There and Back Again
As a board member of Anchor of Hope, I have the privilege of being a part of something very special. I get to be a part of an organization that’s mission is to be the literal hands and feet of Jesus everyday to the youth living on the streets of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. This is a beautiful calling that is at the very center and heart of the Gospel.
As grateful as I am to be a part of this beautiful mission, living in the states as a board member has also been challenging for me personally – it is hard to be so far away and disconnected from the team, the kids and what is happening on the ground in Bolivia on a day-to-day basis. God has created me to be someone who has a desire to be connected and on the front lines of whatever He calls me to.
God is not only aware of this fact about me but is also a good and faithful father. He allowed me the opportunity to go back this past June for a visit. My first visit was in 2019. At that time, I went down as a perspective board member to learn more about the ministry and get to know the team. This time around, I went back as a board member to support the team and see firsthand the great growth we have made as a ministry.
It was amazing to return after only three years and see just how much growth we have made. Not only on a physical level with the growth of our Bolivian staff and the purchase of a beautiful, new center where the kids can come off the streets and receive programming throughout the week, but also on a spiritual and relational level with the deep, internal work that is being done with these kids every day.
During my time in Santa Cruz, I had the chance to spend time with the youth on multiple occasions. I initially had a bit of fear that I would not be able to connect with them due to my poor Spanish-speaking skills and the fact that I was a stranger to them who had not done the work to earn their trust. My greatest prayer while I was there was, “Lord, please allow me to truly connect with the youth on a deeper level.”
In just a short week and a half, I was given so many special moments and connections with the kids on each occasion that I was able to spend time with them. Of course, I thank God for His faithfulness in this, but I also see this as a strong testament to the perseverance and the hard internal, spiritual, emotional, and relational work that the Anchor of Hope team has and continues to invest into these children.
Internal work is not fruit that you see in a day. It is the planting of a seed that may take years to finally reveal only a small sprout. But when that sprout finally emerges it’s head out of the ground, you feel all the more excited over the fruit you know that it will one day bear. I had the privilege to see the fruit that Anchor of Hope has been investing into each one of these precious kids. I saw the openness, the love, the trust, the faith in Christ, and the hope that there is more to life than their current circumstances.
I am so thankful to be a part of this team, to have had the opportunity to walk alongside the Bolivian staff and gain a deeper understanding of the daily ups and downs that they go through. Even more, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to love on these kids and to experience the tangible growth and progress that is being made toward the flourishing future that
God has for each one of them.
Naomi Terlouw- Board Member, Vice Chair Anchor of Hope Board or Directors