Friday, December 22, 2006

Bolivia in a nutshell...

As I sit here in my favorite chair in my parents’ living room, I am drawn to a slightly retrospective corner of my mind. I am starting to wonder if I have become a professional compartmentalizer (yes, I know I just made up a word), that is, I wonder if I have stored up too much experience in past year and a half without unpacking some of it. I am making an early resolution (New Year’s is only a week and a half away) to share more of my experiences with the people I love. And you are the people I love…so here goes.

Bolivia was/is one of the biggest growing experiences of my life. I did not realize it during the experience but God used the people there and the experiences we had to teach me so much. For example, one of my friends commented last night about the fact that I was not wearing a watch (a very atypical behavior for me). I said to him, “Yeah, I have come to realize that time is not nearly as important as the people that you spend it with.” That was definitely a lesson I learned in Bolivia. They take 2 hour lunch breaks so that they can spend that time with their friends and family! We enjoyed many a long lunch while we were in Bolivia.

I also learned that God is an astounding Creator. If you get the chance to see any of the pictures that any of the team members took, take note of the beauty surrounding that place. The mountains will take your breath away, literally (if you have never experienced life at two miles above sea level, you should really try it sometime).

I think for the first time in my life I caught a true glimpse of the enormity of the spiritual battle that goes on without our realization. There is a very real battle being fought around us each moment, but we can be confident because the Lord has claimed victory already.

I learned that there really are people out there who care about others more than themselves. And a bunch of them work for YFC Bolivia. People like Pedro, Andrea, Priscilla, Randy, Danny, Hannah, Omar, Henry, Sergio, David and so many others have touched my life in way that they may never truly understand until we see each other again someday. But I know that it was not just these people or that place that taught me all of the important lessons that I learned, but rather it was the Lord carefully crafting an experience to teach me everything He needed me to learn to prepare me for something He has planned for me. And THAT makes me feel warm and fuzzy. That kind of planning communicates a serious amount of care.

I would like to close with a word of thanks to all of our friends and family that support us through prayer and so much more. We could not do the work that the Lord would have us do, if you were not there supporting us each step of the way. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

May you be blessed by the Creator of the Universe, who came in the form of a baby to prove how much He cares.

Merriest of Christmases!



Rick C. said...

Merry Christmas Paul and to all my CTI friends. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year.
I would love to see the pics from your trip. I am glad to here you made it back. Welcome Home

Tiffany said...

We serve such an amazing God, don't we?! It challenges and encourages me to read what all the Lord is doing in and through you guys, Paul and the rest of 21! I can't wait to hear even more stories come January. Merry Christmas, Paul (and everyone else)!