Friday, March 03, 2006


Well, after spending an unexpected night in Miami, I arrived in Cochabamba, Bolivia. What a beautiful city! A wonderful I met on the airplane gave me a ride to my hotel. I've met angels who knew Spanish and English and could help me with the Spanish speaking people here - it's been so exciting and fun!

I still can hardly believe that I am here! The picture on the right is from my hotel room in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I had to spend a night there unexpectedly but God looked after me so well. The pic on the left is the square park downtown Cochabamba. It was very hot here today, at least 30 degrees if not closer to 40. I got a bit of a sunburn too.

In the middle of the city is a mountain - the city completely surrounds this mountain and on top of the mountain is a HUGE white statue of the Christ. I spent a few hours with a wonderful couple, Lenard & Daniela, who are friends of Larry & Colleen's - Lenard works for Compassion International in Cochabamba. They've been here for 2 months working in this ministry. It was absolutely beautiful from up there - you could see the city all around you! I loved it! It was so peaceful.

I've had a number of people tell me how much they were praying for me travelling alone here to Bolivia and I truly felt those prayers - I was not afraid and did not feel alone. It has been such a wonderful adventure/journey God has been bringing me on here. I've loved every moment of it! The most comforting thing to know in all of life is that God has completely everything under control. He sees it all! I felt out of control of my flights and my destination times, but God sure had everything worked out each step of the way. It's been absolutely wonderful so far! God is so good!!

I got to Tarija on the 28th instead of on the 27th like I was supposed to, but that is okay - it's been too good of an adventure to think about or to complain about the flight mishaps.

It's so incredibly beautiful and warm. Last night (Mar. 2) we had a thunderstorm - it is super loud!! Because of the mountains surrounding Tarija, the thunder just roars and vibrates around you even though the storm isn't close - car alarms go off all around you when it thunders. It's a beautiful sound though - storms at times made me uneasy but here it just sounds beautiful - I've never heard it like this before.

Colleen and I had walked downtown together and I got so many cool pictures. The streets are so narrow and everyone drives so fast - no speed limit, no right of way, driving through stop signs, no seatbelts, pedestrians don't have the right of way, and just very aggressive driving. Roger would have fun driving here I think. :-)
On Wednesday night, I had the privilege of going to a Bible Study that Larry leads with 6 business class couples. The home that we went to, the couple were from Sweden, and they had 2 Great Danes and a 'baby' Great Dane! What massive dogs! They kept smelling my armpits. :-) They're huge!! What a beautiful home they live in. One thing I need to get used to out here is that everyone's home is surrounded by a large stone wall. You can hear the noises around the neighborhood, but you can't see out - it's like you're continually in a fortress. Very private but at times you feel boxed in. Being in this Bible study was a very unique experience - totally Spanish, Colleen translated some to me so I could catch parts of it but it was interesting the words that I could understand. Some Spanish words are very close to how we say them in English. I really enjoyed being at this study. The Spanish language is quite beautiful.

Last night we went to El Candelero - the Coffee House that Larry & Colleen are a part of as ministry here. It was full of college/university students playing board games that they rent out, playing ping pong, eating, listening to loud Christian music and visiting. I really enjoyed it there! What a unique ministry! A couple of university girls that we there were practicing their English with me - it felt so neat to contribute something and to help/bless someone.

It's still hard to believe I'm here. I know I said that earlier, but that's how I feel - it's amazing to experience such a different culture, a different part of the world. It is so cool! God made so many beautiful places in our world and so many different races/colors of people - it's all so beautiful!!

During my devotions this week, the passages that I read in the Bible seemed to be written just for me the whole time that I've been travelling here. While I was in Miami, I read Deut. 33:26-27 "There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you." God's strength is unlimited! My own arms can hold a child, a camera, give a hug or help a friend, but they are very limited and my strength is limited. But, through Christ, I can do anything - it is He who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." And that is exactly how I have felt these past few days. There's an old hymn called Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and it says in there "What have I to dread, what have I to fear. Leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms." No matter what challenge I face or fears I feel, God is near and ready to take charge, He is in control of each step that I am taking. He is looking after me and He is looking after my family back home. I have great peace and I have no fear! Praise God!

Another passage that I read this week was Psalm 145:14-21 and verse 18-20 reads "The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. The Lord protects all those who love him." God has felt so close to me during this time. As I was in the plane, I would look out to the clouds in the heavens in amazement of His wonder and beauty! I felt so looked after by Him through the wonderful people (angels) who He sent my way. Hebrews 4:16 says "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." I have needed my Lord, I would not have been able to do this on my own. He has helped me overcome fear and anxiety for those do not come from Him, those feelings come only from the enemy. God is a God of peace and He has given me such peace. Back in Ps. 145 verse 19 it spoke about how God fulfills the desires of those who fear him. God knows my hearts desires and when they fall in line with His will, He gives me those desires. He has been so good to me in bringing me here and being here with me experiencing this wonderful journey. I thank you God!!

One more passage that really spoke to me this week was Psalm 31:19-24. Verse 20 says "You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues." Verse 22 talks about how in sudden fear we cry out to God and he hears our cries for mercy and he answers our calls for help. God is so faithful! There have been a couple of times I felt fear - when things were unknown and I found out that I had to stay for night on my own in a strange city, and then it happened a 2nd time, I felt fear at the beginning. But then I prayed and I read this, and God completely took it away. That's what He does, He takes our fears away because fear does not come from Him. Verse 23 says "Love the Lord, all you faithful ones! For the Lord protects those who are loyal to strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!" God always knows where we are and He knows what is going to happen before it even happens and He knows the outcome of situation. I would be a fool not to put my trust in him when He sees and knows it all. God has always known where I was and He knows where I am now. There is absolutely no place at all in this world where He does not see our need and hear our cry. We are to have courage and He will strengthen our heart. My strength and my hope is in the Lord, there is no more place more secure than in his arms. No one is more secure than the one who is held in God's Hands - that is the absolute best place to be!

I praise God for how many times this week His Word has spoken to me. 1 Timothy 4:13 says "Focus on reading the Scriptures, encouraging the believers, and teaching them." The Word of God stirs the believers heart when it enters the believer's ear. We need to take time each day to read God's Word and pray and to listen to what He might say to us to guide us on our way. God speaks so clearly through His Word - if only we would take the time to listen. The are such rich rewards when we choose to follow God and obey His Word. It is the greatest blessing to be in His Will.

1 comment:

Lisa's Pic's said...

It is Tuesday, Mar. 7 and the last couple of days have been very good. I've been asked if I wanted to travel by train to go and see an uncle of mine. So far I don't think I will but if God really wants me to see him, I have complete faith that it will happen.
I came across a some verses that really spoke to me. Going into these Mennonite colonies will be so incredibly different for me. Life is so primitive there - it will be like nothing I've ever done before. But then coming to Bolivia is something I've never done before. The verses I came across in my daily devotionals are from 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 "We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us. He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people's prayers for our safety have been answered."
Please don't get me wrong - I have never felt like I was going to die or not make it back home. But these verses really spoke to me because I am far away from my home and my family and getting here was quite an adventure and I stayed in 2 strange cities for night by myself. I felt so incredibly protected by God, and why? because I knew so many people were praying for my safety. I never felt scared, never felt fear. He will deliver me back home, I know he will and just like verse 11 says, I know many (including myself) will give thanks to God because so many people's prayers will be answered because I have been kept safe.
As I continue to realize my own powerlessness without God and my need for his constant help in my life, I come to depend more and more on him each day. Some may think this is cowardly and too much dependancy and that I'm not independant enough, but as the Bible teaches us, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13. God is my source of power, and I receive his help by keeping in touch with him each day by prayer and reading His Word, the Bible. With an attitude of dependance on Him, any problems or challenges will drive me closer to my God rather than farther away from Him. I know that I need to rely on God daily because John 5:30 says "without Him I can do nothing."
Some try so desparately to live without Christ and to live as though there is no God. That is very sad, they are missing out on life so much. Others try to find other ways to God through different types of religions or idols, reading Tarot Cards, having palm readings or depending on horoscopes or seeking their inner selves through all these New Age Movements. What they don't realize is that they are playing with the Devil himself who is constantly at work fooling people into believing there are other ways to God and into Heaven. In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. NO man comes to the Father but through ME." There is no other way but through Jesus, the Son of God.
Each one of us is born with the instinct between right and wrong. Whether we are born in a Christian Bible believing home or not, God gives each of us a conscience knowing between right and wrong. In Romans 2:14 it says, "Even when Gentiles [non-Jews or non-believers], who do not have God's written law [the Bible], instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. They demonstrate that God's law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right. The day will surely come when God, by Jesus Christ, will judge everyone's secret life." Those who don't know the Bible will still know right from wrong and will all be judged because those standards have been violated that their own consciences had shown them.
Seeing so many different kinds of people out here and in our world, this has been so much on my heart. Everyone on this earth needs to hear God's message of salvation and how God sent His Son down to earth to die on the cross to save us from our sins. As I've been taking pictures of the scenery and of the people here, I need to be careful of how I do that. Some believe that if I take a picture of them, I am taking away their soul. Wow! The only way we could lose our soul is if we continually say no to God, continue to choose to go our own way and allow the god of this earth to rule our lives. Our soul, our life can only be saved from eternal damnation if we willfully give our lives to God and ask Christ to be the guide of our life here on earth. If we lay aside our pride and allow God to guide us in this journey on earth, we will be so blessed and most importantly we will be saved.
God has promised in His Word that Jesus will not return to this earth until every nation has heard the Gospel and every single person on this earth has had a chance to receive Christ as their Savior. That time is coming soon. In our world of technology and internet and satelite TV, God's message is being spread throughout the nations very quickly. We know Jesus is returning soon. Please don't delay, accept Him today as your Lord and Savior.