2020-What’s next Papa?

Greetings in 2020-we hope your Christmas and New year celebrations were joyous!

Thank you SO much for all your messages of encouragement and prayers, specifically over the last few months of 2019. Bolivia seems to be on the long and winding road to recovery with a constitutionally installed interim President, and both political parties agreeing to a brand new election to take place on Sunday 3rd May, 2020. Please continue to pray that this ‘interim’ period continues to be peaceful and productive for Bolivia as she heals, fights for democracy, and seeks peace and justice. What you have heard in the international news about a coup isn’t at all what has taken place, so I plead with you, don’t believe it! The wounds of the past in this beautiful country go deep, therefore much ugliness, corruption and injustice is being brought to light- a good, yet hurtful thing. However, we look forward with great hope and faith towards restoration and reconciliation in this great land!

I wrote this post just before the Presidential elections in October, it then fell off my radar completely until a friend noticed an additional name ( Daniela) to the family sign off in my last blog post and wondered if she’d missed something…she had not!

In our Bolivian church everyone seems to be biologically related and when I say that, it’s not an exaggeration. It’s wonderful, and if I am honest, I am slightly jealous. For the majority of my ( Lisa) adult life, I have lived very far away from my biological family. I left ‘home’ at age 18 for university, only returning to visit. Then I moved states, countries and continents, in fact, today 10th January marks 20 years of living outside of my beloved home country.  It has been difficult and yes, at the cost of missed births, baptisms, birthdays, weddings, graduations,  being with mom and dad in their final years and the everyday-being far from one’s family can be lonesome and unfamiliar. In my immediate family, I have 8 siblings, 24 nieces/ nephews,  33 great nieces/ nephews(1 on the way!), and 2 great- great nephews all living in the US. On Andrew’s side we have Mum (my MIL), girls’ Grandma of 88 years ( 89 this month), 4 siblings,  12 nieces and nephews from a 1 yr old to a recently graduated from University! – there is a lot to miss with family between us. It’s been over 4 years since I have seen my US family. We are grateful though, as it’s been a dream to travel, live, work and serve in distant lands, embracing and learning new cultures and languages, stretching ourselves and pushing our boundaries, but it doesn’t mean we don’t struggle as we miss our biological families.

Family is not only biological, as you know…

Family and community are an essential part of our lives and I believe that this is true not only for us, but for all humanity.  I believe God meant for us to interact with one another in family form, as a community- a group of friends, a church, an adoptive family, a foster family, or a traditional familial setting. The world today tries to tell us we can do all things on our own, in our own strength, for ourselves, by ourselves. Community in all it’s goodness and fullness loves and serves each other, carrying each others burdens, living through the highs and the lows, encouraging one another, meeting together, sharing hospitality and friendship.  God, as our Abba (Papa) Father, makes it known that family/community in it’s many forms is central to His heart for us, through his own son, Jesus. 


15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!  Romans 8: 15-17, The Message


While visiting our UK sending church last summer, St Johns Hartley Wintney,  we sang an absolutely beautiful hymn in the early morning service that has stayed with me since. Andrew wove it into his talk that day and I had scribbled it in my journal just after we sang it. It affirms so much about the body of the Church- the family we are in Christ, the global church. As we strive to be family, we share in each others suffering, weeping, rejoicing, laughing and celebrating as we faithfully walk alongside each other and love one another on this journey. On this very day when we met as a church in both services, we did weep and pray together, as we were mutually saddened by the sudden death of our friend and sister Kayla. Click here for the lyrics.  Hymn #635 Brother, Sister let me serve you.


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Dani with her ‘casera’ meaning homemade, bread.

Speaking of family, ours has changed a bit…

Meet Daniela,  she has grown up in an orphanage here in Santa Cruz, arriving at age 10, the same age as our daughter Anayah is now. Last June she turned 19, reaching the maximum age to remain in the home.  She has a biological family,  a family of 30+ at the orphanage and now she has us. For obvious reasons, I will not be sharing  the circumstances in this post of why she is not with her biological family,  that is her personal story, however, I will share how our family fits into her story , and she into ours.

 

 

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Christmas 2017: Chocolate roulade

We met Daniela Christmas 2017.  As a result of volunteering in her ‘home’ about 4 months in, I was asked to help translate for an internal training. My polite no thank you my Spanish is not good enough for translating was not accepted- I know! When the training came to a close, the weekly meeting started. During that meeting I committed to, admittedly without asking Andrew,  welcome Daniela for Christmas- it’s tradition for the kids in the home celebrate Christmas with families every year, giving them an opportunity to share in family life outside the home and giving staff a well deserved day off to spend time with their own families. That Christmas was very special as we also had our niece Charlotte visiting from England-our first family visitor. Daniela joined us the following Christmas as well as other planned occasions throughout the year; the girls get on very well, they share a love of reading and laughing, Daniela’s infectious smile and sweet, gentle manner fit in well with our girls.

Last year, suggested by Andrew,  we met with the director of the home in which Daniela was living to ask one simple question, knowing that she was reaching the maximum age limit for living there… What’s next for Daniela? That question and subsequent answer brought her to where she is now, living with us for a transitional year.

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Christmas 2018 Liliana, Anayah, Daniela & Jack

So, what is next for Daniela?   She’s been with us for almost 5 months now; it’s been a time of adjustment, of deep challenge and joy for all. The girls get on well and spend most of their time together laughing! Daniela has started volunteering at the orphanage for children with disabilities located next door to our home, 3 mornings a week. Her dream is to work with children, and serving next door has opened the door to new possibilities – she really loves it. Andrew and I are investing in her, guiding her into her own little bread baking business.  She goes to night school Mon-Fri and will do so for another 2 years after which she will receive her Bolivian baccalaureate

 

 

 

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Praying  Daniela out of the home of Talita Cumi and into ours.

In her leaving party from the orphanage, she spoke about how being a mother is so much more than giving birth to a child. She told of how she had been praying for a family for 10 years and how she feels we are an answer to her prayer.  Gulp. 

We would love for you to join us as we pray and seek to provide Daniela with a safe and secure space to grow in confidence, that as we invest in her life, we will both teach and be taught by her. That we will encourage and be encouraged by her, that we will model biblical love, grace, patience, commitment and integrity for her. That we will be mutually blessed as we are family for and with her, caring for one another as we live in faithful anticipation of what good things God has planned for his precious family.

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This is a new chapter in the Lord’s story for Daniela’s life and our lives; what a privilege that our stories are woven together.

Thank you for loving us and praying for us. Do let us know how we might pray for you.

With much love and blessing in 2020,

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana, Anayah & Daniela

 

 

 

 

 

Being Community

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The Community- serving each other in love! 3rd ring and Roca y Coronado. I am the tall one in the middle.

The English-language word “community” derives from the Old French comuneté which comes from the Latin communitas”community”, “public spirit” (from Latin, communis  “shared in common”).

Human communities may share intentbeliefresourcespreferencesneeds, and risks in common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

In Santa Cruz we have nearly completed our 3rd week of the nation-wide strike. We understand from friends in the UK, that last night (Thursday), the Bolivian crisis made the BBC headline news-finally! Schools remain closed, grocery stores open a few hours in the morning, some public transport until mid day, very few banks open, cash points hit and miss, most people are not able to work. There are some food and petrol deliveries allowed, a few hospitals open and ambulances operating for emergencies only, pharmacies the same. Our Bolivian WhatsApp groups have been overtaken with videos, photos, messages; it has been a challenge to sift through and discern the truth, especially when it’s not our culture nor our native language.

Before the elections, we were advised to stock up on necessities.  I must confess, I was rather naive, perhaps even skeptical at the whole stock up on food, petrol, toilet paper, water, etc. frenzy.  Thank God Andrew was the proactive one!

All this in response to the fraudulent Presidential Elections which took place on the 20th October, which the current President, Evo Morales, won, or did he?  

Millions have taken to the streets to block roads, crying out against corruption, shouting  for democracy, fighting (mostly peacefully, there have been some deaths) for justice and truth, to say NO, again and again to a government who does not listen. This is how Bolivian’s make changes, they blockade to shut down commerce. Support for the current president seems to be waning- but that could just be my limited perspective-it’s hard to tell as our city, Santa Cruz is a strong opposition to the current government.

It’s not all negative!  Community, public spirit, cohesiveness, risk, belief, identity- it’s all around us, and it’s not anything like what we have experienced our 3 years here- at least not to this extent.

Earlier this week I had the good( or bad if a flat tire counts) fortune to go out on the bicycle to help a friend and her family-she has not been able to work, like so many others, because of the strikes. As I rode down the middle of a road, nearly empty of traffic, I was taken aback by  my own sense of  freedom and the conundrum it brought as the Bolivian’s fight for theirs. I respectfully walked my bike through blockades with ease, met by friendly faces and polite salutations, feeling smug that my 24K round trip journey during a city wide strike could not have started off better.

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My friend Isa and I at the 4th November market where she works- you can see the metal gate pulled down, they are normally open.

Food safely delivered to our friend, hugs, kisses, and prayers for her and her family, Bolivia, and my journey home, I headed to check on my friend Isa who works in a small market in the same area.  Isa met me with excitement-to tell me what had been happening- the day before the market had been attacked by Masistas (supporters of MAS, the current government),  explaining why the metal bars were lowered at every entrance. She’s been grateful that despite this, the market stays open for half days and she can work.  As my back tire was low on air, Isa took me to get it filled.  At this time of road blockades,  Santa Cruz is only accessible by bicycle, motorbike or on foot, so a whole new market within the market popped up-all things bicycle! It cost me 1 Boliviano to fill my tire, the equivalent of  11p/ 14 cents- a bargain!

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Me and my new friend Virginia

 

Heading home, I stopped to take a photo of a very large flag that spanned an intersection, but instead ended up being drawn towards a big tent off to the side. So, I rode over to find out what was going on. I was told, “we are being  community!” COMMUNITY. I asked them how they were

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Community lunch

being community and they said, “by being here”.  SO, I stayed, I mean who doesn’t want to BE? Soon, a plate of chicken with rice and a glass of somo(white corn juice) was served to me- I was being blessed by this group of people being community as they fed me and 100 others! Funny how we came here to Bolivia to serve, love and be Christ to others and there I sat on the receiving end! However, in this culture, saying no to food and service would have been a rejection of the people and their culture- not loving nor serving!  What an amazing group of people-public spirit, cohesiveness, identity, belief, risk- personified. It was truly an honour to ‘be’ and share together in a time of hardship.

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My bike on the right with wheel and tire removed. This is the repair shop I eventually found.

Soon after, and still about 10k to home, I had the bad fortune of a flat tire, a ripped air valve for which my repair kit was no match.  It is a well known fact that locals, including police, although very well meaning, are not precise in direction giving, so I went on the wild goose chase of my life to find a bike repair ‘pop up’ shop. Eventually I did find a repairman, who sent me on another wild goose chase, on foot in 41 degree sunshine, to buy an inner tube… 90 minutes on and near the end of my tether, no such shop to be found, in desperation (exasperation?) I asked one more stranger for help…not only did he know where to get an inner tube, he offered to go and buy one for me.  I gave him 40bs, my old inner tube and my hope and as he rode off on his bici, I collapsed in the dirt road and phoned Andrew, tears streaming down my face. 10 mins later the kind stranger returned with a new inner tube in hand, a receipt and 10bs change- Hallelujah! I returned to the repairman and in 5 mins I was on the road towards meeting Andrew. I arrived home  sunburned and shattered after an unplanned 8 hours on the road, yet encouraged and full of hope for what I saw and experienced in the community.

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Praise and worship evening with neighbours at our home. We roasted marshmallows too! 18 kids & 6 adults.

It’s not been a particularly easy time for us as family, but it’s not a hardship either. Although kids are not in school, they do have a fair amount of homework via google classroom. I guess we do feel a bit sidelined or benched from our own plans and work. Well at least I do and I am not a great bench warmer! As arrogant as that might sound, it’s the honest truth, I like being a part of the action. Nevertheless, looking around there is much opportunity to be community in a new way. We live right next door to a home for children with disabilities, so as a family we can and have been helping this ministry and the family(they have 12 children of their own!) who run it. We live close to a YWAM (youth with a mission) base, so we have connected with people there as we open our home to them. We have hosted a prayer and praise evening and attended others in the local area. We’ve shared what resources we have been blessed with, with others, but mostly we realise that being sidelined in our work has led us to rely less on ourselves and our own plans and rely more on the Lord and connect with the community where we live-hospitality as we knew it (or thought it to be) has taken a new, fresh form. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us:

“The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.”

Having said all this, we feel safe. Liliana, Anayah and Daniela are not worried, nor are Andrew and I. As a family we speak about and pray openly for the current situation together and with others. Honestly, there has been a turn for the worse this week as violent clashes have left another person dead and 70 injured in other parts of Bolivia. Some of our missionary friends  have chosen to leave, not permanently but until the situation settles. Many feel they can be better used in their ‘home’ land as they are unable to keep their ministries going with the nation shut down- we respect and understand their decision, at the same time, we feel at peace with being here. Pray for all who have left, those who have not been able to return and those who remain here in Bolivia- it’s not only where, but whom we serve wherever we are…

We’d love you to pray for us, the Church and community, we are so thankful that people are being drawn to love and serve one another in new ways in the midst of the unrest. Not being able to work is causing many worries- isolation and fear may be an issue, but being together has given people new hope in building relations, loving  and providing for their neighbours- us included. We pray that this continues as it’s now a matter of survival and sanity for many! The fact that millions in our city alone have been gathering nightly in the Christ Redeemer intersection to get on their knees and pray to Jesus, seeking the will of God, is so powerful. We pray with confidence it will indeed bring major change. Although we are not able to get to our church, we are joining in with a 40 days of prayer organised by our church family via WhatsApp.

Pray also for the strikes and demonstrations, that citizens and leaders would choose the path of peace and justice. In areas where the current president has support the protests are more violent and divisions are deep-pray for unity. Pray for great wisdom, for the current government/ President and for the opposition to miraculously agree to move forward with a new election for the good of the Bolivian nation and her people to safeguard her freedom, justice and democracy. Viva Bolivia!

Here are a few photos a bit closer to our home.

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Blockade on the main road, 2 small blocks from our home. Liliana and Jack our dog, on the right
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A young boy seizes the opportunity to ride under the flag as it’s lifted by the wind on the Doble Via a La Guardia- the main road close to our home. Photo credit Liliana Peart
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Liliana says:
“I feel safe with my family and when we go out on the streets everyone is friendly and polite. I have not seen any violence. I miss going to school, seeing friends, playing sports. I like being able to ride a bicycle down the middle of road where there is usually a load of traffic. Please pray for the people who aren’t able to work because of the strike- for God to provide for them in the way only he can.”
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Anayah says:
“I miss school. It would feel weird to be in school while all this is happening. Doing all my homework on a computer is a little bit stressful. Going to the park a lot and riding a bicycle everywhere has been fun, but I am sad and worried for the Bolivian people.
Please pray for peace and an end to the violence.”
As ever, thank you for joining in on this journey with us. We feel loved and cared for over the miles by your support!
Every blessing and much love,
Andrew, Lisa, Liliana, Anayah & Daniela
Jack Black (Cocker spaniel), Pop & Sunshine (tortoises)

Is uncertainty the only certainty?

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Santa Cruz Town Hall gathering early Oct 2019

Dear Family &  Friends,

The title to this blog comes from the words I read in an article from America’s Quarterly, which I mention later in this post. They grabbed my attention as if true, we live hopeless, uncertain lives. I was convicted by what I read and here’s why: I believe in Jesus. He is my certainty. There is a saying “you can be sure of 2 things in life, death and taxes, even taxes after death!”  But, here’s the thing, there is death and we must pay taxes, but, there is the certainty of  life in Christ, now and eternal. I am certain he laid down his own for mine, so I could live it free of the shackles of my own selfishness, arrogance, wrongdoing and uncertainties in this life. I live for my life to be a witness to this certainty,  which brought us here to Bolivia-to share this certainty of our faith in love and grace with others, to be Christ’s light in the world, to be witnesses for the Lord’s Kingdom.

Sadly, right now, there is much uncertainty in Bolivia. A quick post seems appropriate as you may have heard news of the controversial Presidential election which took place on Sunday 20th October, the date which also marks our 3 years here in Bolivia! I posted a short update on Facebook. however I am certain many of our friends and family are not FB users. 

Firstly, we feel safe here in Santa Cruz. Today there is a nation – wide Paro ( which means stop) a full scale strike. No transport, public or private from mid day, our girls’ school was cancelled, so it’s a ‘home education’ day. Andrew and Anayah have gone to the market to stock up on food. Petrol stations have long lines as people are filling up with gas- all precautionary and normal here in these times. Yet, all seems peaceful from where we sit.

Funnily enough and on a much less serious note, yesterday we had our septic tank emptied. It seems the last time it was emptied was 4 years ago!! We realised on Friday it was full, much to our surprise as we only just moved in- I blame Andrew and his pension towards toilet humour! Good timing though, as having to wait even one day longer due to a city strike, would have been, well, VERY stinky. Apologies for digressing..it was certainly bound to happen!

So, how did Bolivia get to this point and why the controversy’?

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A favourite photo of mine from a past protest about  #21F.  “Presidents and diapers must be changed for the same reason, respect my vote”

Under Bolivia’s 2009 constitution( changed by the Morales’ government), presidents may only serve two terms. Morales argued his first term was exempt from this rule because it took place before the new constitution. Then on February 21, 2016, Morales’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) party held a referendum to decide if he could run again;  he promised to respect the result, however. that did not happen. In late 2017, the country’s Supreme Election Tribunal- all Morales appointees- ruled that preventing him from running would violate his human rights, prompting protests called 21F- Bolivia Dijo NO and Bolivia Dice NO.  There is also a political party bearing that same name.

For more detailed insight in the lead up to the election, check out the link below to this article in America’s Quarterly. It really explained it for me https://www.americasquarterly.org/content/morales-or-mesa-either-way-bolivia-faces-tough-questions

Sunday-Election night and Monday:

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Evo Morales current President

Late Sunday evening, an abrupt stop in the release of presidential election returns fueled suspicion and confusion, leading to protests in the major cities of Bolivia which have spilled into Monday and today. Opponents suggested electoral officials were trying to help current President and candidate Evo Morales avoid a runoff with his closest rival, Carlos Mesa, which before the abrupt halt in reporting the results seemed inevitable to take place. This raised the eyebrows of the monitoring agency OAS as they demanded an answer, calling the drastic change from the earlier preliminary results ‘inexplicable.’

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Carlos Mesa

Currently, there are nation wide protests, some violent. amid accusations of corruption and fraud. Crowds burned the offices of the electoral body in the southern cities of Sucre and Potosi, and protesters set fire to ballots from Sunday’s election in Tarija. So far in Santa Cruz, the protests appear to be peaceful in nature. This city does not support Morales, but rather Carlos Mesa, a former Bolivian President who joined the opposition.

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On their knees praying for Bolivia after the election

We don’t condone the violent protests, however, we do condone the peaceful protests. – be assured we will stay clear of them though.  We recognise and respect the resolve and resilience the wonderful people of Bolivia embody. We hope that truth, justice and democracy prevail.

 

Join us as we commit to lift Bolivia, her people and her democracy in our prayers and our heartfelt thoughts today and furthermore.

As always, we are grateful for your love and continued support.

Every blessing,

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana & Anayah.

Not the Oxford blues

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Dear Friends, 

Greetings from Bolivia! We have recently returned ‘home’ from our 3 month mission partner training with CMS ( Church Mission Society). As you may know, we were in Oxford, UK with just enough time for the training and church visits to raise support-our current Bolivian VISAs allow us only 90 days out of Bolivia. We managed to make it just under the allowance, with a 4 day cushion.  Nearly a miracle as this included a canceled flight from Heathrow, resulting in missing our connecting flight in Miami, an unexpected overnight stay in Miami-courtesy of BA,  a new flight and layover via Panama; the joys of overseas travel! 

Here’s a little update on what we got up to in those 3 months: 

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Our favourite Oxford address

Community living: I realise the thought of this might raise a few eyebrows! We  lived with 3 other families, 13 people in all, connected to South America-namely Chile, Bolivia and Brazil. There were times when we had other visitors for dinner or staying in the house from all over the world taking the dinner count up to 20.  Thankfully, it was a big house, everyone had their own space, including bathrooms. We were a loud, fun group! Monday through Friday we shared dinner together, taking turns to cook which was all scheduled in advance. It took some serious menu planning and communicating, fortunately the ‘boss’ of the house is a professional project manager , so he kept us all super organised! We ate well and we ate much. Andrew and I were told we had ‘fattened up’ (gorditos) by our Bolivian friends as they met us at the airport in Santa Cruz. Culturally, it’s a compliment!

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Our community family in Oxford

 

Community life challenged me, it brought out the introvert in this extrovert. It opened my eyes to the importance of accepting people who live life differently than me.  In our time together, we broke bread- food was integral to life in the house- prayed, shared testimonies, worshipped, danced, laughed and celebrated; we had many shared birthdays!  Life was a little messy (literally) at times, however, great friendships were formed as we did ‘life’ together. IMG-20190614-WA0001 (1) I’d do it again! Liliana’s favourite thing about living in 244 was the ‘Llamas’ testimony night. Anayah’s favourite was the leaving BBQ- there were 18 children under 12; they all had a blast! The children in the house formed a group called the Llamas; their initials spelled the word llamas, sort of…one L short, but that only matters in Spanish! They lead prayers,  worship and gave testimonies- a real blessing to our home and time together. 

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Oh the burdens we carry! Andrew and I tried unsuccessfully for many months to organise school or an alternative for the girls  during our training, while we were still in Bolivia, a burden we carried with us to Oxford. Thanks to our amazing Lord -the one who is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine- within a week of being in Oxford Anayah had a place in the local neighbourhood primary school and Liliana, a bit later, a space in a local secondary school, both within walking distance. Thanks to the prayers of many, both schools embraced our girls; they made friends and settled in with ease. For the record, ‘getting a place’ is never straightforward! Anayah’s teacher commented what a blessing she was to the class and it seemed as if she had always been a part of it. Her class made her a lovely goodbye IMG_20190503_150821277_HDRcard signed by all. Liliana’s class had a leaving party for her. Her head of year personally wrote to her, telling her she was a model student, an incredible human being and one who will make a difference to the world. The love and light of Jesus sure does shine from within our girls-hallelujah!!

Prayers of praise for the Lord’s provision!

Throughout our 3 month training, we were aware of the importance of maintaining a teachable and moldable posture for spiritual growth and character development as being integral to mission. We don’t claim to know it all. It’s a mindset we pray we carry with us wherever we go! We are thankful to CMS for pouring their hearts(and time!) into our training. Our final project and presentations were a fun (and a bit stressful) challenge which in the end came together as we had hoped. Andrew and I feel it’s such an honour to belong officially as Mission Partners with CMS, serving Christ together. Please pray, as we start this new season, that we would remain teachable and humble with open hearts to learn and receive wisdom from God, our local leaders and the people in the community we seek to serve.  

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The Old Church, Edgebaston, Birmingham

The Pearts Tour- most Sundays we could be spotted journeying about England visiting link churches in Hampshire, Surrey, Chester, Birmingham & Manchester, introducing ourselves and sharing our heart for overseas mission in Bolivia. Andrew went on a few midweek visits as we ran out of Sundays! It was exhausting, but so much more than that it was humbling and encouraging to see how the wider church is committed to engaging with and supporting mission in the UK and overseas. It’s an incredible privilege to build partnerships with these churches; we look forward with much excitement to see where God leads us on this journey together. 

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Mission Prayer wall, St Patrick’s, Wallington

We are grateful to CMS for orchestrating and maintaining these links on our behalf and for continuing to foster new relationships with churches while we are in Bolivia. This is key,  it allows us to continue doing what we do.

 

And here in Bolivia. We had an interesting start to getting into our new home here- unknowingly ( by both parties) we were given the wrong keys to this house back in April- so, Andrew had to climb a wall from a neighbour’s garden (with permission!) and remove a metal gate from the front door; like a thief in the night, or rather like a thief in broad daylight! Meanwhile, Rottweiler and German Shepherd guard dogs of the other next door neighbours were going berserk. Fortunately we got access without suspicion and we are busy settling in! We are happy to report, we have been reunited with our beloved dog, Jack Black. We’d love you to  pray with us that we would be intentional in forming friendships with our neighbours-it’s something that is really important to our family. Most properties here are surrounded by very high walls, limiting daily contact. In addition, as we start a new routine and get back into serving, we ask for prayer for the girls, they have not had much of a break from school- they went straight from Bolivian school to Oxford school with busy weekends; school here starts this week!

This week we also begin our VISA process for Permanent residency in Bolivia. Pray that it’s straightforward- a miracle for any country- and no surprises. Those who know me, know I have had a few! Why new VISAs? Our original VISAs were for 3 years, they expire in November. 

Thank you for your prayers, love and support! 

Bendiciones, 

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana & Anayah

We are mission partners with Church Mission Society, serving in Bolivia. To support our work and to read more about it, please sign up to receive our linkletters, updates and prayer requests via this link: churchmissionsociety.org/peart

We’d love to hear from you. A reminder of our personal e-mails and WhatsApp numbers

lisajweedman@hotmail.com +591 785 61303

andrew.peart05@gmail.com +591 784 08828

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Surazos, Fake News & Truth

I am publishing this from Oxford, England, we arrived here safely on Friday evening. I started writing this several weeks ago while still in Bolivia, but in my underestimation of the time and energy involved to move out of our house and simultaneously pack for a 3 month trip to the UK, it was nearly impossible to finish it prior to departure.  I would also like to add I had written the majority of this before Easter Sunday, therefore did not mention Sri Lanka- we are praying for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones as well as for the local authorities and organisations helping during this heartbreaking and difficult time.


As we head into Autumn here in Bolivia, it’s exciting, locals may disagree! This season is literally blowing in from the south, bringing wind and rain with it. Soon, the cold polar winds called SURAZOS will come blasting up from the South, causing drastic temperature changes, blankets(as opposed to just sheets)  jumpers, and jackets to resurface. Early April brought a fierce rain and wind storm, yet according to a Bolivian friend, it was ONLY a sur y chilchi( normal wind & rain), yet it had the power to nearly paralyze a city of 3.2 million ( Uni classes were canceled, minimal public transport, etc), flood roads and knock down over 50 very large, old trees in a matter of hours.

As this seasonal weather change takes place in Bolivia,  as many of you will know, we head into a new season in our family, our own personal season changing SURAZO: causing us to take the girls out of school here 6 weeks early, move out of our current home ( save on rent), travel Northeast to Oxford, England for a 3-month residential Mission Partner training, visit link churches, raise funds and make time to catch up with family& friends on Saturdays and half term week.  When we return to Bolivia, in winter, slightly shattered and battered, yet more equipped and knowledgeable from the 3-month blast, we may need to hibernate a bit ( and move into a new home), so do ‘bear’ with us.  Our training starts on the 29th April and finishes on the 17th July.

A few weeks ago our mission, Church Mission Society very kindly put out a prayer request on Facebook and their weekly Prayerlines publication on our behalf. The last part of the prayer post said this:

“Pray for Andrew, Lisa and their THREE daughters as they transition back to the UK for this training and prepare for long-term mission.”

Maybe some people read that and thought, perhaps this is why the Peart’s are needing to raise more financial support, they have another mouth to feed? Or perhaps they were so busy they forgot to…?

This, what I jokingly called ‘fake news’ to Andrew sparked some interesting e-mails and comments from friends wondering if we had forgotten to share our news. In fact, this is how we found out about the ‘fake news’ ourselves.  Joking aside, it was a genuine error that we were not upset about it, in fact, I sent a note to CMS just to say they might want to know that we only have 2 girls, how we found it funny, and that we were thankful that my mother in law is not on FB!

This led me to think about how Fake news has become a thing. So I looked on the all truth telling (not) internet, according to which President Trump cried ‘fake news’ of the press’ post-election coverage of his Presidency,  regarding the coverage of the leaked reports on Russian hacking, today he still continues to cry ‘fake news’ when it suits him. The BBC reported it was actually Hilary Clinton who first used the term, claiming it hurt her Presidential campaign. Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law which will allow the punishment of individuals and online media for spreading what Russia calls “fake news” and information which “disrespects” the state.

According to The Economist, we live in a post-truth society—a claim they made at the close of 2016 when the Oxford English Dictionary chose “post-truth” as its Word of the Year. As written in the Oxford English Dictionary

post-truth/ˌpōs(t)ˈtro͞oTH/

adjective
  1. relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

And written using poetic license-

bib·li·cal truth /ˈbiblik(ə)l/tro͞oTH/ 

adjective

  1. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks (or writes*) falsely will stand in my presence. Psalm 101:7    *added for emphasis

We have warned our girls about the dangers of Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia. Instagram, etc as well as the benefits these media platforms offer if used properly.  Recently Liliana and 2 classmates made a video for a Bible class project about a little known old testament person. They were told to be creative with the story. When I saw the video, which she had posted on youtube,  I was impressed by the creativity, yet slightly aghast- it was quite graphic in it’s animated violence and although I am aware that the Old Testament is not void of violence, I did not feel quite comfortable with it. After a ‘circular’ debate, in the end, Liliana did come around to an awareness of her responsibility to the truth and she wrote a brief, yet clear explanation, together with the bible verse so others could check it out for themselves. It’s easy to unintentionally mislead and for others to misinterpret, especially on the internet.  Not trying to paint myself here as the perfect- all-knowing parent, I have Facebook for that, insert tongue in cheek.

In the lead up to Easter, the period of Lent,  I spent a fair amount of time reflecting about the truth; the distortion and fear of it, and the need for it, to name but a few of my thoughts.  I guess anyone who wants to get a point across or enjoys storytelling could be guilty of embellishing, exaggeration or exercising poetic license for emphasis of personal opinion within the truth. There is much more to be said about this, but at the risk of being verbose, I will reserve that perhaps for another time, or I may just keep it to myself. Here’s something that caught my attention: This very short and recognisable conversation between Jesus and Pontious Pilate in the Gospel of John 18: 37-38


37You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.


Good question Pilate! Sadly, a direct answer from Jesus to Pilate is not recorded in the Bible. However, later on, in John 14:6 Jesus does answer Pilate’s question, though this time in a conversation with his disciples: Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”6 Jesus responds, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”   Truth is embodied in Jesus Himself!

 

As a believer in Christ, I should be committed to the truth, to desire to understand it more deeply, to hold to the truth of God’s Word even when culture goes against it. This is so much easier said than done, why is that? We have Jesus as THE example of radical counter-culture living, he manages to be in the world, but not of it, breaking the cultural norms/world views of his day, without sinning. Then He pays the punishment (death) we deserve for our sin, out of love and obedience for His Father, God,  leading us to genuine repentance and faith in Him, bringing us back into relationship with our Father God, for eternity! His death was our gain, his life for ours. At Easter, millions of people around the world every year reflect and celebrate the Risen Christ. For me, it’s the most important part of the Christian story.  In our  Bolivian church here we proclaim/ shout “Ha resucitado, aleluya!”  Not just once, but at least half a dozen times throughout the service.

So, how do we respond to the truth of Easter with our lives? Well, one example could be: We sit around in a North London pub, drinking tea, discussing and praying about 1. The current slave trade culture 2. Social conditions 3. The need to share the Gospel throughout the world. Then we take loving action, in faithful obedience! 

That was how our mission, Church Mission Society(CMS) which we are grateful to serve with here in Bolivia started, 220 years ago last month, and continues to serve with that vision today, worldwide. This time 220 years ago a teapot was engraved and given as a commemorative keepsake, remaining in the CMS archives, surfacing on special occasions like this one. All Mission Partners received an e-mail on CMS’s birthday thanking us for our service. Included in the e-mail was with the photo below, with an explanation of its (the teapots) significance. 

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We are especially grateful that although we are not official mission partners until the successful completion of our upcoming training, CMS has faith that we will complete it!

We would love your prayers to cover the following:

  • Strength for this period of transition and all the prep involved.
  • Energy,  wisdom and relationships/connections during our training and church visits.
  • Our health- Liliana recently fractured her elbow and wrist, Andrew has been diagnosed with bone spurs in each heel.
  • Provision for the girls care/education while we are in training-still not sorted.
  • Microfinance program, in our absence things would run smoothly
  • Prayers of thanks for the privilege it is to serve the church and community in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

We thank you for your continued support, for joining us on this incredible journey. We hope you all had a  Happy Easter and look forward to seeing many of you pronto-soon!

Much love,

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana, and Anayah xx

A little slide show from the last 4 months of random photos to catch you up!

 

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‘Vlog’ Feb/Jan 2019

Hello Family & Friends, we hope and pray 2019 is off to a good start for you!

I have many blog posts in the making (14 to be exact) many of which will never be posted for public viewing. Sometimes I blog for me and my own sanity-like journalling of old!

So, here is our video, on our blog, which I guess makes it a Vlog?  It’s a snapshot of our lives here, unscripted as you will be able to tell,  contra to the advice of our video guy-oh well! Complete with bloopers and outtakes. It’s simple, it’s real, it’s ‘us.’

Thanks for loving, praying for, supporting and joining ‘us’ on this journey!

To view our mission profile, sign up for link letters or support us click on this link: http://www.churchmissionsociety.org/peart

Have a great weekend! Lots and lots of love,

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana & Anayah xxoo

 

Nappies, diapers, bathrooms or loos?

I arrived in Bolivia bilingual in English(yes, it’s a thing) with rusty Spanish. In fact, my adult English learning students think I am English and no matter how many times I tell them I am an American from Wiscaaaansin, they don’t buy it. At the same time, an English person laughs at that! 

I am trying to get to the point where I can say with confidence, I am fluent in Spanish. I  get by, and my generous husband would say I am, but in my slight tendency to want to be a master of the language, it’s not good enough. Do people understand me? Seems so,  but then again Bolivians are very polite! I can grasp the ‘majority’ of the news, a sermon, a chatty person on the micro, meetings. A few have even said I have a local accent- both polite AND generous (and wrong). However, I think more important than all this, is having a passion for the language and culture of the local people. It’s about making every effort to learn it so we can engage and connect through face to face conversation, not Whatsapp!   Whether we get every word, every article or every verb conjugation correct is good, but we have to be intentional about building relationships and building trust, this takes time. The language will come and when we mix up words like ojo and ajo (eye and garlic), abeja and oveja  (bee and sheep) conversations can be and have been hilarious. One day we’ll tell you about Andrew’s piñas debacle-it’s more of a private conversation.  However, referring back to English, whether we say diapers, nappies, loos or bathrooms isn’t going to matter to anyone. Admittedly, at times, one makes more sense than the other. For example, when our girls were babies and toddlers we used to make up songs to be silly. Here is one we made up when Anayah was a baby and we were living in Canada. Anayah once had a sweet little Canadian accent, so the word out sounded precious. It’s about a poopy in a nappy, sung to the tune of ‘if you’re happy and you know it.’ It goes like this:


‘There’s a poopy in my nappy get it out, there’s a poopy in my nappy get it out, there’s a poopy in my nappy and it makes me quite unhappy, there’s a poopy in my nappy get it out. Nappy works, diaper does not!



The photo below of  Bolivian protestors made me chuckle even though politics are a serious matter and topical as you may have gathered from past posts. For us, having a sense of humour in mission helps us to put serious things into a new and fresh perspective, without laughter,  well, we’d most likely have left Bolivia by now or be terribly depressed and unhappy- not a good combination on the mission field! 

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Translated: Presidents and diapers(or nappies) must be changed for the same reason. Respect my vote. 

Sometimes, I get really frustrated with my husband’s pension towards toilet humour/humor. It’s rubbed off on our girls and has weaved it’s way into family life. I tend to ignore it. So now, it’s a thing the girls share with Daddy and they think it’s hilarious and that’s ok. Now, as a complete contradiction, I am drawing on that humour I have tried so hard to ignore… 

 It is often said ( though not in the Bible!) that God has a sense of humour. Does this include toilet humour? 

Seems so! But, actually, it’s not funny. Toilets are serious business here in Santa Cruz. Serious enough to get my husband and Pastor David out of bed at 530 am to buy toilets.

Why? It’s all part of Parilis, our microenterprise and business discipleship ministry. ‘Our’ as in Andrew does the work, I encourage and support him through prayer and post/blog/tweet about it. In partnership with local churches, Andrew teams up with Pastors with members in their churches with a desire and commitment to improve/grow or start their own small businesses yet don’t have the capital or business acumen to do so. These programs exist around the world in all shapes and forms, most lending at rates of interest impossible for the recipient to pay back and not only that, very little if any follow up, mentoring, or coaching takes place, it’s mostly about ensuring the money gets paid back, it’s more of a business for lender. Parilis encapsulates Biblical lending principles, not charging interest, see Deut 19 :23, Luke 6:35, Ezekiel 18:8. Its heart and mission is relational: listening, sharing, teaching, mentoring and discipling.   

WhatsApp Image 2018-12-08 at 08.11.59Andrew, Pastor David (Fuente de Vida Church), Jenny and Richard, a business/discipleship meeting.

Meet Richard one of Parilis’ partners, husband to Jenny and a father to a large family,  some grown up, a few in high school and a few on the street. He has been shining shoes for nearly 20 years in a local park. He has lived on the streets, where he earned the nickname Chachi, due to him hanging around the local chicha (alcoholic beverage) factory with aim of consuming as much chicha as possible. Radically changed by the transforming love of Jesus, Richard has turned away from alcohol and turned to his new life in Christ. Realising that none of his children wanted to take on the shoe shine business, combined with getting on in years and less physically able to shine shoes at the rate he was used to, he considered how he could build a sustainable business to pass on to his family. Over the years shining men’s shoes, he had literally thousands of conversations with local businessmen. One such conversation was about toilets, in particular, toilet rental- everyone needs to use the toilets right? Sustainable!

Aware of Andrew’s calling and hearts desire for microenterprise, our friend David who together with his wife pastor a local church, got in touch.  Andrew and David have been meeting with Richard weekly since March apart from our brief time in the UK. Andrew has encouraged Richard to lead the way, offering guidance when needed. They pray,  they laugh, they share. Andrew mentors and disciples Richard and Jenny along with Pastor David, both in business and in life. It’s a partnership and relationship with Jesus at the heart of it. As a surprise, Andrew and David bought 10 toilets from the garage sale at the girls’ school this morning and delivered them to Richard and Jenny, all before 8am-can you imagine?!  To quote David’s wife: ” It’s nice to see our husbands so excited over toilets. It’s setting the bar nice and low for Christmas.” This. like the protest photo made me laugh. It’s true and brings to mind a question that was asked by our speaker at the women’s event I attended last night. 

“What will your gift to Jesus be this year?” 

Setting the bar nice and low for Christmas for me means putting things into perspective-sometime we aim so high it’s not even realistic, or what people really want. Is Christmas  about getting or giving the latest iphone, xbox, kitchen gadget (SIGH), jewellery, best drone or running around trying to make a perfect meal with the most beautiful of beautiful table settings( SIGH again). Really, it’s not, well at least in my opinion it shouldn’t be, what do you think? 

We give gifts to Jesus when we intentionally invest in a relationship with Him, a relationship which in turn compels us to love our neighbours and encourage healthy relationships with others and so much more- sometimes that can look like an early morning toilet delivery surprise.   In my attempt at humour/ humor, whichever spelling suits you, I hope you do not think I am making fun of Christmas or trying to participate in the dumbing down of it ( the world has done that very well!). Just the opposite. Christmas is serious, Christ is serious, he is serious about us, all of us, not just some of us. Without Christ, there is no Christmas. He is our gift of life for life, what will your gift be to Him this Christmas?

We wish you all a very Merry and Happy Christmas. May the celebrating of Christ’s birth and life fill your lives with hope, joy, peace and love this year and always. 

With much love! 

Andrew, Lisa, Liliana, Anayah, Jack Black, Pop and Sunshine. 

Please pray for us as we transition from short-term mission to long-term mission here in Bolivia. To continue what we have started here, 2 things have to happen:

1. We need to have 80 % of our fundraising commitment by end of February 2019. Right now we are at 20%.

2. Successfully complete our 3-month training in the UK in April and have 100% funding committed before we may return to Bolivia.  

We trust God as our provider! 

What’s written about in our blog is a snapshot of what we are up to here in Bolivia. To know more, check out the ‘about’ section on this blog and our mission profile with Church Mission Society https://churchmissionsociety.org/people-in-mission/andrew-and-lisa-peart