At the beginning of this week Elda, Pastor Walter's wife, asked me why I returned to Luz Divina this year. It took me by surprise. I couldn't put into words the reason because I just felt like I had to come back. I've been thinking about this question ever since.
Here is my story:
Immediately after returning home from Bolivia last year, my daughter Emily and I just couldn't wait to get back. She decorated show boxes that said "money for bolivia" on them and we saved money for the trip all year long. In january when Cory announced the trip, we had absolutely no hesitation. We were going.
We met with the team and prepared for months for this trip. Although there was an increasing concern because my mother was going through chemotherapy and had decided to stop treatment. In fact, ten days before the trip her health dramatically declined. She went on hospice care. Our decision to go on the trip suddenly became very difficult and we didn't know if we should go. When we talked to my mother her response was "You HAVE to go". Her health slightly improved so the day before the trip we started packing.
Because I was not emotionally prepared for the trip, the first few days I couldn't believe I was here. Then came Elda's question - "Why did you return?" I now know the answer!
-When I am here I feel loved by everyone in the church.
-I feel that God pulls me out of my stressful life and drops me into a loving environment with the people from Luz Divina.
-I am able to rest even though the physical work was tiring.
-I leave everything at home and not only rest but reflect and love others by serving.
-Pastor Walter's talk about not being alone because God is always with you. I know that logically but did not feel that way at all. I have been feeling very alone in dealing with the stressors. The graciousness, love, acceptance and daily hugs and kisses from everyone young and old and seeing the unity in Christ took away the feeling of being alone. This is why I came to Luz Divina.
I will never forget:
-The first time I saw the faces of my friends at Luz Divina
- The joy on the faces of the children and the team.
- Everyone working together to communicate
- Watching members of the team learning the difference between: vaca & boca, todos & toros, tiene hambre & tiene hombre and (the best one) voy a estrangularte & voy a extrañarte
- New English words learned by Luz Divina: Sit down please, Excuse me please, Thank you and Come On.
- The peaceful feeling while sanding walls in a quiet room with only Luis singing Spanish praise songs.
- The testimony of little six year old Juan David
- The smell of burning trash and car exhaust
- Talking with the church women in the stands while we watched volleyball games.
- Hearing Pastor Walter's words to me about God giving me the power to return to my life stressors at home.
- Tears and the feeling of leaving the people of Luz Divina, not knowing if I will return or ever see my friends again.
There are just too many things to list.
But especially to the people of Luz Divina who are a little bit of heaven here on earth...
Thank you so much for opening your church and your hearts to me. And for sharing your honest and visible faith in God.
We are all united in that faith.
Ann hanging out with Tatiana on the top of the cattle truck!
ON DAY 12 WE...
Rode in a cattle truck for three hours up the river. Yea, it really happened. Just see for yourself.
Finally made it to the river and immediately splashed around in the river together.
Started the festivities by listening to the testimonies of those being baptized, then prayed for them.
Walked out into the water singing together.
Witnessed a beautiful moment when we saw three of our own baptized in a Bolivian river.
Ate a delicious lunch of rice, chicken and platanos.
Played with the kiddos in the water. They just loved the sand. So did Pastor Walter.
Were confused by the amount of large wild pigs walking around!
Piled back into the cattle truck as the rain clouds rolled in.
Had a goodbye service at the church where they showered us with love and gifts.
Were excited to give them the tshirts we designed for the trip. We are UNIDOS!
Had to say goodbye. Many hugs, kisses and tears.
Couldn't leave without doing A-Roost-A-Shaw one last time together.
The blog is running a bit behind. We leave to come home tomorrow. But we still have so many stories and experiences to share. We'd love if you kept reading even after we make it safely home!
Tue, July 31, 2012
by Steph Villa Davis filed under