As we are amidst our winter season here in South America and experiencing unusually cool temperatures and a recent big snow on the mountains many of you in the USA are experiencing record HOT temperatures! We have been enjoing the recent snow on the mountains which came unusually early this winter. Bolivian school kids are in the middle of their third week of winter break here and the North American Schools are on their summer break since they are on the same schedule as USA schools. We've decided to put our boys in Carachipampa Christian School here in Cochabamba beginning August 17. Shay and I are planning on teaching at the school a couple of periods per week on a part time basis. The school needs music and art teachers and Shay and I are considering teaching a couple of classes each week for grades 7-12.
Shay and I have accepted the opportunity to be the youth leaders for Youth Group at CIC. For the past two weeks we have been having Friday Night Youth Group meetings at the church from 7 to 9 in a room called The Cueva which is a cool room with 100 yr. old walls. We play games and have snacks and then have a time of music and worship and then have some teaching time from The Bible. We have been having about 12 kids the past two meetings and will have many more once school begins in August. There are a few families moving back from furlough in August and we look forward to connecting with those kids also. As you can see my boys and I plus Tee Ross who's 17 are able to lead worship for our youth meetings on Fridays. This is a lot of fun for me as my whole family is able to serve together!
Family Life in Cbba
We have moved into another rent house here in Coch and are super blessed with more space and a better location on the west side of town near the suburb of Sacaba. Another missionary family lived here before us and were the ones who told us about it. We also adopted their two dogs Maddie & Midnight. They are both sweet dogs and do a good job at helping us with security with their deterrant barking at late night strangers and passers by. On the weekends we have a Bolivian college student living with us. Her name is Kendra. She is from the city of Santa Cruz and attends bible college at Palabra De Vida (Word of Life) which is located in a town about 1 hour south of the city. Kendra is one of our youth interns here and helps us with our Friday night youth meetings. She also helps us practice our Spanish on the weekends and she plays with Olivia a lot too! We've been waiting for a car to buy a car and found one that some missionaries are selling. Only problem is that it was wrecked right before we were told about it being for sale and we've been waiting for about 6 weeks for it to be repaired so we can test drive it. In the meantime we will continue to be patient and use taxis and truffies. A truffi is a mini van that drives a particular route like a bus. The 121 trufi taxi comes right down the street in front of our house which is very helpful since we still don't have a car. There is about 20 or more trufi taxis that all drive the 121 route thru the heart of the city. We take the 121 three times a week to language school. We can also take it to go eat at mine and Shay's favorite restraunt.
The church has been going through changes some good some sad. Former founding and Senior Pastor Graham Porter and his wife Lori left back in June which was very sad for many in the church. They had been here for 12 years and had a deep impact to so many in the city of Cochabamba (Cbba). With Graham leaving Tony Murrin has stepped up to teach more on Sunday mornings with the help of Assoc. Pastor Edwin Almanza also. Tony and Joanna Murrin have both been very key leaders at CIC for all 10 years! Joanna has been a leader with the music ministry and planning music for services and playing piano and singing as well as leading the chior. They have four kids. Two sons in college at Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania, USA and two daughters here in Cbba. Tony has an avation ministry called Mission Air Bolivia which supports missionaries in the tribal areas of Bolivia. He flies regularly to the Chipare Jungle region of Bolivia to bring medical and material aid to indigeneous Bolivians. In particular Tony has been helping a pastor from the Oromomo region of the Chipare. Pastor Inocencio and his wife Daria have been leading a group of new christians in their village and they trying to build their first church facility there deep in the jungle. In particular there are some prayer requests below for these particular ministry areas:
Pastor Inocencio and his wife Daria need help in maintaining the missionary work in Oromomo. A full time couple is needed who could learn the language and stay with the Yura and Chimane people teaching them Biblical truths, and giving them medical care.
Mission Air Bolivia - The aviation training center for Latin Americans in Missions need to consolidate this project soon. They need instructors for training latin Americans aviation mechanics and missionary aviation. Churches from Venezuela and other countries have required pilots and skilled workers to give them support in remote areas.
The radio station for the Bolivian Amazon basin that should broadcast BBN programs, as well as other radio programs in five different languages need a full time missionary who could be in charge of running the radio station project.
These particular areas are an indirect ministry of what we are here to support through the ministry of Cochabamba Internation Church. We hope to go and visit these particular ministries in the Chipare in days to come.
4th of July
We had fun celebrating the 4th here with a bunch of expats and Bolivians. Our friends Osvaldo and Alice host an American style 4th of July celebration since she's a native of the USA. Her parents live here as well. We met other Bolivians who now live in USA and some are married to gringos. Close to 100 people gathered in the backyard of the Montaños to have hamburgers and Coca Cola (which is the national refresco/softdrink of Bolivia by the way). It was a fun time complete with American Cheesecake and fireworks!
Prayer Requests For Ballews
-That we continue to learn the language and take language classes that we retain what we're learning and that we get plenty of chances to practice with the locals.
-For us to conitnue to deepen the relationships that God has given us with Bolivians. Young Couples Bible Studies (twice a month) and others within the church.
-For the boys as they go back to organized school from being home educated for 4 years. This will be a big adjustment especially just waking up early every morning.
-For us to recieve our Carnets soon. These are our Bolivian ID cards which will allow us to then get our Bolivian drivers license.
-For Shay and I as we teach at CCS that we will know the best things to focus on teaching the students since we will not be using a cirriculum. This is the first time we've taught art and music in a school/classroom setting. Pray that we will be able to connect with many kids while teaching there and that it will mesh well with our Friday night youth group meetings in getting more kids to attend those meetings.
-For Shay and I as we lead the youth meetings every Friday night that we will build strong relationships with the students and that we will have wisdom in leading them the best way possible.
-That more Bolivian kids begin attending our youth group meetings. We have 4 young Bolivian leaders who will work with us in trying to minister to more Bolivian students.
-That we receive our car soon and that the mechanic will finish the work WELL.
-That we find a empleada to come work for us part-time in the mornings every day as we approach the fall. We want someone who can help us with our home chores and someone we can build a relationship with and practice Spanish with on a daily basis.
We feel so humbled to be able to be living here in Bolivia on foreign soil and we realize we couldn't be here without the financial support of so many back home in the USA who are giving sacrificially to allow us to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ to a beautiful culture of Bolivian people. We thank all of you so much for your concern and prayers that we feel on a daily basis as we are here living so far away from you.
Bless You All with the Love of Christ!
Lowell, Shay, Aidan, Liam, Jude, & Olivia