I finally got to go visit Joel, Brandon, Samuel and Erland. (The four brothers who lived in the orphanage when I lived here who have since moved to another house). They live about 45 minutes from the city, and I had to go in public transportation and switch busses about 30 minutes in. I didn't really have any idea where I was going, I had hoped to meet up with a guy from Ireland who works there with Latin Link, but we didn't find each other. So I was asking lots of questions, and kept my phone numbers handy. I eventually made it and was so proud of myself! The boys now live in a home called Pequeno David (Little David) which is a transitional house which works with the parents (education) to help them get their kids back. The boys are doing very well and the plan is to help them get back with their mother my the end of the year. As soon as the two younger ones (Samuel and Erland) saw me they ran to me and gave me the best hugs! It was so good to see them! I spent the whole afternoon there, we played checkers and legos, they made cards for their mom, and seemed to get along very well with their peers. I hope to make it back before I leave also.
Yesterday we had Bible Study with the kids from Frutillar. So there we were marching up to the hacienda 7 kiddos, two sheep, one dog, carrying two bottles of pop and an empty cake pan. Did you ever have a moment where you stop and try to capture a specific moment in your mind? I have lots, but this was definitely one of them. Bible studies are generally short, as keeping the attention of seven kids between 6 and 13 is pretty difficult. The kids seem to enjoy it though, and all volunteer to read out loud, or close in prayer. We also celebrated Dalia's birthday this week.
Annie left yesterday morning and the kids were so cute as they prayed thanking God for sending her, and giving her safety in her travels. We miss her already!!
This week was Sydney's graduation week. We had three celebrations for her (family, school, and ceremony.) She was valedictorian and gave a speech last night. So proud of her! Emily also graduated from 6th grade. She's grown up so much since I've been here (although she hates when people always say that!), but she's become quite a young lady. :)
I had a really interesting talk last night with a young Bolivian lady at the graduation ceremony. She asked me if I was a Christian, which gave us a chance to talk about God which always causes me to reflect on my relationship with God and how I'm doing.
We attended the International Teams monthly prayer meeting/Bible study on Friday also. The Spies have been heading this up, as an opportunity for the I-Teams missionaries to share, fellowship and eat together! (Kate made an awesome cake for Nate's birthday). We actually kept the taxi waiting so we could get a piece to go, since I knew it would be fantastic.
The Spies also had us over for dinner on Wednesday night. It was a really nice time visiting, and Kate and I spent hours talking about missions, family and everything else. They are so gracious, and I hope to be just like Kate when I grow up!
On Wednesday Sam and I went out to the Villa Israel home (which is currently empty). It's only been a month since Annie cleaned it last, but since no one is living in there it was super dusty. WE spent hours cleaning, since a potential house parent couple was interviewing on Friday. It was really weird to go back when there were no kids there! :( On the way back the trufi (bus) was stuck in the market forever. There was lots of traffic so I decided to try to take pictures and capture some of the real Bolivian culture for you guys (once I can finally post pictures). Well, I took a few fotos, then a hand reached into the window and grabbed my camera in my lap. I firmly grasped it with my other hand and just held on to it. The trufi was moving and the man had slight momentum too as he was on a bike. In the end I won, but I got an ugly cut on my hand. Apparently he had been watching the taxi and ridden by one way, but returned to see if he could swipe my camera. The ladies sitting next to me became so angry! I felt really bad, just seeing the ugliness of sin, and although a camera is just a material possession-which if lost wouldn't have been the end of the world-it's the root issue of sin. (which if we're honest, exists in each one of us too). Anyway, I still have my camera--Thank God! As I still have two more weeks, and I haven't been able to upload any pictures, though some are on Sam's laptop.
Soo...that's the week in brief. I have no idea what's going on back in the States at all--or anywhere else for that matter, so feel free to let me know anything important that I should know. I almost forget that there's a whole world out there too!