If you remember from my last post. Step 1. Cry Step 2. Pray Step 3. Laugh
I would like to put emphasis on Step 2.
So I guess we left off when the airport told me I had to get this permission as a minor document. They said it would probably take 2 days maximum. Well let’s just say two months maximum, instead.
My dad had called the U.S embassy, but they said they couldn’t do anything. The document would first have to get notarized, go through D.C. then the Bolivian Consul, then back to my parents with my original birth certificate. Then mail to Bolivia, then 3 days to process. I was hardly going to be back for Christmas.
So what held me together? Well to be honest, Jesus. I can’t lie, It was the most emotional half a month of my life. But when we realize how genius of a plan God has orchestrated for our lives, we can’t help but trust him.
I was going to leave Bolivia one week before the end of the school year, and then the week after they would celebrate Christmas. I think God didn’t want me to miss those two weeks, because his timing worked out pretty perfectly. Let me explain.
So after going to countless places and getting this document, It was on it’s way. I just had to sit and wait. But the situation kept getting worse. The two weeks I was supposed to wait turned into three, then four. I love working at the center and being with the kids, but my situation was seeming hopeless.
Exactly after one week, I prayed. I mean pray. Like the most vulnerable, real, honest prayer you could pray. I was half angry, half joyful. I remember looking up at God, just wanting to go home. At this point, I was ready. These were all the words I had. “God, I know that this document is supposed to take weeks. But I want you to bring me home by next week. I know that’s not possible, but you can do it. I’m done asking you for small things, I’m done believing in you for anything less than the impossible, So I’m saying that you will bring me home by next week.”
Although I’ll never remember the exact words, I remember the feeling. I remember that moment.
I knew God heard me.
He heard me. I felt it in my heart. I knew that he was listening. I felt this presence in my soul, He heard my prayer. I went to sleep that night immediately peaceful. It’s amazing how a worried, stressed 16 year old can go from overly overwhelmed to promptly peaceful.
Of course, the next day my dad called me. The document would take longer than expected. Oh, and it might not even work. What? I had prayed, hadn’t God heard me?
“Lisa, I’m making you’re situation so hopeless, that everyone knows it’s me.”
Ok. Cool. This is the moment where you have to trust. You have to give up your rights and just let him do whatever he wants. I know it doesn’t seem hard, but in that moment it took everything in me to not cry myself to sleep. It took everything in me to smile at those kids. It took everything in me to worship, to prayer, to not worry.
But God did hear me. The next day I get a call. “Lisa, the U.S. embassy called and they convinced the Bolivian immigration office to let you travel without a document!”
Nothing was confirmed until Thursday, but on Thursday I was cleared to travel Saturday. The day after Christmas at the center. See, God had perfect timing. Not to mention the other stories where I got to pay for a house for a homeless man in a coffee shop, or how I met an American girl who I was able to talk to for an hour and a half.
I know some people don’t believe that God planned all this. It’s all a coincidence. But I don’t believe in any coincidences. I believe there is an ever-present being up there who put this puzzle together for me. I can’t believe that all this was a coincidence. One day I was stuck for a month with no help from any government and the next day they just woke up and decided to help me and get me out in 3 days. I can’t believe that that’s by chance. Everything I’ve seen here is not my chance. It’s by love, It’s by faith.
If I were to do this trip again, I would change…
Nothing at all. Because I’ve learned that God does hear our prayers, he just cares more about our character than our comfort. He has a better plan, even if it involves pain. I know so many people are going through much harder things than I have, but I can say this: You’re not alone.
I’ve learned that things don’t always make sense. I’ve learned that sometimes it takes being detained for half a month in a foreign country and going through immigration speaking a foreign language to realize that he is there if you really decide to pursue it. I’ve learned that bravery is a choice not something you are. And I’ve learned that God really doesn’t care about age, he cares about faith.
I’ve also learned never go to Bolivia as a minor! I think I’ll wait until I’m 18 until I go back. But actually, This trip has taught me to let go of my life. It’s not mine anyway. I’m here to give it to others. I think we always look at God and blame all the evil in the world on him. However I think we forget that the evil is in us. We kill, we steal, we ignore others, we hurt others. And he figured out how to get rid of evil without getting rid of us. He came down, even though he had every right to be like a king, instead he washed feet, he healed, he let people spit on him. He gave his life away and gave everything so that he could live in us and instead of evil we now can have the spirit of God in us.
I know that may seem like a bunch of religious stuff, but I’ve seen how it’s real. I’ve seen an abused, hurt girl go from misery to mercy. I’ve seen a change, you can see it in the pictures. Her smile. Even this little girl knows there’s something real to this whole Jesus thing. Although she is constantly disobeying, she has tasted grace and it’s changed her. Our lives are worth giving. Everything.
It might mean getting detained, being exhausted, never sleeping, sacrificing free time, leaving your friends and family, but it’s worth it. I know I haven’t given like other peoples, but It’s something I strive for. I’ve decided to let go of my life, but I know that “ him who loses his life will find it.”