As I write this we are on a plane from Vancouver to Kelowna. This has been an eventful trip home. We have had big delay starting in Santa Cruz. Our plane was an hour and a half late leaving and that caused a missed connection in Miami. So instead of staying the night in Dallas American Airlines put us up in Miami. The other consequence was that our group was split into two. One travelled thru Chicago the other thru Montreal. The Chicago group had smooth sailing while the Montreal group had some stress. We were 35 min delayed leaving Miami and had 55 mins in Montreal to clear customs, pick up our bags, check in with a new airline, go thru security and get across the entire airport. We ran. Like you see on movies. Full sprint. We made it by minutes. Then as we were getting on the plane we found out someone was on standby on a full plane. After a few tense minutes we sorted that out and we were on. I am so thankful for your prayer. I know that God was looking after us.
As I reflect on the trip I want to tell you how proud I am of this team. They were so good. You have great kids. They were truly a pleasure. I am also very proud of how they have started to process the things we saw. On our last day we went shopping and while everyone wanted something to remember the trip everyone saved something to donate to the lady I mentioned earlier that is losing her house. It was a great moment. One in which they truly showed how we who have so much can live without guilt but can also serve those who scripture calls us to serve. It reminded me of this verse
He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.
These trips to Bolivia have been life changing for me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to take your kids. Thanks for your trust. Thanks for your prayers
Until next time…..
Today was our last service day in here. This place has changed me and I really love serving here so this day comes with a touch of sadness. It also was a day in which we were reminded how hard life can be here. This morning we found out that the lady that has been cooking for us is going to lose her house because the lot she is on is needed for a roadway. At home you would recieve compensation for this. Here they show up with equipment and knock down your wall. Three family’s live on the property and all are going to be effected is some way. The injustice of working your way into a home and having it taken from you is just another burden that she has to bear for her family. We were able to help her some but she will suffer because of this.
In the afternoon we loaded into a bus and took 60 people to the zoo. It is an amazing experience to take kids that have grow up in the streets and treat them like kids again. I love to see the joy that there is when they see an animal or ride down a giant slide. It is like for a moment they forget their circumstances and live like my kids do.
After we were able to give away a lot of the things we brought down with us. Pillow cases full of stuff for the kids and blankets for the babies. The joy that one experiences when giving to the truly needy is very powerful.
In the evening we had a chance to talk about our trip and how we can live in the light of what we have learned. Something that really resonated with me was the idea that when Jesus fed the 5000 that he first gave the food to the disciples and they did not just wow we are so blessed and stop there. They gave the food out fed the 5000 hungry people. Pray that this team does not forget that idea. That we who have been given much don’t sit back and just say thank you God for this gift but that we feed the poor.
Pray for us as we say our goodbyes tomorrow. We will see you all in three days
Today was an adventure. We started at 6 am in Santa Cruz and travelled 3 hours into the Andes mountains. The scenery is beautiful. We ended in a little town call Samaipata. The town has a very European influence and I even heard English being spoken a few times. From the town we planned on taking taxis up to the ruins. Early on in the taxi ride we found out the the road up to the ruin was impassable in a vehicle that was not a four wheel drive. So we walked 6 km up a mountain in the mud to the ruins. Once up the mountain we walked the ruins and then convinced someone to drive us down to the town. The drive down was in one of the more interesting vehicles that I have ever seen. Only in Bolivia as we like to say now. One back down we ate in a small bistro and headed back to El Jordan.
Pray for us tomorrow as we complete our final poverty simulation . Pray for safety as we take 60 kids to a Bolivia zoo. Pray for us as we say good by to the families we have met.
Today we did a couple of things. In the morning the girls made up maternity packages and went to see a maternity hospital. Being not of the female persuasion I do not have a lot of details on the event and can make no observations about it.
The boys spilt into two groups in the morning. One stayed and cleaned the water system here at El Jordan and the other went and started a building project for a family that goes here. Both jobs were interesting because those giving instruction to the English workers spoke no English. It is interesting that you find a way to communicate yet gives a different perspective on what it would be like to move to a country where you did not speak the language and are expected to just learn it.
In the afternoon some continued building while others of us went and cleaned a property. This is a job that a single mother would do with her kids to make enough to eat. Cleaning was gruelling work with tools that would be available to someone in poverty. We spent hours with machetes and hoes before we got the modern tools that we have become used too. The work was frustrating yet I whenever frustration or tiredness would come I would think of the mother doing it to feed her family.
Pray for safety on the roads tomorrow as we travel up into the Andes to visit a waterfall and some ruins.
Today we rest. Yesterday night we all had a chance to share some of the things that have impacted us. The poverty has has impacted us all. Even today as we rode to church we saw people drunk from the night before. Two women passed out in traffic with people trying to slap them awake. Two men in the street attempting to fight. 52% of the people here in Bolivia live in poverty. It is everywhere you look. It brings to mind the Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Corina, Marco, and Heidi live by this verse. They love a people group here that are the lowest of the low. A group that is considered less than human by lots of the people. They are numerous examples that speak of this love. The tears when they talk about the injustice that is heaped on these people. The comment when we take the kids to a playground to make sure that the people treat “their ” kids fairly. The hugs they give people regardless of what they look or smell like. It brings this verse to mind
They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.
If you have a list of things that you pray for please add them to it.
Pray for us tomorrow as we serve in different ways. The boys will work at El Jordan in the morning and the girls will go to a maternity hospital and hand out some of the things we brought. If the afternoon we will start the building a shelter for Judith and cleaning up some of the properties for the people of El Jordan. In the evening Bec and Heidi will go back and work at the hospital.
Today was friendship day for El Jordan. It was amazing to see the joy of play. To see families together and enjoying games. For a moment it seems like the difficulty and hardship of life here is stripped away. Adults playing camp games. Kids running around laughing and playing. I was even the wheelbarrow in a wheelbarrow race. We were able to share again today as well. Rochelle gave a talk in Spanish. We sang our Spanish songs and Shay was able to share our testimony. The team again performed very well. Parents be proud.
Now as I lie here and reflect with my fan running, my shower and my iPhone I think about where they went after what was a great morning. We had lunch waiting. What did they have? We have a bathroom. What do they have? We can go home. Where do they go?
Pray this afternoon as we take some kids on a reward to a Bolivian bowling alley. Pray that we get the rest we need as we are at the halfway point. Pray for those we have met
As I thought about this post today I began by reflecting on what I thought was two very different experiences. First thing this morning we visited the streets. It is an exercise that is done to show how the people here grew up. On the street you see the very hardest of living conditions. All the people are addicted to some combination of glue, alcohol and cocaine paste. This allows for some perspective on the home visits yesterday. Houses yesterday were better than what we saw today. It explains why they were thankful for what they had. We were all struck by how the people here are received by the people in the streets. It would be worth the trip here to just watch love in action. It is truly a beautiful thing.
In the evening we did father day at the Men’s centre. The girls on our team had the less glamorous task on looking after the moms and kids while we served the Fathers. Their task was more difficult and they handled it very well. Parent you should be very proud of your daughters. The boys were able to play soccer against the men (we even scored some goals) and share with them. All three of the boys shared. All three did an amazing job. Be very proud. Josiah’s story really resonated and he was able to share more with them during a meal.
The father here are more dads and less fathers. The culture combined with the street has made them in most cases a liability for their families. These fathers desperately need God and El Jordan to begin a restorative process with their families. Most of these men are still living a street life. This resonated for me as we had been in the street earlier. Maybe tonight was the first step into El Jordan and that restorative relationship with Christ.
Pray for us tomorrow as we serve more families during a friendship day celebration. Pray as we sing our Spanish songs. Pray that we get some rest as we are all starting to feel tired. Most of all pray for the people we have met.