Greetings to all of our wonderful family and friends…. from South of the equator!!!
I just can’t seem to get Christmas in my head! It is difficult for me to feel “in the spirit” when it is 75 degrees out, the sun is shining bright, we’ve broken out our shorts and flip flops and it’s SPRING in Bolivia! This is all a new experience, indeed, celebrating the holidays in another country. By the time you all receive this letter, it will be summer here and full on winter in your half of the world. I pray that this greeting finds you all blessed and doing well. We miss you all so much and continue to feel extremely humbled at the blessing and opportunity we have to be here, serving the Lord in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
We have crossed the 8 month mark, which is somewhat surreal, considering how long we waited on the Lord to even get here. What a ride it has been. Adventurous, challenging, humbling, exciting, scary, glorious, fruitful, difficult – these are just some of the adjectives I can think of to describe our time here so far. There have been sad days and happy days; hard days and easy days; boring days and fun days; crazy days and calm days! God is good and He has been with us every single step of the way as we have strived to adapt to this culture, learn the language and customs, get a new home established and settled, determine our ministry goals and purpose, and learn to balance home, family, and service. Thus far, we have served at Cochabamba International Church (www.cicbolivia.org) – Lowell leading worship and helping to develop the worship teams and musicians – and us as a couple, leading the student group (7-12th grades) on Friday nights. We have lovingly labeled our group “The Mix”, because it is a beautiful mix of many nationalities, languages, and local schools. Our goal is to build up these kids, help them come to know Jesus in a real way, and grow deeply in their walk with Him. Please pray as we develop relationships with these students – some are missionary kids and some are Bolivians, both of which have unique needs.
The opportunity for Lowell and I to teach at the boys’ school, Carachipampa Christian School (www.carachipampa.org) , came up several weeks after we arrived in Coch. There were needs for music and art teachers, and we fit the bill. We are both teaching high school (
7-12th) two days per week. The majority of the teachers at this SIM (www.sim.org) established school are self -supported missionaries from all across the globe. We see this as an added opportunity for ministry with students – many of which also attend the youth group at CIC. Pray that in addition to passing on our passion for art and music to these kids, that we would pass on our passion for Jesus, most of all!
We can hardly begin to express our thanks and gratefulness for your prayers and financial support, which make this life here completely possible for us. We know that God is bigger than the economy and He has shown that clear and true! You make sacrifices for us, and it brings me to humble tears.
“Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy, and their extreme poverty welled up rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.” 2 Cor. 8: 2-5
As this year comes to a close, would you pray about making a one-time donation to our mission or joining our monthly support team? We are always praying for members to “share in this service to the saints…”! If you feel led, please use the enclosed envelope to send your donation or monthly commitment. We are praying that the Lord would be close to each and every one of you during this time of celebrating the birth of our Savior. May you enjoy His blessing, your family, and be focused on HIS mission for the world – reconciling them to His Son, Jesus!
Merry Christmas & A Blessed New Year -
Feliz Navidad y Un Año Nuevo Beato -
The Ballew Family in Bolivia! (www.theballews.org)
Mission Address: Stateside Address: Bolivia Address: (do NOT send $ here!!)
Ripe For Harvest c/o Robert Ballew La Familia Ballew
P.O. Box 487 P.O. Box 293 Casilla #6505
Monument, CO 80132 Frost, TX 76641 Cochabamba, Bolivia
|Beautiful Quechuan girls proudly showing off the Bibles we gave them on a one day outreach with our church|
|Olivia and her friend, Isabel, dressed up in their traditional Cochabambina outfits for the dance they performed at their end of school year program|
|The best family photo we could come up with recently. I decided it was appropriate for me to have my eyes closed.|