Many have asked me, “What does a typical day look like for you in Bolivia?”
I feel like this is something that most people would like to know, so I decided to post about it.
First let me just say, every single day is different. Every day brings its own tasks, projects, joys, challenges, and blessings. But, I will do my best to give you an honest glimpse into my life here.
I wake up each morning to the sun rising over the mountains. Sometimes these giants are gently covered in a hovering fog, sometimes they are caked with freshly-fallen snow from last night’s storm. Nevertheless, each morning they are a reminder of the majesty and power of my God.
I rise and slip on my running shoes to sneak in a quick jog before this peculiar city sitting at 13,000 feet wakes up. Sometimes, I have a little friend that runs with me.
After a shower and hot coffee, I put on my professional attire, which still feels as if I am playing dress-up in someone else’s wardrobe.
At 8:30, I settle into my desk for thirty minutes of stillness with the Lord. Almost every day I pause and think about how lucky I am to be working for an organization that prioritizes spiritual formation above all else. I read my daily devotional, flip through Scripture, and maybe journal a little, reminded of God’s goodness all the while.
It’s 9:00 and the work day officially starts. This means beginning various tasks or projects for the day. If it’s a day when Pastor Juan Carlos has a workshop or seminar for church mobilization, I assist him in preparing his presentation, IJM flyers and prayer cards, and pray over the day. Sometimes, I accompany him to El Alto for the day to assist with the workshop. Those are always great days that bring unexpected surprises, like meaningful conversations with congregation members, or chicken feet in my soup at lunch.
At 12:00 we gather together as an office for a devotional and prayer. This is one of the best parts of the day, because we witness the body of Christ—all the different parts that we serve—come together as one. This year we are focusing on a different spiritual discipline each month, with rest as the emphasis for March. We share prayer requests for work and for our personal lives. Here we get to listen to both tragedy and victory—one may share a request about a client who is really struggling through therapy, while another shares about a recent arrest warrant we obtained. Then, we pray. This is another moment during my day that brings me to my knees before the Father in gratitude. How privileged am I to be a part of a community that puts prayer first.
We will then gather together for lunch, those of us who bring our food. My roommates and I try to eat in the office most days with the staff, as it is a wonderful time of conversation and bonding. We laugh and tell stories and look around at the choclo and falso conejo and remolachas on everyone’s plates.
During the afternoon, I will continue working on various tasks for church mobilization or investigations. If we have an upcoming event for investigations, I will be busy writing, printing and sending invitations to a police appreciation luncheon, or a special police training. Sometimes, I will even get to accompany the investigators to hand deliver invitations to the police stations. It is always exciting being the facilitator of these events, from creating the PowerPoint presentations to designing certificates.
I am also in charge of managing our physical files for investigations, and our online database of criminal profiles. This requires familiarity with each case, each perpetrator name, etc. It is tough work, but good work. When the investigators are planning an arrest strategy, I get to sit in on the meeting, and even give my opinion. After an arrest, I will write up a brief about it. At the end of each week, I compile a detailed report about all investigations activities.
In addition to these two jobs, I am also juggling some administrative tasks. So it is up to me to plan our quarterly office retreats, to plan visits from IJM headquarters, and to manage our director’s schedule. As monotonous as some of these “office” tasks are, I am gaining incredible knowledge and experience from each job, giving me the opportunity to experiment in various different career fields.
At the end of a long day, we flag down a bus labeled “San Miguel” to head home. Our week nights are filled with bible study, dinner at our director’s house, a worship night, or dinner with friends. As busy as my days are, they are filled with purpose and connection and discovery. I am thankful for every little bit of it.
With the lights of La Paz peeking into my 10th floor bedroom, I crawl into bed, usually exhausted but filled with gratitude. I open my journal and write:
281. the healing power of tears
365. a long weekend away to travel
417. long runs on sunny days
Three things. Simple or profound, good or hard, tragic or beautiful. Three things that remind me what a blessed person I am to be living this life. It may not look like much, from the office work to the bus rides to the dirty streets of this city, but it is my life, and I am thankful for the gift.