Hello family and friends,
I hope you are well and enjoying whatever season or weather of life you are in. We have had an interesting and challenging couple of months, both in and through our own experiences as well as those which we witness in the lives of others. We have celebrated and grieved, we have seen breakthroughs and setbacks, joys and sorrows. In spite of this, we try to remain thankful and joyful.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Well, I sure look forward with joy to the day when through perseverance my faith is mature and complete wow, I have a long way to go!
Winter it seems has arrived, although not officially until 21 June. It’s amazing how at the slightest hint of cooler weather hats, coats and gloves make an appearance on the locals and Andrew is still wearing shorts! I must admit, I too have felt the cold. The lowest temp we have experienced thus far has been 12celsius. It’s all relative to what you are accustomed to. Most of the past 8 months has been in the latter part of the 30’s with 90-100% humidity, so to a local 12degrees IS cold. Having grown up in Wisconsin, the winters are cold, REALLY cold. We’re talking, ‘wet hair would freeze’ cold within minutes of stepping outdoors to go to school. It’s warm here when it’s cold here in comparison if that makes sense. People here talk about the weather, ALL the time. Hace frio, si? Hace calor, si? Hace mucho viento, si? So, it’s not just a British obsession. In fact, I don’t think of it as an obsession at all, but more of a conversation starter, or an ice breaker.
So, what have we been up to since the last blog?. I never think much until I sit down and take stock…
Misión Anglicana Cristo Luz del Mundo Norte en Satélite Norte:
We are nearly to the end of the Alpha course, which continues to be an immense privilege; to be witness to a community joining and growing together, sharing meals in fellowship and discussing the basics and the depths of Christianity is a wonderful blessing, a slice of heaven on earth really. Our oldest attendee, Don Pedro (79) sadly passed away albeit peacefully, a few weeks ago. He loved the Lord and we feel truly fortunate to have been a part of his life, even if for a short time. He was always the first to arrive each evening with a smile, so happy to be there; such a kind, humble and gentle man! It is a huge comfort to rest in the truth that he has gone home to be with his heavenly father. We would like to ask for your prayers for this community: As mentioned before, there are so many people out of work, suffering from heavy debt, health troubles, sexual/ domestic/alcohol abuse to name but a few. Recently the mother of one of the families already dealing with debt issues, resulting in loan shark threats, and near house eviction, suffered a financial setback due to emergency gall bladder surgery. Thankfully our ‘mother’ church in Santa Cruz has an ‘Ama a tu prójimo’- ‘love your neighbour’ (Galations 5:14) collection every Sunday which helped partly fund her surgery. This wonderful fund has also helped out another family when the father was unjustly imprisoned for 5 months just before Christmas, which I wrote about in past posts. Andrew continues to fine tune his small business microfinance plan which is currently in the hands of an attorney friend to work out the contractual nuts and bolts. He is also working on an Enterprise investment scheme to fund larger employment opportunities here. It’s encouraging that a local organisation has expressed interest and would like to collaborate! Andrew has gleaned much wisdom from the book of Ezekiel as he reads about the oppression of the poor and needy through ridiculously high-interest rates and the like. I am proud that he wants to show people another way to do business, one that is essentially countercultural and ultimately points towards Jesus.
The Thursday ladies sewing group is going well. We started with an intro to the ‘machine’, which is very user-friendly and a superb piece of equipment! We have now moved on to pattern making of school uniforms. When it comes to the sewing part, as only one person can sew at a time, the others will be crocheting squares to make a table cloth to sell in the market. Interestingly, we have a completely new group of ladies to those that were doing the jewelry making. A local young lady who’s mother and father come to Alpha asked if she could promote it in the local market, resulting in this new dynamic! Also, we have managed to sell some of the jewelry made, with funds going towards materials for future projects, helping to teach and create self-sustainability. We are also brainstorming names to call the Thursday program to include men’s creations. We are exploring the idea of making pallet furniture. I have mentioned before that we are very grateful for the kind donation of the sewing machine but I don’t think I mentioned the kind donator. Irene Airton’s (Contact Magazine) mother in law, Barbara of Hartley Wintney has donated this machine. If any of our HW friends know her, please do directly acknowledge her kindness, she lives in Pegasus Court.
Celebrations: 2 birthdays Andrew’s 52nd, Liliana’s 10th, and Bolivian Mothers Day- Dia de la Madre. All 3 were memorable occasions; Andrew had a shared party with our friend Jodi , a Cinco de Mayo theme, complete with piñata and Mexican cuisine. I have always wanted to have a Cinco de Mayo theme for Andrew’s birthday but it never felt right in England, somehow feels right here even though it’s a Mexican thing, it’s still Latino. For Lil’s birthday, she took a small group of friends to the cinema to see Jefe en Pañales – literally translated to boss in diapers, with the English title being Boss Baby. It was dubbed in Spanish. She had a lovely time which was filled with fun and laughter. I am still gobsmacked that she is 10. Bolivian Mother’s day is unique in it’s history and celebration which lasted 3 days for me! It started with a Tea at our church, pancake breakfast at the girls’ school and our little family celebration on the actual Saturday. I felt well loved! The girls gave me a charcoal sketch called ‘Repentance’ which I have had my eye on for months, done by a young talented artist in our church. I love art, especially local art!
I urge you to read about the Bolivian history of Mothers day here – https://www.bolivianlife.com/mothers-day-bolivian-women-dying-for-freedom. As we celebrate life’s events, it feels as if life is somehow normal even though it feels very different!
The girls have completed 3rd and 5th grade respectively and are in their second week of summer (American curriculum) holidays. School ended with some busyness: ceremonies and celebrations. Liliana brought home many awards, High honour roll, Homework, Music, and Student of the Quarter(shared). Anayah did not bring home any awards, however, I would if it were up to me, I would have given her 2 awards: 1) Courage, for her verbal presentation completely memorised and delivered in Spanish about a La Paz recycling project, her fav topic! 2) Kindness as she was so happy for her sister’s success. Anayah’s grades were honour roll worthy however 3rd grade are not eligible! We are equally proud of both girls; they find much joy in learning and we find much joy in watching their character blossom and grow as they experience life in a new culture. It certainly has had it’s ups and downs!
School finishing coincided with moving. Yes, we Pearts moved again, this time into temporary accommodation in a friend’s guest house, where I currently write from-see photo right. It’s so tranquil here, the opposite of city life where we went to bed as many in the city entered into night time fiesta mode and awakened to the roar of the diesel engine micros. Here we wake with the roosters crow and gentle birdsong and go to bed in complete quietness. Here live 2 cats, a puppy, 8 rabbits, 13 tortoises (mum & 12 babes), a quail and a guinea pig. The girls are in animal heaven. Liliana is working hard to prove she is dog ready(?!) and I have to say Anayah’s fear of dogs is waning, bearing in mind this is a small cuddly puppy we are talking about. We are here until the house we will rent is ready to live in- a few more weeks. This move was tricky as we don’t have a car, however, friends did help and for that we are thankful! It is amazing how much work a move is, whether big (past) or small (present). One of the reasons for the move delay is the house we are moving into was awaiting a gas inspection, which without work could not progress. We nearly paid someone to ‘make it happen’, but that option did not sit well with us. I had the name and number of who to call. We sat on it a day and prayed. That very next day, the inspection took place. God is always at work for good. Now, the delay seems to be that the gas is not yet connected, we just learned of this today. We were supposed to move in end of April, which was pushed to this weekend 17 June, and is now not possible. Ironically, these delays have cost us more money when one of the main reasons for moving was to save money. We are struggling to avoid the ‘pay to get things done’ ideal which is culturally endemic here-such a frustration!
In July, we will venture to Cochabamba, named the ‘city of eternal spring’ for some intense language lessons. We will live as guests of a local, Spanish only speaking family. I think this will give us that little bit of extra we need to better grasp the grammatical nuances of the Spanish language. It would be disrespectful of us to speak any English in front of our hosts! We all look forward to the change of scenery and adventure we will undoubtedly experience at 8,400ft and with that, I end this post on a high!
Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement for our lives and work here, we are so grateful. We would love to hear from more people as it can be a bit lonely here. Also, if you would sign up to the blog you will get it automatically. 🙂
We’d love your prayers of petition and thanksgiving for the following:
- As we near the end of Alpha that the current thirst and hunger for the knowledge of Christ would develop into a personal relationship with Him.
- Wisdom, discernment, and unity as we plan and prepare our next steps in the Mission vision: Marriage and baptism courses, men’s ministry vision
- Protection over the community of Satélite Norte and strength as they face many spiritual battles.
- Prayers of thankfulness for the good health and general wellbeing of our family
- The support and encouragement of our main Church, Cristo Luz del Mundo, Santa Cruz and sending church, St John’s Hartley Wintney, UK
- For provision of a temporary home while we await our more permanent one
Lisa, Andrew, Liliana & Anayah