Hello and welcome to my favorite part on this Website! Here you'll find out a little more about me as I keep you up-to-date on my progress, my speaking engagements and any new projects I might be tackling. It's my way of staying in touch with you, so do stop by regularly. I'll be frequently updating this area with my reflections, happenings, personal photos and other additions. Enjoy your visit!!
Below is a short video of our Bolivia trip! As you watch, notice that each hand raised signifies a heart opened to Jesus. Please pray and consider how you can be a part of sending me onward as God continues to open an incredible number of opportunities for me to share my testimony around the world. Besides speaking weekly here in the US, I also have invitations to El Salvador and Lima, Peru in the months ahead. If you would like to join me in ministry, please e-mail me for details on how you can send a tax-deductible donation of any amount. Thanks in advance for your support! May the Lord pour back into your life wonderful blessings!
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?" Romans 10:14-15
It's hard to believe that my time here in Bolivia has already come to an end. By the time you get this, I will already be on a plane headed home. But what a wonderful time it has been, even if it did start out rough.
This afternoon was the highlight of my entire trip. I was the guest speaker at a Women's Coffee/Tea sponsored by Campus Crusade. Most of the women attending were not Christians. In fact, some of them were people I had invited along the way! My talk went exceptionally well with these ladies and there was an overwhelming response tonight when I gave the challenge to receive Christ. I was amazed to see so many women indicate decisions and they even prayed out loud after me as I gave the prayer of salvation in Spanish! You can imagine how full my heart was. Afterwards there was the longest line you ever did see of women waiting to speak with me personally. I had asked that if they prayed this prayer tonight to please come and see me and whisper in my ear so I would know. I lost count at 27!! They kept coming and coming! Not just to hug me or tell me how inspiring my testimony was but to tell me that they had opened their hearts to Jesus tonight. WOW!! Each one wanted me to pray for them personally. Never have I prayed individually with so many at one event. It took well over an hour but I got to everyone!!
What a great way the Lord has allowed me to end this trip. It is an indescribable blessing to know that He has used me to touch hearts and to impact lives. So was it worth gasping for air and throwing up eleven times? ABSOLUTELY!! Will I risk it again? WITHOUT A DOUBT!! In fact, invitations to other churches, schools and even on the radio here in Bolivia are numerous.
First things first however, El Salvador in February, and possibly a quick trip to Lima, Peru in March!!
It’s almost 9am now and Tony, the Campus Crusade Videographer, will be arriving in just a few minutes to film Jeff taking care of me. Tony has actually been following me all over town. Everywhere I go, if I look, I can see him in the crowd watching me with his camera. Yesterday he had an entire crew here at the hacienda de los Burgins where we’re staying. He brought all his equipment and lighting and set up an entire studio in their living room. We filmed for about three hours! In case you’re wondering, we are making a documentary of my life and ministry here on the road. Watch shortly for the premiere!
Last night was just awesome! I had an opportunity to go back to my favorite orphanage here, Talita Cumi. You can access their website and read all about the home and the children at www.talitacumi.org. This is my second visit to their home and what a welcome they gave me. They invited two other orphanages in town to share in our special evening. The kids all loved my story especially the part about me falling in love with Jeff. Afterwards, we gave out toys and ate party snacks.
Speaking of Jeff, many of you have been writing and asking how he is and why he hasn’t been in the pictures. Jeff’s doing GREAT! You haven’t seen him because he’s the one taking the pictures. :) But just to make you all happy, I had him give the camera to a student to capture some pictures of him.
This will be fun. We will do some more filming this morning, go downtown for a little shopping and then return to get ready for another speaking engagement with the University Students that Campus Crusade have been working with. Tomorrow will be a big day. I’m speaking at a large church in the morning and then a Women’s Coffee/Tea in the afternoon.
Here is something exciting that you can be in prayer with me about. I MAY have a unique opportunity to speak at the Campus Crusade Women Today Conference for Latin America in Lima, Peru this coming March! Can you believe it?? I cannot express how excited Jeff and I both are about this possibility. Be in prayer and watching for more information about how you can be involved with me in this exciting adventure. Who knows I just may climb to the top of Machu Pichu while I’m there!!! :)
By the way, I’m still experiencing some minor shortness of breath when I do my presentation. Please pray that this will subside. Well, I’m on our way to the bedroom studio right now to brush my teeth, do my hair and makeup in front of the cameras for your viewing pleasure. Do you see an academy award in my future? :)
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday at this time I was hooked up to an oxygen tank but today I am tanked up on Jesus, thanks to you! Your prayers and words of encouragement has fueled my spirit and given me the strength to go on. What an unimaginable joy it is to receive an email from almost all of you!! I feel so loved.
My day started with Jeff pushing my wheelchair into the Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center. This is an English speaking school for missionary children and middle to upper class Bolivians. The school has about 120 Middle and High School students. I spoke at their weekly chapel service in English which was great. The kids responded very well, laughing and cheering as I spoke. At the end, 6 students raised their hands to receive Jesus, and numerous others who simply wanted me to pray for them.
After chapel, this 13 year old boy, Carlos, requested to speak with me in private. He said, “You’ve really made a difference in my life today. You challenged me to be serious about my decision for Christ. I have said the prayer many times but never really took it seriously. But today I’m serious and I just want you to pray with me.” Jeff and I were able to pray with Carlos and encourage him. Suddenly, all my struggles began to fade in the light of God’s glorious Grace.
From there we drove for the longest time to a school in a poor area of Santa Cruz. The “auditorium” was outside under a tin roofed structure without sides. The kids had to bring their own chairs from their classrooms and set them up under the structure. It was very windy and dirt was flying everywhere. Nonetheless, it wasn't long before I was encircled by at least 150 High School students eager to hear my story. The students all listened intently and at the end 12 made decisions for Christ!
Amazingly another young boy, Jose, 15 years old, stayed behind to speak with me. Using an interpreter he told me how excited he was that he had opend his heart to Jesus today. He said he had never been told that there was such an option. He was so excited! I later saw him giving one of my Spanish salvation pamphlets to one of his friends.
Here’s something worth mentioning, as I was speaking two little girls literally climbed over the wall from the house next door to hear my story! Afterwards they snuck out of their yard and came to my car asking for the pamphlets that I was giving out to the other kids. Not only did they want one for themselves but for the rest of their family! WOW!!
Good news, MY CHAIR IS WORKING AGAIN!!! It suddenly started working just before my last engagement! I'm also feeling much better. I'm still having a little shortness of breath while doing my presentations but that's to be expected considering all that I've been through so I continue to press onward. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4: 17-18
Well, we have finally arrived to our host home in Santa Cruz after leaving Miami 24hrs ago. While life on the road is never easy, this journey has been particularly brutal and has brought me to tears.
For starters, many of you know that our plane was scheduled to make a fast stopover in La Paz before going on to Santa Cruz. Knowing that La Paz is the highest airport in the world (13,000 ft.), Jeff and I prearranged for me to receive oxygen during this quick stop. Well friends, quick it wasn’t, how about fifteen hours?? Yep, you read that correctly, FIFTEEN HOURS of being the sickest I have ever been in my entire life!! FIFTEEN hours in pain, gasping for air and I even vomited eleven times! It was just awful. So awful that I thought I was going to see Jesus momentarily.
And if that wasn’t enough, when we arrived at the Santa Cruz airport my wheelchair would not work, not at all! I have no power in the chair and we have no idea why. It was raining on the ground in La Paz so that could have caused damage but who knows. For those of you that know me well, you know that there isn’t a moment that I spend motionless. I am always wheeling around on my own, so you can imagine the terrible loss I feel right now.
As we exited customs I can only imagine what my face must have looked like to the five Campus Crusade staff who greeted us with cheers and hugs. They were so happy to finally see us!! One of the staff members, Tony, who will be doing a video production of our time here, just kept saying “What a blessing it was to have you here to share with the Bolivian people.” I couldn’t even feel the moment as I was so exhausted and distraught. Yep, you guessed it; Tony captured my totally wiped-out expression on his camera! :(
As I sit here at the table I am reminded of God’s hand in all of this by a plaque directly across from me that says, “The Will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.” So it is with this attitude that I press forward and continue on with my scheduled speaking engagements. In just a few hours I will be headed off to speak at the Missionary School here in town and then on to a Bolivian public school in a very poor neighborhood in the afternoon. Pray that the urge to move on my own will subside. “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24
Amazingly just days remain until Jeff and I board yet another airplane bound to yet another distant destination to share the Gospel message. This time we are off to Santa Cruz, Bolivia (on Sept 18) for a week of evangelism and encouragement through my life story. This will be our second mission venture to this area and I'm excited to once again be joining forces with Campus Crusade for Christ.
In Ephesians 3:20 we are reminded that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we ask, imagine or even hope for so please join me in praying. Pray that I will make the most of every opportunity that I'm given and that God will use me to impact lives in Bolivia for His Glory! Pray also for our physical stamina and for the ability to go the extra mile.
As I go, remember that you too will be a part of whatever God does in Bolivia because the work I do is the fruit of your support. Through your prayers, encouragement and gifts, you continue to make a difference in the lives of those you enable me to reach. Therefore together lets expectantly look forward to God exceeding our expectations on this trip.
Stay tuned for my next update, which will be from the field in Bolivia next week! Que Dios te bendiga (May God Bless you)!!