Ever since I was very little my family has attended Emanuel Church, which is one of the churches affiliated with Grace Ministries International here in Bolivia, so I’ve heard about Jesus my whole life. I remember clearly the day when I received Jesus Christ as my Savior. I was only seven years old, but even as a little girl I knew what I was doing. Since that day my life has not been the same. God has always been by my side. I felt Him deep in my heart, even though sometimes I tried to be in control.
As a child I went to AWANA and when I was older I became a leader in this ministry. As a teenager I tried to make my own decisions, and I struggled with low self-esteem. I didn’t really like myself. In high school I used to compare myself with my girlfriends and I tried to run away from God. I tried to “plan” my life and how I wanted everything to work out. But God kept working on me and helped me see that “…even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12). Then my dad surprised me with a gift to help me study English, without knowing that God would use this for His own purpose and glory.
God spoke to me so clearly in my last year of high school and made me think about the purpose for my life. “Why am I on this earth? Does my life even have a specific purpose?” During this time I heard about a program called Teenstreet (a camp for teenagers), but I didn’t go until two years later in 2006. I had no idea what God would do in my life through attending this camp, but it was there that God completely changed the way I see myself. He showed me how He sees me and helped me put aside my own dreams that I had as a teenager.
While at Teenstreet I learned about the ministry of the ship Logos Hope and I wanted to be part of this. It was a huge challenge not only for me but also for my family, knowing I would have to raise support and be away from home for two years. We started to pray and seek God’s will. While I was waiting I asked God to teach me more about living for Him. But I never thought that God would work in the way He did. The journey was tough sometimes, but it was good. God was teaching me to let go of my deepest desires, one of which was to be near my family, but He showed me that His blessings go beyond this.
During this time of waiting I was serving God in my church as a member of the worship band and a youth group leader. I was also the Sunday School Superintendent and taught a class. I was able to attend different conferences where I could learn more about God.
After six long years of waiting, the day came. In 2011, I finally left Bolivia to be part of the Logos Hope ship for two years, a journey where God showed Himself to me in so many ways. He taught me more about Himself and what He can do. He taught me that I have to remain in Him and that apart from Him I can do nothing. I felt like I experienced a piece of heaven serving and worshiping God with the 400 people who were part of the ship ministry. The team was made up of approximately 60 different nationalities from around the world. That was awesome! It was during my time on the ship that I felt God called me to be a full-time missionary. My heart was open to His voice and I told Him I would prepare myself to serve Him. Before I left the ship I knew I needed to learn more about God’s Word. In 2014 I began another part of my journey by going to Uruguay for three years to study theology. This was a great time of learning how to study the Word of God, not only in the seminary but from the people who were around me in the church where I served. While I was studying I could put into practice what I was learning. It was a full and busy time of learning. I am so thankful that God led me there to enjoy all of this and to get more experience in ministry.
As I began my time in Uruguay I continued to pray about my future. When I finished my studies I felt God calling me to continue to work for Him in Uruguay. I went back to Bolivia to share this with my family and my church, but once again God’s plan was to wait even though I thought I had everything planned out. I did not understand why God was doing this to me, but I decided to submit myself to His will and be patient, because I was learning that His plans are better than mine.
After two more years waiting in Bolivia I felt God telling me to step forward again, not to Uruguay this time but to join the work of GMI. I never expected God to change plans like this. But I trusted God that He was working out His perfect will for me, and the only thing that I needed to do was to trust Him and follow where He leads.
In spite of waiting and changes in direction, I have never felt that I made a bad decision or misheard His voice. My life is His and His purposes are beyond my imagination. There is no better place than to be in His will. I’m so thankful for the life God has given me, and for all He has done in guiding me so far. By His grace He gave me a heart that is sensitive to hearing His voice, which has helped my faith to grow stronger in Him.
Now I am about to start a new journey alongside GMI, joining missionaries Milo and Raquel Seravalli in Nicaragua in January 2020. I´m so excited for the things to come, and I feel even more excited because God is leading my path and every step I take. The plan in Nicaragua is to work in evangelism, discipling, teaching, and music.
To read Lily’s most recent newsletter click HERE.
To read Lily’s most recent newsletter in Spanish click HERE.