Amanda Dorough | She's Paying It Off

The Story of My Journey to Debt Freedom, One Tiny Step at a Time

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November Newsletter!

This month I’m a little later with my newsletter than I wanted to be, but as I’m quickly seeing it takes a little bit longer to get anything done in Bolivia, a life I guess I’m going to have to get used to 🙂

And I’ve got some good news, I officially have less than $2000 left to raise!  Yay!  But I need to raise it as soon as possible, so, as the end of the year approaches and the chance to get 2012 tax deductions will soon run out, if you or anyone you know would like to get a tax deduction by donating to a good cause check out my link at the top of the page that says “donate” or send me a message and I’ll let you know how!

Now for the newsletter…

Just click on the link below and you’ll find it! (Or at least you should, I’ve having problems getting it to load right now, so if you are too please let me know!)

November Newsletter

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2.5 Weeks Down 9.5 Months to Go

Wow, it’s hard to beleive I’ve already been in Bolivia for nearly 3 weeks! Time has been flying to say the least!

I’m settling into life here slowly but surely. When I arrived there was a total of 5 volunteers (including myself), but in my short time here two volunteers have gone home, so now we are down to three, Allison, a pre-med student from Georgia, Katie, a nurse from Illinois/Missouri and myself, as well as our host family. Needless to say, the house is nowhere near as busy as it was last time I was here (with 16 people!).

Every week day morning I go over to the Hospital to work in Cafe Xelda with Elba. After being closed for a couple months it took us a while to get the cafe up and running, but I think we’re finally getting the hang of it, and patients as well as doctors now realize we are open again, so more and more come to ask for coffee everyday.

I’m so excited for the potential the cafe has to serve the community while I’m here. It’s going to take a little while to get to our ideal point, but it’s a good thing I have 10 months!

At my first South America Futball match! Aurora (Cochabamba) vs. Bolivar (La Paz). Final score? 3 to 3, tie!

Most of my afternoons thus far have been spent pursuing my visa extension, which is proving to be a very complicated task, so I haven’t been able to do much ministry, but I have been able to visit a local orphanage called Casa De Amor 1. The orphanage is home to more than a dozen toddlers, who, like most toddlers are full of energy and love to play! We are also currently pursing getting ID’s for Moviemento Sonrisas, which will allow us to visit children in the pediatric ward of Viedma Hospital, which, if you’ve read my past blogs, you know was one of my favorite ministries the last time I was here!

I even got to wave a flag at the game. Go Aurora!

During these first couple weeks I’ve also been privileged to take part in a couple incredible adventures (one which you’ve read about, the other you’ll hear about soon), which I’m so grateful for, but now I’m looking forward to really digging in and getting involved in Cochabamba in every way I possibly can. That being said, if you could keep my visa pursuit in your prayers. It has the potential to be a very long and costly process, so pray for favor with all of the officials (Interpol, Police, Immigration, etc.) and that everything will happen quickly so that I can stop making trips into the city to get my paperwork sorted out and instead use my time in ministry.


***Also, I’m still in need of $2,200 to complete my 10 months of ministry here in Bolivia.  If you or someone you know would like to support me visit my Donate link at the top of the page to learn how. Thanks!***

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October Newsletter!

I leave in 3 days, and my to-do list is still a mile long, yikes!  At least I can check Post Newsletter off the list!  Yay!

And just a disclaimer, one story in the newsletter is the same as my September newsletter, BUT this is because I didn’t actually get a chance to send that newsletter out to any supporters.  That’s the only overlap though, I promise!

Check the link below to find my PDF! (Don’t click on the picture, it’s only a screen shot and won’t take you to the newsletter 😉 )

October Newsletter

Oct. Newsletter


P.S. You may notice this months newsletter looks a little different than last months.  My mother generously offered to buy me Pages (the Mac equivalent of Microsoft Publisher) so now I’ll be able to make newsletters each month I’m in Bolivia.  Thanks mom!

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Provided. Provision.

Guess what?  I leave for Bolivia in 10 days!!!!  Holy smokes, where has time gone?

Currently I’m busy getting things ready to go, including a Q & A to answer all your questions,  but right now I want to give you a quick update, because, well, God is so good!

First, regarding the funds I need to raise for Bolivia.  As of two weeks ago I officially had $4300 raised!  Thanks to incredible donations from so many of you I am more than halfway there!  My goal now is to have the remaining $3200 I need raised by November first.  I know it’s a lot of money, but it’s penny’s to God!  If you would like to support me through a donation or monthly (ie. $10/month) you can find out how by clicking the “Donation” link at the top of the page.

Second, a few weeks ago I posted a blog asking for help obtaining the items I need to bring with me to Bolivia.  I had everything from Shampoo to a Point and Shoot camera on the list and it felt so overwhelming, but my friends really came together.  Within two weeks I was given bags of items I needed, others gave me gift cards, and some even asked me to do photoshoots for them (which has helped me raise money), and now I officially only have one item left on my list, and it’s the biggest item so that’s kinda expected (18-55mm lens for a canon DSLR…or a new DSLR to replace my old, dying one, but that’s really a dream!)  I haven’t given up hope getting the DSLR though.  Like I said, I consider photography to be a huge part of my ministry, and God’s provided everything else, so why wouldn’t he provide this as well?

The lesson learned here?  God is sooooooo good, and he can provide anything you ask for!  I may not have 100% of what I need yet, but I know it’s totally possible!  And thank you so much to all of you who have helped me get to this point.  You may not have received thank you cards… yet, but your generosity hasn’t gone unnoticed.  You are making a difference!  Thank You!


A paparazzi moment on the World Race in Romania.

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It’s Officially Official!

Have you heard?  I have a little thing called a FLIGHT to a little country called BOLIVIA!  That’s right, this trip has suddenly become so real!

On Monday I emailed Daniel, the international volunteer coordinator for Hospitals of Hope and he told me we could book my flight once I’d reached $4000.  By the end of the day I was only $40 away so he said we could go ahead and book it.  So the last couple days were filled with flight research and calls to the Bolivian consulate.

So are you wondering when I’m leaving?  Do you really want to know?  OK…..

I fly out on October 11!  As in 3 weeks from today, not October 11, 2013.  I know it may sound quick, but I’ve been preparing for this moment since May, and you may remember that the original departure date I wanted was September 17… So I’m anxious.  Anxious to get down there and start working, and the benefit of leaving in October is that I will get back home in early August, with enough time to enjoy some summer vacation with my family.

Even though I’m leaving in October I still have $3500 left to raise to reach my $7500 goal.  If  you or someone you know would like to support me with even $5 click the donate link in the menu bar to find out how.

I am also still in need of a point and shoot camera and an 18-55mm Canon DSLR lens.  So if you would like to help me in obtaining one or both of these items, or if you have a point and shoot camera laying around the house that you would like to donate please let me know.  I really want to document and tell stories and throughly as possible during my time in Bolivia.  I consider photography to be a huge part of my ministry, often my photos have gained more attention and made much more of an impact than the words I write and I would really love to continue to impact people back home as I venture to Bolivia!

I can’t wait for the incredible things God is going to do this year!


It’s going to take 5 flights to get to Cochabamba, but I’ll get there eventually!

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September Newsletter!

Hello Everyone!

I love making newsletters.  For those of you who followed me on the World Race you may remember I made newsletters every month before I left, however, once the race started our schedule became to hectic to continue (plus I didn’t have the program with me).

This time’s a little different though.  I’m excited for a slightly calmer missionary life and I’m looking forward to sharing awesome things God is doing both on this blog and through newsletters through every month of my ministry.

So check out my first newsletter for September!  It features stories, fun facts, my fundraising progress and so much more!

The newsletter is in PDF format so click this link and it will download to your computer!

Click here! September Newsletter

*Note: The photo below is just a screen shot a not the actual newsletter.
Newsletter ScreenshotOn another note.  I used my parents Microsoft publisher program on their PC to make this newsletter because I have a Mac and Publisher is not available for Mac’s.  To continue making newsletters once I leave for Bolivia I will need to download “Pages,” a Apple program similar to Publisher as well as the new Mountain Lion operating system (the current version of Pages cannot be used with my current operating system).  Together these programs cost $40.  If you would like to help me continue making newsletters throughout my time in Bolivia by helping me purchase these programs let me know!


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Breaking My Pride: Asking For Help


Pride is like a wall. It’s a barrier and often an obstacle in our life paths.  A wall that many of us are too stubborn to break down.

I used to have a pretty big wall.  We’re talking Great Wall of China folks.  Seemingly impenetrable.  But slowly, brick by brick I’ve been able to disassemble the wall.  Well, most of it.  There was still this little nub, a row of bricks that I would trip over each time I passed by, but I wasn’t ready to finish off the wall yet.  I should be able to do some things on my own.  I mean, I’m a strong, twenty-something independent female.  Or at least that’s what feminism tells me.

But the truth is, what good is surrendering 99% of my pride if I still hold on to that little bit?  That row of bricks that continually trips me up?  It’s would be better to just be rid of it all and walk freely.  I’m sick of stubbing my toe on those stupid bricks and I’m ready to throw them away once and for all.

So here it goes, my last little bit of pride I’m kicking it to the curb and I’m finally admitting that

 I can’t do any of this on my own. 

 Any of it.

I’ve known for a long time I need God’s help in everything.  That was 99% of my wall.  But that last 1%?  Well, that was admitting that I need help from people, specifically you.

By now you know that God’s called me back to Bolivia to serve for an indefinite period of time.  That I’m going to be partnering with Hospitals of Hope, running their coffee shop and helping with volunteers,  and you know that I’m leaving as soon as possible, aka as soon as I get the $7,500 I need to live and work as a missionary there for 10 months raised.

And let me tell you, God has been so good!  It’s been two weeks since I officially started fundraising and so far $1100 has been raised!  I was also informed by my contact Daniel at HOH that as soon as I have $1000 in my account (which I am assuming is physical dollars, not pledges) we will book my flight.

I am so excited and so terrified at the same time, because I know that day is coming soon.

But while the $7,500 covers costs such as transportation, housing, food, ministry etc., any costs above and beyond that are mine to figure out, and let me tell you, there are a lot of costs.

Bolivia is considered a developing country or third world.  Many of the items we use everyday either aren’t available there or they come at a hefty price.  For example, one day I was in the grocery store and found a stand of strawberry pop tarts.  I love pop tarts, so I ran over and they were $11 for one box.  Ouch!

While I don’t plan on packing any pop tarts with me as I head for Bolivia, other products like American shampoo come with similar price tags.  And clothing?  Well, because I am unfortunately not a size 6, or even a 10 for that matter I can basically forget about it.  That is unless I want to strut down the street in a nice velvet Quechua skirt.  I don’t know if they’d really like me much if I did that.

So, I will be packing nearly everything I need with me, and it’s overwhelming.  God has blessed me with enough money this summer to pay my bills that come along with living here, like care insurance, but that doesn’t leave much for anything beyond current necessities, like gas.

And that’s why I need your help.

I need your help in just acquiring the day to day items I will need to bring with me.

While God has blessed me immensely this summer through couponing, allowing me to fill nearly all of my oral care needs, razors and deodorant for less than $5, couponing abilities only stretch so far.

So how can you help?

  1. Do you have any old unused giftcards laying around the house or gathering dust in your wallet?  Unless it’s for someplace like Home Depot I guarantee I can put it to good use!
  2. You can help me by financially supporting my acquisition of the items I need.
  3. Maybe you have some of these items lying around your house.  I need everything from shampoo to batteries and a packable rain jacket so chances are you have something.
  4. Or maybe you just want to go on a shopping trip and by the items…

However you want to help, the help would be greatly appreciated!

So now I know what you’re thinking.  What the heck do you need?  Well, like I said I need everything from shampoo to batteries and a packable rain jacket. I’ve compiled a visual list with descriptions of many items I need on my Pinterest site.

Pinterest Name: Amanda Dorough
Board Name: Bolivia or Bust!

If you don’t have Pinterest but would like a list feel free to email me at or leave a comment and I will send one to you.  And like I said above, giftcards or finances to get these items work as well!

Now here comes the biggest laying down my pride part.  It’s something I’ve debated about posting but it’s also something I’ve been praying for God to provide for months and I feel like I need to ask because, maybe one of you will be able to help me.

I’m a photographer.  Maybe you knew that, maybe you didn’t.  I love taking pictures, but even more I love sharing stories through pictures.  Stories of God’s creation and what God is doing in the world, and I’m super excited for the stories of God’s work that I’m going to be able to share from my time in Bolivia.

But…. Well here it goes.  I need a camera.  Well, actually I need two cameras, kinda…  There, I said it.

Now let me explain.  After graduating college I used my graduation money to by a Canon Rebel.  It’s just a basic DSLR but it still took amazing photos.  There’s just something about photo’s taken with a DSLR.  The quality seems to capture people’s attention more.  My Rebel has been a good camera.  It’s been well-traveled and taken close to 70,000 photos, and it’s getting tired.  I can already see the photo quality lacking compared to newer cameras, but the real problem is the lens.  I may or may not have dropped it at some point along the road, the lens barrel got a little bent, and now I am unable to take wide angle photos, which are the primary type of photos I take.  A new lens will cost me $170.  $170 that I don’t have.  And that’s my first need, a new 18-55mm lens.  While my heart actually yearns for a new camera, the new Rebel, or I guess even a used Rebel, I know that the only piece I can actually claim I need is the lens.

To continue on, there are some aspects of my ministry where a large black Digital SLR will be to intrusive, like when I’m in hospitals and in some village situations where the Bolivians have superstitions against big cameras (it’s true).  This is why I really want to bring a point and shoot camera.  Something small and discreet that can be used to take photos in these situations.  Even though I’m a Canon girl, currently I’m not too picky and would be willing to take a camera from any brand, used or new.

So, maybe you have a camera at home that you never use, or you just feel it lain on your heart to help me out.  I can tell you that I desperately want to share the stories of God’s work, in fact, I consider my photography a huge part of my ministry, so your help would be greatly appreciated.

In fact any help that I can get in acquiring any of these items is so, so greatly appreciated.

And anything can be sent to my home address at
2212 165th Ave Ct E
Lake Tapps, WA 98391

I know I can’t get all these things on my own.  I know I need help, so this is my laying down my last little chunk of pride and asking for it.


In the end I would also like to take the chance to thank some of those people who have helped me on this road already.

To Rikki Lynn, who so graciously gave me her backpack, before the World Race was even over.
To Karen Lynn who dove into her couponing stockpile to help me, and helped me put together care packs for kids I will be visiting in Bolivian hospitals.
To Lisa Triola and Jessica Montenegro for supplying a ton of goodies for the care packs.
And to my Mom for her willingness to do what she can to help me acquire the things I need.

Thank you.  Thank you, and God Bless!

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Step By Step I’m Moving Forward

You know that responsive thing people chant in church? The”God is good,” “All the time,” “All the time,” “God is good!”

Ya, well I just feel like shouting that.  God is so good!

Today is September 1, 16 days from when I wanted to leave for Bolivia, and I’ve come to the realization now, that it’s not going to happen.  Not on September 17 anyway.  But I have peace about it.  I may not be leaving in 2 weeks but I know that I won’t have to wait much longer, because the money’s going to come.  How do I know this? Well….

I sent out my support letters 2 weeks ago (much later than I intended) and have already raised $1100 through donations and pledges.  There are also several other people who have talked to me about donating.  Yay!

Also, I talked to Daniel, my main contact at Hospitals of Hope a week ago and he told me that once I have $1000 in my account (and I’m assuming this means physical dollars, not pledges) we can book my ticket!  Which means, I am so close!

So, while I still have a way to go to reach my $7,500 goal,  I know that it will come and I know that I’ll be back in Bolivia sooner than I know spreading joy and putting smiles on those kids faces.

I’m so excited!!!

So that’s my little update for now.  I can’t stop smiling!

BoliviaWith two village girls during a painting break at our local school.


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What Can $100 Really Do?


In todays society of big ticket purchases it doesn’t always seem like much, so what can $100 really buy you?  Well, lets see….

4 haircuts
2.5 tanks of gas
40 pairs of Old Navy flip flops
20 pints of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
10 decorative pillows
1 suitcase
20 Starbucks frapaccinos
1/5 of an Ipad
200 packages of Crayola crayons

But these purchases all have one thing in common, they’re temporary.  Gas runs out, hair grows, flip flops break and caffeine highs wear off, these are just facts of life, but what if $100 could do something so much greater?  Something that doesn’t deliver temporary satisfaction but instead has an eternal pay off?

Nearly a year ago, during my third month of the World Race I had the privilege to partner with Hospitals of Hope, a rural Bolivian hospital near Cochabamba, a city in the Andes Mountains of western Bolivia.  Bolivia is considered the poorest country in South America, and with more than 80% of the children there living in poverty help is needed in every way imaginable, and that’s where Hospitals of Hope steps in, being able to meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of Cochabambas rural poor.

During my month spent with Hospitals of Hope God began to do a great work in me.  Beginning the race I doubted I would find a country I could love as much as Thailand but Bolivia surprised me with an instant connection. I loved the ministry, I loved the people, I loved the city, I loved it all.

As the month went on and my teammates began to count down the days until we headed out to our next country and our next continent I began to mourn leavening, tears flowing from my eyes the morning of our departure.

As the race continued on I couldn’t get Bolivia and Hospitals of Hope out of my mind.  As the months went by I prayed consistently for God to show me what his plans were for me after the race, what I should pursue with my life, and finally the confirmation came during a long bus ride in my beloved Thailand. God told me that he had given me a heart and passion for Bolivia and Hospitals of Hope for a reason, and that’s where he wants me to spend my next season.

So, in mid-September I will be moving to Cochabamba to begin serving as a long term volunteer with Hospitals of Hope.  I will spend the mornings running the hospitals coffee shop, Cafe Xelda, which reaches out to the local community, giving patients free coffee or tea, as well as allowing opportunities for prayer and relationship building with the patients and medical students.  Then, in the afternoons I will be journeying out into the greater Cochabamba community to help with clinics, at orphanages and to assist Hospitals of Hope volunteers in several other ministries.

I will stay in this role for at least a year, and then after that time I will reassess as to whether God wants me to continue building a life and ministry in Cochabamba or if he would like me to serve him elsewhere. I don’t even attempt to make plans anymore, I know he will show me what he wants in his timing, but between you and me, I think I could be in Bolivia for quite a while.

Now here’s the good stuff, what $100 can really do…

God has given me the passion to be his hands in the world, to go out and really try to change things, but my task is impossible without “senders,” people who are willing to partner with me on the home-front to make sure this opportunity for change really happens.

I need to have $7,500 raised or pledged by my departure day.  If I don’t have this amount raised by mid-september my departure date will get pushed back, subsequently forcing my ministry to be put on hold.

With every dollar raised I am one step closer to bringing the passions God has given me to Bolivia and one step closer to being a light in this lost place.

This is a situation where $100 can really make a difference.  If 75 people supported me with $100 I would be fully funded.  If 10 people pledged to support me with $75/month for 10 months, I would be fully funded, or if 75 people pledged to support me with $10/month for 10 months I would be fully funded.

It may mean sacrifice, but that temporary sacrifice has potential to do big things, the potential to change lives forever.

If you would like to support me you can do so in a couple of ways,
You can send cash or checks to:

Hospitals of Hope
3545 N Santa Fe
Wichita, KS 67219

Please make checks out to Hospitals of Hope. IMPORTANT! Do not write my name anywhere on the check, instead, include a slip of paper with my name on it in the envelope with the check or cash (i.e. For Amanda Dorough)

You can also donate online using a card here (Please specify that the donation is for Amanda Dorough), however if you do use a card there is a 2.2% fee that will come out of the donation.

If you would like to support me monthly (i.e $10/month, $20/month etc.) then please email and he will set you up!

All donations given directly to Hospitals of Hope are Tax Deductible.

If you would prefer instead to send your donation directly to me you can mail your donation to:

Amanda Dorough
attn: Bolivia
2212 165th Ave Ct E
Lake Tapps, WA 98391


I you have any questions or would like to learn more about my ministry in Bolivia feel free to email me at

And feel free to follow my life in Bolivia on my new blog and click subscribe on the lower right hand side.

Thank you and God Bless!

$100Clockwise from top left: The road in front of the Hospitals of Hope hospital building on the outskirts of Cochabamba (hospital is on the left); Inside of the HOH ER; English class at Cafe Xelda; Hanging out with the kids in the Pediatric Unit with Moviemento Sonrisa

$100Hanging out with kids and painting the school in Anacoriare, the small village the hospital is located in.