It has been a blessing to wake up every morning to nice cool weather with a warming sunshine. Like usual we had breakfast and following that we had our morning challenge. Today Stacey read an excerpt from the book, The Purpose Driven Life. It was refreshing to be reminded once more of our purpose here in Bolivia. The author of the book states that God doesn’t need us to spread His word but yet he chooses us, it is a blessing to serve Him. When we were done with our morning challenge we got on our bus and arrived at Hogar para ninas (An Orphanage for girls). This is when we realized how much of a blessing it really is to serve our Almighty God.
The girls we encountered today truly touched our hearts, they were in many ways different from other kids we met. Everything about their manner was touching, they reached out to us in every single way. When we first walked through their doors they shook our hands and asked us our names, admired our purple hair (Amber and Carli) and asked about our colorfully painted nails. They were bold to approach us and immediately hold our hands and pull us around. The girls were eager to be with us, to learn, and also eager to teach. After our small introduction we loaded the bus with all the girls and drove to the basketball court.
Once at the court we managed to find basketballs for all 26 girls and were able to give them quality individual attention. These girls were 8 to 13 years old. We learned that these girls weren’t only extremely kind and welcoming but they were talented with dribbling and interested in learning more. This was the first group with which we could do some tougher drills with, it was nothing less than uplifting and motivating. After about an hour and a half of playing with these girls we got back on the bus and headed back to the Hogar.
Brittani giving her girls a high five!
Once we arrived, we were surprised to be taken by our hands and guided into their home. The girls walked us through halls and pointed to their pictures on the walls. We were shown their dinning room, their living room, their study room and even their bathroom. But the most touching place within their home was their gesture of leading us to their rooms. All the beds were neatly made and the girls eagerly pointed out their beds. We sat on their beds and talked, they invited us into not only their home but their lives as well.
When it was time to leave, we think the coaches had to tell us about 20 times. It was so hard to say goodbye to these wonderful girls. When we finally made it to the gates of the home to get on the bus, they were clinging on to our arms and hands while asking us not to leave and to please come back. Knowing that we wouldn’t come back made saying goodbye extremely difficult.
This experience so far was the most humbling and inviting. We often hear that it is possible to see Christ in a child’s face, and we can honestly now say that we’ve seen Christ!
We returned to the casa to find a wonderfully prepared lunch. After which we got to experience the cultural siesta.
At around 7:30 we headed to the basketball gym to then have our women’s and men’s team play intense games. Both teams persevered (especially after reading the encouraging book of James) and played with more preparation and fire than our previous game. We played very strongly until the very end, lost the game by only two points. The men’s team also had to push through tough moments having only six players. Not to mention Rod ran off the court to throw up, no worries though, it’s just the altitude, he’s ok! The game ended with a victory for our men’s team which was well deserved, they played very hard and very well considering they had to push through fatigue.
We returned to our casa, looking forward to some warm showers and our beds. We debriefed, said some prayers for the safety of Ryan and Jonas (continue to pray for their travel home), along with some other prayer requests. Our busy but delightful day is finally to an end. Today was most definitely a day of learning and loving. We not only learned to love the girls but to also receive their love as well.
The girls showing Nati their rooms at their Hogar.
Thank you all back home for your support! We miss you and please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Blessings from Bolivia!!
~ Ann and Nati