About Me

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Eugene, Oregon, United States
I am just a simple girl who has the most amazing adventures because God has made me strong and courageous. Right now I am living in the state of Oregon where I am spending a year as an ARISE Intern.I hope you enjoy reading what God is doing in my life and the simple and great things He does every day...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


That's how I would call this week. And it can sound very common when I am a music teacher and I teach it everyday. But this week, I had to lead the music for the Week of Prayer in School (High school level), plus I had the auditions for the Special Choir. Very busy! But I had so much fun!

The week before I started thinking for a theme song that was related to the main topic. I picked "Everyday" from Hillsong.  I also wanted to teach them "How great is our God". So with Teacher Phil at the bass, 2 of my 12th graders at the guitar and me, with my "debut" at the piano :D. Yeah, I couldn't even believe myself. It wasn't too complicated, just chords and a simple rythm, but with the bass and guitars it sounded well.

So here we were. We practiced a lot on Sunday and Monday was the first day of the Week of Prayer.  It went really well. It seemed like the students enjoyed the songs.  I was really nervous but I enjoyed very much the experience of leading worship while I was also singing and playing the piano.
Tuesday was lovely. There was no piano. Simply because it started pouring, just right before our High School period. I had to run all the way to the picnic area and I got soaked!!! It was very funny how a student offered me her poncho just after I got there and was all wet. I loved it! Rain here is so wonderful!! It makes me go back to my childdhod years in Puerto Rico when I used to play under the rain!

Well, going back to the week, Wednesday I had a long afternoon after school.  Seventeen students signed to audition for Special Choir.  They were very excited, I was so tired! I had to put great effort looking for their potential, since I had to take into account that most of them, haven't had much exposure to music before. But most of them have such beautiful voices! They put so much effort in singing "Christmas song", which was the last requirement (they could sing any other song if they would not know a Christmas song). It was a good experience. I can't wait to start!!!

God is really amazing!! I have always dreamed of leading worship and be able to sing and play piano. He sent me to Cambodia to get me started... though it wasn't as "perfect" as other worships I've been able to participate, we are starting to try our best for God. I'm starting to understand and experience the great fulfillment and responsibility of being a worship leader through music. I want to be able to put in practice all that I have learned in Andrews about music and worship. I want to be able to carry the "light" that God has put in my hands and through music lead the students to have delight in worshipping God through music. It thrills me the fact that they are not biased. They can sing an "old" hymn or song with the same enthusiasm that they sing a Christian Contemporary song. "Week of prayer" ended on Friday singing "How Great is our God" and "Everyday". It was such a blessing to hear them singing. It was such a privilege from God to choose me to do this. And the best is that this is just the beginning!

Is hasn't been 2 months yet and God has given me more than I can imagine. I have a music service to lead every week, a handchime and recorder ensemble, a Special Choir to lead and a bunch of kids to teach music and of God through music. Also I have a drama class every week, a Drama to put up for CAS Christmas program, which I am also in charge!!

At the beginning I was a little scared and kind of stressed out, but today as He is teaching me to trust Him, I am enjoying every moment and putting everything to His care. I am enjoying it, having the certainty that is not by chance, but that God has given me all this so I can give "My Utmost for His Highest". I know I don't deserve it but I feel more than honored to work for Him...

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It has been a month since I am here in Cambodia, and I was thinking about how my life has changed so far and the fears I have overcome...

“The key to change... is to let go of fear.” Rosanne Cash

1. Profesional: Let's face it. Having pursued a Master's degree doesn't make you fearless about teaching. Being a student is so "easy". Being a teacher, is a completely different thing.

My role has completely changed; from being a student my whole life, now I am a teacher. From being a follower, now I am a leader. Now there are students who look up to me, who admire me and who believe what I say and notice the little acts that I do. 

From being a full time student, to a full time teacher. But the EXTRA-ordinary thing is that I am not a teacher in my typical surrounding: I am a teacher in a foreign country!(topic no.2).

I teach from Pre-K to 12th graders. How much fun it is!! If they would know how much do they teach me! What I enjoy the most, is the opportunity of sharing with all kinds of ages. All of them challenge me in different ways. I love them, and I know they love me. There is no more fear.

2.Cultural/Social: Moving to US was a little scary, but it was "America", Western Culture... But...the other side of the world?Asia? SouthAsia?Cambodia?? No way...it was a little scary...may be a lot!!

The culture that surrounds me is so different. Riels, instead of dollars. Khmer instead of Spanish, Khmers (cambodians) instead of latinos and/or Americans,Tuks tuks instead of taxis, bycicle instead of a car. Unexpected things like an elephant walking down the street while walking home are a plus!!

Going to the market is still an adventure. Annie and I ride our bycicles, since we can't help our obvious physical differences, glances and "Hellos" are part of our everyday trips. There is NO khmer that does not stare at us and say "hello" everytime we pass by. But getting to the market don't make things better. Taking pictures make them laugh, and my "curly-voluminous" hair make them wonder if my hair is "real". So far, Annie and I can understand the numbers and can pay without overpaying(as long as we believe). Going to the market also makes me very happy that I am a vegetarian :P

In the other hand, in my regular daily life there is no Spanish anymore: English has become my first communication language and Khmer has become "the language to learn". So far my Khmer vocabulary has increased by almost 20 words, which I write in my personal "Spanish-spelling". My favorites are: soksabai (how are you?), chomrrriang(music), akuncharai, (thank you very much), borisom (Holy), preJesu (Jesus), prochiechon (people). Learning a new language has made me wonder how did I learned a second language and it reminded me how hard it is!

Furthermore knowing about their history and getting to know the people, help me to understand and feel more empathy with them.  Stories from past king rulers and great civilizations, a horrible genocide, a different religious background, help me to understand better this new culture that I'm living in.

In the other hand, there are some things thet remind me so much of home. The extremeley hot weather and humidity, the kindness of people and of course, eating rice every day!!


I can't really separate my spiritual life from all the other areas. My spiritual life is influenced by the others and vice-versa. I know that no matter where I am, God always want to teach me something and take me a step further. For this stage, he chose Cambodia. Two years ago I was in Andrews, which meant I was in a completely "SDA-Christian surrounding" environment. I was surrendered by great and varied Adventist churches, Vesper programs, and most of all by a bunch of amazing friends which love God the same way as I do. Now, I am surrounded by a Buddhist culture, with little altars with incense everywhere, Buddhist monks walking in the streets and pagodas everywhere.

Here there is a big Adventist church, and many other groups that meet in home-churches. Having the service in Khmer with a translation of the sermon in English, along with the hot weather, makes it a little hard to focus, but I'm still thrilled by the fact of being part of their worship. The big church is exciting cause I get to see must of my students, from which I get a lot of "Happy Sabbath tee-cha!".

The home-churches are always exciting. We go to a different one every Sabbath. These are all in Khmer and if we take part in it, someone translates for us. Also, I like the fact that we have to take off our shoes, as to show respect.

In my spiritual journey I have found myself surrounded by the amazing fact that, one more time my dreams have met God's will. I have found myself not surrounded by that "bunch" of friends but having one friend and roommate, with whom I share about our new experience of serving God in this "foreign" country. And I have found myself daily encircled with spiritual impressions about how should I forget about my "self" and focus on HIM. Everyday He shows me that I must decrease and He shall increase. I know He is disciplining me and everyday He is CHANGING me. In His word He says that "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear".

Was there fear? May be a little...but there' s no more. I want to change. Be like HIM. I'm dwelling in His perfect love, where I decrease and He increases. There's no fear in CHANGE...

Monday, August 16, 2010

My first week in Cambodia!!!

So I'm finally writing! It's been a week and because of Annie's encouragement I am finally doing it...though she says I'm her "home ESL student", so I warn you... it's an ESL speaker writing so... ;)

So I'm living in Cambodia!!! (Stealing Annie's favorite phrase, besides "let's go get ice cream"). So Annie is my roommate. She is my only girlfriend now, and I'm her only girlfriend here. Due the fact we had a lot of friends back there :). So far I am getting used to the fact that I'm living in Cambodia. One year ago I barely knew about this place.  Today I am living here, in the other side of the world! Last week, my first week, I didn't even know how did I feel. Before leaving I was excited, but weeks before, more scare than excited. When I got here I think I was kind of shock that I wasn't shocked!!

So my life was pretty busy before coming here. Still being busy but in a different way. So, in the airplane i got a lot of time to "rest", to think and to only be still. Finally sat and thought about the amazing ways of God. I couldn't believe where I was heading to! Alone again, like two years ago when I went to Andrews. But I wasn't scared because I just remembered that "We have nothing to fear of the future, unless we forget how God has led us in the past". And how amazingly He has been leading me! It has been only a week, but many thoughts have been running through my mind. Thoughts about life, purpose and God's plans. Sometimes I wonder about what is God's purpose in leading me here.

So I am not living in a hut nor even teaching in them. The school used to be held in huts, but not anymore. It is pretty nice. I live in the city, actually in the capital city. The most usual things to see here are very beautiful houses (mansions) in front of a very very poor house. The city is not nice, besides some buildings. Pollution is everywhere as well as trash. Families ride in motorcycles and the babies seem like they know how to hold well to their parents. Everyone here rides a motorcycle. Even children. The most common transportation  is motorcycle, bikes or tuk tuks. In our "trips" to the city, tuk tuks are our option. For school I'll ride with Fay (school librarian and misionary here for 15 years) or bicycle. Tuk tuks are my favorite (though ours are always the slower ones) and bicycle rides are an "adventure". Just the thought of crossing the street is a challenge and a nightmare for me. The first time I did it I thought It was going to be my second and last day day in Cambodia, and actually in the whole Earth!!! Bicycles are allowed in the streets, well better said, everything is permitted here. A good thing about crossing the street is that if I don't get to cross all the way, I can stay in the road, and even be riding in the wrong way!! hehe! I learned with Annie, that here they won't hit you. They will swerve you!

Otherwise, my life in school is amazing! Just to hear "Hello tee-cha Olga" and see their excited faces when they see me, gives me all the encourage that I need to survive the tiredness of the hot and humid weather. (I think Michigan took me away the aclimation to the hot weather). Children here are amazing, They are so respectful and adorable. They say hello and thank you with their hands together and they stand up for answering a question. They always smile at you and are very reverent when it's time to pray. It's so rewarding to see them laughing and enjoying music, like any other child! I also enjoy when they try to teach me khmer words, like "shom-rrrriann" (music) (with that specific emphasis).   According to them, I never say it well.  Twelve grade is my everyday group. I enjoy them so much. I laugh with them, specially when I pronounce their names in the wrong way!!! (Now I understand when Americans use to call me "Bo-NEE-ta").

So far I just have realized one more time, that we can be so different, but in the inside, we're all the same. We all laugh and eat; we all struggle in life, we yearn for a better place to live in and we all need a Savior... Also I realized that I may be not know for sure my purpose to be here but I read this last week and I am starting to understand:

    "Look at God's incredible waste of His saints, according to the world's judgement. God seems to plant 
     His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, "God intends me to be here because I am so
     useful to Him". Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God     
     places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging
     where that may be". Oswald Chambers

I am not here to be useful, but to give Him the most glory! That's what I have learned so far!