Cochabamba, Bolivia

Cochabamba, Bolivia
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The new season of teams is arriving!

Dear friends,
many of you will soon be arriving to the Dominican Republic to begin another season of service and work in La Romana.  I wanted to send a quick note out and ask you what it is that you need to make this next years trip more productive, special or focused for your team.  Please write to me or Moises and let us know how we can help you plan or organize your trip.  I would also like to let you know that International Ministries has a booklet for teams to use in preparation for their trip and I would encourage each team to meet together and get to know each other before actually arriving to the DR!  There are many good resources and it also can make a huge difference for your team so please make the effort to work together, even a little, before you arrive.  Here is the link for information on team building from International Ministries:

This link will also give information for people who would like to be long-term volunteers with applications, fund raising ideas, etc.  Please feel free to contact the mission if you have any questions.

Again, I am really excited to see each of you and see how God will use you this next year in La Romana. 

Many blessings,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finally some updates!

Dear Friends,
I sincerely apologize for the length of time it's taken me to post an update on my blog.  I've been in the US on a break to try and get my health back to normal!  No, I don't have anything serious but because of some serious exhaustion from working so hard in La Romana, Dominican Republic, both my mission and I decided that it would be important for me to take a break and make sure that I am rested and healthy before going back to the Dominican Republic.  The most serious part of my exhaustion was that my cortisol levels had become very high and contributed to many of my problems (migraines, insomnia, chest pain and palpitations) that led me to decide I needed to take a serious break and learn to rest and care for myself as much as I care for those around me.  So, I am happy to say that after several months, I am sleeping well, feeling rested, having fewer headaches and my cortisol is finally back into the "normal range."  I really appreciate everyone's prayers for my recovery and your patience in waiting to know what's been going on with me!

I'd like to share some things that I've learned on this journey of rest, some of which I've shared in my newsletters and a few other thoughts that you might find interesting.

First, although I've always tried to counsel others on caring for themselves, I really didn't understand what it meant to care for myself.  I am sure that many of you may also be in this same place.  I used to think that if I took the weekend off or even an entire day where I didn't meet with a medical team or if I didn't go to the hospital, then that meant that I was taking a break.  The very next day I would rush right back to my "normal" life and work upwards of 17 hours a day.  It had become so normal for me that I didn't see anything wrong with it as long as I took a day off here and there.  Writing this now seems so silly and so unrealistic, but at the time, I thought that I couldn't do anything else.  These last few months I've learned how to care for myself and how not to feel so guilty about saying no to requests for my time if I know it's not the best thing for me.

Next, I've learned that having a sabbath time in my week (actually on a daily basis!) is very healthy and should be practiced by all of us.  One of the ways that I've been able to do this is to spend at least 20-30 minutes a day doing restorative yoga or centering prayer/mindful meditation.  Initially, I was timid to tell people about this, especially in the Christian world, because I felt that people might think I was kooky or trying to change religions or something else.  The reality is that taking time out every day to understand your body (where it hurts, what's tense, what's tired) is VERY healthy and can be very much centered on Christ.  For me, it's a time to make quiet time for God and focus on what He may be wanting me to be aware of.  It is also a time for me to see where my body might be getting tense and potentially lead to a headache or a migraine.

I have also discovered the joy of reading again! Yeah!!  I have always been an avid reader but over the last several years, when my reading wasn't involved in my studies for my master's degree I just didn't do it.  I tended to be too tired to read at night.  I also realized that my mind was always running and often wouldn't calm down enough to enjoy a good book.  I was always thinking of what I had to do later, the problems related to my work or even all of the repairs or cleaning I needed to do around the house.  Now, I've rediscovered how to relax and enjoy books.  I've read several great one's this summer.  I will probably post the list soon!

Finally, the most important thing that I've learned these last few months is how to patiently wait for God's timing.  There are a lot of things that have happened with my health in the last year and I've prayed for healing and help but have always expected that those prayers would be answered quickly!  (I know, naive, huh??)  What I've come to realize is that if I can make a conscious decision to trust God's methods and His timing, the best will always come for me.  I can remember back in July when I'd been in the States for about two months, that I was sure I had rested enough and I was ready to go back to work.  It wasn't until a month later (still resting!) that I woke up one day and not only felt rested but REFRESHED for the first time in years!  It was at that point that I recognized that I would never have given myself enough time for rest if my mission hadn't made me wait.  God knew how much time I needed and set circumstances around me so that I would have that time.  In fact, three months after that day in August, I am still calmly waiting to return, now with healthy lab results but other situations keeping me in the US and unable to return to La Romana.

So, again, thank you for your patience and your prayers.  I apologize for the length of this post but knew there was a lot to catch up on!  I will be better about updates in the future.

Many blessings to all!