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Last summer, I went to Cotahuasi, Peru for three months. I then returned for my Junior year at Grace Bible College. It was an extremely busy school year, and though I was glad to see all my friends and family, I missed Peru and the people there tremendously. Immediately after my return from Peru, I was a bridesmaid in two weddings and attended several other weddings that fall. My brother, Aaron, and Cassie decided on a wedding date of April 17, 2010, so the few months before were full of wedding planning. Towards the beginning of 2010, I decided to go back to Peru for my mandatory overseas experience for my missions degree. Britalia Slater agreed to come with me because she was also a junior of the same program (as you know, it worked out for us to go to both Bolivia and Peru!) In February, I left my job at KFC and typed transcripts for RBC Ministries. In March, the Shaws arrived to the states. March, April, and May seemed like the busiest months of my life! I was finishing up the school year at Grace, helping plan a wedding, typing transcripts, and preparing for this summer. Thank God I made it through and can live to tell the tale. All that stress and busyness was well worth it – I got a lot accomplished and have had an amazing summer as a result!

This summer and fall have been full of travels. On this page, I will document my travels so far.


Britalia and I at the HEART Institute in Lake Wales, FL

Two days after the end our spring semester at Grace Bible College, Britalia Slater and I flew to Florida to attend the HEART Institute (Hunger Education And Resource Training). It was basically a simulated third world culture and sustainable agriculture farm. We had classes and hands on learning in the areas of Health, Nutrition, Agriculture, Applied Technology, Cross Cultural Communication, Animals and Butchering. It was a very challenging and fast paced program, but well worth it. (We even butchered a goat – Stony – and made a stew out of him!) We stayed in cabins with no electricity, washed our clothes by hand, used only outhouses, and took showers heated by solar heaters. The first week there, we pumped all of our own water and weren’t allowed to use any electricity. Other than being challenged physically and mentally, we were challenged spiritually – we had the chance to attend a deaf church and each gave a devotional during lunch. It was a very fun experience and a great prelude to our summer overseas. If you want to check out their website, click here.

Amanda's Wedding in Grand Rapids, MI

After two weeks of the HEART Institute, I flew back home to be a bridesmaid in my friend, Amanda’s wedding. The weekend went quickly, but it was good to see everyone before I went overseas.

Britalia and I at Mike & Rita's house

After one more week at the HEART Institute, Britalia and I stayed with family friends of Britalia’s – Mike and Rita Parker. Mike and Rita were the foster parents of four of Britalia’s adopted siblings and have an awesome spiritual retreat ministry. It was nice to have a few days to relax in between HEART and traveling to Bolivia.

We traveled over 24 hours in between Florida and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We traveled a couple hours by car from the Parker’s house to the Orlando Amtrak Station, and waited there for at least an hour before heading out on our 6 hour train ride to Miami. Upon arrival to the Miami Amtrak station, we grabbed a taxi to the Miami airport. Our taxi driver did not speak very good English, so we got dropped off at the wrong end of the airport. Thankfully, we had several hours to spare. At midnight, our plane left for Lima, Peru and we arrived there at 4:45 am, their time. We waited until 11:00 am and departed for Santa Cruz, the last leg of our trip. After waiting for a long time just to pay Bolivia 135 dollars because we are Americans, we were met by the smiling faces of Jerry and DeAnna Olson – the missionaries we stayed with in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.


Britalia and I in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

We stayed with the Olson family – DeAnna, Jerry, and Aubrey in Santa Cruz from June 3 to July 14. Santa Cruz is one of the biggest cities in Bolivia. There are so many needs there and we got to experience a variety of ministry opportunities– serving at an orphanage, we were assistants in several English classes, and helped DeAnna teach English a few times a week. We also cooked meals for the Olson’s and for a short-term team that was there for 12 days. We have visited many churches and villages and even took a bus to Cochabamba, Bolivia to see some ministries there.

Britalia and I at the Orphanage in Santa Cruz

We became two familiar faces at the orphanage we served at. The girls (almost 20 of them – ages 2 to 16) loved to draw pictures with us and had us draw tons of pictures for them. We spent quality time with the girls, which was the most important thing we could do. The girls are precious – pray that they would receive the love and care that they need and that they would know the family of believers in Christ and know God, the father that will never leave or forsake them.

Britalia and I in Okinawa, a village 4 hours away from Santa Cruz

One of the churches the Olsons are involved in took us to a village about four hours away from Santa Cruz, Okinawa. When we arrived, we were served freshly slaughtered and cooked pork. We had a church service, and passed out clothing and food as well. It was a fun day of fellowship with believers and a good outreach to the village.

The English Class we helped DeAnna teach

Every Tuesday and Thursday, DeAnna teaches English at a college nearby. It is open to the whole community. Britalia and I helped teach and come up with lesson ideas. in the picture above, we celebrated one of the student’s (Este) birthday and taught a lesson involving birthday vocabulary. We even baked a cake for her!


View of Cochabamba, Bolivia from the Cristo Blanco