We are in the air between LA and Vancouver. On our way home. So many thoughts always find there way into my head at this time. This was a great trip. We had a lot of great experiences and a lot of streaching one. I personally visited places and did things that I have never done before. The team was awsome. I never had to ask for things more than once. I put them in situations that were way outside their comfort zones and they did all that I asked and more. Parents you should be proud of your kids. They are awsome.
My leaders were also fantastic. All left young families at home to serve God, the people of El Jordan and our team. I could not have asked for better. They represented KCS well and most importantly their sacrifice allowed for changes in worldview that otherwise might not have happened.
Whenever I leave Bolivia I do it with a heavy heart. I love the people and really wish that I could share more time with them. They have overcome so much already in life and have to overcome so much more. I pray that my life back home will reflect that love. I can’t wait to go back
We have two days left here in Bolivia. We sat down last night and talked about going home. When you come on a missions trip we often consider and prepare for the culture shock that will be experienced when we enter a foreign culture. This culture is very different from ours back home so I make sure I prepare the team for what they will see and how they must act in so that they do not offend.
What we don’t often prepare for is the culture shock of going home. When I come to Bolivia a part of me is changed everytime. I go back to a culture that is unchanged. How do I mantain my changes in the light of that. An analogy that was given last night was one of a rutted road. When you drive on a rutted road the easiest path to follow is the ruts. But if you follow that path there are a number of dangers. The ruts may take you to a place you don’t want to go or your vehicle might get hung up along the way. Where you want to drive is the just on the edge of the rut. You still are on the road but you are travelling differently. The dangers of the rut do not exist beside it. The very hard part about travelling beside the rut is that you must constantly fight against falling back into to rut. There is a constant tension that is present on the steering wheel as you fight this fight.
As we come home I pray that we feel this tension. It means that we are willing to take what we have seen here and not put it in a box to look back on but to put it into action.
It is impossible to change everything, nor it that appropriate. We have lives in North America. Things that we are called to. We do not have to feel guilty about that but we do have to live differently in the light of the experience here.
Pray for us as we finish our work here. We are preparing for El Jordan chapel today and a children’s event on Saturday. Pray that our team finishes well.
Today the boys went to a home for boys that are mentally challenged. They needed some painting done. We painted three rooms, two dormitories and a dining hall. The boys in this home have been abandoned by their families and have been victimized in other homes.
In the midst of the home we met a boy named Miguel. He was a boy in the home. We watched him look after those who were less capable than himself. Here is a guy that has no advantages in life. He was treated horrendously prior to coming to this home. When he arrived he was not able to function in a real healthy way in house. Slowly he was shown that he could trust those in the house. Now he looks after those around him. He does things that I would not want to do.
It was very stretching mentally for me. It was well outside my comfort zone. In these moments I was reminded of the words of Jesus:
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
We experienced this in a very real way today.
This is always one of my favorite days on this trip. Today we got go visit the homes of some of the people of El Jordan. I have a chance to visit with two individual that I have had contact with on previous trips.
It is such a blessing to go into these homes and have a relationship with these people. Both ladies have had horrendous background. Both were on the streets in their young teens, addicted to drugs, pregnant in their teens and now face significant issues. One lives with HIV the other was sporting fresh bruises from her latest boyfriend. The stories are heartbreaking. It is truely awful that people in 2015 have to live like this. Yet they rolled out the welcome mat for us. One of the team reflected that they were just happy to have a voice and wanted to show their gratitude. We were served food in the houses that cost them at least three days wages. They were willing to sacrifice threes days worth of food money as an act of love. It is a truely humbling experience.
The day always leads to reflection. How can we change this? Is is possible to help? One observation that came up tonight was the idea that true help required relationship. The ministry here at El Jordan succeeds due to their willingness to be in relationship. It is in the relationship that you can truly understand needs and try and minister to them.
Pray for us tomorrow as we serve a children’s home in the area by painting it.
Jer 49:11 But I will protect the orphans who remain among you. Your widows, too, can depend on me for help.”
The people we have seen here are working to get off the street. A common theme in that is to talk about the experiences that have lead them to street. The common theme in all their stories in abuse. Over and over we have heard about abandonment, physical abuse, lack of meeting of physical needs. One of the dark aspects of poverty is the cyclical aspect of it. People are treated poorly by their parents and in turn they leave and end up doing the same to their children.
Over the last two days we have worked with fathers and families in two events. The people of El Jordan with the help of the Lord and the workers here are trying to break that cycle. The grip of the streets is strong. I a way living there is easier than living an honest Godly life, but the street life comes with extreme consequences. One is their children. El Jordan offers them a way to protect their kids from a life they do not want for them.
We have met people that are farther along on their journey than others and those farther along speak of their dependancy on God. The verse that I quoted at the beginning of this blog was one that resonated with this observation. Those that are dependant on the Lord and seek him are seeing protection.
Pray for us as we start our second week. We will be visiting homes this week as we as serving to meet some of the more physical needs of this place.
Today was an experience that I will never forget. I got to sit and listen to the needs of four Bolivia families and then thanks to the generous donations of the KCS high school and elementary school I was able to witness those needs being fufilled.
The grip of poverty is intense here. The needs we heard about today would be unfathomable in my daily life at home. The families today lacked for almost everything we just take for granted in everyday life. When we asked a 17 year old mom with a one year old baby, and three dependant siblings if she needed any food for her family her first response was to ask if it was food for the day. She has so little that she does not think past day to day living. When we told her that we would buy her long term supplies we started to ask what she had. We started with rice, her answer was no, noodles, no, veggies, no, fruit, no, milk, no. She did not answer yes to a single thing. Five mouths, no food.
Another family was almost ashamed to ask for things. It was not until I assured them that we would get them whatever they wanted that they quietly asked for some cheese.
Another family had different needs. Their matress in their house was wrecked so we were able buy them the first foam matress they had ever slept on. There was also a need for a new stove. With no father at home the mom has to go out and earn money. She has to leave her young children at home and they need to eat. With there current stove there was a real possibility of explosion. That meant that when mom had to go out the kids could not eat. We were able to buy her a new stove.
Today I was proud of the school. Proud that we were willing to give to those that really needed it.
Please pray for us tomorrow as we minister to the fathers of El Jordan. Ian is speaking.
My bags are packed and we are ready to go. Our group of 15 leaves on a 5:45 am flight out of Kelowna tomorrow. If all goes well we should be in Santa Cruz at 9 am Tuesday. We need to pass through 6 airports on our trip. Pray for us as we travel.
While we are in Santa Cruz we will be working with El Jordan. El Jordan works to help people formerly living on the street or in delinquency live an honest Godly life. While we are there we will be helping with large events, visiting homes, and spending as much time as we can loving those who have not seen much love in their lives.
Please pray for us as we look to minister to those less fortunate than ourselves. We go with the financial support of the K-12 students of Kelowna Christian School who gave over $5000 dollars to support five Bolivia families. We are taking 750 lbs of supplies down with us to support El Jordan’s ministry.
Pray that the team seeks Jesus on this trip. That we see the world from a new perspective and that God changes us all while we are away.