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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The Mexico Blog

So there I sat, on a dusty cot, a beam of sunlight sneaking under the open tent flap and searing my back.  It was weird and exhilarating all at the same time.  It had been 6 years since I had last ventured across the Mexican border, and 14 since that first life changing trip.  A lot had changed over time and on that first day I anticipated the movement that would happen that week.

Our Mexico trip this year got off to a bit of an exciting/exhausting start.  We decided to drive down instead of flying in order to cut costs.  The drive started out with momentum and smiles, making stops at Krispy Kreme and Jimmy Johns along the way, but as soon as we crossed over the California border the trouble started.  The next 30 hours involved 2 car repairs, 1 tow truck ride, 5 hours in a Walmart parking lot, little sleep, and a race to get to the Mexican border before it became to dangerous to cross.


We made it.  Just in time.  We rolled into camp at 10:30 and the place was silent, everyone was asleep. Thankfully the other women in our tent had set up our cots because at that point I didn’t have the energy to do it myself.  I had just enough stored to change into my pajamas, unroll my sleeping bag and crawl into bed.  Sleep was instant.

Saturday was a workday.  It was hard, but by 6am we were up and in line for breakfast.  I was part of a group that headed out to Rosarito to finish of a handful of houses that still needed their last coat of stucco.


The first house my team worked on was on the hill overlooking the ocean.  This family litterally had a million dollar view, but their house was the size of an American bedroom.  I was able to use my intermediate Spanish to stumble over words and speak to the family.  Five kids and three grandkids lived with them.  Crowded.

In all teams were able to finish 9 houses for families that day.  The smiles on the families faces as we loaded up vans to leave stretched from ear to ear.  It was contagious.

Love kids!

Then came Monday morning.  My team, team 12 got into our van, tools in hand, excited to get to work on the first step of constructing a house for the Diaz-Fuentes family, the foundation.

This year nearly all teams were building on the same 3 streets, close enough to visit on lunch breaks. The unity that came out of the close proximity was incredible.  Seldom was there a moment without a person from another team on your site helping you get stuff done.

Working Together

Somehow I ended up being the person on my team with the greatest Spanish vocabulary and experience.  A daunting task for me.  Maria, the mom of the family we were building for got used to me stumbling over words and putting together choppy sentences and just laughed with me.  A humbling experience to say the least.

Maria and her husband Alberto were so great to us over the 4 days of the build.  They didn’t have much.  Their family of 5 was living in a small house the size of my bedroom, but they spoiled us with food.  I didn’t have to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich once, and each day  we had a different juice cooled by ice, a luxury I had never experienced in my previous trips.  Maria said “We were blessing her with a house and happy workers work better.” She also wanted to leave a positive impression on us “so that we would come back to Mexico.”  Beautiful.


The rest of the week really flew by.  I didn’t feel well through most of it, so I ended up spending more time in the shade or AC than I wanted. But one of my favorite experiences came on the third day, and it’s a silly one.  We had put the frame up the day before so day three was set aside for covering the the walls and roof.  The roof had always been my favorite part of the build in the past, but this year I didn’t get up there, instead I worked on putting tar paper up on the walls using the most awesome tool I’ve ever held, a hammer tacker.  I know, some of you are out there going “really?”  There’s just something really cool about a tool that does double duty.  You would hit the stuff with it like a hammer, but a staple would came out!  I love it!  I actually decided I’m going to buy my own to bring down with me next year.


So now it’s hard to beleive that I’ve already been home for 3 weeks.  There was something really special about Mexico this year for me.  The last time I went, in 2007, I enjoyed my time but when thinking about coming back again the next year I felt like I could take it or leave it.  I think now, that I’m established as an adult (although people still often mistake me for a youth, others tell me that’s a blessing, I have mixed emotions concerning it) and a youth leader I feel like I have a role to fill and like there’s something bigger than I can imagine that I can do through this missions vehicle.  It’s funny because I didn’t think it would ever be Mexico.  Thailand, Bolivia, Swaziland maybe, and long term, but a week trip to Mexico, nah.  Now I have a different attitude.  Already I can’t wait to go back next year.  I want to impact lives down in Mexico, but on the flipside I’m also excited about impacting the lives of youth, and I think that’s the avenue that God is telling my to invest in now.

Team 12


If you want to see more p pictures from the Mexico trip this year you can click here.

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My Three Things

I took a long walk last night.

I do my best thinking when I walk, and I had a lot of thinking to do.

I’ve had this feeling in the pit of my stomach since leaving Mexico.  A ball of excitement, motivation and energy.

But as each day passes the feeling fades a little, and it scares me, because I don’t want to loose it.

So I set out on my walk last night, sun shining, Rend Collective Experiments “Campfire” (my fav. album!) blasting on my IPod, and mind fast at work.

“Come on my soul, Come on my soul, Let down the walls, And sing my soul”

How could I keep this feeling?  How could I use this feeling?

It would require change, like what I spoke about in my last post….

“I’m running fast and free to You, ‘Cuz You are the movement and fight in me, I’m running fast and free to You, ‘Cuz You are my home where I wanna be, Come move in me, Where I wanna be, come move in me”

First things first, I NEED to be in the Word daily.  I’ve had my phases.  When I was on the World Race I did fairly well at reading my Bible daily.  Then, when I was in Bolivia I would take my Bible with me to the Cafe and read it during slow periods.  And then I moved home… my excuse was always “I don’t have enough time” or “My stupid thryoid makes it so I can’t concentrate” (I have Hyperthyroidism).  But they were only excuses, not real reasons.

“Yes Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves me, How wonderful, Yes Jesus loves me, This is love, You gave Yourself”

Next, I NEED to be healthy.  I’ve talked about it for years, but loosing weight is not an easy feet.  I’ve bounced around within the same 30 lb. range year after year.  I’d loose it, gain it back, loose it, gain it back, and as a result I’ve never had much self confidence.  It’s time to step into the shoes I was always meant to be in.

I have this rain jacket that I bought on closeout from before I left on the World Race.  When I got it in the mail I excitedly took it out, put it on, then “uh oh,” it barely zipped and didn’t come anywhere close to fitting.  Imagine those rolls of cookie dough you can buy at the store.  I was like the dough, the jacket was like the plastic holding in all the goodness until it busted out.  Way. To. Tight.

Today the jacket fits the same, tight, uncomfortable.  So here’s the goal I’ve set for myself.  By the first weekend in March next year (aka the  Mexico Retreat at Winema) I’m going to be able to wear that jacket comfortably, maybe even with a sweatshirt underneath.  It will be work to get there.  I’m going to need to change my eating habits and my exercise habits, but it will be worth it.

Winema Camp

“We seek Your kingdom first, We hunger and we thirst, Refuse to waste our lives, For You’re our joy and prize, To see the captive hearts released, The hurt; the sick; the poor at peace, We lay down our lives for Heaven’s cause, We are Your church, We pray revive, This Earth”

And finally, like I spoke about in my last post, I NEED to stop talking about becoming an EMT and just do it.   Most of you don’t know this but the thought of maybe becoming an EMT has been in my head for about 9 years.  When I decided to leave Vanguard U, and I wasn’t sure if I’d get into Liberty for the fall,  getting certified as an EMT was kind of my backup plan.  Fast forward to 2010.  I had just moved home from Thailand and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  Once again the idea of becoming an EMT came into my mind, but I decided it wasn’t the right time to pursue it, and that’s when the World Race came into my life.  So that brings me to today.  I already expressed that the EMT road is the road I know I’m supposed to go down right now, it’s just roping the motivation to get all of my paperwork in by God-willing next Monday (my Birthday!).

“All that I am is dry bones, Without You Lord, a desert soul, I am broken but running, Towards You God, You make me whole”

So those are my big three goals for this coming year leading up to Mexico 2014,

1.  Be in the Word everyday.

2.  Get healthy.

3.  Follow my dreams, become an EMT.

I’m definitely going to need accountability getting there, especially with numbers 1 and 2.  I know it’s a long way to go, but I’m excited to see what the outcome will be!

July 2013



There’s Gotta Be More To Life

I’ve spent the last 6 months floating in what feels like a bazar form of limbo.  As we rang in the new year oh so many months ago I had the excited feeling in the pit of my stomach that this year was going to be huge.  Big things were going to happen, big changes were coming.  Then day after day after week after month rolled by and it was still the same ole same ole.  My schedule became incredibly predictable.

Wake up go to work.

Come back home for break (because I work a split shift and it stinks).

Go back to work, run around with kids for 3 hours.

Come home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed.

And repeat.

The only thing different about my weekends were no work and plus church.

It’s a lonely life on repeat.  I feel like I’ve been stuck in a deep hole.  I’ve been clawing at the edges to get myself out but the only thing I’ve achieved are fingernails filled with dirt.  Ugh.

Mexican sunset

Yesterday I returned from my first mission trip to Mexico in 6 years.  Since returning from Bolivia last December I’ve often wondered if I made the right decision to come home.  Going to Mexico affirmed that I had.  It was rough in more ways than one and it became pretty clear that physically I am not 18 anymore, but it was so refreshing to my soul.

On Wednesday night I was given the opportunity to get up and speak in front of everyone at campfire.  When I got up I had an idea of what I wanted to talk about, but what came out of my mouth was purely from God.  I know that because it convicted me as well.  My initial plan was to speak on giving up on the American dream.  What came out was more like “God is moving in this world, he’s talking to you and he has big plans so listen and follow.”

Whoa.  It wasn’t anything new to me.  The concept is all to familiar, but I came to a realization.  I had just wasted 6 precious months being lazy.  It wasn’t just that life wasn’t working out for me, I wasn’t working to make it better.  I wasn’t actively pursuing Gods guidance or searching for his gifts.  Instead my chant became “I hate my life” and I let myself sit in that.  Stupid.

Mexico Campfire

So today, as I sit here typing I cry with all my heart for things to change.  A lot of prayer is going to have to go into this next season, but I already have some ideas of what it’s going to look like.

The first step will be to find a new job.  While my current one has been a blessing financially, I feel like it’s sucking the joy and determination from my life.  The second will be applying to the EMT program at Tacoma CC.  I’ve gone back and forth for years deciding if this was the road I should pursue and the best way I can serve.  Going down to Mexico reaffirmed that it is.  So God willing next year when I go back down I’ll be taking some medical skills with me.

So that’s all I have for now.  To be honest, at this moment I would be happier living in a dusty tent in Mexico than in my house here in the US.  I’m definitely made to serve.  So God, I’m trusting that you’ve got something good in store.  Use me dear Lord.  I want to be your hands and feet to the ends of the earth.



Casa De Amor

To start this blog off I have something to share, an explanation of sorts. Over the last month you may have been thinking Amanda, you’ve taken a curious lack of pictures since you arrived in Bolivia, and the pictures you have taken aren’t up to your typical quality (like the pictures in this post which were taken using my iPod).  Well, it’s true and it’s all due to a very unfortunate event that occurred my first week here in Bolivia, and here’s what I have to say about it.

The train broke my camera.

Ok I may have been involved a tiny bit, but I blame it all on the train.  If you remember, a month ago I got a chance to go to Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats), well, on the train there from Oruro we passed through a huge lake full of flamingos and it was awesome, so I got my camera out to take pictures and then, instead of putting my camera away I put it on the floor and then I fell asleep.  Sometime during my sleep it must have shifted closer to my foot rest because when I woke up in was under it, and when I took out my camera the LCD screen was cracked.  My camera even has an extra hard plastic cover protecting the screen, but… they both cracked.  My luck.  Here I was, on my way to one of the most beautiful places in the world and I’d “ruined” my good camera.

Now, it’s true it could have been worse, I mean it’s just the screen, the rest of the camera works,so since the incident I have taken a couple pictures with it, but there are several issues that arise from the screen being useless, the greatest of which is my paranoia that my pictures won’t turn out. Case and point, a good quarter of the pictures I took at the salt flats had a giant, black piece of dirt or something in the middle.  Bummer.

I’ll admit, there’s a huge part of me that wishes I had $500 to order a new Rebel, because, while I’m thankful for the point and shoot I do have, the pictures just aren’t the same.  But alas, I don’t, and you know, while it’s still hard for me, I’m coming to terms with reality more and more everyday.  I mean, people who shot with 35mm cameras didn’t have LCD screens and their pictures still turned out ok right?

Anyway, on to better things, like cute little children!

A ministry I volunteer with weekly here is an orphanage called Casa De Amor 1, which is a home for babies up to 4 years old (Casa De Amor 2 is for the older kids).  When we arrive in the afternoon the kids are just waking up from their nap, so we round them all up, help the Tia’s change all the diapers, which are all cloth by the way, and then we take them downstairs to eat.

Some of the older kids are able to feed themselves but the younger ones definitely need help, especially the littlest one, who I’ll call N.  I don’t know exactly how old N is, but she couldn’t be more than a couple months.  I love sitting in the rocking chair, holding her as she looks into my eyes, happy to be held.  I wish I could go there and hold her everyday.  She’s so precious!

Feeding the 15 little ones takes awhile.  We’re talking like an hour to get it all done, but finally when they’re all finished and cleaned up it’s time to go outside and play, which is of course their favorite time of the day.  Usually we only have a few minutes to play with them before we have to leave, which is disappointing, but at least we can go back as often as we want!  I’m really looking forward to the relationships I’ll build with the kiddos over the next year, and trust me, I’ll share it all with you guys, pictures or not!

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Make A Move

Faith is hard.

Every now and again I have this thought that creeps into my mind that says “You put some much faith in this God, but what if he isn’t even real?  What if all your prayers are for nothing? What if there is no supreme being that truly cares about you?”

And each time I get scared and begin to think “what if?”

Then memories of my life flood before me.  All my fears that were erased and dreams that came true.  All of the incredible vistas I’ve seen and the faith filled people around the world that I’ve met and I know it isn’t true.  God is so real.  I see the proof every day, and moreover I know the truth in my heart.

And so I press on, believing in this God I’ve never seen, and trusting that his words are true, even when my culture screams “false!” and it’s hard.  Faith. Is. Hard.


To shift the focus a bit.…

I have always felt spoken to through songs.  It doesn’t come from all songs, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but every now and again a song will come into my life, and it’s just what I needed.

Sometimes I know it’s God speaking to me, like with Jesus Cultures “One Thing Remains,” and other times I know it’s words of encouragement from my brothers and sisters, reminding me of my goals and pushing me forward.

This last Wednesday I was helping out with my church’s youth group, and our lesson for the night was inspired by the song “Make a Move” by Royal Tailor.  As we watched the music video, the words began to resonate with me.

This time, instead of the song speaking to me, it’s as if my words were the song.  The exact words that had been on my heart were being strung together in a smooth melody…

Mr. Good Intentions, so much I wanna do
My mouth just keeps on running, but I never follow through
I heard that true religion, is love with hands and feet
I wanna find my own way to reach a world in need
Yeah, I’ve been captured by the unimportant
Locked in, and now it’s time to break free

There’s more to life
Open my eyes
Someone is needing You
So I gotta make a move
What good are words
When this world hurts
Real faith will come through
When I make a move

We don’t need permission, to go outside of these doors
And dream some crazy dream no one else has dreamed before
To show love and compassion
Whatever way it may be
To put faith into action, do more than just believe
We are hope to those who have been broken
We were made to make a difference

The preverbal “Mr. Good Intentions” is why I’m going to Bolivia.  This is why I’m chucking my college education to the wayside and choosing to work for free.

In this American life it’s far to easy to be “captured by the unimportant.”  I feel it already.  My hopes, desires and motivations are dimming and slowly being replaced by consumerism and comfort.

The easiest move for me to make right now would be to find a job, leave my missionary days to the past and simply leave the stories of incredible things God did to special occasions.  But for the most part I’d stay in my bubble.  With the same friends and same routine.  It would be comfortable, and easy.

But “what good are words when this world hurts?”  I know better.

The American church is full of Christians who are happy talking the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk?  Well someone else can do that.  They say I can’t.  I’ve got bills to pay, a family to feed, vacations to go on….

Where is the faith people?

While granted, not every Christian is called to pack their suitcases and move away, every single day we wake up and walk into the mission field.  No matter where we live.

As Christians we should have this overwhelming feeling in our heart.  A call to do more.  To help the helpless.  To comfort the broken.  To hold the hurt, and to give to the needy.

Instead we rationalize these feelings away, choosing our culture instead of our faith.

But I just can’t.  My eyes have already been opened.  I know that there is someone that needs me, and right now that person, or people, whoever they are, are in Bolivia.

So this is my time to step out in “real faith.”  This is my time to “make a move,” and put my “faith into action, do more than just believe.”

And I’ll admit every day is a challenge.  I have to trust that I am making the right move.  I have to believe that God will provide the money I need to raise and for the rest of my needs.  I have to have faith that if this is my life long calling that he will have a way to not only take care of all my needs but my college debt as well.

And sometimes it’s so hard.

This faith thing is so hard… but at the same time it’s oh so sweet.

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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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Project Searchlight: Defining My Dream

project searchlightRight now I’m sitting on an airplane, slowly making my way back to Seattle.  Project Searchlight has been over for a day and my time with W squad has officially closed, and it hurts a little.  There’s a very slim chance that this number of us will be in one room ever again, yet at the same time I’m encouraged by each of my friends dreams.  I’m lucky to share a rare community with honest to goodness world changers.

Back in April, when I first heard about Project Searchlight I debated about whether or not to go.  As I understood it, the primary purpose of Project Searchlight was to help new alumni racers figure out what they should do next.  By this time I had already began pursuing Bolivia.  I already knew what my next was, so why would I need to go to a conference to try to figure that same thing out?

But something kept nagging at me.  Instead of discarding Project Searchlight I on the contrary felt like I needed to attend .  I have to admit, part of the selling point was being able to see my W squad friends together again, but there was something else, a small voice in the back of my head that was telling me to go, so I did.

Now, reflecting on the last week do I still think that I needed to go?  That it was a beneficial experience for me?  Absolutely.

Over the course of 7 days I was lucky enough to hear incredible speakers including Andrew Shearman and Seth Barnes, get valuable coaching, spend time with old and new friends and most of all, rediscover and define my kingdom dream.

So what exactly is a kingdom dream?  Well, it looks a little different for everyone, but I would say it’s a life dream, using God-given passions to bring Christ to the nations, and effectively, change the world.

My kingdom dream is best explained in terms of a story.  It started 3 years ago on a trip to Cambodia.  I had the opportunity to go out into a rural village to teach english to the children there.  These kids were hungry for education.  Their government education system was failing them and they desired so much more.

Continuing on to the World Race I encountered children almost monthly who were so vivacious, so caring and so hungry for knowledge, yet they were being failed on some level, usually pertaining to finances.  From the boys in Mozambique whose teachers would often show up to school drunk if they showed up at all, to the kids in Cambodia who spent at least 10 hours a day learning through different avenues with the hope that one day they could create better lives for their children.

So, one day, as I sat thinking about my passions and how even little old me could change the world it suddenly clicked.  My passion is for children, and moreover that they are given every opportunity possible to succeed in life.  Decent education, and moreover in my heart, extracurriculars aren’t something solely for western cultures and I’d like to do whatever I can to make a change for a group of children, however big or small.

My idea for now is to see if there would be an opening for me to create a program for the children within the community I’ll be living within in Bolivia.  A program that can supplement their education giving the children art classes, english lessons and just time to have organized fun, kind of like day camp.  I’m still in the prayer and dreaming phases.  I know God will open a door when the time is right.  I’m just so excited about all the possibilities!


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Soy Libre!

A couple of days ago we celebrated America’s 237th birthday.  The fourth of July stands as a symbol of our forefathers long hard road in the pursuit of freedom and a better future for their descendants.

4th of July

Now, two and a half centuries later I am reaping the benefits of their simple act of revolt, daily freedom.  Within America’s borders I can worship how I want, marry whatever man I want, dress how I want, say (generally) what I want and it goes on and on.  Simple freedoms that many nations still don’t enjoy.

But as I stood outside that night, surrounded by incredible firework shows, there was an even greater freedom I reflected on, the freedom I gained this past year.

When I left on the World Race a year ago I was heavy, burdened, tied down.  I struggled with feelings of inadequacy and of loneliness.  I could never do enough, be enough.

But that was my problem.

It took awhile, months and months and months to be exact, but I finally grasped the truth.  I would never be enough and I can never do enough, because Christ has to be enough.  There is no word in the english language to describe how truly big God is, but to try to grasp it into our human terms, he IS enough, and that’s huge!  He can cap off every hole, dry every tear, fill every lonely night.

But just the fact that he is enough isn’t the whole picture.  We have to let him be enough or we’ll never see it.  It’s not that he isn’t there, it’s that we’re blind.  We’re consumed.  I know I was.

It was so much easier to wallow in self-pity than to let God fill me up and walk me down the often difficult road of my life.  But let me tell you, when I finally gave it up, shouting my declarations into the waves of the Indian Ocean it was like an Elephant had been lifted off my chest.

I was truly free for the first time in my life.

So as we celebrated America’s birthday the symbol of freedom had a whole new meaning to me and God gave me a gentle reminder of his love for me in a gorgeous way, literally thousands of fireworks.  I’m one lucky girl.  Soy libre!

4th of July