Lily's kids

Lily's kids

Monday, July 30, 2012

Staying up

photo credit to Travis Saxer
A book is like a life, particularly a good one which is well worth staying up all night to finish.
~Lemony Snickett

Still waiting on a few papers before I head back! Please be praying that they will come in this week! :)
Can't wait to get back to Caranavi and really excited to see the kids again!

Friday, July 27, 2012

We keep waiting

Some of my favorite pics from the trip. Sweet Ismael
It's hard waiting. Hoping to get back as soon as possible but not being able too. Waiting on legal papers. But I feel like I grow way more and have to depend on God more in these times of waiting then anywhere else. And by His grace I will wait and grow until I can head back to the kids and the hugs and the mountains!
This little guy found his way really deep into my heart

Really missing Bolivia right now!

Kia rides down into town with tons of kids crammed into the back laughing and singing.
Kia rides up to the orphanage late at night after church with 10 million stars shining so close and staring up and just being amazed at God's glory.
Devotions way up on top of a mountain being surrounded by immense beauty and glory.
The kids. Oh boy... I miss them tons.

Please be praying that everything would come in this week and that I can trust God with His timing! He is good and is faithful as I have seen time and time again.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lizbet, Carlos and Sampy

Still one of my favorite pics! Love these kids!
Meet some of my friends.

Lizbet is 5 years old. She has an infectious giggle and she loves hugs and being carried and tickled and loved. She has 4 older siblings living at Casa de Esperanza, the three older ones just moved from another orphanage. This sweet little girl has been through so much. Being rescued from a very abusive home, to being split up from her older siblings to finally now being reunited. 

Surrounded by little brothers!
Carlos is 13 and has swagger. He is a typical 13 year old who likes to be as mischievous as he can. With the 3 other 13 year old boys living in his house, Carlos is the ring leader of them all. He loved learning English and his favorite words were "slow, cheater, liar, and lazy". 

Such a fun night!
Samuel (or Sampy) is 9 years old and beyond mature for his age. He loves helping out with the younger kids in his house and was always speaking in his soft raspy voice to baby Peniel. I always saw him helping out his Tia and just being a sweetie all day every day.

Hanging out with Ruddy, Cielo and Carlos
These kids are amazing. They definitely have their moments where they struggle and sometimes drive me nuts but for what they have gone through they are so resilient and happy. It was a crazy 3 months with them and I can't wait for 9+ more!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

His whispers shape my heart

Sweet Ismael
I could cry right now as I am reminded once again that God has my life in His hands.
No it's not crying because I am sad.
It is knowing that I sit at Jesus' beautiful feet and He knows what is best for me. And it makes me cry. Because I don't have to worry.

This whole crazy process called "Lily goes to Bolivia" has been crazy. Like insane. I never thought I would end up in Bolivia. But God brought me there and after a week there I fell in love. And now I'm home and in the middle of crazy paperwork trails and emails in Spanish back and forth with a lawyer in Bolivia for visa stuff and lots and lots of double checks at GOOGLE TRANSLATE (greatest invention of all time) and I am amazed again and again that all I need to do is trust God.

I fail at this so many times. I stress out over timing and how I'll get my huge list done before I go and God whispers and gently shapes my heart and continues to point me back to Him.

Put me first. He tells me. And I have to continue to give my hopes and dreams and desires to God. My love for orphans. My love for my family. My love for American food (yup... it's a love). And I give it all back to God because He is who I seek to love. My love for these other things should look like hate compared to my love for my Savior. Luke 14:26

Trust Me. He whispers. And I have to pray and tell God I don't know how I will get these extra new documents and all these papers legalized and translated but by His grace I will. I let go and trust. And then I get an email a half hour later saying that I actually don't need those extra documents... just the original stuff I knew about. And I just want to cry because God know. And He wants me to trust Him again and again.
With Tia Casilda and her daughter Cielo

I love you. You are mine. Do not fear. I have never left you and I will not leave you as an orphan. You are made in my image. I am your Father and you are MINE.

And this makes me weep. It makes me bow down at the feet of my Father and rejoice and praise and love. And this is what makes me go back to Bolivia. This love that God has for me leads me back to love those kids. It's not me. It's about Jesus.


Monday, July 16, 2012

This love that spills over

Sometimes it hits me that I'm going to be leaving for close to a year. a YEAR!!! With a suitcase, a backpack and a carryon. For one year. I will be in a foreign country away from my family, my friends, my church family, my puppy. I will be traveling alone, getting into more complicated legal stuff as I apply for a year long visa and be surrounded by Spanish. And basically no English.


But I can't wait. I am excited to be dependent on God through this next year. To cry out to Him as loneliness sets in, as I struggle to love the unloveable, as I eat the same meals month after month and as I am covered in dirt and sweat. I am so excited to cry out to Him and know beyond know that He hears me. That I won't be alone there. That wherever I am, be it home in Minnesota with my family or home in Caranavi with 87 beautiful children, that I am a sojourner, a traveler... waiting to go HOME. To my real home and see my beautiful Savior. but I know that here on this earth that no matter where i am, I am cradled in the loving hands of Jesus. And He will never let me go.


I am excited to get back and hold little hands and be reminded that Jesus is holding mine. I am excited to continue learning Spanish and be able to pray together with the kids and Tias. I am excited to worship at the top of my lungs with the kids at church. I am excited to show the kids love through hugs, kisses, listening and encouraging, helping with chores and homework, playing, running, laughing, dancing, de-lousing, eating, playing and learning together.

I see myself in these kids. And I see so much of God's love through these kids. I see my sin, my lack of patience and faith but I see time and time again God's grace and His love. That without Him I can do nothing. But He sees fit to use me to love these beautiful children. He lifts me up time and time again and gives me strength to love. He gives me His love to love with. And He never leaves me. He overwhelms me with Him and His goodness and a love that spills over into 87 giggling smiles and big beautiful eyes that stare up at me and call me "Hermana Lily".

And I fall in love. Over and over and over and over. 87 times over.


*photo credit to Travis Saxer

Sunday, July 15, 2012

some of me friends

Miss these crazy picture lovin' kids and their great smiles.
Can't wait to get back there!
With Roy and Ezekiel

4 thirteen year olds in one house= constant mischief!!!

Sweet Ariel

Noemy, Josue and Ruddy!!!

Happy birthday Tatiana!
With Luis, Raquel, Jessa, Samuel, Dorien, Lydia and Me!!!
~Lily :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Little brothers

Miss me a gang of 13 year old boys marching towards me. Oh boy do I love these boys. :) After living with all sisters all my life it was fun to have tons of little "brothers" all the time. Running barefoot on the concrete while playing soccer, getting up for seconds at lunch in the middle of a huge line of hungry
boys and arm wrestling contests every day. 

Thanks for your continued prayers! Praying my birth certificate would go through quickly and that I could apply for my visa as soon as possible. God is so good to me and continually shows me how very faithful and good He is. Amazed by His grace.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Whoops! My head exploded!

My brain is full of craziness and all the chaos and information and numbers and dates and details. Getting this visa and birth certificate stuff to go back to Bolivia is CRAZY!!! All the details of planning when I don't even have an exact date yet is nuts. There are days where I'm just super overwhelmed. Where I just miss the kids like crazy. There's a lot of days like that.

First day in Bolivia was a water balloon fight with the boys.
Riding up to the orphanage with ammo in our hands! 
And then there are moments in those days where God answers prayers and provides an answer to a question, or one of the older kids from the orphanage pops up on Facebook chat and I am so encouraged. And I remember that all these details, and phone calls, and numbers, and headaches are all for one purpose. To follow God wherever He leads. And I am so excited to get back to Bolivia to continue loving on these kids and to continue displaying God's love to them.

Miss these kids like CRAZY!!!
JuanGa, Keyla, Caleb, Lizbet and Andres
Please be praying that all my birth certificate and visa stuff would go through right away with no issues. I would love to get back to Bolivia in August. I need grace to trust God with HIS timing. And when I get back to Bolivia, I need prayers that my one year visa would go through quickly and easily and for strength to get all the legal stuff needed. It's crazy and I don't even understand all of it but God is good and He is bigger than a visa. Bigger than me. Bigger than my fear.

So blessed and encouraged that God has my life in His hands and that He reminds me over and over to trust Him with my life!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I am my Father's

Saw this on another blog and had to share. 
Worth the read.

Let His Children Go
Kathy Bryant
We have somehow accepted the mistaken idea that our children belong to us and that we may at all times be their protection and security. In truth, my children are not mine; they belong to God and always have. He allows me to keep them near me during training when they're young, but the older they get, the closer they must move to complete independence of me and complete dependence upon God. I can't assume my children will be safer within my sight and my reach than they are on the other side of the world where they are still within God's sight and His reach. I can't guarantee their safety even if they're sitting in my living room! God can guarantee their safety wherever they are-- nothing can get to them that does not go through Him first. My protection of them is limited by my humanity; the security of God's everlasting arms is completely without breach by any enemy. God gave me the precious gift of having my children near me for many years; why would I selfishly tighten my hold now on what is not mine and try to keep them for myself? God has a place for each of them, a sphere of influence, a multitude of people whose lives will be touched as these shining lights go out into a dark world. I will not cry and cling nor in any way hinder or douse their desire to go into the world to serve God. They must be set absolutely free-- not to follow their hearts, but to follow His heart for them and the people of the world.

What if they're called to live in another city, another state, another country, or another continent?! Any sacrifice of the pleasure of having them near will result in waves of blessings in the lives they touch and the eternal rewards that can never be taken away.

The tragedy is not that they are leaving home for a faraway place-- the tragedy would be if they stayed and missed the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beautifully loved

Sweet Jacob!

Crazy how fast I fell in love with these kids. Their smiles, laughter, hugs, "HERMANA Lily"s, big brown eyes.

Juanes! This pic makes me laugh with his cheesy grin!
They are filled with joy and that joy is contagious.

Peniel. Photo credit to Travis Saxer

Their beautiful and loved by their Savior who made each one in His image.

Izrael (photo credit to Travis Saxer)

They are strong. They've been through tons and have seen more hurt and pain than I can imagine but still they love. they smile, they laugh.

Gentle Ariel (photo by Travis Saxer)

They are kids. Kids trying to figure out life without mommies and daddies. Little kids who have to grow up so fast and help raise themselves and sometimes each other. They learn to be strong because they have to. They never have a mommy to hug them or a daddy to teach them. They have Tia's and Tio's who are amazing but sadly come in and out of their lives over the years.

Juanes :) (photo credit to Anna)

  They see so much and have gone through so much but God knows. He loves them and is for them. They are HIS. They are in HIS hands. And sometimes I don't understand. And I ask why a sweet baby should be abandoned but then I am reminded again and again that I too was once an orphan and God took me in and loved me just as He loves these beautiful children. And I know that these kids are in God's hands. He is holding them and everything in their lives is for His glory and All things will work together for good. And I am filled with joy.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Feliz Cumplé Hijo!

Feliz Cumpleaños to Esteban!!!

This kid is awesome! He just turned 14 today but
is mature beyond his years and a great friend.
He picked up tons of English so quickly and was
super fun to hang out with. A great leader to the
other boys. And got some pretty awesome quotes
from this kid. :) Thanks a lot google translate for
being able to translate swear words. He was my
footsal (soccer) coach and always liked to make
fun of how I ran. And ALWAYS said, "Lily,
CLOSE YOUR MOUTH!" Fun memories of
eating rellenos in town and chugging coca-cola
and running/falling down the shortcuts to get
down to town. Cleaning the pool and getting
pushed into the pool and a birthday where he
shoved cake in my face and broke an egg over
my head which are "bolivian traditions" i guess?
Or the perfect way to torture the birthday girl!

I am so grateful for this friend!
Praying that God would save this awesome kid
and use  Esteban to further the gospel!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Anchor of my soul

Anchor of my soul. You sustain.
When I'm in the storm, You'll remain good to me.

The blood that was spilt protects me. It's the same blood that cleans me.

Who shall I fear if my anchor is secure.
You give me the strength to stand.
Your my greatest pleasure.
Yeah no matter the weather I face.
Lord you never forsake.
My fragile life is safe under your sovereign grace.

Peace surrounds me and He anchors me with His grace abounding.

This song is a crazy blessing to me right now. I am anchored. No storm can shake me from my Savior! Be it timing before I head back to Bolivia, fear as a million details swirl through my mind or other trials, I am secure and God is the one giving me strength. And He gives peace. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

My FAVORITE! Always makes me think of a weeping willow.

Happy 4th of July!!! Enjoying family, friends, food, fun, and fireworks!
Please continue to pray that I would be able to get all my paperwork in and
processed quickly so that I can return to Bolivia as soon as possible!
Miss the kids a lot!

God bless America! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Me and with my amazing friend Moises

Teenagers. The older kids at Casa de Esperanza are amazing.
They have been through so much. They are hurting and
trying to figure out their future and still trying to be a kid with
tons of responsibility on their shoulders.
With MaryLuc! Beautiful inside and out

They are so fun. I have never laughed so much as when I am with these
kids. Their tough and love giving us a hard time but so sweet and just
soak up any compliment and love you give them. Even if they pretend
they don't like it. They loved seeing how far they could push me.

"Are you mad yet Lily?" One kid would always ask me. And I would say our
inside joke "Only babies get mad."
Hanging out with Esteban... coolest kid ever!

Marcos, Susy, Ximena and Esther

These kids are so mature and strong.
What they've gone through and how they
can still be smiling and laughing is amazing
to me. I pray that God would continue to
work in their hearts and draw them to Himself!
Roberto and Gustavo


Can't wait to go back and be able to spend
more time with these amazing friends God
has given me! I am incredibly blessed!

Have a fabulous 4th of July!