by Jenny Blenko
(HOPE worldwide Bolivia one-year volunteer with Foundation Arco Iris)
God always takes what I have to give and makes it something greater. In October, with a trip home looming ahead of us, my best friend and fellow volunteer Alina Wahl and I decided that it would be a good idea to make the most of our time in the United States by planning a fundraiser. With little experience planning such events and little idea what to buy or where to buy it, we began praying, talking to friends and family, and roaming the markets of La Paz looking for beautiful things to sell. Prayers were answered, and everything quickly fell into place: a family friend offered to host a fundraiser at her house, and the South Bay Church told us that we could also fundraise after Sunday service. A month later, we were on our way home with two huge duffel bags stuffed to the brim with alpaca scarves, sweaters, hats and gloves, and handmade necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings.
By the grace of God and the generosity of many people, both fundraisers were a great success—we raised nearly $3,500 to donate to our projects! It was so special to not only be able to raise money, but also to personally share the stories of the people and families that the money will impact.
Now, nearly four months later, the money is already being put to good use. Last week, we were notified that we would officially be able to build a bakery where homeless youth will be able to both gain the skills and make money to help them get off the street. We are still hoping to start a microfinance program to give sex workers the opportunity work their way out of prostitution.
2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” What a blessing that this is the God that we serve!
With love from Bolivia,