My name is Tabitha Durham. I am a senior in the Nursing program and over spring break I spent about 8 days in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This was my third mission trip with PBA. I previously have been to Honduras through PBA and El Salvador on the Nursing mission trip. However, this one was a little different as I recently got married and was able to experience this beautiful trip with my husband, Hunter. God worked in so many ways with our team of 18 that went to Bolivia.

We stayed at the Bolivia Life Center which is an orphanage run by Children’s Impact Network (http://cinonline.org/). The center is home to 44 male orphans ranging in age from 5 to 18. This orphanage is fully equipped with social workers, psychologists, and health professionals as well as teachers to help the boys with their homework. Each day we served the Lord in a different way from planting potatoes to painting two of the boys’ dorm rooms. One of the most rewarding experiences was traveling to surrounding villages to play with the local children, teach them about Jesus, and sing and play games with them. The children were overjoyed to see us and were gracious for the small gifts and candy that we gave. What most the orphanage boys and children in the surrounding villages probably didn’t know was that our hearts were being filled as much as they thought theirs were if not more by their smiles and little hugs.

At one of our last Bible studies we had as a team, our Co-Leader had us all write down one word that we thought described our time in Bolivia and a little explanation of why. Here are both mine and my husband’s thoughts on our trip:

If I (Hunter) had one word to describe what I learned this trip it would be “people.” In America we often times chase material items and forget to love people. In Bolivia, I constantly witnessed people who had nothing but were content with the family around them and the interactions with others. Loving the people of Bolivia was a true blessing for me.

My (Tabitha) one word to describe our incredible journey in Bolivia is ‘laughter’. One of my favorite parts about going on a mission trip is how you are instantly able to forget about all things worldly and become enveloped in community, service, and love. Often, the outcome of this is pure laughter. Laughter with your team, with those who are hosting you in the country, and with anyone else you come in contact with. You forget about the things we worry too much about here in the United States and are completely overwhelmed with all the things God wants us to feel and think about.

It really is difficult to describe the fullness of what you experience and how you felt on a mission trip spending time with another culture, the families, the children, and your team. There is so much community, vulnerability, service, strength, newness, warmth, commitment, and love that happens on a mission trip. I will always remember the time I spent in Bolivia and am so grateful that PBA offers this opportunity.