Posted on October 16, 2019 Fall Update — 6 Month Anniversary!
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Six Month Anniversary of Living in Bolivia!

Day by day, poco a poco (little by little), I am allowing God to transform me to who he wants me to be as an IM Global Servant in Bolivia. The first six months have brought me joy, challenges, tears, frustrations, laughter, and growth. I have been figuring out how to live here, build relationships, and see where God is at work. I am finally coming out of my “cocoon” and getting a better handle on the language and my whereabouts. I keep learning more vocabulary and new things about the Santa Cruz culture.

In August, I had the privilege to host my first visitors from the States! My boss, Adalia, and my colleague, Barb Bolick, were here for a week. It was so wonderful to have Adalia visit within my first six months of living here. Her main reason for coming was to check to see how I’ve been adjusting to the mission field. How thoughtful is that?

Adalia and I had great conversations about my transition to life here. During her visit I got to show her and Barb some of my favorite places that I’ve found and also experience new places together. Adalia was invited to preach at my church which meant that I was asked to introduce her in front of the congregation and pray before she preached. It was my first time talking from the pulpit since my arrival so I was a bit nervous. Adalia preached about mission which was perfect timing because August was the month of mission for the Bolivian Baptist Union churches.

Barb Bolick was visiting at the same time to share with me and J.D. and Rhonda Reed about her girls club program. I’ll explain more about that down below in ministry opportunities. I’m excited to be working with Barb on this project and hope that this will be a way to extend the ministries of House of Hope (Fundación Proyectos de Esperanza) to Santa Cruz de la Sierra!

Their visit brought me joy, encouragement, and the quality time that I needed to continue on in cross-cultural ministry. Please pray for my transition to ministry and life in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

 Carmen (House of Hope Director) came from Cochabamba to have meetings with Adalia, me, and J.D. and Rhonda Reed. We had breakfast at the #1 voted coffee shop in South America!

Sarah (me), Adalia, Carmen, and Rhonda in my neighborhood park.

Three new ministry opportunities:

Puppet shows to tell Bible Stories have become quite a hit with the children.

In July, I heard a prayer request from a missionary friend who is the Elementary Principal at the American Christian School (Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center) that they needed a few teachers. One of the spots that they needed was a chapel teacher for the preschool and kindergarten classes. After praying and talking to Adalia about this opportunity. I volunteered for the job for Wednesday mornings. It has been so much fun! The kids are adorable. I have forgotten what its like to teach littles again because I’ve been used to teaching middle schoolers before moving here. I never thought that I’d be ministering to Bolivians and missionary kids in English, but God always seems to surprise me! Also, I never imagined me being a puppeteer, but the kiddos love it and I enjoy writing the scripts for the Bible stories.  We sing and dance to worship songs, memorize a Bible verse each month, and I teach them a Bible story. Please pray for these kiddos and that they will learn how much Jesus loves them and that seeds will be planted.

Volunteer dentists from Sonrisas de Esperanza with Carmen and me.

A few weeks ago, I went to Cochabamba with Rhonda and J.D. Reed for House of Hope September leader meeting, a mobile dental clinic, and a dinner meeting with the dentists. I loved being able to help out at the Sonrisas de Esperanza mobile dental clinic. If you’ve heard my call story, this was where I felt God confirming my call to full time mission service with this same ministry five years ago! Since moving here I’ve only participated in medical clinics, which I know nothing about. Even though I haven’t worked in a dental clinic in years, that day was just like riding a bike. It was a comforting feeling. I felt for the first time in six months that I knew what I was doing! I got to do what I love the most — to teach children and their parents the importance of oral hygiene.

I spent the rest of the morning assisting with a couple restorative procedures, but mostly I stuck with sterilization for all the instruments. We had a dinner meeting after the clinic with other dentists who are a part of the ministry. There were many new dentist in attendance. Carmen shared the history of how House of Hope was founded. Some dentists shared about their visions of wanting to improve the clinics so that we have good practices in place moving forward. What a praise! I was happy to hear how invested they are in the ministry and their desire to serve those who are in need. Pray for these dentist who volunteer their time in service. Pray that God will continue to provide resources to Sonrisas de Esperanza to continue to serve the communities in Cochabamba.

Barb Bolick and I at a biopark in Santa Cruz.

Girls clubs being piloted in Bolivia in 2020! Some of you may know about Barb Bolick’s ministry with Talita Cumi Girls Clubs in Chile. She is working on adapting the program in order to launch a pilot program in other South American countries. The plan is to see how this program can be contextualized to Bolivian culture. These clubs are for girls between the ages of 8-12.

Research has proven that if girls have a positive environment and help with their education during these pre-adolecent years, then there is a greater chance to prevent adolescent pregnancy, human trafficking, and to break the cycle of abuse.

We are still in the beginning stages of this project. My hope is to have a few Bolivian women trained with me by Barb in the Spring of 2020. Currently, I’ve been enjoying adding to the curriculum and working on this project with Barb.  I’ve been creating art and experiential activities for each lesson. I will keep you updated as more details unfold. Will you pray with me that God would lead me to at least two Bolivian women who have a calling to be the leaders of these girl clubs?  

World Mission Offering:

This month is a great opportunity if you’d been thinking and praying about wanting to get involved with my ministry and haven’t already. I invite you to begin a recurring gift towards my support or give a targeted WMO gift to my ministry.

One of this year’s ministry focuses that WMO is highlighting is education. This is one of House of Hope’s priorities. Our leaders work in communities to offer tutoring to at-risk children. We have leadership trainings to equip our leaders to the service God has called them. Our medical professional volunteers provide overall wellness education as well. Because of your partnership with the House of Hope is enabling leaders to be trained so they can create change in their communities for God’s Kingdom. You are making an impact! Many children and their parents are learning about Jesus and his saving grace through these leaders! God is opening doors for House of Hope to extend the ministries to Santa Cruz through providing children ministry training to pastors as well as starting the Girl Clubs in 2020!

Will you consider partnering with me in ministry? Thank you for giving generously this year to the World Mission Offering! Without your faithful giving, my ministry here would not be possible!