So, it’s hard to believe the Mission Trip is coming to a close. Be sure to check out my friend Brian’s blog, he’s been sharing all along the way as well. You can find it here: http://www.brianhowellimaging.com/blog
Tomorrow in the wee morning hours everyone on the team with the exception of Rob, Elise and I are headed home. Today was spent with 1/2 of our group visiting a Compassion center near Tiuhuanacu a couple hours outside LaPaz and the other half shopping in LaPaz. Both groups had a blast.
Last night we shared with each other how the trip had made an impact on each of us. Dan Wakefield led our debrief and left us pondering this question: How has God surprised you on this trip? Here were some of our thoughts:
- God surprised me with the deep love I have for the people of Bolivia. He planted that love inside of me because it’s not easy for me to quickly bond with others and really feel love for them.
- God surprised me by letting me fall in love with another sponsor child. Now I have two children that I worry about, but it’s good.
- God surprised me by letting me see a mother’s love and faith that was so strong despite the most horrible of circumstances.
- God surprised me because now when I close my eyes I see red houses, I see kids crying and I see a void that never ends, but I see pastors who care and are working hard with these children.
Other thoughts we had:
- God is working. It is not hopeless.
- I was more overwhelmed than I thought by the poverty.
- I connected with the woman at the project even though there was a language barrier. It’s amazing, though, how hugs can break down that barrier. Hugs can build relationships. I think I had over 300 hugs or more today!
- It was freeing to let go of the structure that drives my life at home.
- Culturally this has been hard. I have a lot to unpack. What is my role now?
- Compassion has many unsung heroes all over the place. The men and women who serve day after day after day in these centers, they know what to do and they do it. I wouldn’t know what to do to help these children, truly, but they do. They are our real heroes and yet we were given the “rock star” treatment which was so undeserving. They are the ones who should be held up.
- We made bracelets together, this little girl and I. She put hers on and I put mine on and she said, “Now we are sisters.” It was incredible and she remembered me the next day, showing me her bracelet and I showed her mine. It’s amazing how quickly a relationship was built.
- There were lots of highs and lows this week. Everyone greeted us so warmly and were so loving and giving, yet they have so little. Our construction project really demonstrated a beautiful picture of chaos and harmony. We couldn’t speak the language, we didn’t know what we were doing, supplies were short, schedules changed, things were delayed, but…there was absolute harmony!
- I really saw from these people what it means to be a true Christian. They don’t play games. They give love and dedication to God all the time. They are not fake at all, and they taught me. It gave me a new light on how I should live my life.
Those were just a few of our final thoughts as we reflected on the week. We are headed home with full hearts, unpacking many things and we’re all the better for this amazing adventure in El Alto, Bolivia. Be careful! We just might recruit you to join us next time!
Please pray for safe travels for the team tomorrow!
Carol Ann (for the team)