In today’s post, we share the joy, wonder, and happiness expressed by current lay missioner Hady Mendez at the beauty of mission service.

I’m happy here in Bolivia. And even as I write these words, I’m knocking on wood because I don’t want to somehow jinx myself. I’ll admit it. I didn’t expect to be this comfortable here, this quickly.

Hady with two Bolivian friends, Daniela and her mother, Mary Cruz (L-R, photo taken at the Centro Franciscano house blessing)

Let’s see: I have a great apartment that I share with four amazing people. I have a really spacious room that I have decorated to my liking and that is truly a pleasure to come home to each evening. I have not one, but two great churches that I enjoy going to and which spiritually feed me. I have two really awesome ministries – both very different from the other – but both fill me immensely. I get to motivate women in need as part of my main ministry with Manos Con Libertad. And I get to apply my business knowledge and skills two afternoons a week at AHA Bolivia. I have a very active and busy social life and at the same time get to spend some nights just sitting in my room watching Seinfeld which makes me very happy.

The other thing that’s happening is that I’m really growing as a person here. I’m learning to be patient. With myself, with others, and with situations. Not everything is going to happen the way I want it to happen or in the timeline I’ve set out. It’s not easy, but I’m learning to trust God more. I’m being exposed to people in very difficult situations and I’m seeing how much they trust God. Without condition. Without exception. That experience has been extremely helpful in my own faith journey.

I also get really emotional when I see other missioners and the work they are doing here. Watching their commitment and love for the people here is really inspiring. It’s beautiful to see how much love is flowing — in such an unselfish manner.

Like when I brought my roommates, Nate and Mary to my ministry site at Manos to teach the women how to bake cookies and make lasagna and pizza. Doesn’t sound super-inspiring except that the women fell in love with Nate and Mary. “Les tenemos mucho carino” is what they literally said. And they only met them three times! That’s because Nate and Mary taught them how to cook with love. And the women could feel it.

Current lay missioner Nate Mortenson teaching women of Manos Con Libertad how to make lasagna (photo courtesy of Hady)

When I think about my expectations coming here, what I would be doing, how I would be feeling, what I’m feeling right now is not at all where I thought I would be. I thank God every day for the gift of mission and for the time to grow and see the beauty in simplicity. I don’t expect that life here will be without its problems and worries, but I feel equipped to deal with the obstacles in a healthy and positive way.

Praise God for all the beautiful people I’ve encountered here so far and for the army of friends and family that continue to provide their love and support back home. I am one of the luckiest people in the world right now.

If you are interested in following my journey in Bolivia, please LIKE my FaceBook page. I post pretty regularly and share pictures and videos of the things that are happening here. I welcome your comments, your encouragement, your observations, and most of all, your support.

PAZ Y BIEN!