Meet the Missionary {Angie in Bolivia}

by Laura on March 16, 2012

Today we are continuing a semi-regular section on the blog featuring interviews with missionaries on the field, and we are talking with Angie Washington who serves and blogs from Bolivia. Angie is a consistently seasoned voice on this blog’s comment thread {she’s lived overseas for 10years}, and her own site, The @nge, gives an honest glimpse of life in South America. She and her husband run an orphanage and help to train church leaders, as well.  I consistently say that she is one of those web-friends that would be a real-life one, for sure, were it not for these oceans between us.  You can follow Angie on twitter here, and check out her blog here.

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In a few sentences, describe what living in your country is like… culture, foods, transportation, people’s attitudes towards Westerners, etc. 

We call the City of Eternal Spring in the heart of South America, Cochabamba, Bolivia, home. In this growing metropolis of nearly a million people the ancient meets modern. A woman dressed in the traditional multi-layered, colorful skirts, with two braids down her back and a straw hat painted white to shield her Native American face from the blistering mountain sun sets up her fruit stand on the corner to sell to the fancy wife of a business owner who just pulled up in her hummer. The clash spills over into the mash of languages, religions, and ideals. A rhythm of life reliant on relationships, rather than the cultish trend of consumerism, invites us to match our gait and walk rather than scurry, wait rather than hurry.

 

What advice would you give a younger missionary?

Cultivate creativity. Complaining kills creativity. Discover what inspires you and douse yourself daily. Tap into the God given creativity inside you to live a life full of love and grace. Yes, you are creative. You can create: solutions, beauty, places of oasis, words of life, a kind face, projects of hope, and moments to meet God. Create!

What are the biggest challenges of being a missionary?

In a word: disappointment. We can see the potential for positive change in a person or region or project. We even see how it could happen. Then, NOT seeing this great vision made reality due to any number of obstacles, circumstances, or lack of resources makes for some hard days. One that same train of thought, and taking it to a more personal level, the expectations I have for myself oftentimes loom over me. When I don’t meet those self imposed goals then I become disappointed in myself. The challenge comes in getting out of that depressed state and pushing through to a place where I can say, “In my weakness He is strong.”

What are the biggest benefits of being a missionary?

In a word: satisfaction. We can see the potential for positive change in a person or region or project. We even see how it could happen. Then, ACTUALLY seeing this great vision made reality due to the hard work of the team and the amazing grace of God makes for those rare days of shining triumph. On a global and eternal scale the most wonderful benefit is that you are playing a critical part in the fulfillment of the will of God that all come to a knowledge of Him.

Tell us one story of someone that has been impacted by your ministry.

She put her hand up to me and said, “Galleta?” Cookie. Her steely, mournful eyes implored. I stopped my walk across the yard, taken aback by a scene playing out in the wrong place. These tiny fingers lifted up waiting for a coin or morsel of food I see every day in the street. Now, in the safety of our little playground out behind our orphanage, I see a child beg? Her small feet, bound in white gauze which covered cream-slathered wounds of abuse, swayed back and forth with the rhythm of the swing where the Tia (Auntie, the term we call the caregivers) had gently placed her.

She forms part of 80% of girls in orphanages and foster homes in Bolivia who have suffered abuse. At a tender four years of age her eyes had seen too much, her skin touched too much, her ears heard too much, her heart broke too much. Five years have passed since that dizzying encounter with reality. We call the girl a Dreamer, as we do all the kids who live at the House of Dreams. She goes to church with us every Sunday. The cold nights on the street are now a distant, dark shadow as she knows no want for food, clothes, and a nice big home. She attends school and even has the privilege of having homework to complain about. Anyone taking a glance at her could never guess the true story of her first years.

As we embark on the tween years with this precious girl we have new challenges to face. I pray that God continues the work he started in her life when he brought her to us. She will most likely spend the rest of her growing up years with us. Thanks be to God for the radical course change He gave this girl. What an honor to be the ones chosen to guide her on this new path.   – Angie Washington

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You can read about other missionaries here: Amy in Africa or Kashmira in the innercity of Bangkok. {Are you living overseas?  Would you like to be featured here? Drop me a message in the comment section.}
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If you could ask Angie anything, what would it be?  {She’s awesome about commenting and will answer, promise!} What struck you about Angie’s story? 
  • http://bahava.wordpress.com Katy

    Ah! Yay for Angie! Angie, I always LOVE reading more about your life in Bolivia and love your wisdom and insight. So much depth. =) 

    • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

      Dear Katy :) you always encourage me with your cheerleaderesque commenteering. Thank you!

      • http://bahava.wordpress.com Katy

        I still want to make my way down to see you so I can be cheerleadersque in person! =)

        • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

           I would LOVE that, Katy!

  • lauraparkerblog

    Angie,  thanks for guesting here today!  I loved your interview and esp. your advice to new missionaries about not complaining. I am so guilty of this.  SO guilty.  Loved your reminder to be creative– in so many venues.  

    Question:  Are ya’ll with a sending organization or did you start one yourselves? What are the benefits/drawbacks of those two options for people going to the field? Advice?

    • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

      We are considered independent missionaries. But anyone who has been on the field for more than two sec

      • lauraparkerblog

        Oh, man– this is a goldmine of an answer. Really insightful . . ..  I think I might need to highlight this in a different post, if I ever do one on going independent vs organization.  Good stuff, here, friend.  I LOVED your observations and found myself nodding my head.

        Brilliant. 

      • http://bahava.wordpress.com Katy

        so good! I’ve often thought about the differences and why one would choose one way or the other.  Definitely comes back to where God’s leading and calling.  

  • lauraparkerblog

    oh, and, I LOVED your first paragraph where you gave us a picture of what your hometown is like. Felt like I could really see it.

    • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

      Thanks for the props, friend. Describing Bolivia makes me happy. And thank you, again, for allowing me to join this great ALifeOverseas community in such a unique way.

  • Duane & Carin Guthrie

    Laura, You have hit a gold mine in dear Angie!!! She is s dear friend and she and her husband are incredible servants of God here in Bolivia. I am so thankful to call her friend and occasionally drink her coffee. Angie, thanks for your wise words here I am glad many people will benefit from reading them :0)

    • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

       Dear Carin! Thank you for the kind words my friend. You make me smile. :o)

    • lauraparkerblog

      oohhhh . . . I want to drink her coffee . . .  lucky you.
      :)

  • Brianna Siegrist

    Hi! I LOVE that advice you give. I know this was from awhile ago, but I’m praying for you today, Angie. I hope you’re doing well and feeling encouraged.

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