Before the trip I will admit, I had some doubts. Thoughts like, “this trip is turning out to be a lot of money. It’s only a week. Is it worth it? And why am I going?” all ran through my head at various times. Now looking back, yes, it was only a week, but a week so full and incredibly amazing that by the time I got home it felt like I had been gone much longer. It was truly worth every penny and every second because the things God taught me and relationships built there were invaluable.
Since life is rarely made up of isolated experiences or incidences perhaps it is necessary to be transparent and share a brief synopsis of what was going on in my life pre-trip. The past two years have been HARD. I experienced loss, had moments of feeling overwhelmed with grief and heartbreak, said goodbye to people I cared deeply about, struggled to adjust to a “new normal” as I faced big changes I never saw coming, and probably asked the question, “why God?” more than once. I was in a place where I knew in my head that I could trust God, but in my heart I was struggling to trust him on a deeper level. I wasn’t in a place I thought I wanted to be at this point in my life and in my pride I was struggling to accept that God’s plan truly is better than mine. Weeks passed as I wrestled with thoughts, doubts about decisions I had made, and the unknown of the future.
Then, I stepped on a plane to Bolivia. Now did getting on that plane solve all the problems, change the circumstances, or answer all the questions? No. But here is what it did do. It brought me alongside one of the most amazing teams of people I have ever had the privilege of serving with, it took me to a new place with beautiful new faces, it gave me a fresh perspective outside of myself, and it changed my heart.
Our week there was spent getting to know some long term missionaries living there, loving on and playing with BEAUTIFUL children, hiking in the Andes Mountains, painting and doing work projects, and experiencing the culture of Cochabamba. Through this God taught me some pretty amazing things, some of which I am still processing. One of the most important things he taught me during this time was just to simply be present. Although I may not be in a place in life I personally would have chosen, God has been showing me that he has me here for a reason. I need to stop looking back wishing I could change past decisions, and stop striving to figure out the future and make things happen that God doesn’t have for me right now. I need to walk each step in light of his presence, finding my joy and satisfaction in him. God is speaking and working good things right here, right now and I don't want to miss what he’s doing. Before I left I was struggling and praying for a deeper trust in God and his plan. Although I know this will be an area I will continue to struggle in, God really answered that prayer. He has given me a deeper peace and trust in his plan than I have felt in a long time. There are opportunities ahead of me that wouldn't be there had God worked details of my life according to my plans. I'm learning to be thankful for where he has me and excited for where he is going to take me. I love the Visiting Orphans motto: Go. Be. Love. I want to go. To step out in faith, even when I don't understand. I want to be. To be present right where God has me, making the most of each opportunity. And I want to love. To love God deeper and love those around me better.