Planet Impressions. Encourage. Inkblots in Rainbow Colors. Doing community in the global south and other places. "Higher up and further in!" with an outreach twist.

Posts tagged “missions

Haiku #8. “Goodbye”

Haiku #8.  “Goodbye”

by NinadeSusOjos



Dread word!  Don’t say it.

Hurts too bad again.  Shut up.

Pretend that this is normal.


Vignette # 7 from the Children

#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)!  They kept insisting that they were not!  (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments)  Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.




Vignette # 7 from the Children

#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)!  They kept insisting that they were not!  (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments)  Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.




Wow! Too deep for me, but so good! (more Keller books gleanings)

still on the topic of suffering:

I would consider this to be the nugget in the center of the Christian belief about pain and suffering in the world.- La Niña de Sus Ojos




“The Christian understanding of suffering is dominated by the idea of grace. In Christ we have received forgiveness, love, and adoption into the family of God.

These goods are undeserved, and that frees us from the temptation to feel proud of our suffering.

But also, it is the present enjoyment of those inestimable goods that make suffering bearable. Scheler writes, ‘It is not the glowing prospect of a happy afterlife, but the experienced happiness of being in a state of grace of God while in the throes of agony that released the wonderful powers in the martyrs.’

Indeed, suffering not only is made bearable by these joys, but suffering can even enhance these joys, in the midst of sorrow.” – Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Tim Keller, pp. 29-30, Penguin, 2013.

For us women. On being a woman, on being an older woman, on our culture’s attitude toward older women, on genuine humility and authenticity.

IMG_4475  A small group of believers, mostly Bolivian, headed by a Bolivian female medical doctor who is, herself, a missionary, and who is NOT the person who doesn’t blend in, in the bottom photo,IMG_0110 arranged IN TEAM for many indigenous Bolivian marginalized children, in an out-of-the-way community in a far away jungle, to get the parasite testing they needed to help address their acute health needs. The project happened in part because some older women within the team, made it happen.

Browsing through an Indie kind of a thick paperback book, this weekend.

It’s good in spite of its goofy title.  I found this book outside the door of Barnes and Noble, on a clearance sale cart, and picked it up for, I think, one dollar.

“Younger by the Day – 365 ways to rejuvenate your body and revitalize your spirit”. By Victoria Moran.


But, listen to this, from the March 14 entry on “Concrete Confidence”.

“Concrete confidence is the kind that does not depend on externals…

While concrete confidence is unshakeable, confidence based only on how you look or on what the world thinks of you is easily lost…

Our culture does not yet value older women…

One day, people will be appalled at this wholesale disregard for women at the time they have the most to offer.

Right now, we can either side with the culture by shrinking obediently and denying our gifts, or we can confidently go forth with every year we’ve lived a further credential…

If your confidence is shaky, pretend that it isn’t.  A prime tenet of successful living is that behavior can precede belief.  That is, you can act as if your confidence is as solid as concrete when in fact it may be more akin to tissue paper!.No matter.  Go about your day as if you have concrete confidence in yourself, your abilities, and the impression you make.

If you cling to the odd sort of selfishness that singles you out as less worthy than someone else, ask yourself, “What made me so unique as to be LESS worthy?”

Humility is a fine thing (if it’s genuine); sackcloth and ashes make anybody look bad.”   -pp.91 and 92

The Stranger in our Shower

Good morning, dear world! I saw a post recently about how it’s probably healthier for kids to get a bath only one or two times a week, because their immune systems are still developing and, a certain amount of mostly benign flora and fauna in and on them helps their natural resistance to be strong. I think it has to do with, also, allowing their natural skin oils to accumulate a bit, which provides yet another healthy barrier against infection.

T’was comforting. It made me feel like a better mom, to realize that CERTAINLY I had followed this path with my beloved little ones, as a young mom, sometimes almost by DEFAULT, to be honest. The water and electricity cuts where we lived were so frequent and sometimes so long, that bathing my babies was impossible for days at a time. Except for sponge baths, of course, which are supposed to be super healthy for people anyways.

Reading that post brought back memories of how I would, sometimes, WORRY about the intensity and scope of the thick, light brown dust coverage on their little skins, not to mention deeply rubbed in grime and stains in blue jean knees and shirt elbows, that my happy, healthy little ones popped home with every day from hours playing outdoors with their young Quechua friends.

I remember Paul and me (the parents) actually dusting their clothing off with our hands, while it was still on them, as a matter of course. Visible clouds of fine dirt billowed out, before we lifted our youngsters across the threshold of our small apartment, to go inside with them.  I remember slipping their little shoes off their feet and dumping out CUPFULS of dust and sand! I remember, every once in awhile, a little face being so mud-covered that only the bright, big blue eyes twinkled out at me through the brown grime, under the towhead thatch of fine thick hair!

Digressing a little, but not much, I’m remembering how, one time Paul was away on a ministry trip to a rural area in the highlands. The huge, vibrant and growing loose consortium of all Quechua churches – the one with which we mostly worked, the U.C.E., was hosting a big yearly conference right on the same U.C.E.- owned property where we lived and where there was a Quechua Bible School. Thousands of Quechua people, from all over Bolivia, had arrived at the Bible School and were staying in student rooms, vehicles, and camping. Saturday morning had arrived and I slipped out of the Bible Institute property for a half an hour, striped nylon Bolivia shopping bags over my arms, to buy produce for my family in the Quechua farmer’s market just outside the Bible School gates, right there.  I left my baby and my tiny boys playing happily in the stone-flagged entryway to our apartment, door into our place cracked open, with my Quechua part-time housekeeper, Donya Marcelina, working in our little kitchen and keeping a gimlet eye on our kids, five yards away.

Twenty-five minutes later, walking back in, lugging bagfuls of fresh potatoes, lettuce, papaya, broccoli and Granny Smith apples, I smiled at my three offspring, still in our foreyard playing Legos with the kids of Benedicto and Braulia, and slipped in through our front door. Our place was tiny; distances are small. I turned toward the kitchen, still lugging produce, and called a greeting to Donya Marcelina. At that moment our bathroom door opened and a Quechua stranger, a man, came out, with a towel over his arm.

“Good morning, Senora!”. Huge grin.

I mumbled “Good morning”. I was in shock. I was not grinning.

He smiled ingratiatingly, and slipped past me, made a bee-line for the front door, and disappeared. His hair and skin were all wet.

“Donya Marcelina???” I sputtered.

She looked at me with concern in her warm, deep eyes.

“I know, Donya NinadesusOjos. But, he just walked in here, and started taking a shower, in the bathroom.  I assumed  you had given him permission, before you left! I am so sorry!”

I had the deepest, most intuitive liking, respect and trust for this lady, older than I, in whom I had implicit faith and from whom I had learned dozens of positive, amazing life hacks. I thanked my God for her every single day. I loved her, and her warm, open, authentic smile.

“It’s okay, Donya Marcelina! I’m not blaming you! It’s not your fault!”

And it wasn’t. It was just another example of …. life! I think God was trying to teach me, not only to trust Him more, but to laugh more, along the route.


Today’s Post

January 5, 2015


“It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it.  The ‘hard’ is what makes it great.”


– found on Pinterest

Vignette # 7 from the Children

#7 Amanda, 5 years old, kept complaining to the adult monitor that some of the little boys kept calling her a SPIDER (araña)!  They kept insisting that they were not!  (a lot of these little ones seem to have lisps and slight speech impediments)  Several of the other kids chimed right in and they all had a little philosophical discussion about it.




Walking 33 Kilometers through Roadblocks and Riots

A 22 year-old woman, Vanesa (name changed),IMG_7438 is part of our children’s outreach story. She recently graduated from the public university in Cochabamba with her degree in psychology and she volunteers full-time as the youngest group of children’s teacher plus she individually works with, counsels and gives special attention to some of our more troubled children, one-on-one. She does this for a love gift, from our outreach, of only 100 dollars per month.  Our outreach does not yet have enough financial resource to pay even one legal salary, a minimum wage one, to anybody.  To be able to do so is something we are praying toward and working toward. Vanesa is one of 9 brothers and sisters who were raised partly in the Chapare region of Bolivia and partly in the rural town of Tarata, outside of the city of Cochabamba. When she was a child she suffered a challenging life. When she was only 8 her mom and her dad split up.  She was raised in extreme poverty, spoke and heard mostly Quechua in the home, suffered hunger, hardship, lack of love, neglect at times, and knew only limited Spanish. When she got to the age of 18 she decided she was going to go to university and graduate with a (free, in Bolivia) college degree, no matter what.  She found herself in huge conflict with her dad because he did not want her to major in psychology, because he didn’t think it would make her enough money after she graduated.  When she insisted on majoring in psychology he withdrew  all financial support from her and threw her out of his home.  She continued studying on her own. She lived on her own. Sometimes she didn’t have food to eat. About a year into  her studies at the university, one of her psychology courses required her to do a practicum, and the university sent her to our children’s outreach, which had just started up, to do the practicum.  That’s how she met my friend, the director.  The two women became good friends and my friend helped Vanesa to learn more Spanish, to learn more about grammar and writing and the manners and ways of a large city and university. It was through and with my friend and our children, of the outreach, that Vanesa also came to faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior! From then on, there was no stopping Vanesa.  She worked more and more with the children of the outreach, doing her university studies at the same time, and growing and being discipled in Christ Jesus with the strong and almost daily help of my friend the director.  Vanesa was now part of the outreach family.  She still had almost no money, ever.  Two times, she didn’t even have enough money for her bus fare from our outreach center to her tiny rented room far out on the other side of Cochabamba, past the oil refinery, and so, she walked the whole way, taking three and a half hours to arrive home! Another time, when there were roadblocks and riots, she walked all the way to Tarata, 33 kilometers, to take some food to her younger sister who was stuck on the other side of the road blocks. Two months ago, Vanesa graduated from university.  Even though our outreach cannot pay her a real salary, she is teaching and counseling and helping with the children more than full-time, at our center, and has recently started an additional diploma program in physical education, at the university, to enhance her ongoing education and future curricula vitae. She plans to keep on being a part of the children’s outreach family, and says it is her very own real family.

Jan. 17, 1973 journal entry, continued. I was fifteen and a sophomore in The American School of Kinshasa, Congo, and in boarding at MPH.

” I pressure myself to be liked.  I say to myself, ‘Smile, and act sweet! Nobody likes a sour face!’  Act RIGHT, now.  You’ve GOT to make an impression on those kids.  And it is terrible.  I don’t WANT to smile when I don’t feel like it.  I want to have some people, at some place where I can go, and not worry about the impression I make.  Just be myself, and forget what the word “popularity” means.  How do they do it – the popular girls?  L. is so lovable, because she is always herself.  Nancy, Ruth, Carol, Kathleen, Karen?  One thing though – at least there are no closed clicks(sic).  Of course, everyone is drawn to their kind of people but everyone is pretty open to other people here.  It’s really a good experience after that school in the States.  How I wish I could get to know some boys here.  Maybe, in a boy, I could find that person I need to really open up and be myself with.  That is what L. has in her B. but, her problem is, he’s a thousand miles away.  But I would be surprised if one quarter of the guys in this school even know my name.  It’s not their fault, mostly mine, but I have a problem – I’m too shy.  I guess what I’m going to do is pray about it, and look for guidance.  That should help if anything will.”