Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 2011 Update

Just wanted to give you guys a 2 month update on us!

We are doing pretty good.  Still adjusting here but it's going well.  We’ve made a lot of friends and contacts thru the church and all of them have been extremely helpful to all of us as we’ve been getting settled.  We’ve been in a temporary home for 2 months now and will be moving into another home in a couple of weeks.  I got a motorcycle about 3 weeks ago and it’s been fun and very helpful also since we still don’t have a car.  Getting closer to finding a car but they are all just SO expensive here it’s made it harder than in the states...  

Shay, the 3 boys, and I have been going to Spanish classes 3 days a week for about 3 weeks now – we just need more time to actually practice speaking...  We are praying for people we can meet with every week 1 on 1 to just speak Spanish with for an hour or so... Olivia goes to pre-school every day from 8:30 to Noon.  She’s hearing a lot of Spanish there every day.   The school speaks about 60% Spanish and 40% English.  There are about 6 other North American or English MK’s who attend.  She’s made a few friends and had 2 play dates already with an MK girl named Madison who’s family if from Dallas.  The boys are still homeschooling but might start to a school in the fall – we’re still praying about that.  Shay attends a weekly bible study on Tuesdays with other missionary wives and they are doing a Beth Moore study right now on the fruits of the spirit.

Shay and I attend an all Spanish young couples bible study every other Monday night and are getting to know those couples better each week.  We attended a one night retreat last month and that was a good time away with all of them.  I’ve been continuing to help with the music ministry every week by either playing guitar/singing or filling in on drums when we are short.  I am slowly learning to better communicate with the band – usually there is a couple of other “gringos” who can translate words and phrases I haven’t learned to say yet.

Shay and I have just decided to take on leading the youth ministry at the church.  We are going to work with a few other Bolivian leaders to come up with a plan to relaunch the Friday night youth meetings at the church in 2 weeks.  Last week was our first week to attend the youth meeting to just meet more of the kids.  There are only about 10 to 15 kids coming each week right now and most of them are MK’s (missionary kids).  There were about 4 Bolivian kids but they spoke very good English also.  One of our goals is to get more Bolivian kids to attend and we hope to accomplish this by having more Bolivian leaders which seems to be happening right now.  We want the Friday night meetings to be bilingual as much as possible so the Bolivian kids feel a part!

Anyway – I am at home sick today with a mild stomach bug (no throw up thankfully).  This is my first time in 8 weeks to get sick at all and I’m very grateful I’ve made it this far!

- For our continued health from stomach bugs.  That we make wise decisions when eating out.
- For us to continue build relationships with the young couples.
- For us to find a car soon for a good price – or for one to be donated from the States and shipped here.  Looking for something with a 3rd row seating - midsize SUV.  FYI: has to be 2008 or newer to ship here.
- For us to make good strides in learning the language better.
- As we prepare to move in 2 weeks.
- For a spirit of unity in our family.
- For peace as we decide if and which school the boys should begin attending.

Financial Update:
Our regular giving was down this past month by about $600 from the previous month of April.  We are not hurting financially but just want to remind you how much we appreciate your gifts that allow us to minister
to folks here.  If you'd like to sign up to give regularly or just want to send in a one time gift you can do so by clicking here - you can follow the directions on the web page.

Thanks for reading this LONG update from us.  Please let us know how we can be praying for you as well!

Thank you!
Lowell Ballew & Family (Shay, Aidan, Liam, Jude, and Olivia)

Our Bolivian address:
Ballew Family
Casilla 6505
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Care Package List:
Starbucks coffee (ground Pikes Place)
French vanilla liquid creamers (the little individual ones - you will have to ziploc them in case one or two burst!)
Skintimate shave gel (any scent)
brown sugar
gum and candy (no chocolate)
legos for boys (check with us on which ones they already have)
bath toys and crayons for Olivia (put in ziplock bag also)
leapster games for Olivia (pre-K)
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!!