Bolivia - Thursday blog
BOLIVIA TEAM BLOG THURSDAY JULY 13
A week ago we arrived in Cochabamba, and wow it seems like only yesterday. Yet we have been able to accomplish so much in this short time, and for that we are very thankful.
With transportation back to normal, this morning we FINISHED the building on the “Living Hope Church” in the Alto San Miguel area here. We had worked very hard the first three days here, so we had only a few hours work left today. The pastor, elders, and members of the church we so very, very grateful for all we had contributed and built. As we prayed over it, they expressed both words, and tears of gratitude. We were all touched.
Their gratitude also was the catalysis for one of bigger “God sightings” this week. Our health, especially “intestinal” health is one of the biggest challenges to our mission trip here in Bolivia, as it is in many Central and South American countries. You have been praying for our health since before we left, and the Lord has blessed us with amazingly good health. Joe and Denise do everything they can to protect us in what we eat, drink, and even how we bathe. As a team, we try to be smart, and use the very best hygiene we can. It’s been working well.
Last Friday when we began the project, the women of the church wanted to cook a meal for us to show their great gratitude. Culturally, this is a very sincere and costly way to show thanks. Of course, due to our weak “gringo” stomachs, and the differences in how they prepare food, Joe graciously tried to decline. Again, on Monday, the Pastor of the church literally begged Joe to let them feed us, and Joe couldn’t find a way to decline without insulting them, and making us look superior or condescending. So he gave them instructions that if they were going to cook for us, they must buy fresh chicken meat, and use only bottled water. Monday, they told us they would cook for us on Thursday.
Although we did not want to hurt their feelings, we also knew that to eat what they cooked would be a very high risk to our health. We prayed, and asked the Lord to show us a way out.
First, on Tuesday, we decided to work really quickly, and try to complete the project ahead of schedule. However, when Joe told the leaders that we would finish Tuesday, they became very upset, sad, and again pleaded that we come back Thursday. So we agreed that for the sake of our testimony and the love of Christ, we would come back. So we prayed even harder for a way out.
We have been blessed with good health though out our time here. Last night, I knew, as the leader, I could not allow our team to eat the food, no matter how carefully it’s prepared. We prayed, and I trusted the Lord to provide a way out. As we had our morning devotions and prayer, I told the team to pray, trust, and I knew that in some way God would deliver us.
When we arrived to finish our work this morning, the leaders greeted us and then with profuse apology told us that the because of the illness of one of the members, the women would not be able to feed us today. Wow, what a God we have. We had to hide our joy, and then assure them that this was quite all right, and that they were not letting us down. But inside we all knew that the Lord had protected us. This may sound a little strange to you, but I assure you that for the team here it was a huge answered prayer.
Since we finished our work early and we’d been unable to move around town yesterday, we spent the rest of the day seeing some of the sights of Cochabamba. This included Joe taking us on a walking tour through “La Concha”, the largest market in S. America. Of course, we did a little shopping, and then drove up to “El Christo” which you can see in our pictures.
We ended the evening, having a meal of “Bolivian” pizza, which tasted much like our pizza although it did have some interesting toppings.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a trip up into the mountains as we learn a little more about the culture here, and see some natural beauty. On our return, we will be helping with some projects here at the guesthouse, and then packing up for our early departure for home, 5am Saturday.
Pray for continued health through the trip home.
Smooth processing and safety on return flights.
That the seeds we’ve planted will continue to grow.
Teamwork and unity through these last few days.
Clarity and understanding as we process all the experiences and impacts this trip has had on us.
Give thanks with us for ALL the Lord has done.
For the Team,