My life right now is occupied by small things. Of course, the most obvious small things occupying a huge space in my heart and life are these kids. However, there is a general feeling of my life being broken down into smaller pieces and yet becoming fuller. Every day is full of little things. My house is always replete with tiny insects. My hands seem to constantly be holding smaller ones. My vocabulary is made up of little words.  And my days are filled with small moments. It’s crazy how moments so small can fill a life so full. I keep a journal to remember my time here, using bullet points to organize the things that happen. Daily, as I write out the points, they seem so little. I often wonder that they add up to a full afternoon’s worth of activity: swept my classroom for the umpteenth time, taught the difference between centi-, mili-, and just plain meters, read 5 pages with Milenca, made supper again, picked naranjas with Mariana, prayed with the girls before bed, and so on. E

Tour de Mi Lugar

  Driving by, it is easy to miss Familia Feliz unless you’re really looking. Only a small sign along the highway would even tip you off that we’re here. Assuming you catch the turn, I hope you arrive at sunrise. I hope you get to see the rosy gleams filter through the jungle and light the tin roofs on fire before beginning to warm the red bricks that make up our three elementary school buildings. My personal favorite holds my 3rd and 4th-grade classroom. My classroom is the size of my dorm room at home with one window’s worth of light flooding the white walls and 6 little desks. Well, the walls used to be white, but now they contain science posters, butterflies, and a couple of clocks-- the full rainbow of 3rd-grade education. As the sun continues to rise, it reflects off the big front doors of our campus church. These doors along with the windows let in the drifting rays, requisite tropical insects, and happy kids. The bright, airy atmosphere inside echoes the warm openness of this pl

La Realidad

       One of the ideas I try to remember in my life is that real is always better than fake. While it may look less appetizing, real food is more nourishing than the artificial stuff. Real connection with people is more worthwhile than something contrived. And in my first few weeks here in Bolivia as an SM, I would say that this has proven true. The reality of it all, though difficult and crazy, is so much more beautiful than any imaginings I held going in. I thought as I stepped on the plane in Miami on August 17th, that I didn't have any expectations for this year. I was trying to keep an open mind and be ready for whatever adventures would come. So instead, I have been finding my preconceptions by running head-on into each one, finding them different than reality. For instance, one preconception was that our travel to Familia Feliz would be a straightforward process. It is hilarious now to look back at a naïve Emilianne in Tennessee, carefully penning each of our travel plans i


"Vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las  naciones , bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo..." Vayan. Go.      Right now, I am  two weeks away from heading to a new continent with a language I don't quite speak yet.   It's been a crazy journey to this point. Becoming a student missionary has been a thought in the back of my mind for a while now. From the first time I heard tales of dodging snakes in the Indonesian jungles from a camp counselor to when I experienced my first short-term mission trip. The ear-to-ear smiles of the kids, the hard work, vibrant culture, the fresh mangos ! My soul felt right.      And so, going into college I was pretty sure I wanted to go as an SM. However, at some point, talking idly about it had to become action, and that, actually taking the first step, scared me. After my first year as a biology student, fighting for good grades and cramming knowledge into my memory, the idea of leaving my classes felt like