Life in the Campo and Other Adventures
Life in the village is wonderful. I love it. I am content with being here and find it a pure joy that there are more donkeys on our road than cars. I love taking hikes. I love the cactus. I love having to cross the river six times a day when I want to visit someone. I like that I am getting strong carrying water and I love that Aaron and I can set our own schedule.
To get into town we had to drive our motorcycles up the high road from Bañado to Comarapa. The road is a little more than a mule trail, with huge hills, steep cliffs, eroded sections, cow dung, loose pigs, and on this particular day-mud as deep as my knees in places, and rain. So after two hours of driving the cycle, I look like I just completed a major mud soccer tournament. I am in heaven! What fun to have your transportation become a test of endurance, strength, agility, and mud wrestling. An exercise in Evil Knievel childhood dreams come true. Can't wait to show my brother my new skills!
—From an email to Julie Gage, a lifelong friend
Our New Home
When I first saw the place I was borderline depressed. We romanticize adobe in America—In reality I live in a sun-baked mud and straw house and it looks like crap. The dry latrine is a squatter instead of a stool to sit on and the number of spiny plants caught me off guard. But as I sat on the front porch and the peacefulness of the place seeped into my bones I became incredibly happy and content with my new home. It has an incredible view. At night we were wowed by the display of the stars. I haven't seen this many stars since my days at camp. The sounds of insects, the fresh air, the few houses, and the trickling of the river pleases my soul. As various pigs, goats, and donkeys passed by on the road it even became more cherished. I think I will like living here although at times I will definitely feel restless.
—From an email to her parents
On America's 'task-driven' culture:
I am learning a lot about our task-driven culture versus a relationship-based culture. Family is definitely the priority here (while often expressed sexist), but definitely a priority. From the development standpoint, when we come into a community and focus on the work, the task, the achievements, and not invest into the relationships, our being there is almost worthless in their eyes. Why don't we live in a culture where you take two weeks to honor the dead and console the living? Why don't we leave work to be with a friend in the hospital, instead of making our dutiful visitation for 15 minutes? Why do we move from our families and friends to go to school, to work, to assist in the development of another country instead of our own? Why are our closer friends those people other than family? Why do we move from the friends we have which are closer than family? Why do we value the type of work more than the location in relationship to those we love?
—From an email while in Bolivia
On vocational calling and careers
I think that our contentment with God should be sufficient—and I hope we can always see that no matter what work we are doing we can be in ministry The world needs people who love—and you do that well. I also think that we are created for a vocation which hopefully will incorporate our greatest gifts with the world's needs
—From a letter to Val, her college friend and soul friend
Aaron and I are going through more of the graduate program literature. We both feel pulled in several directions. My latest is that I still love the Masters in Law and Diplomacy from Fletcher, but am also considering a law program. Being in this type of work only reinforces my repulsion for 9-5 or 7-3 as the case was for teaching. I would like to have the freedom to work on my own or in an office, to work part-time, or at home. I've been thinking of maybe even continuing with MCC in the states with justice issues of the inner city, international trade, immigrants, or juvenile delinquents. I still am pulled many directions, but justice issues seem to come up regularly. I am obviously still figuring out what I want to do with my life-but I am definitely trying to decide which type of grad program would offer me the most options in my professional life. Although a PhD in political science still is attractive, I feel like it limits my options to teaching and/or researching. What will probably happen is that I will apply to several schools and figure out who will accept me. But I will be looking at taking the LSAT and definitely looking at taking the GRE again---uggg.
—From an email to her family
On Service and Faith
My desire to serve has not been still since my first introduction into the third world, but with a deeper reliance on God through prayer, I will be a better vessel which God can use. I believe that service is a way of life. Whether I am teaching high school to inner-city kids in Tacoma, or working in Honduras, I am a servant and my job is to learn to be an effective one for God's purposes.
—From a letter to Val, her college roommate and soul friend
What struck me deeply is Ephesians 1. "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1:18). The "heart enlightened." How often we speak of the mind being enlightened. But Paul speaks of the HEART! Enlightenment often refers to openness, understanding, or to brighten, to illuminate, or to teach. To know God's calling, therefore, I must enlighten my heart toward the teachings of GOD.
—From her college journal while reading the book of Ephesians