Friday, August 26, 2011

August 2011 Update

  Wooh! We're almost through August and haven't written an update yet. Not going to let this month get away from us, though. We have had quite the whirlwind of activity this past month (really, 6 weeks). A lot has happened and a lot is going on! For starters, the boys began school last week at Carachipampa Christian School. That's the biggest change and transition we've had so far since we've been here (Aug. 31 will be 5 months!!). After homeschooling for the past 4 years, this is an entirely new world for them - and us, as parents and teachers as well. Yes, Lowell and I are teaching part time at the school also! Lowell is teaching high school music (7th-12th grades are considered h.s.) on Tues. and Wed., and helping lead the worship for their chapel once a week. I am teaching high school art on Mon. and Tues. mornings only. This is a really neat blessing in disguise, and I believe one way God wants to use us here in Bolivia. First of all, since we are leading the student ministry at our church, it is only natural and fitting that we are now teaching high school students. We have an open opportunity to invite ALL of our students that we teach to our youth group meetings, called "ThE MiX", on Friday nights! Many of them already attend CIC and ThE MiX, so we can encourage them to invite their fellow classmates as well. Another plus is that, while filling needs that the school had for music and art teachers, we in turn will receive a discount on the tuition for the boys. This is indeed a huge blessing!! We do not receive a salary as teachers at the school, the majority of the staff at CCS (excluding a few Bolivian staff members) are full-time, self-supported missionaries, just like us. Many of them are from different parts of the world - South Africa, Canada, Korea, England, and the states. CCS is a beautiful mix of cultures and languages, with one unifying factor - Christ! To learn more about the school and it's history, please visit 

The boys' on their first day
Lowell's music room

Before the chaos of the new school routine began, we wanted to take a little trip to the jungle. There is a small town, about a 4 hour drive from the city, deep in the Amazon rainforest, called Villa Tunari. We hired a van called a "surubi" to drive us on our little adventure, expecting to enjoy some hot, humid, bug infested jungle weather. Not to mention the large pool and slide at the hotel we had booked. However....much to our dismay, the weather was VERY cold and rainy. We tried hard not to be too disappointed, and still enjoy the simple fact that we were in the Amazon jungle for the first time in our lives!! We were still able to visit two parks while there, one called Parque Jungle (par-kay hoon-glay) which had some really fun ziplines and huge swings that were a blast, and the other called Parque Macchia. Within the boundaries of this park, is a animal refuge called "Inti Wara Yassi" where they rescue and care for endangered or hurt animals. There is long hiking trail up the mountain that we took and all the while, were searching for monkeys to play with and hold. We didn't have much luck until our way down!! They are adorable, constantly digging in people's pockets for treasures! Needless to say, though, we cut the trip short and headed home after only one day.
Finally! A monkey! 

I seriously wanted to take him home!

  Another really amazing opportunity the boys and I had, is getting to go on a one day mission trip (outreach) with our church last Saturday to a very small Quechuan village on the other side of Mt. Tunari. We took a bus and the drive was about 3 1/2 hours, up the mountains, over the mountains, and down the other side of the mountains! There were many times I had to hold my breath and pray that the bus would not go over the side. This was a truly amazing time, talking with, playing with, and reaching out to these people who still live such very simple, yet very hard lives. A dentist was able to give dental care to many of the Quechuan women, we made gospel bead bracelets with them and explained the meaning of the colors (with help of a translator that can speak Spanish, English, and Quechuan!), gave them bibles in their own language, listened and prayed while two men shared a message, and even shared in a traditional meal that they so very graciously cooked for us - many different types of potatoes, llama jerky (yes, I ate a llama...), and lamb meat. Please pray that these villagers will read their bibles and supernaturally understand the passages and ultimately come to know Jesus!
Sweet young Quechuan girl with her gospel bracelet

  Two major milestones we were able to celebrate is Jude's 10th birthday and Olivia's 5th birthday!! For Jude's birthday, we spent a fun day together with friends, going to the slide park (a park with HUGE concrete slides) and eating out, and for Olivia's birthday we had a blast celebrating Strawberry Shortcake style with friends at the house.
Birthday morning pancakes!
The 5 yr. old beauty with her authentic Strawberry Shortcake!

  Major praise!!! We now have a vehicle!! Although it is not officially ours yet, we have been able to drive the car that we waited on for about 2 months to get out of the shop. The owner just recently returned from furlough from the states, so we will be able to "seal the deal" so to speak. This is such a major blessing and we are so unbelievably thankful for such a good car at such a good price with the market being the way it is here in Cochabamba right now. God is good!

1)  A vehicle!!
2)  Ministry opportunities falling into place! (student ministry, music ministry, teaching positions)
3)  A good start to a new school year at a new school!
4)  We have our one year visas! However...still no carnets (which is a required i.d. card).

Prayer Requests:
1) That we would obtain our carnets very soon.
2) A good transition into this new world of private christian schooling with many other MK's, native Bolivians, and kids and teachers from all over the world! It is all very overwhelming for them and us and we are dealing with some challenging issues. But I know God is bigger than all of them!!
3) Finalizing the purchase of our vehicle.
4) That the student ministry (ThE MiX) of CIC would continue to grow and that the Lord will lead us as we lead these kids. Pray that leaders will arise and begin to take ownership of the group.
5) The music ministry of CIC. Pray for Lowell as he uses his gifts to lead the congregation in worship and as he works with other full time missionaries planning and organizing the band and vocalists.
6) That the relationships we already have with non-christian or unchurched Bolivians will continue to grow and develop into trust relationships in which we can share the love of Christ with them. Please pray specifically for Irene and Miriam.
7) Continued language learning. We are no longer at the language institute, because of school starting, so pray that we can get plenty of practice with native speakers!

We love all of you tremendously and miss you terribly. We covet your continued prayers and thank each of you who are a part of our financial support team. We could not be doing this without you! There is not a day that I do not thank God for this incredible opportunity he has given us to serve Him here in Bolivia!

Con un abrazo fuerte y un besito -

Shay, for the whole family :o)