Well 2016 has almost come to an end. I cannot believe how fast this year has gone, and how much has changed in these past 12 months!

So many people have asked me, “How did you know that you were supposed to go on missions?” “Why Bolivia?”  I never really knew, it all just kinda happened. So I’ll go through it all month by month and see how it happened.

I’ll go through my year and share what I have learned and gone through in this time!:) 

 

January:

I started this month by deciding I was going to fast from social media for at least 2 months, to see what God was trying to tell me. I had been feeling like God was trying to show me something but I felt like there was something in the way and it wasn’t clear.

I think it was the first or second Sunday in January that there was a missions report from Bolivia in our church. I felt such a strong desire and my heart just started feeling all these emotions during that report. I knew God wanted me to do missions. I DID NOT want to go to Bolivia, I just thought this was a general calling for missions of some sort.

So January was filled with many meetings with pastors. I was debating going to Mexico, Israel, even The World Race, or YWAM.

My aunt was here from Winnipeg! We had our ‘shinbang.’ Which is just us playing music and singing. I love it.

 

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February:

There was no specific place that really stuck out to me. I just wanted to help people, to be there for them.

I was working at a nearby school as a EA/Special Needs Assistant at this time and LOVED my job.

Then I heard through someone that Bolivia had a school and they were often looking for English teachers. I knew instantly that I needed to go. I prayed about it and when I told the pastor I was considering Bolivia..well that just made everything take off!

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March:

I stopped fasting and Satan attacked instantly. This month I had been feeling so worthless. I felt like my life didn’t have any true meaning.

More meetings with pastors, as well as the mission board at my church.

I found out that there were more than just one school in Bolivia where I could teach. One of them may even have an opening in June! That scared me since I was working at this school until end of June and it would kind of cause some issues.

I got the contact information for the director at the school, sent in the application and needed information. They said that they would not have anything definite until October/November, but they’d keep in touch.

Sending the application was hard, had my friend press the send button for me. I was so scared. Scared of getting rejected and simply not being good enough. Scared of getting accepted and failing..

So the waiting began.

 

April:

Filled out and sent more paperwork out to Bolivia.

I told the principal at the school I was working at, that I may be going on missions and may not be here the following school year, nothing was final though.

One of the hardest things I had ever done. I loved my job. I loved my kids.

He told me they needed an answer by next month, to see if I was going to sign the contract for the coming year.

Took a girls trip to Edmonton, for 2 days, with my sister Larissa & friend Nicole! We had so much fun! Went to Red Robin, Olive Garden and iHop! …Yes we mainly ate… and jumped on the beds. It was nice 🙂       #itsagirlstripguys

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May:

Still hadn’t heard more from Bolivia. I only knew that there had been a relative positive response to my application.

I was getting so anxious.

I didn’t want to resign from my job, a job that I loved, only to find out I wasn’t going to Bolivia after all.. but that’s what I did. I cleared the way for God to work. I thought, either way, if Bolivia works out or not, my future is blank, open wide, room for God to work and just use me, however, wherever.

The school here wanted to know. So, I told them as far as I knew, I was planning on going to Bolivia. If it worked out, I was going. It was one of the hardest things I have done.

I remember before I went into the office to tell him I was resigning, I was in the bathroom sitting on the floor, shaking, praying. So scared. I did not think I had the strength to do it. To go and quit my job, to tell people I wouldn’t be here next year. I didn’t have words. All I could do was let the tears flow. God gave me the strength. Somehow I managed to get up, open the door, walk to the office and knock on the office door. God gave me the words, they were shaky, but He gave me the words, strength and courage that I needed.

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June:

I had to tell my class that I wasn’t going to be there the following year. 😦 It broke my heart. I told the students moms who I was working for, first. She was sad to see me go but supported my decision and wished me all the best. The next day I told my students, some had tears welled up in their eyes and asked if I really had to go, if I couldn’t just stay. If someone was making me go, if I couldn’t just say no. It made my heart crumble into a hundred pieces. But I got their addresses, and told them I’d write. ❤

Had a meeting with Bill & Martha Kehler! If Bolivia works out, then I was going to be right close to where they would be living:) Mrs. Kehler said she would take me under her wing and be my ‘mom’ there. I was so excited.

Took a day trip to the territories with my sister Larissa and friend Martin!

It was my birthday on the 18th! Got to celebrate my birthday with my friends and a few others who had their birthday that same week 🙂 I have such a great group of friends. God has really blessed me.

Last week in June was training week at Pine Lodge Bible Camp. The theme was ‘Go For Gold’. I spent a lot of time preparing and getting ready. Made many devotionals and figured out what I wanted to talk about with each group of campers I would have in the next 5 weeks.

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July:

Started volunteering at Pine Lodge Bible Camp all month!

Some weeks were really challenging. I felt like some weeks, my heart just wasn’t there. That the campers I had, would be better off if they’d have a different leader. I just didn’t feel like I was able to fully be there with the campers. It was something I struggled with for a while.

Still hadn’t heard  a lot back from Bolivia. Not really anything since April. But I still felt like I was going, I just had this inner feeling from the start that it would all work out.

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August:

At Pine Lodge Bible Camp first week into August. I was feeling so drained and exhausted by the end of the summer. But was so thankful for the friendships that grew stronger, or formed in those 6 weeks! With the staff, as well as with the campers!

The Monday after camp ended, my sister Larissa and I took a B.C Trip for 1 week! We drove all the way to Banff the first day! It was a really long day! The trip was so good. We met many new people, we saw so much beauty and just were in awe of Gods creation. It was a beautiful trip!

One night, we had already booked a campsite, set up our tent, it was around supper and we were sitting at the picnic table wondering what to do, when we decided to get up and keep traveling! So we drove a few hours and ended up in Golden, B.C! It was probably close to midnight, we couldn’t find a hotel, so we parked on a Super 8 yard between 2 big semi trucks and slept in the back of my car! It was an adventure:)

Then I had one week off to relax and spend time with family until I left for Mexico with my friend Joella on the 21st! She was going there for 3 weeks and asked if I wanted to join her.

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September:

One of the not so fun parts about my time in Mexico was food poisoning. I was sick for about a week. But in that week I spent a lot of time in Gods word, which was nice.

I loved relaxing by the pool! One time we even went to the beach with a huge group of people that we met, it was such a good experience!

While we were in Mexico, the secretary messages me to see if I would consider substituting at the school until I left. I instantly agreed! I had been having a lot of stress with how I would get a job if I could only commit for a short while.

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October:

Found out I’m going to Bolivia! They sent me a offer of position which I right away accepted! It didn’t sink in until a few days later what had happened. That I was truly actually going. Leaving. Moving away for a year. Not seeing my friends and family for an extended amount of time. And so many doubts started to creep in again.

What if this? What if that? What if they all hate me? What if I don’t know what to do?…ect.

Started praying about it more and started feeling more at ease.

Got a more full-time job at the school for someone who was on sick leave for all of this month and possibly part of next month! Also, my aunt and uncle asked if I would tutor my cousin, who is homeschooling, on the days I’m not at the school. Answer to prayer! Had a girls trip with my mom and sisters, Larissa, Kathleen and Janice to Edmonton. It was so much fun!

Things started happening :))

 

November:

Booked my flight!!

This month was just kind of preparing myself to go to Bolivia. Learning Spanish (or trying to) and learning piano (or trying to).

Had a hard time with doubting and questioning if this was something I was really supposed to be doing. Wanted to stay here. Wanted things to happen.

Things happened :))

But I felt like I was causing all those around me to be sad, to have stress and to be anxious.

It was a hard month for me. My flesh wanted to stay here, I did not want to fully surrender my life to God. I wanted to be in control.

But I kept praying and slowly God started to give me peace. I stopped basing things off my feelings. I knew God wanted me to go, so I was going to go.

Had many meetings with the people from the mission board.

 

December:

This month, I had to go up in church. Public speaking. Not my thing. At all. I was so nervous. Terrified. Didn’t think I could do it. But God gave me the strength to do it.

There was a missions report from two couples that are from here that have been doing missions in Bolivia, right close to where I was going to be! I was so excited to know more people in Bolivia. The presentation really spoke to me. My heart broke for every person they talked about. It was so clear to me that Bolivia is where God has called me to be.

On December 20th, I got the news that Mrs. Kehler passed away. I did not know how to react to this. I had planned that I was going to be able to kind of rely on them since I do not know anyone else there. It was such a big shock.

Two days later, on December 22nd, one of my friends brother passed away.

Now it just felt like everything was falling apart. How could God mean for any of this to be good? I just was so confused.

I know God still has a plan. His ways are higher than ours. Although we may not be able to understand it now, one day we will see it. If not in this lifetime, then in Glory-land.

Christmas was bittersweet because of all of this but it made me so thankful to still have all my family with me. ❤

Started packing!! Scary!

 

 

Yeah that’s been my year up to today. So much has happened and I’m looking forward to what God will do 2017!

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Joanna ❤

 

 

 

 

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