A real day of mixed emotions.
We arrived at Gracia Divina around 9:30am and found a line of 10-or-so people waiting for an eyeglass clinic. Which was an issue, since we hadn’t planned on clinic-ing. While we waited for Pastor Fernando to arrive and make a decision, we organized materials and prayed together: for the last day of ministry, for wisdom for Pastor, etc. Eventually, we decided to have Silas and Marco stay for the morning to fit glasses to the people already in line, while PG, Tina, Pastor Fernando, and I went out to do discipleship with new believers. Carmen and I went with Hermenia (I’ve been spelling her name wrong!) to visit Helen again. We shared the Good Samaritan story with her cousin Antony, and set dates for GD members to come visit their family. Meanwhile, Antony and Helen are coming to church on Sunday…! They seem so excited about their new faith, and it’s very encouraging to me since in my day-to-day life, I rarely see new people believe, let alone hunger to grow in their faith. Hermenia’s homework is to disciple them and Pamela’s family, since they weren’t home when we checked in on them.
Out last lunch together with the church was sentimental. Delicious as usual. As we were eating, PG shared some words of thanks to the ones who cooked for us (Juana, Claudia, Ruth), and to Pastor Fernando. Pastora and Pastor Fernando reciprocated (Isa did a huge translating feat of remembering what he said for nearly 5 minutes). It was very sweet 🙂
Then, we all went over to the sports court and played with neighborhood kids we’d invited. I didn’t participate since my ankle is still recovering from an impingement from two weeks ago, so I watched while they played basketball and soccer. I was able to talk with Tina for a while about the trip, about worries for my future, college application essay ideas, and items of the sort. I started to feel an incredible sadness, very much like what I struggled with last year after the trip—knowing that I’d soon need to bring my ministry back home and return to several pressing life issues. I prayed alone for strength and a tender heart, able to devote the rest of my time in Bolivia fully to God and to keep doing everything for His glory when I get back home.
We had tea for a final time in Hermenia’s kitchen above the church (yummy cheese bread!). Then, our closing service/ceremony started around 5-5:15. We sang many songs, then Pastor Fernando spoke briefly, then PG came up to deliver thanks and a short charge to the church, and gave our presents. (Funny story: the whole time, our 5 boys were sitting behind me and Carmen in a row, goofing off and distracting me, and calling me mala. It made me way too happy.) Then the rest of us came up, and the church gave presents to us. We all said goodbye, took pictures, etc. Tears were shed, the boys goofed off, and it was a good time of hasta luego, see you later.
The entire team, plus many of the translators’ parents, ate barbecue for our last dinner together, and we had a blast. It’s hard to near the end of a trip like this, so I’m praying for strength .
Isabella – 7/13/17,