Monday, November 17, 2008

Samuel and Vivi update...

For this child I prayed,
and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.
1 Sam 1:27 (NKJV)

Dear Readers,
I have good news to report to you…
Samuel is doing well! He came home from the hospital on Friday night. He was very relieved to go home. I went to see him during the visiting hour on Friday and read, looked at at pictures, and talked with him. Poor guy! He was so bored. He can only have visitors for an hour a day!

On Friday morning I had the opportunity to go out to Tiquipaya (a “suburb” of Cochabamba), where Adrian works at Bolivian Children’s Mission. It’s a home for about 30 kids. It’s a great setup, the kids are sweet, and I was a little jealous that Adrian actually gets to live with his kids! This home, along with our two homes (Frutillar and Villa Israel) are all part of our Navidad en Bolivia program, where the kids can be sponsored for Christmas gifts. In total there are 50 kids between the three homes that can be sponsored. If you are interested you can check out this site: Money can be sent to me (through my mom) and I can pull it out through my bank here and together we can make this a memorable Christmas for the kids here.

On Friday a new intern also arrived. Craig from New Hampshire. Craig came once before on a short term mission trip, his church has a very strong relationship with the ministry here and sends teams about twice a year. I had the pleasure of working with a group from his church this spring. I guess it’s gonna take getting used to having a guy around again…’though I guess it’ll probably be a bigger adjustment for him getting used to living with five crazy girls!

Friday afternoon we also (Friday was a big day) took the Frutillar kids to Sydney Timmer’s Championship soccer game. They got bored soon after our arrival so we went to a nearby field and they played all afternoon. It was a great activity.
Saturday we went to babywashing, we didn’t wash kids because of some personal things going on in the leader’s family, (pray for them please! The mother in law has cancer…can’t remember her name, I think she goes by Tía).
Anyway, so we gave out bread and warm milk. A lady came up to me, and told me that one of the men that we were giving food to was a thief. “He doesn’t deserve any”, she said, “…well, aren’t you going to do anything about it?” I informed her that we feed everybody. Then a little girl wanted to play with my hair so we went to find a seat, I saw the lady interrogating everyone that tried to walk by too…and I was re-thinking the entire, relatively strange, conversation out in my head. We don’t feed those who somehow “deserve” our free gifts. It’s called grace. It’s like God with us, none of us deserve His gift of His son, and then salvation to us, He freely gives it to us because He loves us. Too bad I couldn’t think of that when I was talking to the lady…

Sunday we went out to Villa Israel bright and early to take the kids to church. It was kind a yucky, rainy, soggy day. But it didn’t seem to dampen the kids’ spirits. They were super excited to see us and go with us to church. We went to a U.C.E. church (Union Cristiana Evangelica). Not where they usually go, but we were going to visit and decided it would be cool to take them with us. The house parents couldn’t go to church that day. The service was a mix of Quechua and Spanish. Good thing I quizzed Katie on her Quechua vocabulary on the way there! I however only remembered one or two words… The kids went to kids’ church and made a bunch of new friends. I’m so proud of all of those kids! I also got to see Samuel. He’s doing much better. He sat in my arms for a while and told me about the book that I had taken him in the hospital to look at while he laid in bed all day. I warned him as I was leaving to not climb on any more roofs.

Viviana’s still in the hospital. Pray for her recovery to go quickly. She’s already been there for two weeks. I visited her this past week. She is, as always, in good spirits. She teases the doctors, is able to leave her room to go to the playroom, go outside if there is a nurse to accompany her, and she has a whole drawer full of snacks, toys and games.

So that’s my week in a nutshell. Thanks SO MUCH for all of your prayers. For Samuel and Viviana… And me!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I’d like to share with you all something that’s very heavy on my heart. Samuel, the little guy I’ve been working with since February has been maybe the biggest joy to me in the entire time I’ve been here. I look forward to working with him every week. He continually catches my off guard by how fast he soaks things up. He’s a very active boy, though slightly clumsy (maybe that’s another reason I like him so much). He’s always climbing trees, playing on the monkey bars, or wrestling with his brothers. So it was no surprise to me when I heard that he had taken a tumble late Tuesday night. (We found out yesterday.) He climbed out his window on to the roof, fell off onto the cement patio, hit his head and was unconscious for about 24 hours. He recently woke up, praise Jesus, and I was able to go see him at the hospital today. All the tests (x-rays) have come back okay, and he is able to move his arms and legs.

So if you could be praying for this precious little boy as he recovers that there will be no long term damage. I know that God has great things in store for this little guy. I think of Samuel in the bible and how his mother prayed for him for a long time and God granted her request for a son, and then used him to bring glory to God, and I believe that God can do great things through this Samuel too.

For this child I prayed,

and the Lord has granted me my petition

which I asked of Him.

1 Sam 1:27 (NKJV)

An added praise was that we also got to see Viviana, who is in the same hospital, she seems to be well recovered. She was in good spirits as always and was teasing the doctors and helping them find who they were looking for. We are hoping that she can come home today. Or very soon!

Thanks so much for your prayers!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Día de Los Muertos. bolivia.

Dear Readers,
Saturday was Día de los muertos here in Bolivia. We didn’t see too much action on Saturday, but on SUNDAY our friend Hermano Jorge (who was also the leader of our trip to Potosí) took us to the cemetery so we could see how the Bolivian people honor their dead. We arrived at the cemetery, it was a beautiful day-reminded me of autumn up north. We followed the pathway down to the cemetery to the sound of Taps. The cemetery was indeed full; it maybe looked a little bit more like a park, with grassy fields, bronze statutes, and lots of flowers. There were also some tombs
and most of the graves were in tall white walls with a bunch of openings with windows covering it. Behind each window sat a plaque, some flowers, and a glass of water, and behind that is where they put the caskets. Interesting fact: Adrian told me that the spots on the walls are rented out, and once people stop paying rent, the body is taken out and cremated. That space is then rented to someone else. The wealthier families have their own larger private tombs.

The whole tradition was not nearly as somber as I expected. There were children walking around in groups that would say prayers for the dead, for a fee of course; a few music groups-both traditional Bolivian music, some Arabic music, as well as a few mariachi bands. Entire families were setting up displays of the deceased relative’s favorite foods, kids playing tag, and then us gringos wandering around…no one seemed to be bothered by us, though.

Umm...I don´t really know what was going on here...!
The common belief is that on this day, (or weekend) the spirits of the deceased come back to visit. The families, therefore, want to make the visiting spirit welcome by pleasing it with favorite music, food, and familiar faces.
So…that was my experience at the cemetery. I read a verse at bible study last week that was so very encouraging to me, He (Christ) died for us so that, whether awake (alive) or asleep (dead), we may live together with Him. I Thessalonians 5:10. For us death is not the end!
Just wanted to share my cultural experience with you all…
Have a great weekend!

COUNTDOWN: 43 days.