blows my mind that i met everyone less than a month ago [today is my one month-aversary of being in Bolivia]. they have cared for me and loved me so well already. this weekend was a Psalm 55:14 moment. “We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.” i am falling in love with this city and the people i get to hang out with everyday.

Prayer:

-people are starting to get run down and sick, so just prayer for health as we continue on into the weeks to come. -patience as i continue to learn a new culture and a new job.

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Little Reminders

what a whirlwind kind of week this has been. Monday and Tuesday started off like any normal school day [which i am still not used to] but then Tuesday night took a turn. there’s a cute little term here called “Bolivian Belly” and let’s just say it is not as pleasant as it sounds.. [i’ll let your imagination wander]. Wednesday and Thursday, then, were not my favorite of days. being sick in bed in a foreign country is… well just as bad as being sick in bed in the States. NO FUN. luckily i have a wonderful community here that got together and prayed for my quick return to school [and brought me tons of Gatorade and crackers]. prayers were answered Friday morning when i was able to get up and head to school. this little spout was just a reminder of how weak i am and how strong He is. the day i got back to school one of the other high school teachers [one that had been covering some of my classes] had sent out a great e-mail reminder:

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the word of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

while i was sick in bed it was hard to keep Satan out of my head. so many thoughts of “if you were in the States this would be easier” “why are you here anyway” “are you even making a difference here” were rushing through my head. [he really knows how to hit you when you are down]. then i get to school and see that verse first thing in my inbox. what a great reminder that what we are doing here is NOT in vain! daily i am reminded of this sweet message. Satan is so present and constantly finding new and creative ways to attack us while we are here. This is why we must be steadfast and immovable and always abounding in the word of the Lord. 

Saturday i felt almost back to my best self and was ready for game night with a few of the other teachers. after a crazy week i think we all needed something like this. after some great conversation over cheesy chicken and caramel pie [hands down the best meal i have had since i have been in Bolivia] we played a rousing game of “Munchkin”. oddest game i have ever played in my entire life, but so much fun.

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this second week of school threw a lot at us, but we all survived and are ready to get back in the trenches again tomorrow. planning and prayer today were done at a cute new coffee shop my roommate and i found [it wasn’t exaclty that hard to find.. all of a block from our door].

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PRAYER THIS WEEK

i think everyone is starting to feel the effects of two weeks of busy school work. we are tired and warn down. please pray that we are using our weekends and down time wisely to rest and regain strength for the days ahead. pray for no more sickness in this household. being sick is tiring in and of itself. pray for the students in the school and their families and the spread of the Gospel among them.

[let’s go; round three]

This Is Starting To Feel Real

 have decided that when you start a new chapter in your life it starts off feeling like you are on vacation. the first week of college was just one big vacation filled with 90’s parties and late night sonic runs. the first few days of grad school felt like an especially restful break from college. now this new chapter… i am in this beautiful city and wow does it feel like a vacation! the last two weeks [yes i have only been here for 18 days] have been full of new experiences, good and bad, that make this whole thing feel like one big vacation. at PFO they called this the honeymoon stage. i think the honeymoon stage is starting to ware off and now things are becoming very REAL.

since the last time i posted i have done a complete work week for HIS Bolivia and completed my first EVER week of teaching. so let’s back track…

Work Week

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on one of the first nights of work week we decided to go to a movie [yes the movie was in English] in a great little movie theater called the VIP. that perfectly describes the theater too! just think huge comfy chairs that recline and nice tables next to you so you can sneak in some great food.. or eat theirs of course. after the movie a group of us went on the teleferico [transportation in the sky] to see the city at night. it was breathe taking. seriously.. i get to live here. i don’t know that it will ever settle in. the rest of work week was filled with wonderful prayer time for the school and setting up the classroom

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^^^ the view from my classroom and the front of the school ^^^

Las Cruces is a short little hike up from our apartment, but has the most amazing views of the city. they day before we started school [i was a little stressed] we hiked up that way. the cross itself is on top of a hill at a convent. to get up to the top of the cross you hike this zig zag path where you pass 13 other crosses.

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^^^ the crosses leading up to the main cross overlooking the city ^^^

School Starts

my first week was all i could have asked for. this team that i get to work for and with is seriously a blessing. this sweet group of people has been more than encouraging for my first week of work.

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^^^ first day of school in front of the apartment ^^^

it is odd going to the first day of school in the freezing cold, but that’s just some more culture shock for you.

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^^^ the staff got together a basket for my first day of school ^^^

i am not going to lie, i cried a little when they gave it to me. i cannot say enough how encouraging this group of people has been. i feel that your community in a work place can make or break it. this team has already MADE my time here. i am thrilled to continue this year and see what the Lord has in store for all of us here at HIS.

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^^^ cute little coffee [at a Canadian coffee shop] in a tiny french press ^^^

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^^^ Carol and I of course had to get matching sweaters at the market ^^^

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^^^ you don’t really want to know.. ^^^

Culture Shock

1) sometimes you go for a VISA physical and they get their words for underweight and overweight mixed up. 2) when you are in a government hospital type building they don’t love when you play “heads up”. 3) sometimes they ask you to hold the offering box at church when it is your first day. 4) being yelled at by an old intoxicated man on a mini is a bit more frightening when you are not sure of everything he is saying.

Prayer

a huge praise this week is that my ATM card finally came in and it WORKS. this was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. i ask for continued prayer for my and the rest of the newbies adjustment. things are getting easier but it is very evident sometimes that we are not from here. prayer for the school as we dive into this school year. prayer for the kids entering all of these classrooms. continued prayer for health and safety.

Culture Shock 101

it is very hard to wrap my mind around the fact that i am here in Bolivia already. it seems like just yesterday i was sitting on my bed in my junior dorm room saying to my roommate that i wanted to be a teacher. the path here has been a wild adventure but i genuinely would not change it for anything. all the bumps and hurdles are just a reminder of how persistant in prayer i have had to be to get here today.

my journey down was pretty uneventful [except for losing my hat] and smooth. the planes themselves were quite the opposite. imagine a 1990’s plane for about 6.5 hours. that is BOA for ya.

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^^ before I left my best friend gave me a little “peace” of her to take with me along with some encouraging words. such a blessing to call her friend ^^

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^^ carrying this thing around for 24 hours was quite the adventure ^^

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^^ THIS is where i get to live for the next two years with THESE sweet girls ^^

over the first few days we have been walking [like 6 miles a day] and eating and LEARNING everything we can about Bolivian culture. the ever so sweet Steever family has been a blessing to us as we try to figure out this new culture. so a few things i have learned about La Paz so far:

– you won’t be able to breathe when you walk up a hill so don’t even try. – dogs are everywhere and sometimes one will walk you home. – don’t try to find the moon while walking, you WILL get hit by a car. – better to look at your feet so you don’t trip. – getting off of a mini is harder than it looks. – if you can find Av Bellivian you are golden!

the community here has already been such a wonderful blessing. i have felt at home in a city i barely know. tomorrow we start work so things will start to become very real. as of now things have felt more like a vacation with a whole bunch of fun new people. tomorrow those people become my co-workers and teammates. i ask that you continue to pray for our safety down here and for those that are still trying to get down. pray for the beginning of the school year for us teachers that are starting out and returning and for the students about to walk through the doors. ask the Lord to prepare our hearts for this year ahead at H.I.S.

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^^ inside and outside the classroom! ^^