Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ballew Photo Album on Photobucket

Visit to see our Bolivia photos.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

(click on link above to view all our pics from Bolivia trip)

Wow! What a trip! It's great to be able to post a picture of El Cristo statue since this is the picture I used to start this blog a few months ago. It was great to get to show this to the family in person. Besides what better symbol for our trip than this image of Christ with his arms outstretched for the world - this is the reason we are doing all of this - all in Jesus' name and for his purposes!

We got back Tues. afternoon - plane touched down in Houston exactly on time at 1:12p.m. We got home around 3p.m. We were so blessed to be hosted by Edwin and Carmen Almanza while in Coch. Edwin carved out almost all of his time to be our personal tour guide. He used his car to drive us all over the city and on 3 trips outside the city to see very beautiful places like Lago Angostura where we all had fish for lunch and rode the zip line (even Livi!).

Most of our time in Cochabamba was spent seeing as much of the city and surrounding areas as possible. As well as having several meals with key church leaders and elders. I also met with a group called Red Musicos Artistas who is a group of musicians and worship leaders for local churches in the city who come together to write new songs and encourage each other. This was one of my best contacts that I am really excited about. Rodrigo Arteaga is the one with this vision and he and I had fun dreaming together of how I might be able to help with his vision. Here is there web site so you can see what they have been up to - I realize it's in spanish but you can still lear alot from pictures.

The entire trip was great from the guest house (hotel) we stayed in (which was a New Tribes Missionary Guest House facility). We are so so glad it worked out for us to stay there because we got to know another missionary family named the Hess Family very well who just returned from furlough - they had 4 kids who were all the same ages as our kids and they played a lot together the whole time. They were very helpful in encouraging us as well as giving us good tips about living in Cochabamba.

We want to tell all of you who have been supporting us through prayer and financial gifts that we would not have been able to have nearly as great of a trip without all of YOU that we were even able to go on this trip to begin with. THANK YOU!

You can see all of our recent photos at the link above this posting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We Made It

¡Hola de Cochabamba!

Just wanted to let everyone know after a 24 hr. commute, 3 flights later - we finally made it to Cochabamba! It's just as beautiful as I remember it! The kids are doing great - they are enjoying the guest house - which is more like a guest hotel with multiple rooms. There is another family with 4 kids here and their 3 youngest kids are playing great with our kids. They have a 2 girls and 2 boys.

Well I just wanted to give a quick update for anyone who hasn't already seen our Facebook updates and photos. So - I am posting a few photos for you.

God Bless,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Parting thoughts from Shay

My goal is to relax and enjoy the day tomorrow. Therefore..I am writing my parting thoughts this evening so that I am not constantly thinking about writing another post tomorrow. I had a very stressful day today, trying to cross off everything on the "to do" list and pack. I became quite irritable and snapped at the kids (and Lowell) a couple of times. Getting a family of 6 ready to travel to another country is no small task. I feel like I have done a fairly good job of slowly getting things ready over the last few weeks, so that I wouldn't get stressed! Well, I suppose even the best planners and "do-it-ahead-of-timers" have that last minute struggle of making sure absolutely everything is done and ready. Especially when you are also planning a birthday party for the night before you leave. Am I crazy? What was I thinking? Oh...right, it was our ONLY option. We'll be celebrating O's birthday tomorrow night at the pool with a ton of wonderful friends for a couple of hours. I am hoping that we can all relax and enjoy. As I was beginning the bedtime routine for O tonight, which included a bubble bath, I realized that what I needed was a hot bubble bath myself! I handed over the wet, slippery little gal to Lowell and took some time out for myself to breathe, relax, have a drink, and get re-charged a bit. It was the best thing I could of done. When we were saying goodnight to the boys later, we had a pow-wow in which we "regrouped" and reminded ourselves of exactly why it was that we were doing this, told them about what to expect as we travel, and unfortunately had to say some apologies (on my end). Lowell also led us in a great prayer which was so encouraging and refreshing. I think WE ARE READY!!! I will end by humbly asking all who take the time to read this to pray. Pray tonight as you go to sleep, that we would be fully prepared. Pray tomorrow that we can relax and enjoy the day and one another, and make FINAL preparations. Pray Sunday for safe travel, on-time flights, good weather, and that the kids would travel like champs. I ask that you would say a prayer for us each time you think of us throughout the next two weeks. Pray for health and safety, clarity and vision, divine appointments, language ability, Lowell as he shares with CIC, happy, flexible, and content kids, positive attitudes, and for FUN long-lasting memories to be made. We are hoping to come home with a clear vision and purpose, a timetable for moving there and being there, and with hearts full of confirmation and compassion for the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia. We love all of you dearly, and we will be anxious to share with you all about our time there! See you in two weeks!