Monday, April 17, 2017

Leaning on the Lord

First of all, I want to take a moment to say, “Thank you!” I know I don’t say it enough, but I want to give thanks to my faithful supporters, church body, friends, and family who have walked with me throughout this experience as a missionary in Bogota. You have all been with me as I prepared to come to Colombia, as I have been teaching at El Camino Academy, and as I have struggled with my decision about what to do in the coming school year. So thank you for your prayers, notes and messages, financial support, and encouragement. Thank you for all your love throughout my time here in Colombia!

Not only do I have some truly AMAZING people in my life to lean on, but I’ve also been learning a lot about leaning on the Lord. As I mentioned in my November post, I spent much of first semester thinking and praying about what to do next year. This time of insecurity and doubt was difficult, scary, and made me very uneasy; however, it was also a time filled with growth! I found myself leaning on the Lord and looking to Him more than ever before. God pushed me to trust Him completely, even though I was unsure and nervous. Ultimately, God gave me peace about the decision to return to the states in June and leave the mission field.  By no means was this choice easy or without trepidation; however, I am resting in the truth that this decision is from the Lord. 

After resolving to return to the U.S. in June, I was able to finish the semester at ECA in December and come home to Chicago for some much needed time of rest. Christmas break was full of spending time with my family, celebrating my sister’s engagement and helping her with wedding plans, turning 25 years old (yay for quarter of a century!), seeing various comedy shows, and drinking lots of Starbucks while catching up with friends.

Ryan won the Christmas pig, which is full of money. 
Elise, Luke & I lost. 😞

Elise and her fiance, Luke 💗

The waitress just handed me this giant sparkler on my birthday... I was pretty surprised!


   Found some friends from ECA in Wheaton!

So a quick update on life in Bogota…
  •  We are still working a lot on treating one another with respect in 4th grade. That has been a big ongoing theme in our classroom!
 The Eye Project

Celebremos Colombia!
Every grade performs native Colombian dances.

Learning about humility by washing one another's feet.


A day at the pool!

 Learning about pollution (YUM!)
  • I was able to join the High Schoolers on their retreat to Tenjo in February. It was SO fun to spend time with the students outside of school praising the Lord and playing games together. I have been so blessed to get to know the HS students more this year!

 <<Retreat Video

  • During second semester, a few of us ladies were able to take a quick trip out of town to one of my favorite spots, Villa de Leyva! It was very fun J
  •  In March, our classroom grew by one more as our student teacher, Miss Erica Barragan, joined us. She is with us for 7 weeks and has been a huge blessing to our group.

 ·      Our Spring Break just ended and although it was uneventful, it was a great time of rest and relaxation as we gear up for the end of the year.

Please continue to pray for our class as we close out the school year together! 
Pray God would teach the students love and grace in the classroom!
Pray that the Lord would help me close out my time in Colombia well and take advantage of the opportunities and relationships I have here.

Monday, November 7, 2016

3rd Time's a Charm

Year three at ECA is well underway! Students are here, classrooms are set-up, learning is happening, and teachers are laying it all on the line. Day in and day out I have the incredible opportunity to serve God by teaching, leading, and using my God-given gifts. This year I am being stretched and challenged to serve in new ways at El Camino Academy.

I am being stretched and challenged with my 22 students each and every day. My students love to learn! They ask lots of questions and are usually very excited about whatever topic we are exploring that day. It’s always encouraging when you announce that it’s time for social studies and your hear a few kids mutter, “Yessss!” under their breath. Yay learning! However, my students definitely struggle with showing love and kindness towards each other. I am constantly scouring Pinterest for ideas, asking my co-workers and supervisor for advice, and ultimately, looking to our loving Father for help. Although some days I feel completely drained by the lack of gentleness and self-control among my 4th graders, God is challenging me to continue to exercise patience with my kids, model compassion in every situation, and not give up reminding them of God’s truths.




For this 2016-17 school year I’m also being stretched by serving as the advisor for the High School Student Council! The Student Council is responsible for planning and organizing the school-wide Spirit Week, high school retreats and lock-ins, and many other fun events. It has been such a blessing to work alongside these 10 wonderfully talented high school students and help teach leadership skills to them. 

(They're not all in the picture obviously)

I am also part of ECA’s Academic Council this year, which is composed of different teachers who represent the various school subjects (math, science, Bible, etc.). The group meets once a month to discuss how to improve El Camino’s curriculum, organize online resources, and check that our curriculum is representative of the school’s mission and vision.  

One thing I am learning as a missionary is that there is a lot of change and turnover at a school like ECA. Last year many teachers said goodbye to ECA and this year our community was blessed with many new faces. Although I miss the people who left in June like crazy, God is challenging me to form new relationships with the teachers here this year and trust Him in that. 


So….lots of growing, learning, and stretching here. But then there is also just the pure joy and fun that’s happened this quarter! Like… 

     1.) My best friend visiting in October and traveling to the coast with her to enjoy some much needed days on the beach.


2.) Getting out of the classroom and visiting the beautiful Laguna de Guatavita on a field trip with my kiddos



    3.) Spending time laughing and sharing with my new roommates, Amy Harris & Wendy Woehr.
     4.) Oh and of course…watching the Chicago Cubs win the World Series (even if it was from afar…) 

Prayer Requests:
  • Please pray that my students would work on treating each other with Christlike love and that the Lord would guide us in helping them with that 
  • Please pray that I would continue to grow in my Spanish skills 
  • Please pray that I wouldn't experience so much homesickness 
  • Please pray for me as I consider what to do next year as I seek to serve Jesus- stay at ECA or return to the U.S.

As always, thank you for reading and keeping me in your prayers! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

He is GOOD

At the beginning of the school year my goal was to write a blog post every two months. Well that hasn't happened to say the I am sorry dear readers! On the plus side, I have SO much to update you all on: my family's visit, my time in the U.S. during Christmas break, and the beginning of 2nd semester back at ECA. 

This past November, I had the privilege of hosting my family here in Bogotá! It was so exciting to finally be able to truly share my life here in Colombia with them. Now when I tell them (as I do on a regular basis) that "I'm going over to the Santafé mall to drink coffee," they actually know where that is and what it's like. 

Day 1: I took them to Monserrate, a famous lookout where one is able to see the entire city of Bogotá.

Day 2: My family came to ECA, met my students, and had the opportunity to help on our Service Trip to Hogar de Paz, a half-day daycare. 

Day 2: We spent the day at El Camino Academy helping with our Pilgrims & Indians field day celebration in honor of Thanksgiving.

My students absolutely LOVED my family!! It was so fun to see them all interact.

Day 4: My family and I ventured out to La Laguna de Guatavita, home to the Legend of El Dorado with Beth Afanador. 

Day 5: On my final day with my family, we went to one of my favorite spots in Bogotá: La Mazorca, a restaurant up in the mountains. We also were able to go horseback riding (a personal favorite activity)!

Overall, it was a huge blessing to share El Camino Academy, my endearing students, Colombian fruits and snacks, the craziness of Bogotá trancón (traffic), my favorite spots, the beautiful sights of Bogotá, and my experience with my family!

On that same note of traveling and time with family, I was able to spend several weeks at home during Christmas Break. It was so refreshing to be able to be home with my loved ones, visit Target (too many times), drive my car, eat lots of American deliciousness, see friends, and spend time time in Dubuque seeing people from college. It was an excellent time to stop and reflect on the semester. This year has been very challeneging thus far; however God really renewed my energies and reminded me that He has called me to serve in Colombia and love these students as He loves them. Although at times I most definitely fall short and struggle, the Lord has been teaching me that no matter how frustrated I am, how drained I feel, how unhappy I may be, HE IS STILL GOOD... and in that I find my joy! 

As for life at ECA, this semester is in full swing! We have learned about light, fractions, the American Revolution, the eye, what compassion is, writing complete sentences and paragraphs, and name a few. Please continue to pray for my students as this semester we are really working on RESPONSIBILITY in order to prepare for Middle School next year and it is quite a challenge. 



Thank you all for your continued love and support. And thank you for reading my post! Hopefully my next one won't be too far off... :) 

P.s.: I'll be in Chicago March 18th-25th. I'd love to see some of you!