Saturday, April 30, 2011

1 Month Update!

We'll we've made it exactly 1 month and 2 days in Bolivia!  It seems like time has just flown by and I knew it would be this way.  Everything is so new, people, surroundings, sights, sounds, etc..  We have been doing well in our adjustment phase - with the occasional moments of sadness and sorrow.  Kids have been making some friends and getting use to our new life here.  

  Olivia started to pre-school at Rise & Shine and is loving it.  It is a bilingual school.  We did a meet and greet quarterly parent/teacher night last night and her teacher gave her good marks for having only been there 1 week.  We have been praying and feeling more lead to put our boys in a North American private school called Carachipampa Christian School.  The boys have already visited there twice and have several friends who attend there.  It's sort of a drive from where we live but the bus will come right by our house to pick them up!  They won't begin until next August.  
  We have looked into language schools and will probably be deciding next week which one to begin with.  Shay, Lowell and boys will probably all attend some classes through the next 3 months.  
  We have become great friends with a couple of familes.  The Discua Family in particular.  We celebrated with them and one other family (The Ross') last night!  Yesterday the Discuas were granted permanent adoption rights of their 3 yr. old Bolivian daughter Hannah Joy.  Olivia and Hannah are in the same class at pre-school.  They attend our church and have been fellow missionaries here in Cochabamba for 7 years.  Our boys and their boys have had multiple sleep overs at our home and Shay and Krista (the mom/wife) have also hit it off.  And the husband/dad - Gustavo has been extremely helpful to Lowell since we've first arrived.  He's been carting Lowell around all over the city to help him find a motorcycle to buy.  All of this has been great but since the adoption is final in 2 weeks they will be then returning back to Colorado :(  We will miss them greatly and will have to say one of our first goodbyes to someone leaving to return to the states.  Pastor Graham Porter and his wife Lori who've been here for 14 years are leaving very soon as well.  This Sunday will be there last at the church.  This couple has also been extremely helpful to us before and after we've moved here to inform us of many great details about life here in Coch.
  So - that is the update for now and we want all of you to know that we are extremely humbled by your prayers and financial gifts to allow us to live in this beautiful country.  Our goal is to represent Christ and his love for Bolivians and to help the great work of the CIC (Cochabamba International Church).  We are very excited about so many future opportunities that God has in store for us and we look forward to sharing as much with you as possible. 
  A reminder that we use Facebook a lot for photo updates since it is such an easy tool for communication.  If you haven't joined yet we ask that you consider even if just to see our photo updates. How to join: just click here and follow the prompts:
Thank you again for your gracious friendship!

The Ballews
(Lowell, Shay, Aidan, Liam, Jude, and Olivia)NEW MAILING ADDRESS IN BOLIVIA:
Ballew FamilyCasilla 6505
Cochabamba, Bolivia S.A.*NOTE* We would love to receive a care package from you (see list below) KEEP WEIGHT BELOW 4lbs - or else we have to pay a LOT of money to get it out of customs.
Starbucks coffee (ground Pikes Place)French Press (all metal/aluminum, glass will break in route) 
French vanilla liquid creamers (the little individual ones - you will have to ziploc them in case one or two bursts!)
Skintimate shave gel (any scent)
microwave popcorn
brown sugar
gum and candy (no chocolate)
legos for boys (Star Wars - check with us on what they already have so we don't get same ones)
bath toys and crayons for Olivia
xbox games (appropriate for boys ages 12 and under please)
leapster games for Olivia (pre-K)
good quality 100% cotton towels (bath, hand, and kitchen)
yummy smelling lotion and antibacterial hand soap (bath & body works, etc...- we actually found some at a local grocery store that imports many American products, but it was expensive!!!)
BOOKS! I know books are heavy, but we were not able to bring any with us because of weight. If you can fit any small paperbacks for the boys (chapter books, books about legos/star wars/skateboarding/music/etc...) and picture books for Olivia that would be awesome!!

Prayer Needs:
- Car: we have been surprised how expensive used cars are here and are praying for donations to help us purchase a car soon.  We need to raise $5000 to help with this.  Just an example - a 10 yr. old Nissan SUV goes for $10-12k.  Cars are a luxury here and people are very resourceful with driving cars for many years.  Parts and labor are very cheap here compared to the states.
- Language learning - as we begin to take classes soon.
- Bible Study - Shay, Lowell and one other American missionary couple just joined an all Spanish / Bolivian small group.  Pray as we learn to communicate more and that we form deep relationships with these 8 Bolivian couples.
- Music Ministry at CIC - pray God would allow me to help in the most effective ways with the whole Sun. morning program.  Pray for my communication with the nationals on the team to get better as I learn more Spanish.
- Kids adjustment - I made it sound in letter above that they are doing great and they are mostly are but pray for those sad days to diminish more and more.  
- Health - Liam and Shay had the stomach bug from the food here - pray for the rest of our protection from sicknesses.  
- Safety - that we will make wise choices since we are foreigners from US and are automatically a target because of our skin color.
- Unity - pray for us as a family that we have unity and peace among one another and that we give grace and patience to one another daily.
- Financial update - God has provided almost all of our monthly support but since we want to purchase a car we still welcome any financial gifts.

in the gondola - Livi being bossy
Grupo Alpha & Omega playing at CIC 10 yr. Anniversary Service

Our famous summit pic - notice how close Aidan is to being as tall as me...
almost half way down
Looking back at the city from the gondola.

Saying goodbye to Tia Viqui
Shay with her new friend Francis Ross

Livi's first day to Pre-School at Rise and Shine

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