Friday, July 31, 2009


Hi everyone - all you mighty prayer warriors out there! Jude's passport arrived yesterday, Thursday, July 30. I seriously did the happy dance all around the house and was yelling and screaming and praising God! O was looking like at me like I was crazy, and then she was putting her hand up in the air and saying "Thank You, Jesus"! Blessings to that govt. employee who understood our urgency and got right on it. We so appreciate all of the fervent (and even simple) prayers that went up for us on this specific issue. Just one road block to overcome. We leave in exactly one week and one day. I am slowly preparing - gathering up items needed for the trip, paying bills due while gone, making sure the kids have enough winter clothes that fit them to take, etc. I also have a bday party to plan and get through. O will be 3 on Monday and we are having a pool party the night before we leave. Crazy, huh! Oh, well. It was the only option and maybe it will help us be more relaxed.

Our continued request is that you pray for our preparedness, our safety in traveling, our health before and during the trip, and another possible road block - obtaining our visas. We have learned that the only option is to obtain them once we get there, in the airport in Santa Cruz. We will have a connecting flight to Coch, only an hour and 1/2 after landing, so our big prayer now is that the process would go smoothly and quickly and that they would have no problems issuing us the visas. Lowell and I will most likely have to communicate in Spanish to them, so please lift us up! That will be Monday morning, Aug. 10. We will try our best to post one more time before we leave, and it's possible we will be able to post from Bolivia once or twice.

I leave you with a scripture the Lord gave me a few days ago when I was thinking about and praying about Jude's passport:

"Yet he (we) did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Romans 4:20-21


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Passport Scramble

Our youngest son Jude celebrated his 8th birthday this past Wed. and has been getting birthday cards in the mail every few days. Yesterday he went and got the mail and found a letter that was addressed to him. I had been outside working on our lawnmower and came in to find him opening this letter. When I got to him he said - "hmm this isn't a birthday card!..." Instead it was a letter addressed to him from the U.S. Passport Processing Office. This past Wed. we had just received 3 of our 4 kids passports and Jude's was the only one we didn't get. We just figured it was on its way... until we got the letter yesterday. The letter said that they needed a "long form birth certificate"... The one we sent them obviously wasn't sufficient even though it had an official seal and looked like all the other kids'. So after calling the passport office to clarify this I realized that I really was going to have to get another copy of his birth certificate... Ugh! With our trip being only 16 days away - who knew how long this might take! So... I called the number to the Texas Health Records Dept. and it sounded like my only "quickest" option might be to drive to Austin and stand in line to get a copy of this form. I was not very happy after learning this so I started to think of other options. Shay had told me she had filed for the kid's birth certificates through the local county health records office (which I was unaware - showing my naivety). So to make a long story longer... After talking on the phone to a very helpful lady at the county office she told me she would locate his birth certificate (which she did) and then she sent it (electronically) to an office that was located closer to where I live. So... by now it was about 3:30 and I headed to this office to pick up this form and thankfully it went smooth other than the rain/lightening storm and train I had to get around. After obtaining the form I had just enough time to drive back home and put the form in the mail and overnight it to Charleston SC where it can get back into the system for reprocessing. Whew! All this to recognize that if I had not see the mail when I did that I would've had to wait til Monday to do all of this (which would've been hard to do). Instead - I was able to miraculously get a jump on it and have the perfect amount of time in one day to get it all done smoothly! If Jude had not been nosing around in the mail looking for more b-day cards this would've delayed me seeing the mail - I'm sure. So a big thanks goes out to Jude for opening the mail.

This is where some of you come in:
Please pray for the rest of this process to go in a timely manner so that they will get that passport to us ASAP. The people at the passport agency said that if we want to increase our chances of getting it on time that we should expedite the processing by paying another $75 - which we will do of course! But they said it still would not guarantee we get it by the time we need it - which I don't understand. So... there again - your prayers are highly coveted.

Thanks for painstakingly bearing with me on this long post. If anything maybe this will help some of you if you ever get in this same situation some day.

Another step closer,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My two cents

Hey everyone! Just thought I'd let you all know that the boys shots went very well this morning! We were there for two hours - it is a lengthy process, but they did great. The nurse also HIGHLY recommended we all get typhoid fever shot as well. So, all three of the boys received 2 shots and now they have sore arms! O and I receive our shots in the morning (Wednesday, July 22), which happens to be J's birthday. We were given prescriptions for an anti-malaria pill as well, but not sure if it's absolutely necessary to use that??? Don't think it's a huge risk in Coch. I think I will be more cautious of the swine flu than anything. We love all of you guys and are so humbled by your support already! Look for information soon on our formal, official fundraising to begin!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Update 2 - We Have Tickets

Well I just wanted to inform everyone that thanks to numerous financial gifts from friends and family we have purchased plane tickets last week and the dates for our trip are Aug. 9 - 25th. Woo hoo - God is good and we feel so blessed at how soon this trip is coming together.

Prayer Requests:
-We need you to help us pray that our four kid's passports will come in soon. As of this Friday it will be 4 weeks since we sent off for them. They said it would take from 4-6 weeks but we are hoping no more than 4. Aug. 6th would put us at 6 weeks.
-Kids get yellow fever shots tomorrow morning early. They are not too excited about this (as you can imagine)...
-We still need to nail down our accommodations for our stay - need to wrap this up this week.
-There is currently a swine flu virus going on in Bolivia that we are asking you to pray will end so that it decreases our chances of coming in contact with it.

Thank you to all of you who are keeping up with our journey to Bolivia.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Update 1

A brief update... I first want to give thanks to God for moving people to give generously to help support our first trip as we explore the possibilities of moving to Bolivia to do mission work. As mentioned before in our initial blog post our first goal has been to try and raise money, have garage sells, etc. for our first trip to Bolivia which we hope to be in mid August. Thus far we've received several generous financial gifts to assist in defraying our travel expenses which has been overwhelmingly encouraging. We have enough money to go ahead and purchase tickets next week. Financial support is definitely a need but PRAYER is just as much a need and we covet your prayers in the days to come.

A few prayer requests:
-Passports process on time and will come in soon.
-Kids would be mentally prepared to get shots.
-Kids would be prepared physically & emotionally for the long flight down.
-Travel arrangements to be made - details of airfare purchase and lodging in Bolivia to go smooth.
-That God would bless and guide conversations we have with Bolivian church leaders and elders as we discover together a way we can partner with them in ministry.
-For God to begin to prepare our whole family for this experience.
-For us to be healthy upon leaving in a month. (Shay has a cold right now - pray it goes away soon)
-Finally - that we not forsake praying together often as a family and asking God to give us guidance and wisdom during this process.

Thanks for all your support and interest in our journey of obedience.

The Ballews