Home. Need. Thank you!

8 Aug

It’s been a little over two months since we left Bolivia and our family is adjusting bit by bit. Life still feels really different here, but we’ve had good times with family, friends, our churches and supporters. And we look forward more visits to see many of you in the next few months (more details to come).

15570692-1Our home.

A month ago we asked you to pray for a house in Eugene. It has been a daily prayer for our family, and just two weeks after we sent that message we found a home that fit our needs. It’s cozy, needs some elbow grease, and looks to be a good place for our family. God willing, we hope to close and have keys in two weeks.

Our needs. 

We found out that our small container has been delayed three months due to the labor strikes in the Port of Portland. Yikes! A lot of it was books and pictures and clothes we didn’t need right away. But some of the boxes were things we needed to set up our home. For the next 3 months, we may need to borrow some twin mattresses, blankets, towels, sheets, a kitchen table, probably some other items that we’re forgetting.

When we get keys, we need to strip wallpaper, paint, refinish floors, pack up what we have, and move into our home. Any and all help is welcome :)

Moving is expensive. We’ve bought a car and a number of things for our home, but we still need to buy a washer, dryer, lawnmower, mattress, dressers, bikes for the kids, a couch for the living room, a second car, yada yada yada. If you would like to help with any of our set-up costs, you can send a check to FBC Eugene (*info below) and they will distribute the funds.IMG_0733

Your generosity. 

We’ve received a number of gifts for our transitions costs including extra travel gifts, groceries, cars to borrow, gifts for vacation, scholarships for Trout Creek Bible Camp. We have been so blessed by each of you, and we are overwhelmed with your generosity. Thank you!


(picture of the backyard, pray it would be filled with new friends and new memories)

Our prayer.

God, our hearts are thrilled about the possibility of a home and ministry here in Eugene. We’ll be within walking distance of two of our kids’ schools. We pray for new friends and that our home would be a welcome place for many kids.

The upstairs needs some remodeling. We pray for Dan and friends that have offered to help as they work together. 

The backyard has a large garden including fruit trees and berries of all kinds. We pray that our yard would be filled with many BBQs and get togethers where God’s fruit would be evident in and through our family and church. And we’re so close to our new church.

We pray that our church would grow and fill hundreds of living rooms across Eugene and Springfield. God, we continue to trust in You. You are faithful.

*Home set-up gifts can be made out and sent to FBC Eugene, 3550 Fox Meadow Rd.Eugene OR 97408-7424, and attach a note for the Collins’ Home Set-up Fund. Please note, due to IRS regulations these types of donations are considered personal gifts and therefore not tax deductible.

like a tree firmly planted

6 Aug

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

This was today’s Bible reading. It was powerful.

Moving has been hard, much harder than I imagined. We’ve mourned the loss of our daily contact with friends, of our routines and the life we had in Bolivia. Many many tears. It’s also been hard to live out of suitcases for months and months and months. We’re tired of the same clothes. We want a permanent home with a closet.

I was reminded by this verse in 1 Peter that this time, this transition, it’s just a little while. It’s not forever. And God, He Himself, our God of grace, He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish our family again in this new place, here in Eugene, OR.


We took a trip to California in July and found a magnet called “Advice from a Tree.” We bought it as it seemed such a pertinent reminder to our family.


And we also bought a Redwood sapling to remind our family that God is planting us in a new place, a new start, a new stage of all our lives. We’ll plant it in our new home, when we have a home, reminding us that God’s Word sustains us, that He will restoreconfirmstrengthen, and establish our family again. God, He Himself, will do it.

…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:2-3

Faith. Hope. Home. Joy. Travel.

9 Jul

Daryl and I just saw the movie Inside-Out and we thought hey that’s about us! If you haven’t seen it, it shows the emotional highs and lows of moving. In the words of Larry the Cucumber (Veggie Tales), “I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob.”

Yes, we made it to the US and our luggage too. We’ve been in multiple homes and hotels from Santa Cruz to Miami, Gresham to Denver, and now in Eugene. Two weeks ago we flew back from meetings in Colorado, then headed to Eugene to set up home, then back north to Gresham to take Ben and Rachel out to Trout Creek Bible Camp, then back to Eugene to keep settling in, and tomorrow we head north yet again to pick up Ben and Rachel, then on Saturday we’ll be back in Eugene for a few days before heading south on a trip through southern Oregon and California. We’re getting very good at this I-5 drive, but we’re feeling a bit like a yo-yo.

Please pray for:

Faith. Bolivia was our home. Now we’re starting over. God’s guiding us but it’s still hard. Pray that we grow in our faith in the guiding hand of our providing and good God.

Hope. We’re on month four living out of the same 10 suitcases, and our things won’t arrive until September, maybe October or November. Pray for daily hope as we live without what we’re used to having around that makes wherever we live feel like home.

Home. Speaking of home, please pray that we find a house in Eugene near schools and church in the price range we can afford. We’re not broke but we’re not rich, so we may need a small miracle to find a home for our family of five. And pray that we grow in our love for this new city, the same kind of love we had for Cochabamba.

Joy. If you’ve seen Inside-Out, you’ll understand. Some days Joy appears to have gone on a trip and we’re left with lots of confusing emotions. Watch the movie, you’ll understand, then pray for Joy, God’s Joy. Jesus lived by faith for the Joy set before Him.

Travel. Next week we head for California, lots of time in a car as a family. In August and September Dan will be traveling and speaking to more churches and groups of supporters, and then off to Dallas for a mission leader conference to present about Business as Mission. Please pray for all our travels and for Dan’s preparations.

One HUGE highlight, Ben and Rachel decided to get baptized here in Eugene on July 4th! That day was Joy-filled.

Faith, Hope, Home, Joy, Travel, those are our prayer requests. How can we pray for you?

Blessings, from our family to yours!  love the Collins

Tears now, joy then, joy coming

29 May


We’re sharing our reflections about this transition in our lives, and hopefully our thoughts can be windows into the life of a missionary, what it means to move and move and move again as God directs our lives. Since Daryl has blogged a few times, this is Dan now adding to the conversation.

Ten years ago I preached a sermon about Abraham. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

Ten years ago we left the US and moved to Bolivia, a place completely unknown, foreign, different. But in ten years, Bolivia has become familiar, normal, home. And now God is again leading, we are again leaping, and though leaping means moving to the US, for us it will be foreign, different, new.

imagesIn a lot of ways, we’re back to not knowing where we’re going. We’ll be looking for a house to live in, cars to drive, new schools for our kids, new places to go as a family and places to frequent on date night.

We’ve never had digital TV, or Net-flicks, or internet fast enough for live streaming. For ten years we’ve bought fruits and vegetables in an open market on Saturdays, very different than a supermarket produce department. And our water comes from a bottle, not from the tap.

P1030006For the last six years we’ve lived in an apartment building, third story walk-up with five other families, always a conversation to be had, always someone to borrow sugar from. Soon we will be looking for a house to buy in Eugene, no more stairs to our door, but no neighbor’s to pass each day, and no more building-wide BBQs, it will be different.

For the last ten years we’ve lived in Cochabamba, a city with such a mild climate that houses don’t have heaters or air conditioning. It’s just spring year round here. In the US we’re going to have four seasons again. We’ve missed having a lawn and seeing the trees change color in the fall. But then again, we have a lot to learn, like how do you winterize a house, and where should we buy a lawnmower, and what do families do in the winter?

We’ve lived with one car for the last ten years because we can take public transport everywhere. We also walk a lot, downtown from our house in a 30 minute walk, just a smaller community way of living.

But when we drive, well let’s just say the rules of the road are different in South America. Soon we’ll need two cars just to get around as a family, and all those road rules we’ve been mastering for ten years won’t apply anymore. We’ll have to re-learn not to honk our horn at every intersection, remember what right-has-right means, …what’s a four way stop? …in fact what’s a stop sign? …and oh yeah blinkers!

IMG_2591We’ve made good friends here in Bolivia. We love our church. We’ve been through thick and thin with this group of 100 people. We love our small group. We love our coworkers. Our kids have good friends at school. And we’ve been loved back by all of them. But soon distance will separate us. So we’re trusting God for the strength to say goodbye well, and a willingness to say hello to new friends, new relationships, new community. In fact, tonight is our goodbye party with our church, tomorrow night will be with some of our closest friends, next week our last small group get-together.

Today we were having breakfast. School is almost over, and it all of a sudden struck Rachel and Ben that today some of their friends were leaving for vacation and they’d have to say goodbye, forever. Tears began flowing, our parents’ hearts ached, what can you do? And yet it struck me that as hard as this is (and it’s really hard!), what a privilege to be part of such great friends and community that it hurts to leave.

The tears now are part of the joy then (I believe C.S. Lewis said something like that). And somewhere in the future, new joy will be coming from new experiences, a new church, new friends, a new phase of life.

Tears now, joy then, joy coming. This is hard. This is life. God is leading us.

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Happy and Healthy

26 May

Question-Mark.002I have had a couple people ask me lately, “How has Bolivia changed you? What have you learned?”

Those are both really good questions and ones that I have seriously thought about and talked over with Dan.  So here are my condensed answers.

When we arrived in Bolivia my self esteem was really low.  I came thinking that God couldn’t use me because I didn’t have ministry skills like Dan did.  I am not a teacher (regardless of age), I don’t play the piano for church, and I am not super skilled at leading small groups ( I have a tendency to kill discussion not keep it going).  On top of all this I didn’t speak a lick of Spanish, I was pregnant, had two toddlers and I just didn’t want to be in Bolivia, I was angry at life in general.

Over the years God has changed my heart and attitude.  He showed me that he could use me for his 6a00d8341c761a53ef0128771f2b88970c-pikingdom through art and fashion.  He took away my anger and healed my marriage in amazing ways.  I have learned to speak Spanish and have great conversations with shop owners and friends.  My kids have grown and instead of changing diapers I am now interacting with them in wonderful ways.  Because of God I am one content, happy, healthy individual.  None of this would have happened had we stayed in the U.S.  God could have changed us, but I wouldn’t change my years here in Bolivia for anything. I am thankful he brought us here.

I have grown to like Bolivia.  I have learned a slower pace of life, patience, and to never give up.  I have made friends, learned to drive, to cook at high altitude, and learned in depth a culture that I had never known before. I learned how to run my own business, sew purses, and sew/design clothes.  I have learned how to mop with an oversized squeegee and a rag (I really don’t like mopping with a squeegee and look forward to American mops). I have learned many things about friendship, leadership, and being a pastor’s wife.  And on top of all this I learned to dance.  For 7 years I have been taking various dance classes at the gym and have enjoyed every minute of it. Dancing was my sanity and a time for me to let my brain rest.  It is something I will miss when we go back to the States.

There is so much more that I have learned over our ten years here and I could go on for hours. But I will have to tell you the rest in person when we get to the States.  God has worked in amazing ways in our lives here in Bolivia and for that I am very grateful.

The Starting of Our Last Months

20 May

Now that the news is out that we are finishing our time here in Bolivia I feel like I can now let you in on the last year or so. I have been writing down all our feelings, emotions, and experiences as they happen and hope to give you a glimpse into the life of a missionary who is leaving the field.  We have shared our lives with you over the last 10 years and I want to share with you this last segment of our time here.  So the following blogs will be about our last months here in Bolivia, our first months in the US, and I hope they give you another aspect of missionary life.

Roughly two years ago Dan and I sat down, prayed, and evaluated our lives here in Bolivia. He turned to me and said, “I think we can finish our work Bolivia. I think this next home assignment could be our last.”


Even now I am not sure what emotion to put to how I felt at that moment.  It was a mix of happiness, sadness, and fear.   How lovely – I thought – to be back in my own culture where day to day living is easier and people follow the traffic laws.  We would be near family and friends again. But where would we work? Where would we live? How hard is the adjustment back to the States going to be?  My mind started spinning, especially as I began to break down what leaving our home of 10 years meant.

Leaving meant:

*Telling the kids that we were leaving their country, their home, and going to a culture they didn’t know. Oh how I dreaded that moment.

*It meant saying goodbye to dear friends who had become family.

*Packing!!! Oh how I hate packing, and not just suitcases this time but our entire house.

*Realizing that as much as excited as I was to be in the world of convenience, there were aspects of living in Bolivia that I really liked and would miss. The reality of the decision to leave hit me like a ton of bricks.

Fast forward a year from that memory. We were seven months from leaving and my emotions were all over the place. Some days I cried off and on and couldn’t seem to stop. Other days I was giddy because going back means Target, IKEA, convenience, friends, and family.

When we told the kids, there were tears on both sides. None of them wanted to leave. Who could blame them? This is their home, not the U.S. They began processing the change in different ways. Rachel walked around the house for days asking how much stuff would cost to sell and wanted to know how her bed was going to fit on the airplane. Ben said nothing for weeks. Naomi asked what school she would go to and if we got to take our cat. It made me glad that they wanted to talk things through and at the same time my heart ached for them. They were going into a world they didn’t know or understand.images

For Dan and I to move to Bolivia meant leaving home and going to a foreign country. For my kids, leaving home (Bolivia) and moving to the U.S is going to a foreign country.

I prayed, Oh Lord, why are we doing this? Where are you taking us? This is so hard.

Local church. Complete. Thankful

25 Apr


“But I do not account my life of any value, nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – the apostle Paul to the Ephesian church in Acts 20:24

JOE_0007 copy

Today at breakfast Rachel prayed, “Dear God, thank you for breakfast, and for our day, and for our new home. Amen.” Here’s what got us – we just moved into a little furnished apartment yesterday to get ready for home assignment and Rachel is already calling it our new home. She’s a well traveled missionary kid through and through, and she has moved a lot in her nine years.

Home assignment this time will be short, four months, and also a bit different. How so? Let us take you back to sometime in 2013. God was putting something on our hearts. When we started Bless Sports, we began as a project but then gave it away to local churches. When we started Business as Mission, we began with micro-loans and conferences but then focused on local pastors and local churches. And through each of theses projects we realized a growing desire to integrate everything we did with the work of the local church, and Dan sensed a growing desire to pastor in local church settings. The second idea was completion. We often told people we went to Bolivia to work ourselves out of a job. Is completion the end of one thing or the beginning of another?

In all of this, we kept working and praying. We focused on local churches through two small groups in our home and business classes to local church leaders. As leaders emerged, we gave away ministry responsibilities. God provided teammates to take over the projects we had started, and now in June we give away our roles as the Bolivia field leaders with WorldVenture.

Which leads us back to our home assignment. It will be short, June through September, because after home assignment we won’t be returning to Bolivia. Now just to be clear, WorldVenture’s work continues on in Bolivia. The WorldVenture Bolivia team – Jhonny & Teresa, Eugene & Veronica, Rob & Lisa – have exciting work going on including missionaries coming from Germany and the USA, sports vacation Bible Schools, Bolivian short term teams, and business as mission classes. There are leaders to be mobilized and people to be reached with the gospel message. However, we are following God’s lead as we complete one assignment and follow Him to a new one.

So what comes next? We’re excited to share that Dan recently accepted a pastor position at a local church in Oregon. He starts in October. He’ll be training leaders for local outreach and discipleship, guiding a movement of small groups at First Baptist Church in Eugene. The position partners with WorldVenture in strategic ways for mission and leadership development (more details on this later).

For those of you who have walked this journey with us as prayer and finanicial supporters, our journey is not yet done. We are running this race to the finish which means a myriad of moving details, debriefing in Colordao for our family, visiting churches and supporters in the northwest, and setting up a new home base in Eugene.

Please help us to finish well by supporting our family financially and with prayer through the end of this transition. Most likely by October our needs for support will be at an end, but we will let you know as soon as we know. Transition is part of the journey and we would appreicate your support up until the very end.

Doug Hazen with WorldVenture has written a letter on our behalf, click here.

God is with us. He is guiding us. It’s still really, really hard. We couldn’t be more excited. We couldn’t be more nervous. We couldn’t be more confident that God is in this. We walk by faith. We are thankful to our leaders and coworkers with WorldVenture, and thankful to all the families and local churches that have walked with us these many years. Above all, we are thankful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who calls us, guides us, provides for our needs, and counts us as useful in His hand for His work.

We are humbled. We are thankful. Our years as global missionaries have been life transforming and we are completing our assignment with satisfaction, thankfulness and joy. We are excited to follow God’s call to be part of reaching the city of Eugene with the good news of the gospel. Our hearts also ache with saying goodbye to our friends, coworkers, and our church here in Bolivia, and we appreciate your prayers and support as we walk through this process.

Thank you for walking this journey with us.

Love Daniel, Daryl, Naomi, Ben, and Rachel Collins

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And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – the apostle Paul to the early church in Romans 10:15


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