One of the areas I hope to get involved with while I am in Paraguay is Children’s Ministries. I will be assisting in leading AWANA programs and facilitating community outreaches among impoverished families, focusing largely on building relationships with the children.

For those of you who have expressed interest in contributing to my future ministry in Asuncion but have not yet had the opportunity to do so or have already donated but have decidedly extra-generous hearts, here is another way you can help. Following is a list of supplies that are difficult to obtain or exorbitantly expensive to purchase in Paraguay. I am hoping to be able to bring a whole stash with me when I move down in September, but will need your involvement to ensure this happens.

Crayola Crayons
Colored Pencils
No. 2 pencils
BIC pens
Construction Paper
Stickers (variety of whatever motif)
Glue – small bottle liquid
Glue – sticks
Brad clips (the gold-looking pins)
Unlined Index Cards – colors (all sizes)
Velcro Strips
Face Paints

Back-to-school sales are on right this second and prices are quite reasonable. If you are stirred to purchase supplies (or have some lying around the house that I may gladly take off your hands), I would be more than happy to come pick them up from you. Maybe even with some cookies baked in gratitude. Otherwise, monetary contributions are also most welcome. You can donate cash or write a check to me, and I will be sure the funds are distributed wisely on the necessary items.

I have been repeatedly humbled by the supportive and generous community God has rallied up around me as I prepare for Paraguay. Thank you for being an important part of it!

Besos y bendiciones!

 

[Edit:] I am leaving September 16th. Get in touch with me soon!

Dinosaur Love: The Meet

July 22, 2011

My new favorite picture of B and I. It kills me every time.

It was the end of my first year at UCSD. S and I walked down the hallway of Muir’s Tioga Hall, on our way out of an InterVarsity freshmen congregation to plan a Dorm Team Appreciation Banquet for our Bible Study leaders. Some guy on a skateboard zipped by us, but then suddenly jumped off and came trotting back to introduce himself.

This was the first time I ever met B.

During the brief exchange of introductory pleasantries, I remember thinking there was something strikingly familiar about B, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. As S and I trekked back to ERC, it dawned on me.

“Dude. Doesn’t that guy remind you of Spike the Stegosaurus from Land Before Time? He totally looks like a dinosaur, right?!”

S agreed. We giggled over the similarities, and then I promptly forgot about him.

Fortunately, the story didn’t end there.

La Amistad

July 17, 2011

Sometimes when I reflect back on my time in Spain, I remember the traveling and the allure of new, unexplored cities. My mind will scroll through images of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, sparkling at midnight, or the tiny town in Switzerland, where I had to oink my way to a pork sausage, or the dusty medina in Fes, where I was bestowed the unfortunate moniker of “Big Lips Girl.”

Sometimes when I reflect back on my time in Spain, I remember the metro, the street art that accompanied my walks home, the bittersweet taste of Bacardi and Fanta that I learned to tolerate, and my all-time favorite cafe, La Clandestina.

But always when I reflect back on my time in Spain, I remember the hard-fought friendship I had with S, a friendship that endured monumental life changes, and the otherwise lack of meaningful community. I remember the refreshment of our weekly Bible Studies, the joy of having someone to share jazz shows and kebabs with, and the sheer survival instinct her company gave me strength to cling to when the going got tough. Because I also remember how hard it was to build relationships and how prickly the sting to never truly feel welcome or at home for a year.

When I reflect back on my time in Spain, I remember how loneliness would physically ache in the pit of my stomach. Eating dinner on a bath towel on the dusty floor of your bedroom could not have been spun into something remotely novel without a friend. Getting trapped on a train alone while crowds observed you from outside with rapture but were stirred to action with considerably less conviction would not have been laughable without a caring roommate back at the flat to return home to. Literally starving and finding dinner to be whole stringy rabbits and cannolis filled with dog food would not have been bearable without a fellow commiserater to scrimp change with in order to buy fruit snacks from the vending machine for second dinner. I know I would not have survived my year abroad without S. Her meaningful friendship was a lifeline and a saving grace.

Now as I try to imagine what life will be like in Paraguay, I pray, perhaps most frequently of all, that God will provide life-giving community and sustaining friendships. Call me selfish or narrow-minded, but I am not sure I will be able to thrive otherwise. I am not scared of living in a developing country or being faraway for a long period of time, but I am afraid of loneliness.

Let me just say though that this entire journey has been one of sheer providence. I have been so humbled by the way God has entirely flung open this door of opportunity, providing far above and beyond for every need along the way. I have no reason to be nervous, and out of this, I have faith that He will surround me with individuals who will be generous with their hearts and souls. I can only hope to pray for the chance to do the same for them in return.

Pray with me, my friends.

“Until we embrace our mutual brokenness, our work with low-income people is likely to do far more harm than good.” (64)

“One of the biggest problems in many poverty-alleviation efforts is that their design and implementation exacerbates the poverty of being of the economically rich–their god-complexes–and the poverty of being of the economically poor–their feelings of inferiority and shame.” (65)

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert