The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Apr 29, 2012

I'm going to Bolivia...and I need your HELP!

Hi friends...I need your help...or in the very least your prayers.

I know that so many people right here in my circle of friends have giving hearts.  And while they may not have the means to "give" or health to "travel" to the places & people who need it most.  I know that many have a burning desire to.  So with that, I share this story of WHY I am going where I am going.  I want to share, so that perhaps if there is someone, anyone, who might feel compelled to contribute monetarily to help offset my costs...or at least pray for my journey...every little bit would be most appreciated.
It never hurts to throw it out there and just ask right?  So this is for those friends who want to get involved, in at least some way, but just aren't sure how...
Well...I'm about to tell you "how".    :-)


As you know, my life forever changed (for the better) when our Little Miss Macy was born.  Who knew one silly little chromosome could have such a MAJOR impact on all our lives.  I say ALL our lives, because I know darn well her love & affection extends well beyond little ol' me.

Well since becoming a momma of two, and having been catapulted into this amazing world of special needs, I have had a constant fire in my heart.  The kind of fire that is warm, comforting and content one day...and HOT, unsettled and unsatisfied the next.
And by unsatisfied, I mean...having the perpetual feeling that I am not doing enough.  That I am not enough.  The feeling that there HAS to be more.  More that I could do for our sweet girl.  More that we could do for people who have Down Syndrome in our community and our world.
This constant anxiety can't be healthy.
It is important that we do not let Down Syndrome consume our minds or control our hearts.  We need a healthy balance of wants, desires, fears and goals.  Afterall, Down Syndrome does not define our family.  There has to be more...and there is!
I have come to this place in my faith journey.  A crossroads where I feel discontent.  Going through the motions of showing up at church, sitting quietly in the pew, placing a dollar in the basket and humming along with the hymns is NOT doing it for me anymore.
I am craving more.
I have known and heard so much about the children in La Paz, Bolivia.  Our church has, for several years, shared the mission and struggles that these kids who live on the streets endure each and every day.  It is just not fair.  Hearing their stories, not only selfishly, makes me feel blessed beyond measure, it also makes me feel obligated.  Obligated to do something.  Anything.  Big?  Small?  It doesn't matter.  Just SOMETHING will do.

So, I have decided that my "something" will be to go on a vision trip with a group of friends from my church.  We will go to Bolivia and get to know these kids.  Reach out to these kids.  Make them feel loved and important.  SEE these kids.
I do not pretend that interacting with these children for a week is going to make a lasting impression or in any way change the course of their lives.  But it is my hope that, if even for a brief moment, I might have the ability to make them feel important.  Communicate to them, in some way, that their life MATTERS.
I might not speak their native language , sure there will be a bit of a communications barrier (I need to brush up on my spanish a bit), but I feel that communicating, truly communicating, goes much deeper than words.  It's not only about "speaking" through our mouths, rather, through our hearts.  Communicating utilizes all senses and stirs up all emotions.  I am certain, the simple act of being present, genuinely present, will go far.

When it comes to Love - we all speak the same language.  It's UNIVERSAL!

Again, I know that my time in La Paz will not make a big impact on these people's lives.  I know that they "will forget what I did, forget what I said"...but it is my hope that they "will not forget how I made them feel".

From the moment Macy was born I was intimidated.  Scared of this thing, this diagnosis they call Down Syndrome.  This world, just two short years ago, was foreign to me.  I quickly learned that I did not need to be an expert in this area of special needs.  It was not important for me to read and memorize each and every book front to back.  Or scan every website from top to bottom.  I quickly learned that as long as I simply open up my heart and allow myself to simply give in and trust God.  "If he leads you to it, he will get you through it" right?  So, after quite a bit of tears, prayers and self reflection, I quickly came to the realization, that I can do this.  We can do this.  God is in control.  He is the heavenly creator, maker of our plan.  The good Lord Jesus Christ will take care of us and ensure that we are on the right path.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you” (Jer. 1:5) He will not lead us astray.  So for this, I am thankful to be on the amazing journey we call life.  Sure, there have been bumps.  And I know there will be many more along the way.
But life is hard.  And not just for us...FOR EVERYONE!

I do not feel that we are in any way "bringing Jesus" to these people.  Nope, not what it's about at all.  In fact...Jesus is everywhere all the time.  His presence is especially heightened among those who are hurting and need his love the most.  So with that being said...these children, rather, will be bringing me a bit closer to Jesus.

I am not sure why God has called me to go on this journey.  Why me?  Why La Paz?  Why now? 
The timing could not feel more wrong.  Yes our family finances could be a little more in order...but when I sit back and really think about where we are at in our lives (our ages, our kids' ages, my current part-time employment situation) really does seem like the PERFECT time.  Afterall, it should not be about money.  Hopefully that minor detail will just work itself out.  It should be about our hearts and simply allowing ourselves to listen (and respond) to God's call.
To be honest I'm not sure if I'll ever know why God is calling us to go at this time & to this place...he just IS...perhaps it will make more sense when we are there, or at some point in the years to come.  And I guess we'll just have to be okay with that.

As I said before, I do not pretend that my presence and outreach in Bolivia is going to make a huge least it's something.  A little bit of "something" is better than a whole lot of "nothing".  I feel that if each and every person in this whole world would just do a little more "something", and not just those who have been blessed with deep pockets & financial freedom, but ordinary people like you and me...then their would be a whole lot less "less fortunate" people because of it.

I am glad that this "mission trip" has nothing to do with Down Syndrome.  My eyes need to be heart needs to mind needs to firmly understand that there is so much more going on here...there is so much hurt, pain and suffering - more than I can even begin to comprehend.  It is my personal hope, that by being open to this journey, that I can be put at mind can be okay with our heart can feel content once again. I need to truly feel that we are blessed, that we are doing enough.  More than enough in fact.  Perhaps that's our problem.  We are doing too much and stressing over the wrong things.  I don't know.  Are we doing enough therapy? enough school? enough activities? enough social interactions? the list goes on...and I want this list that I constantly check over in my brain to simplify!  The anxiety needs to stop.

So enough about's not about me.  It's about these kids!  Here's a little more about them and this trip.

first off...remember this video I created a few months ago - using John & Christina's photos from a previous trip to La Paz??  I blogged about it a few months back...please watch it again!  :-)

Our vision trip - June 22 - June 30, 2012

"Bethany has a long standing partnership with Kaya Children and its ministry in La Paz, Bolivia. There is no better way to experience the breadth and depth of this ministry and our partnership than through first-hand experience. In 2012 Bethany will be taking a vision trip to La Paz, Bolivia. The purpose of this vision trip to La Paz Bolivia is to experience firsthand the lives of the Kaya Children. Through this experience participants will be able to form one-on-one relationships with the children in our programs, hear their stories and witness the amazing transition from life on the streets through the transition home and into a life with a promising future as a part of the Kaya family".
More about Kaya Children Int'l...In the words of my friend Christina:
"we'll get a glimpse into the lives of children who have had to call the streets their home.  Experience the lives of children who once felt they had no safe place to call home, no parent to trust or depend on, no support system to help encourage their walk in life, or in Christ."

"Kaya Children International is a young and growing organization that is committed to serving children on the streets around the world. We work to meet the immediate needs of children living on the streets, while working toward a future in which no child needs to call the streets home. To accomplish this mission, we engage in direct service, research and advocacy.

A worldwide network of partners and individuals makes Kaya's work possible. While our direct services are currently focused on Bolivia, our other activities are expanding around the globe, paving the way for future programmatic expansion. Our long term goal is to develop viable program models, based on best practice and sound research, which can be implemented on a broad scale to make a lasting difference in the lives of marginalized children."

Contact or for additional information.


We have a diverse group of 18 people embarking on this journey together!  People ranging from young to old not as young...mother/son, father/daughter combinations...a wide array of individuals equipped with unique skills, talents and personality traits to make a wide impression on these kids.
here's 11 of the 18 of us - pic taken at church just this morning...
In conclusion, after $600.00+ worth of (not covered by my insurance plan) vaccinations...more money put towards my first Passport and Visa application. 
These costs, plus the $1,800 needed for travel, lodging and food, etc...I could use your help. 
Please send me a message if you'd like to contribute to my "vision trip" fund.

Anything big and small is appreciated  :-)

If you'd like to make a donation, you can give it to me directly, or there is an online option as well - just follow these simple steps below: 
2)  click on "give"  - which is in the upper right hand corner of site
3)  Enter your desired amount in the "OTHER" box
4)  please be sure to type my name in the "designation" field  Sherri Harnisch - Kaya Children Int'l trip 

That should do it!  It would be helpful if you could also shoot me an email to let me know if you've made a donation on my behalf in this capacity, so that I may follow up on it properly - to ensure nothing "falls through the cracks".

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Your friend,
Sherri Harnisch

Isaiah 6:8

 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

   And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Psalm 23

A psalm of David.
 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.
 5 You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

1 comment:

  1. Sherry, Please send us information on how to donate.

    Lauren and I recently embarked on our first mission trip together. What a blessing the people of Honduras were to us! Our trip was fully supported by donations by family, friends and local businesses.

    An experience we will always remember! Please let me know if you need any help with the fundraising part. Prayers! Andrea