Andes Mts. 2006
I sat on a concrete form that was dividing the village church and a riverbed. It was nearing the end of rainy season in the Andes Mountains. The rivers were still high. The air was cold enough to wear a light jacket. I played with some Quechua children. An older lady said something to me that I did not understand. It was getting dark, pigs rooted around behind me. A bow-legged old man walked his two bulls down the riverbed to get them a drink. A veteran missionary, my mission pastor and a friend accompanied me on this day. I was in this small village in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out whether God was truly calling my family and me to be missionaries. That was the end of February, 2006 in Bolivia. We sensed God moving in our lives and lead us down a path. I had no idea what lay before us. That trip solidified our next steps to get to Bolivia and work as missionaries. It was a life-changing trip for my family and me.
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 NIV
Youth Team praying
Nine years later, almost to the month, I led a group of eight wide eyed kids and their YWAM leader to the exact same location to see what God had for them. Only this time, I also had my 18-year-old daughter, Alyssa, with me. I have been here many times over the years, but it was very nostalgic to sit there with her for the first time, reminiscing on the impact this place had on our family. Just like when I was searching out God’s will for our lives, these young men and women were doing the same. Only this time I was the veteran missionary.
Like 2006, we were able to pray for the people of this area. Only this time I know their names and stories. On this day our team prayed for Hermana Cruz. Three years ago she was kicked in the head by a donkey and is suffering from hearing and vision loss.
On my first trip we got stuck in the river with our vehicle, this time I knew enough to cross on foot. Then, we slept on sheepskins and, although we didn’t sleep there, the sheepskins are still there and they still make a comfortable bed when you are tired. The pigs, bulls, rivers, landscape and people are still all the same. The Quechua people are still hospitable and their life expectancy is still not very long. There are a few more believers since 2006, and on this day, these young men and women asked themselves, “What does God want from me?” It was a great experience both then and now.
Our team 2006
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:35