Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 22 - 28

September 22, 2013

What a fun day!  We headed into town about 10:00 this morning.  Each staff member was assigned two or three kids to watch for the day and every child was given $5 bolivianos that they could spend in town.  You should have seen the look on their faces!  :)  Each staff could decide what activities his/her group were going to do that day.  We packed lunches for everyone to take as well.  So when we got to town, Oriel, Wanetta, Vilissa and I all took our groups on a short hike near the mountain where a creek was.  We ate lunch there in the shade and just talked with the kids.  Then, the girls and guys split.  The girls wanted to go shopping.  Ori and I took our boys to one of the swimming pools in town and paid for them to get in and swim.  Sam, Hunter and Chris were there was well.  (It was a very HOT day and the idea was spending it in the cool water of the pool was too tempting not to do!  :) ).  I didn’t go swimming because my allergies were really acting up.  :(  But I did enjoy the time in the hammock.  To make up for not being in the water, I bought me a tamarind juice to enjoy in my hammock.  :)  Our boys also bought some popsicles with their money.

The truck loaded up to head back home at 3:15.  The kids really enjoyed the day and were talking to each other about what everyone did.  I made sure everyone was on board and then the truck left, heading back to Familia Feliz.  I stayed in town with David and Jorge because I wanted to do something special with them.  So we all went and got a haircut, then we went out to eat from supper.  Both of the these boys have had many discipline problems in the past (which is why they are living with me), but have really, really made a lot of progress and have not gotten in any trouble in several weeks.  I am very proud of them and wanted them to know that.  I am a firm believer in not only punishing negative behavior, but rewarding positive behavior as well.  So we went out to eat and they were able to order whatever (vegetarian) meal they wanted.  We also got some mango/strawberry juice to go along with it.  We had a really good time and the boys really felt special.  

We got home, ate supper, had worship and got ready for bed.  It has been a full day and now we’re ready to go to sleep.  Until tomorrow...God bless!


September 23, 2013

This past Saturday, Sept. 21, was national student day here in Bolivia.  Since it was on the weekend, we decided to celebrate it today with our students.  It’s a big deal here in Bolivia, with some schools taking ALL of their students on field trips or overnight trips, making elaborate meals for them, etc.  Since we are on a tight budget, those activities weren’t possible for us, but we still wanted to do something special for the kids and have a good time.  We decided to have a field/game day.  Classes were “cancelled” for the day and everyone played group games all morning.  We did three-legged races, water balloon toss, egg-in-a-spoon races, relay races tug-of-war, etc.  The morning ended with cake, juice and candy for all the students.  I couldn’t stay for all of the activities because Juan and I had to go into town to see about processing some paperwork, as well as to get some parts for the truck (that is broken down again).  But I heard that the morning was a complete success and that everyone had a great time.

This afternoon was just wonderful!  The kids played soccer all afternoon with some of the staff while the rest of us played volleyball.  We played for almost 4 hours!!  I have parts of my body yelling at me now that I didn’t know existed before!  Lol.  But we laughed so much!  We only stopped playing because supper was ready.  :)

After supper, my boys did their homework, got their showers, had worship and got into bed.  I’m about to follow.  All that playing has worn me out.  :)  Hasta manana!

God bless!


September 24, 2013

Today was a regular day.  The boys and I got up, had worship, did the morning chores and had breakfast.  I taught my classes in the morning and oversaw the work program in the afternoon.  Nothing very significant to write about today.  It wasn’t a bad day by any means, just a normal day.  :)  So, sorry about the short entry, but there isn’t much to write about.  Maybe tomorrow there will be more.  :)  God bless!


September 25, 2013

Today was a full day...made up for yesterday.  :)  We have a visitor that arrived in the middle of the night.  He is a missionary from Hawaii that has been in Bolivia for a year now and is about to head back home.  His name is Elijah and he’s 18 years old.  He has worked with several of the staff here during the year and wanted to come and spend a few days here before leaving the country.  So he’ll be with us until Monday morning.  

This morning, after making sure Elijah was settled in and had everything he needed, I had to go to town with Jodi.  All of the directors and principals from the district were called to a meeting with the Minister of Education and the Mayor.  The meeting started at 9:00 and lasted until after 11:00.  It was quite an interesting meeting, to say the least.  First of all, the Minister of Education was the most dressed up person there (of the officials) and he had on a pair of slacks and a button-up shirt, with the sleeves rolled up.  All of the Mayor’s personnel that were up front had on jeans or exercise pants and t-shirts.  The Mayor had on jeans, a t-shirt, windbreaker and a ball cap!  Jodi and I were kinda caught off-guard.  But hey...whatever floats your boat, I guess.  :)  Secondly, it was made apparent very early on in the meeting that this was a political meeting with the Minister of Education and Mayor belonging to different political parties.  And finally (and what’s worse), the meeting didn’t apply to our school at all, as we are a private school.  It only applied to public schools and even with that, there was nothing accomplished at the meeting.  No decision made, no voting, nothing.  So basically, we wasted our morning.  :(  We have another meeting in the morning with the Minister of Education and the School Board members of the district, so we’re hoping that one will prove more beneficial.  

After the meeting, we ran some errands to buy some groceries and other things we needed, then headed back home.  We got home about 2:00.  After the work session, we had supper and then headed off to prayer meeting.  It was my turn to lead it out.  We talked about the attitudes we are to have when addressing God in prayer.  We then had prayer in small groups and sang some hymns.

Now it’s off to bed.  May not seem like so on paper, but it was a busy day and I’m tired.  Good night!  God bless!


September 26, 2013

What a day!  Jodi and I were in town for this second meeting this morning.  The meeting started at 8:00, but when we pulled up, ours was the only car in the parking lot, beside the Minister of Education’s motorcycle.  Shortly after, however, more people arrived and the meeting started.  A representative from the State Department of Education had come to talk to us about how a school board should be formed, as well as about some governmental funding.  Well, this meeting lasted 3 hours and, guess what?!  Didn’t pertain to us at all either!  The rules for school boards are different for public and private school and we are the only private school in the district, so they only read the information about the public schools (which didn’t make much sense at all, if you ask me.  Get this - it’s against the law for a principal, director, teacher or other administration staff to form part of the school board!  It should only be composed of parents.  When have you ever heard of such?!  I mean, parents usually have no idea of what really goes on at schools and what the needs/issues are.  Crazy!).  And there is NO government funding for private schools.  So here we’ve missed two days in our classrooms and spent 6 hours in meetings that didn’t have anything to do with us or our school.  :(  Not fun.  

After the meeting, we had to pick up some supplies for our garden and greenhouse, then headed back home.  

That’s when things got even more “interesting”.  I found out that neither of my boys (Jorge and David) turned in their homework today and that both had gotten in trouble either at school or right after school.  Not what I wanted to hear, I assure you.  So I had to take care of that and issue a punishment.  They missed supper tonight, had to clean the classrooms and do extra work around the house.  Needless to say, they were not happy at all, but we have to be consistent with all the kids and treat them all the same.  Jorge, then, told me that he cleaned the classroom but, when I went to check, it wasn’t clean.  So I had to address the issue of lying and he had to go back to clean it.  As I write this, neither boys are really talking to me.  They’re still upset.  But I explained to them that they chose this course of action and this is simply the consequence of that choice.  Hopefully, they will learn from this and will remember it next time they are tempted to not do their homework and disobey the staff.  It’s definitely not been one of my best days, though.  :(  But God is Good and I still praise Him for today and all that He has done for me!  :)

God bless!


September 27, 2013

This morning was the first morning in a very long time that I didn’t have class to teach, have to travel, have a meeting or something else pressing to do.  Amen!  :) So I decided to take advantage of this “free time” and go for a hike.  I’ve been here 3 months and still haven’t explored all of our property.  So, with a machete and camera in hand, I went on a 2-hour hike through the jungle.  It was a beautiful morning and I saw all kinds of interesting bugs, plants, birds, etc.  Plus, I had some great “alone time” with God, praying and thanking Him for all that He is / does for me.  I felt really refreshed by the time I got back to my house.  It was a good morning!

After lunch, several of us headed into town.  I had the Bible study at the Army base tonight (since it’s Friday night), so I went in with the truck and just stayed in town.  One of our girls, Amy (she’s 21 years old, but mentally is only 11-12 years old...but such a sweet girl!), was walking last week and stepped into a hole in the ground and fell.  Her foot started hurting and was swollen after that.  We figured she had sprained her ankle, so we soaked it, wrapped it, etc. but it didn’t get better.  So today, we took her in to get an x-ray and see the doctor.  I took her to the doctor.  Turns out she does have a sprained ankle, but she also had dislocated one of the bones on the top of her foot.  So the doctor had to set it back in place.  :(  I felt SOOO bad for Amy!  It was like watching a kid having the bone set again.  Her foot was already in pain and to have the doctor move it and pop it back in place was almost more than Amy could bear.  But she’s a fighter and did very well.  He was able to get everything in place and gave some medicines for the pain and swelling.  After we left, I got Amy some coconut ice cream with chocolate and sprinkles.  :)  Hey...she deserved it!  

Soon, the truck headed back to Familia Feliz and I stayed in town and waited for the Bible study.  I was able to call family and church family and get updated on things back home.  I also was able to enjoy some very good pesto pasta!  :)

At 6:45, I was at the army base.  Some soldiers were still eating supper, so I waited for them to finish, then set everything up for the meeting.  We had over almost 50 soldiers there tonight!  I am still amazed and excited about their enthusiasm.  It’s so contagious and such a blessing to see!  What was even more exciting was, out of the almost 50 that were there, there were about 17 new soldiers who had never come before!  I believe a new group of soldiers has arrived on base.  I had made about 10 extra copies of the Bible study for this evening, just in case.  But even that wasn’t enough and some people had to share.  What a WONDERFUL problem to have!  :)  And did I mention before that these soldiers like to sing?!?!  Lol.  I had the computer and projector hooked up to the speakers/sound system and they still sang way louder than the much so that they kept getting ahead of the music because they couldn’t hear what part of the song was being played.  :)  I laughed inside so many times tonight because of that.  Lol.  But what a blessed evening it was!  We talked about the origin of sin.  They were genuinely interested.  I truly love giving these Bible studies and talking with these young men.  What an opportunity!  Please continue to pray for them and their new walk with Christ.

Well, about to head to bed.  Once again, another Sabbath has come and started off wonderfully!  I know tomorrow will be just as wonderful.  God bless you all!


September 28, 2013
Today we had a special treat.  We got to sleep until 7:00!  :)  And boy did it feel good!  We had church this morning here on campus and had a lovely service.  I love seeing and hearing the kids lead out song service.  It’s such a blessing to me.  Then, the girls had special music.  From 4 years old to 16 years old, all of them sang “You’re my all in all”.  Another blessing.  Then, Elijah, our guest, had the sermon today.  It was a very nice Sabbath morning.

After church, we had lunch and, again, had a special treat.  Wanetta and the girls in the kitchen had made cake for dessert (vegan, mind you!).  :)  It was delicious!!  I wish you all could taste it.  It was so moist and delicious!  And the icing (made with powdered sugar, almond milk and orange zest) just melted in your mouth!  Okay...I need to stop now.  :)  It’s not often that we have a treat like this, so everyone really enjoyed it. 

In the afternoon, some of the staff took most of the kids on a long hike to a nearby small waterfall.  I decided to stay.  I really wanted to finish listening to a sermon that I started two days ago, as well as do some reading.  So that was a nice little “break” and alone time.  The kids really enjoyed the hike.

Just before sunset, we all met in our circle on the front lawn to close out the Sabbath with worship.  It’s always a special time for me.  Then, we had supper and put on a little video for the kids.  Overall, a very good day indeed!  Thank you Lord for the many blessings you have so graciously bestowed upon me!  

God bless you!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 7 - 21

September 7, 2013

I’m really coming to LOVE Sabbaths here!  They are always filled with blessings and lessons, and today was no exception.  

Last night, the Bible study was great!  I was a bit concerned that there wouldn’t be a big turn out since we had not reminded the soldiers about the study during the week.  Plus, it has been a very hot week, so I didn’t think most would want to sit in a hot building when they could enjoy the cool, evening breeze outside.  But I prayed and asked God to at least send 10-12 guys there.  And I knew that He would hear my prayer.

When I got there, I was told that they were running behind and asked to wait about 45 minutes.  So I sat down and read the Bible and had my devotional.  I was the only one that was able to be there to lead out (a couple of other members from the local church were not able to attend due to conflicts in schedule). Soon, they were ready, so I went to the dining hall where we would meet.  I had planned to just meet around the table there, in a small, more intimate environment so that we could talk and interact better.  That wasn’t what God had in mind...what’s the saying again?  When we plan, God laughs?  So true.  Before I knew it, a few soldiers had the tables moved to the sides and benches lined up like pews in a church.  I thought it was overkill, since I wasn’t expecting nearly as many as were in attendance last week at the meeting tonight.  Yet again, God humbled me and reminded me that His ways are not my ways.  52 soldiers showed up for the Bible study!!  There were even some that were not in attendance last week because they were not on base.  They were still as excited about studying God’s word as they were last week.  It was so amazing!  They all had their new Bibles we had given them, recited their verses from last week, sang with much vigor and enthusiasm (even though we didn’t have a projector or speakers...just my laptop) and were actively engaged in the lesson, “fighting” over who would read the verses aloud.  :)  It was wonderful!  About 10 minutes before I had to leave (someone came from Familia Feliz to pick me up), a brother from the local church arrived.  I was very glad to see him because the soldiers were not ready to stop the meeting.  So he continued when I had to leave.  One thing that really made me happy (in addition to all that I have just shared) was that one of the guys that was baptized on last Sabbath came to me and said that he and a group of about 20-30 other soldiers would like to go to church with us one Sabbath and spend the afternoon with us.  He wanted to know if we could come and pick them up and take them to Familia Feliz.  Of course, I said yes and we agreed that we would get them in two weeks, when I got back from Santa Cruz.  There is no greater feeling in the world that seeing people accept Christ’s message of hope and love and act upon it!  To God be the Glory!

I was assigned the sermon today, so I got up early to prepare for that.  I wasn’t really sure what the Lord wanted me to present.  I am always very humbled and cautious when asked to speak, less I try to steer the topic or words in a direction contrary to what God would want.  So I spend much time in prayer and ask the Lord to lead me and show me what I am to present.  I did the same this time; however, I didn’t feel that “click” that I usually do when preparing a sermon.  Several verses came to mind, several Spirit of Prophecy quotes, but nothing really concrete, other than a deep desire to tell the church that Christ is soon to come.  But....really??  How many times have we heard that?  How many sermons have been preached on the imminent and awesome return of our Savior?  Actually, not too many here lately, it least not that convict us sinners and cause us to turn from our sinful ways and seek the Lord with the fervor and perseverance we should.  But how could I do that?  That’s better left up to the pastors and those with degrees/experience/studies/baptism records, etc.  But the feeling wouldn’t go away.  Finally, I stopped making excuses (which is what they all were) and told God that I would say whatever He led me to say.  I asked Him to, first of all, forgive me of my shortcomings and all the times I have failed Him.  Then, I asked Him to fill me with His Spirit, so that the words the proceeded from my mouth would not be my one, but rather His.  It was a very deep prayer, and a good one.  I felt peace afterwards...and assurance that my prayer was heard and that He would give me the words I needed at the moment I needed them.  So, I proceeded to read the Bible and SOP.  Then, it was time to get the boys up and have worship, breakfast, etc.  

Time seemed to fly extra fast after breakfast and soon we were loading up on the truck, getting ready to head to the small, open church about a mile down the road.  I had wanted a chance to read some more for my sermon before leaving, but wasn’t able to with everything else that was going on.  So I left it in God’s Hands.  When we got to the church site, we were asked to handle the services.  This is pretty customary here, since there are very few members.  They really enjoy when Familia Feliz comes it seems.  So we always have a “plan” in place and everyone is prepared to do their part when we go out.  So we started song service and prayer.  Then it was time for the mission story.  Well, Damaris (one of our teenage boarding students) forgot that she was in charge of the mission story and didn’t have anything planned.  So I went up and told the story of how, because of a group of kids in a Pathfinder club, the entire local army heard the message of Christ’s love and many accepted Him and were baptized.  I was, obviously, referring to how God has blessed us in our meetings with the army.  However, I didn’t mention our kids or the place at all.  I wanted them to think it was something that happened somewhere else until the end.  You see, often times, we think that mission stories must come from abroad...from somewhere far away from home.  We fail to realize as we should that every single one of us is a missionary and God has commissioned us to preach the Gospel everywhere, at all times...and includes at home.  The kids were really involved in the story and were quite surprised at the end when I told them where this wonderful story took place.  Some never thought of themselves as missionaries, nor did they think they could form part of a mission story.  I pray they never forget that.

After the story, it was time to separate for Sabbath school classes.  That’s when I got my next surprise.  I was asked to teach the adult class!  I wasn’t on the schedule, Warren was.  But he was sick this morning, so the church asked me if I would fill in.  I sent up a quick prayer, asking for God’s blessing, and proceeded.  We had a very nice discussion about Revival and Reformation and our allowing God to work that out in our lives.  I was blessed.

Soon it was time for the service and sermon.  I was amazed at how calm I was, especially when I didn’t really have solid “notes” or “outline” for the service.  I knew what text I wanted to start off with and knew where I wanted to go with it...just wasn’t sure of how I was going to get there.  :)  But the words just came.  I felt a sincere and deep conviction that time is short and I must tell these individuals that.  I couldn’t shake that thought.  So I shared my concern, the signs of the time that are occurring all around us and our Laodicean state.  I poured my soul out to them, trying to convey the seriousness of the situation and the shortness of time.  At one point, it was almost as if I didn’t recognize myself.  I couldn’t believe that these words, this “sermon” was coming out of my mouth.  I felt...I don’t know.  Hard to describe.  I felt...dirty, unworthy, not ready.  Yet, at the same time, I felt happy to be used by the Lord in whatever way He saw fit.  

The service ended and we made our back home.  I wondered in what type of soil had the seeds fallen.  I prayed for all of us.  Those words were just as much for me as they were for everyone else.  Time is short.  Do I realize that?  Am I getting ready?  Am I going about my Father’s business?  Or am I letting the world and it’s “stuff” occupy my thoughts and mind and prohibiting me from obtaining Christ’s Character in these final days, while the four angels are holding back the winds a little longer?  I must answer that...

We had a nice afternoon.  For the first time in I-can’t-remember-how-long, I took a nap.  :)  It was very hot and it wasn’t the most comfortable nap I’ve ever taken, but I welcomed it with open arms!  Then, we played a Bible game with the kids.  We divided ourselves in 4 groups and had to go to different places around the property and take a snapshot of us acting out different Bible stories.  At the creek, we had to act out Noah’s Ark.  In the garden, the parable of the sower and seeds, at the water tower, the tower of Babel, etc.  There were 10 stories, so each group had at least 10 pictures.  After an hour, we came back together and shared the pictures with everyone, while the kids tried to guess what stories were depicted in the photos.  It was a huge success and everyone loved it!  We also got some really good pictures and created memories that will last for a long time.  Thanks Chris for coming up with the activity!  Kudos to you!  :)

We had worship to close out this wonderful and event-filled Sabbath day.  Then, we headed for supper.  After supper, we put on a video for the kids to watch.  Then, we all headed to our respective houses for bed.  The boys and I had worship, then I got them in bed.  Now, it’s my turn.  Good night all!  May God bless each of you!


September 8, 2013

I spent most of the day in town today, as it was my day off.  I had several errands to run and things to do for Familia Feliz.  But I also had time to do some shopping for clothes for Jorge and David, check and write emails and call family.  It was a VERY hot day!  But the fresh mangoes and tamarind juice helped me to bear it a little better.  :)

Other than this, not too much to write about today.  I pray you had a good day and that God blessed, and continues to bless, you in a special way.


September 9, 2013

Today was parent-teacher conference day, as we needed to give out report cards.  Therefore, classes were canceled and we allotted 8-12 and 1-3 to receive and talk with parents.  We had about 10 parents show up by 10.  Things were going well.  Then, the sky fell out and we had a big thunderstorm!  The clouds seem to come out of no where and in an instant, our meetings were canceled and we had all the kids in the Big House, looking for something to do.  To add to the mix, we lost power for most of the day.  Luckily, however, the big house has three solar panels, so we were able to have lights, etc.  We got out puzzles and games for the kids, worked on homework and tried to think of 988 ways to keep everyone from getting bored.  :)  We failed at times.  :)  But we made it through.  The rains finally stopped about mid afternoon, but it was muddy.  It was actually a pretty bad storm.  Very strong wind and lots of heavy rain.  I wonder what the scenery looks like outside of Familia Feliz.  I guess I’ll see tomorrow.

Warren left today for his 2 1/2 month trip to Guyana.  We had a long meeting, assigning responsibilities and talking about plans while he is gone.  It’s going to be a busy few months!  But I know God will provide and work things out.  Warren told me that he will need me to do a bit a traveling while he’s gone as well.  He wants me to go two two schools on opposite sides of Bolivia.  He wants me to see both of them and get to know the staff.  And at one, he wants me to assess the needs, etc., as we plan on sending two of our volunteers there for a month to help them.  They are struggling somewhat.  So please keep me in your prayers during the next two months, as I’ll be on the road a good bit more.

I will be heading to Santa Cruz tomorrow with three of the SM’s to process their visas.  Actually, one of our SM’s, Hannah, has decided to return home to the U.S.  She misses home a lot and doesn’t feel like this a right fit for her, so she will be flying out on Thursday.  We hate to see her leave.  

I’ll be gone about a week / week and a half.  Please pray for us as we travel.  I won’t be able to blog much for the next couple of days, until I get into Santa Cruz and settled.  But I’ll write as soon as I can.

God bless!


September 10 - 12, 2013

We made it safely to Santa Cruz!  Thank you Lord!  The trip was long, but much more bearable since there were four of us traveling together.  We got in yesterday morning and headed to immigrations office to start Amber’s visa work.  It turned out we were missing one paper, so we got that in the afternoon and will head back today (Sept. 12).  We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, getting souvenirs (for Hannah), and walking around the city.  We got to the mission office around 7:15 last night, just in time for prayer meeting.  What a blessing it was!  There were three other missionary families there and it was very nice to spend time in God’s Word with them.  Plus, we had a “special surprise.”  David and Becky Gates were there!  They just got back from abroad (they are constantly traveling and preaching), so it was nice to meet them personally and spend some time with them as well.  As soon as the meeting was over and we got our showers, we crashed hard!  It was a long day and we were exhausted.

This morning (Sept. 12), we had to leave at 5:30 to get Hannah to the airport on time.  Right now, I’m at the office using internet, waiting for immigration to office.  Then, it’s back off to immigration for Amber.  Chris will be arriving by plane at 10:30 and we’ll process his.  I’ll keep you posted.

Some pics from Santa Cruz we met got all of Amber’s visa work done this morning!  Praise God!  Chris met us at the immigration office just as we were finishing with Amber’s process.  Amber and Oriel patiently waited in the waiting area while Chris and I got his started.  We were able to finish the first part before lunch.  We then went and ate lunch at one of the three local vegetarian restaurants.  It’s was very good!  :)  Then, Chris headed back to immigration to be there when they opened at 2:30 to complete his process.  Amber, Oriel and I had another project to work on...”wabbit hunting!”  Lol.  Jodi asked me to get a few classroom pets for her 1st and 2nd graders.  She wanted a white rabbit with a pink nose and red eyes (she was quite specific!  :) ), a hamster, a parakeet, a goldfish and a turtle.  We’re planning on starting our own little Noah’s ark at Familia Feliz.  :)  So we went to the area of town where they sell pets and was able to get the rabbit, hamster and parakeet.  They didn’t have the turtles now and the goldfish won’t survive the long trip we’ll have to find another place closer to Rurre to get it.

We met Chris with our new, furry friends and headed for the office.  We used internet there for a bit before we went our separate ways.  Chris and Amber are returning to Familia Feliz tonight by bus.  Ori and I have to wait on Hunter to get here on Sunday to process his visa on Monday.  So we are heading to one of our medical missionary schools to spend the weekend.  It’s about an hour from Santa Cruz, in the mountains, and Ori’s sister is a student there.  I’m looking forward to seeing the place and meeting new people!  Hasta manana!  God bless!


September 13-15, 2013

What a WONDERFUL and blessing-filled weekend!!  We arrived at the Instituto Quebrada Leon (the medical missionary training school and lifestyle center) Thursday night. We surprised Ori’s sister (Alana) and boy!  Was she excited!!  :)  We had supper and talked with Alana for a little bit.  We met Dr. Kim and his wife, Anita (who are the directors of the school), as well as some of the students there.  Then, we called it a night.  There isn’t electricity at the school (except when the generator is on at the classroom/kitchen building), so I couldn’t really write my blogs every night.  This is why three days are together again.  Sorry.  :)  There was a group of doctors, nurses and dentists visiting from the U.S. and Argentina to offer health clinics, check-ups, cleaning, extractions, etc. for 10 days.  So the school was full!  But it afforded a perfect opportunity to meet so many new people and make new friends!  :)

Some pics of Quebrada Leon....beautiful!

Helping with the foundation of the new bakery.

Me and Jonathan, my new friend from Argentina.

Me and Jose from Colombia.  

Our Sabbath treat!  :)  Delicious!

We got up at 6:30 on Friday morning, had worship and then breakfast.  I sat with Dr. Kim and Anita and thoroughly enjoyed our chat and getting to know them.  They are very nice, humble people that love the Lord!  We shared experiences at our respective places and then they asked me if I would do the worship Friday night and share how God has been working at Familia Feliz.  I gladly accepted.  Next, it was off to work!  Ori and I helped Gerardo (a full-time missionary) and Jonathan (a student from Argentina) work on the foundation for the new bakery the school is building.  Dad would be proud of me!  :)  We had a good time and, again, got to know each other well.  We worked until lunch.  At lunch, I got to meet more of the students and missionaries.  After lunch, I helped Jose (one of the missionaries from Colombia that I had already met) with the bread and talked more with Anita.  Soon, it was time to get ready for Sabbath.  I got some pics together for worship and soon it was time to start.  

Worship went really well.  I shared about how Crystal and Janet had been sick and how God intervened to restore their health and provided the funds for their treatments.  I also told them about the exciting week at the army base and how God has worked in the lives of those soldiers, showing them pictures and a short video clip.  After the service, everyone came and thanked me for sharing as they felt encouraged and uplifted.  That made me feel good...not because of anything I did, but because God was able to use me to portray His message.  One of the lady doctors bursted into tears after the service, while we were greeting each other.  I wasn’t sure why until one of the dentist talked to me the next day.  Evidently, she has been holding back in her relationship with God and not giving her full.  But she said that after hearing and seeing how God has worked in our behalf, it broke her and she couldn’t hold back the tears.  She made the decision to give her life fully to God.  Praise God!!  He is GOOD indeed!!

On Sabbath morning, everyone split into three groups.  Two went off campus to two nearby churches and one stayed on campus to have church.  Ori and I stayed on campus to have church with the visiting professionals.  After breakfast and before Sabbath School, one of the dentists came up to talk to me because he wanted to know more about Familia Feliz.  His name is Deil and he is Korean, but has lived his entire life in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  We immediately hit it off and talked until Sabbath School started.  SS was great...very informative and thought-provoking.  It was then, however, that I found out I was on the schedule to translate the sermon into English!  :)  That went very well.  It, too, was very spiritual and uplifting.  

Deil and myself.

After church, we had lunch.  Deil and I continued to talk.  Then, a group of us went for a short hike to a nearby waterfall.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful!  All of the nature we saw spoke of God’s love for us and demonstrated His Handiwork.  The waterfall was very nice too.  It wasn’t very big, but it was still nice.  However, one of the biggest blessings happened on the way to and from the falls.  Deil and I talked for a couple of hours about how God is moving, working and getting things ready for Christ’s return.  We shared experiences, testimonies, concerns, prayer requests, etc.  It was a really nice!  I feel like I’ve made a very close, new friend.  We continued talking that night and exchanged email addresses and phone numbers to keep in touch.  It was a true blessing to spend time with Deil.

Some pics from our hike, enjoying God's nature!

Sunday morning, we left Quebrada and headed back to Santa Cruz.  We had to cross back over the 7 rivers to get there.  I got to ride ON TOP of the truck!  :)  The views were fantabulous!    

Once in Santa Cruz, we had to pick Hunter up from the airport.  He flew in from Rurre to process his visa tomorrow.  We ran some errands and then Ori and I went to visit the Santa Cruz Zoo.  It was a small zoo by U.S. standards, but it only costs $1.40 to get in and we really enjoyed it.  :)  Then, we went back to the mission office to stay the night.  Tomorrow morning, we’ll spend the morning at immigration before leaving for Rurre tomorrow night.  I’m not looking forward to the long ride back, but such is life...:)

Some pics from the zoo.

God bless you all!  Good night!


September 16, 2013

Today we were at immigration early to process Hunter’s residency visa.  We were able to finish that by lunch time, so that freed us up for the rest of the day.  God is Good!  We went and ate at one of the vegetarian restaurants in town, then picked up some items that we needed to get before heading back to Rurre tonight.  I spoke with Jodi and she told me that the hamster that we bought and sent to the school had died.  :(  So today we went and picked up another one to take home.  Then, we headed back to the mission office to wait until our bus left at 9:30 pm.  Now we’re traveling home.  We should arrive tomorrow afternoon, if all goes well.  I’ll update you tomorrow.  God bless!  Christ is and pray! 


September 17, 2013 was another long day, as is usually the case on the second day of traveling.  We arrived in Trinidad at 6:00 am.  When we arrived, we found that our new hamster had also died sometime during the night.  :(  Not sure what happened, since he was by himself in the cage.  Maybe he was sick.  So when we got off the bus and bought our car tickets home, we set out in search of a place to buy yet another hamster.  Nothing opened until 8:00, so we had to wait until then.  Hunter wasn’t feeling well...he was nauseas and his stomach was hurting, so we thought it best to get some motion sickness medicine for the ride home, since it would be a long and bumpy ride.  We were able to get a much nicer and bigger hamster there in Trinidad.  This one is my favorite by far of the three.  :)  With the medicine and new hamster, we were ready to set off.  We left Trinidad about 8:30.  About an hour into the trip, there was a roadblock.  The local people in this very remote area were protesting the local mayor.  They wanted to oust him from office, so they blocked the road and had a fire set.  We sat on the road, in the rain, for over 2 hours.  Poor Hunter was really feeling ill and finally the nausea won and he had to make a quick exit out of the car..:(  Finally, we were able to get through and continue our least for 30 minutes or so.  Then one of the tires blew out!  The driver changed the tire, put the spare on and we headed out again.  Two hours later, the spare blew!  :(  Now we had to wait  on the side of the road for another car from this same company to come by and loan us their spare.  Thankfully, we only had to wait about 25 minutes.  We put the second spare on and was able to make it to the next town, where we changed cars and drivers.  We headed out on the last leg of our trip and about 45 minutes into that leg, guess what happened?!  Exactly...another flat tire!  Three flats on two cars in one day?!  We couldn’t believe it.  The driver put on the spare, but the spare wasn’t in great shape, so as soon as we made it to the next town, we had to have the tire patched.  Then we continued the trip.  We thought for sure we were set now and nothing else would happen.  Hum!  Famous last words.  It was dark by this time and at one point, the driver turned his head to look back and when he did, he didn’t see that a motorcycle was coming up on us.  We were about to hit the bike!  All I could do was quickly send up a prayer and yell, “Watch out!”  The driver realized what was going on and quickly served.  We still hit the mirror of the bike, but, thank the Lord, the bike didn’t turn over, no one was injured and no damage done.  Our guardian angels were certainly watching over us!  We finally made it home at almost 8:00 pm.  It was indeed a long trip and we were ready to crash.  But we didn’t...we went and had supper and I went to check on my boys.  

You know, sometimes blessings come in a way that we wouldn’t normally expect or foresee.  I experienced this tonight.  I had missed my boys and checked up on them throughout the week, even though I was unable to talk directly to them.  Well, I found out that they really missed me.  I mean, really missed me!  David asked every day when I was coming back.  When I came to the door of the house, the door was opened and they had placed a little stuffed bear on the floor to welcome me.  Beside the bear, they had written a note that said, “Welcome home again Teacher.  We really missed you!”  What a lovely and timely surprise!  I was really moved.  They had been anxiously waiting for me.  I later found out that when they found out that I would be there sometime this afternoon, Jorge and David went to the front gate to wait for me!  They waited hours...but I didn’t show up.  (They didn’t know about all the trouble we were having to get here.)  My heart was deeply touched.  A true blessing.  It’s a very nice feeling to be missed, appreciated, loved.  And you know?  It makes me I waiting as anxiously for my Savior to come back as David and Jorge were waiting for me??  Am I am the front gate, waiting and watching?  Looking for some sign of His appearance?  And if His coming is delayed, do I lose interest?  Or do I go home and prepare a “welcoming gift” for Him?  All of these questions are on my mind, waiting for me to answer them.  What about you?  Are you actively waiting for His return?   I pray we all are...for I experienced the beautiful feeling tonight of being waiting for, of being received with a warm welcome by those that love and appreciate me.  And it felt marvelous!  I can only imagine that Christ, the One who died for me, would love to feel the same from me when He comes.

My welcome back "present" from my boys!  

God bless you all!  


September 18, 2013

Today was sort of a catch-up day for me.  I was brought up-to-date with all that had happened at Familia Feliz and had a long meeting with Jodi to talk about things here and what went on in Santa Cruz.  Then, after lunch, Jodi and I had to go to town to run some errands and meet with the Minister of Education.  Well, that was the plan anyway.  However, things didn’t go according to plan.  The truck broke down when we went to get gas and we spent more than an hour trying to get it started.  Finally, with the help of several men, we were able to get it started and, with much prayer, it didn’t give us any more trouble after that.  But it definitely started off the afternoon wrong.  :)  Then, we went to print the documents we needed to turn into the Minister of Education, but the file wouldn’t open.  It was a Works file but all the computers in town only had Word.  So we couldn’t do that.  We have to go back in tomorrow or Friday to do it.  We picked up some parts for the other truck (that is giving us problems) and then got supper.  We got back to Familia Feliz around 9:00pm.  Now, it’s off to bed.  Talk to you tomorrow.

God bless!


September 19, 2013

Today was a full day!  I was back in my classroom in the morning.  But the day started way before then.  After worship with the boys, we headed to breakfast.  When I got there, Hunter and Chris said they really needed to talk to me.  Their three boys had really pushed the limits with them yesterday and last in particular.  He refused to do anything they asked him to do.  He wouldn’t take a shower, would clean up, wouldn’t work in the afternoon, etc.  Then, we got mad an threw a watermelon on the floor, busting it and leaving a big mess.  Regardless to say, this type of behavior is not acceptable.  Hunter and Chris are new at “parenting” and really needed some advice and help.  So we talked for a while.  Then, I went and talked to all three boys.  I started out with the two that were better than the one who went overboard.  I very firmly told them that refusing to do what is asked of them is not an option.  I have worked with them before and they know that they cannot play me.  They quickly understood and assured me it wouldn’t happen again.  :)  Then, it was on to #3.  To be honest, I was in shock when they told me that this boy had caused all the problems.  He’s never given a behavior problem before.  He doesn’t like to clean up, but he’s never a discipline problem.  So it caught me off guard.  But I went and talked to him.  Again, I was very firm and laid down the law with him, but without raising my voice or getting angry.  I asked him what caused him to react that way, since he has never given us any problems before?  He said he was just being rebellious.  (At least he was honest!  :) ).  So I sent him to take a shower (since he refused to take one last night) and told him he would have to come and let me “inspect” him after the shower.  And he better have washed his hair with shampoo and his body with soap!  (Many times, they just wet their hair and body and call that a shower.  We really have to make sure they wash themselves.)  Then, he had to work all morning instead of going to class and he would miss lunch.  I know it may sound a bit harsh for some of you, but these three boys know the rules and are just taking advantage of the “new staff” that don’t have the experience that some of the rest of us have.  Well, let me tell you, he spent 20 minutes in the shower, washing and scrubbing every inch of his body!  Lol.  Then he went to work without complaint and did everything that was asked of him.  We understood why he was being punished and apologized for his actions.  That made me feel a lot better.  I hate having to discipline the kids, but I know it has to be done.  

After school, we had lunch and then Juan, Vilissa, Agustin and several of the bigger kids went to help a neighbor harvest watermelons.  As a payment, more than 20 watermelons were sent for the kids.  They loved that!  :)  The rest of us stayed here with the smaller kids and worked on the grounds.  Then, we got ready for supper.  Tuesday was Amber’s birthday, so the girls went to town today to celebrate (since Ori, Hunter and I were not here soon enough on Tuesday for them to go then).  I was in charge of the girls while they were gone and making sure they follow the routine and do what they were supposed to do.  The girls are pretty good about doing that though, so it wasn’t bad at all.  However, two of the girls did come to talk to me about a problem their having and to seek advice. We ended up talking for 2 hours!  Please keep these two girls in your prayers.  They are typical teenage girls dealing with typical teenage problems.  But they are also defining their beliefs and questioning God’s existence, plan for their life, etc.  And Satan is right there to whisper in their ears and add fuel to the fire.  I did my best to counsel them, sending up quick prayers for wisdom during the whole conversation.  Then we had prayer.  I’m going to talk to them some more tomorrow.  

Okay, now it’s time for bed!  I’m tired...mentally and physically.  God bless  you! 


September 20, 2013

This morning, Juan and I went into town to run some errands and to finish getting quotes for our well so that we can send them to the organization that is donating the money.  We also had to go to another town to get a second quote, as the company wants two.  We got all of that done and got back to Familia Feliz around 2:00.  At 2:30, I was in the truck again, heading to town to take the boarding students that live in town home for the weekend, as well as to stay in town for the Bible study at the army base.  

The Bible study went really well.  The soldiers are still very much interested in learning about Christ!  Praise God!  But, as is always the case, when God’s cause is advancing, the enemy isn’t still.  He is actively trying to stop it.  There is a festival in town today and tomorrow and this afternoon, the mayor asked the army to provide 20 soldiers to help patrol town.  So 20 of our students were absent due to that.  Then, 20 more were sent to another base for a week.  So our numbers were smaller today.  We had about 20.  But we still had a very nice and spiritual study and the soldiers that were there assured us that their comrades will be back next week.  :)  I am still so excited to see how God is moving in their lives.  What a blessing and joy it is to be a part of this!

Looking forward to a blessed Sabbath day tomorrow!  God bless each of you!