Monday, December 9, 2013

November 30 - December 8

November 30, 2013

Happy Sabbath!  As soon as I awoke this morning, I knew it was going to be another hot day.  The air was thick and heavy.  And that it was!  In church, we were all “sweating like pigs”!  But that didn’t stop us from enjoying the service and receiving a big blessing from studying God’s Word!  :)

After church, we got lunch ready and enjoyed a delicious meal.  Then, a few of us loaded up on the truck to head to town to visit the soldier in the hospital.  We prepared two meals for him, as sometimes the hospitals don’t provide meals.  Before we could leave, though, the truck had problems.  Sam had to work on it and, about an hour later, we were heading out again.  This time, with a special blessing....rain!!  Clouds quickly formed, it started thundering and a gently rain started falling.  It was lovely!  As we were riding in the back of the truck, by the time we got to the hospital, we were drenched.  But at least it was by the rain and not our perspiration!  :)  And it felt wonderful after such heat this week.  

We spent about 15 minutes with Marco Antonio.  His chin was bandaged and a couple of his teeth were literally knocked out of place in the accident.  He showed us the x-rays.  They’re going to pull a couple of them on Monday.  :(  But he said that he was feeling better now, although still sore.  We talked, read some Scripture, took some pictures and prayed with him.  We also visited a bit with the man in the next bed.  He was a young man who, evidently had just had a toe amputated, as evident from the bloody bandage on his foot.  Please keep both of these men in your prayers.  We said our goodbyes and headed back home.

When we arrived, Juan came over and spent some time with me at my house.  Then, I read for about an hour.  That was nice.  We closed Sabbath as usual and had a nice little service, expressing those things for which we are thankful.  Then, I helped make supper.  Overall, not a bad day at all!  :)

Hasta maƱana!  God bless!


December 1, 2013

I cannot believe it’s December already!  Where has the year gone?!

We spent all of this morning working on the house, finishing prepping it for when the soldiers get here tomorrow.  We started at 6:00 and ended around 11:30.  I got to help take down the thatch roof.  That was fun!  Demolishing always is, isn’t it?!  :)  I was very amazed, though, at how many roaches, spiders, bugs and even bats came out of the thatch, though.  But thankfully there were no snakes (as there often are so I’m told).  I had hoped the rain from yesterday would linger a bit and provide a cooler day today, but the heat returned with a vengeance.  

After lunch, we all headed into town.  We took the kids again too.  Juan asked if he could be with me in town, so I had my little sidekick again.  We did some shopping, got some juice and walked around the market.  I bought some new shoes for the three boys (Juan, Miguel and Moises), as well as some new underwear.  They were very happy and appreciative.  Hopefully they’ll last a bit longer than the last ones.  :)  I went back to the hospital to see the soldier, but he had already been dismissed.  I’ll try to check on him at the base this week.  We got supper in town and returned home around 7:30.  

Now, it’s off to bed.  This heat really has a way of tiring you out!  Blessings to you all!


December 2, 2013

Warren, Jodi and I headed to town at 8:00 this morning.  We had to pick up the soldiers (10 of them) who will be helping with the remodeling of the boys’ dorm (God is GOOD!).  I met with the Colonel for a few minutes, then Warren and the soldiers headed back to Familia Feliz while Jodi and I headed to the Ministry’s office (yet again....beginning to feel like we spend more time there than at the orphanage!).  Things didn’t go as we hoped...more stuff we need to do.  Then, we ran a couple of more errands in town before heading back to Familia Feliz.  The local pastor and his family just happened to be heading our way, so they gave us a ride and spent some time with us when we returned.  We had a nice visit.  

In the afternoon, I worked on the boys’ dorm some, then continued work for the Ministry.  At 5:30, we headed to take the soldiers back to the base.  A few of us went, as each needed to either pick up something from town, run an errand, etc.  I had to download a new program for the Ministry.  We had a flat tire on the truck too, so that put us later getting home than we planned.  But c’est la vie.   There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure!  :)

God bless!


December 3, 2013

Work continued on the boys’ dorm today.  The soldiers are a huge help!  The old roof is completely off now and we’ve almost got the entire second floor framed.  It’s still hot, but God is Gracious and is helping everyone to work through it.

I spent most of the day working on school records and inputting the last term grades into a spreadsheet.  Part of the file for the new grade system was corrupt, so I cannot input them into the official system yet...gotta head back to the Ministry tomorrow to try to get the complete file.  Hopefully I can finish all of the grades this week.  Fingers crossed.

We took the soldiers back to the base around 6pm.  They are excited about helping.  Afterwards, I had to go to the store, check on the tire we left to be patched and try to contact one of the parents.  Then, we headed back home.  Rain clouds were forming and the sky was lit with lightening as we made our journey back.  How wonderful it felt as I rode in the back of the truck, feeling the cool wind blow!!  A blessing indeed!

Tomorrow’s another day.  No worries, though...God is already there!  :)



December 4, 2013

We didn’t get the soldiers today.  We have a meeting with the local social services department (DEFACS) after lunch today.  They have 4 children that they are looking for a place for and have come to us to see if we can help them.  Not sure if we’ll be able to with all of them or not...three are under 4 years old (one is 11 months old) and we really don’t have the staff to provide constant care for babies and toddlers.  But we’ll see.  God is in control and if He works things out, we’ll more than happy help all we can.  But since we have that meeting, we decided to give the soldiers the day off.  The staff here still worked on the roof this morning.  I spent most of the morning finishing inputting the grades into the spreadsheet.  I’ve just finished ALL grades, except for one class.  That teacher is getting me his grades today, so I should finish with our spreadsheet tomorrow morning.  Then, all that will be left to do is to input the grades into the Ministry’s system and print report cards.  Lord willing and all goes well, I hope to finish everything by Friday.  Again, fingers crossed.

Okay....about to head to the meeting with DFACS.  I’ll keep you posted.  

I’m back from the meeting.  It went really well.  We met with three DFACS members (one being the supervisor), as well as the Director from the mayor’s office.  They wanted to see if we would provide temporary care for displaced children from the community, as the need arises.  We spoke about the legalities of it, the conditions, etc. and came up with a verbal agreement.  DFACS is going to write that agreement out and we will meet to sign it with them, as well as the mayor.  We will be accepting up to 10 children from DFACS, assuming we have the staff to provide the proper care for them.  They currently have 4 children waiting for temporary care.  Three of those, as I mentioned before, are under 4 years old.  So we’re going to have to see how we work things out to have someone to care for these young ones, especially if we have them when school starts.  I’ll keep you posted.

God bless!  Maranatha!

December 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Warren!  :)  Today our beloved director turns 49.  (I’m sure he appreciates me posting his age online like this, but....:) ).  The girls made cake and we shared the moment with the soldiers that were here.  It was nice.

As I mentioned, the soldiers were back today helping with the house.  It’s coming along nicely.  The heat is still intense, but we’re working through it.  We’re very thankful for the clouds that occasionally block the sun’s rays.  

Oriel and Amber, having fun while working

Little Janet giving us a little smile while we work.

Gerald and Janet are getting along great!  He says they're best friends now.  :)

When we took the soldiers back to the base, a few of us went to town.  Jodi and Warren went have supper together for his birthday.  I had to go by the Ministry and make some phone calls to parents, as well as pick up a few things.  (I’m usually the gopher.  :) ).  I found out we have two meetings with the Ministry tomorrow.  I ate supper in town and we headed back home around 7:00. It cooled down a good bit after sunset, so the ride back home in the back of the truck was very refreshing and enjoyable!  

I hope you had a great day too.  Take time to thank God today for the little things in life, the things we usually take for granted.  I did.

God bless!


December 6, 2013

Today was an interesting day.  We had a scheduled meeting with the parents to let them know if their child was accepted as an dorm student next year.  Warren and Nickisha were going into town when we went to get the soldiers so that they could go to the two meetings at the Ministry, while Jodi and I stayed to meet with the parents and finish inputting final grades in the system.  Just before they left for town, though, as I was getting ready for the parents’ meeting, Warren came and told me that one of Jodi’s tooth had broken and she had to go into town with him to go to the dentist.  So I had to lead out the parent meeting by myself.  It went pretty well, just busy.  About two hours later, Jodi returned...the dentist was closed!  So she has to wait until Monday to see about her tooth.  :(  I feel so sorry for her...I know how painful that is.

After the meeting, I spent the next 6 hours almost working on putting the grades in the system.  :(  Talk about frustrating!  It turns out that the government requires you to put a comment beside every student’s grade in each individual class for each trimester!  That calculated out to almost 1600 comments!  :(  I finally finished with the grades, only to see that our student demographic information was missing for all the students.  Double :( !  There was no way I could finish it before heading to town for the Bible study, so I’ll have to work on it on Sunday and turn everything in on Monday.

We headed to town to take the soldiers back.  I’ve been asked to help respond to all of the Spanish applications for our mission organization (Gospel Ministry International), so I spent some time answering those.  Then, Gerald and I went and got something to eat before meeting everyone for the Bible study.  Since today was the last Bible study of this year, most of the Familia Feliz staff went.  

We had a very nice study.  There were over 50 soldiers there.  It always warms my heart to see so many.  We sang our theme songs (I REALLY wish you could hear how loud they sing!) and then Jodi, Wanetta, Amber, Abigail and Samuel had special music.  The soldiers really enjoyed that.  Then it was time for the student.  Tonight we talked about God’s calling and how we should respond.  It was a very good meeting.  I was a bit nervous because I really felt like I needed to make an appeal...for them to respond to the Holy Spirit’s call.  But I’ve never done that before.  I wasn’t sure what I’d say, etc.  So I just prayed about it and asked the Lord to speak through me.  It’s so interesting to see just how He does that.  The words just...flowed.  No nervousness, shyness, etc.  And even more amazing was that over 40 of them stood up to make a decision for Christ!  Many requested baptism.  Isn’t God just....AMAZING?!  It is truly so very humbling to see how He ways beyond our imagination to achieve His results.  All I can say is “Amen!”  I’m going to get with the local pastor and see about arranging another baptism since there are more interested.  We are planning another visit closer to Christmas because we have a small gift for the soldiers....a dvd we’re having made with the sermons from our week of prayer in August, all the pictures we’ve taken with them, the songs we’ve sang, etc.  Maybe we can coordinate everything for that day.  We’ll see.  As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Singing our theme song, "Jesus is my Captain."  :)

The soldiers LOVE to have their pictures taken.

Special music.

 At the end of every meeting, we close with prayer in small groups.

As this was the last Bible study, some of us decided to take a "funny" picture.  Boy, was that....FUN!  :)

It was a WONDERFUL start to the holy Sabbath day!  God is indeed Good and Faithful!  I pray you are enjoying the start of this special day as well.  May God bless each of you in a special way!


December 7, 2013

We stayed on campus for church today and had a really good service.  Warren spoke (and I translated) on the sanctuary, it’s history, meaning and how it relates to us in this time of the end and our mission.  Very good!  We had a special visitor today as well.  Sergio, the owner of our favorite restaurant in town, Narguila’s, came out to spend the morning with us.  He had never been to Familia Feliz before.  He got here about an hour before church, so we got him breakfast and then showed him around the property.

After church, we had lunch together and fellowshipped.  Then, Sam and Hunter drove Sergio back to town.  It was very nice to spend the time with him.  Once again, God amazed me with His ways.  While looking at our kitchen, Sergio asked where our refrigerator was.  I told him we didn’t have one.  He then told me that he is about to purchase a new refrigerator for his restaurant and that he wants to give us his current one!  He said he’d let us know as soon as the new one arrives so that we can go and pick up his current one.  I’ve seen his current one.  It is in great shape and really nice refrigerator.  Isn’t God GREAT??!!  I mean, a “new” refrigerator for free?!  Praise God!  Yet more proof that He always does meet the needs of His children.  Can I get an “Amen!”?  :)

In the afternoon, I headed home and did some reading.  Then, I took a nap.  The heat was very intense today and the air just felt really heavy.  At vespers, I had worship.  We sang several hymns together, had our devotional thought and closed out as usual, greeting each other as the new week starts.

After worship, Shondell, Abigail and I made supper.  Then we had a short staff meeting to discuss tomorrow.  We decided that we would forfeit our day off tomorrow to spend all day working on the house and roof.  We need to go to Santa Cruz this week for visa work, but we have to finish the house first, so that is our priority.  We’ll be able to go to town during the week in the evening when we take the soldiers back to the base.

Well we’ve got to be at work at 6 in the morning, so it’s off to bed now!  Good night, my friends.  Blessings to you all.


December 8, 2013

Today was a long, hot day!  We were up and at the house working at by 6:00 and worked until 4:30 pm.  We should be ready to put the zinc roof on by Tuesday.  Tomorrow we should start putting the wall boards us.  It’s really nice to see the second floor taking shape.  

After work, we got ready for supper and then separated to our different homes, as the work in the heat today really tired us out.  But we’re much closer to our goal of finishing the house!  God is Good!  

Good night!  God bless.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

November 21 - 29

November 21, 2013

It rained most of the day today.  And what a welcomed relief from the heat it was!  :)  We stayed inside the big house most of the morning, playing games, working on puzzles and talking.  

This afternoon, Jodi, Wanetta and Nickisha went into town.  The girls had to get some food and supplies for the kitchen while Jodi and I had to go to the Ministry’s office to turn in a file and see if the official report cards were in (the government issues the blank report cards here and the individual schools fill in the grades/comments when they arrive).  We planned on being at the Ministry’s office two minutes, max.  We should know by now that things don’t always work out like we plan!  The Ministry secretary advised us that the director wanted to talk with us and for us to return in an hour.  When we went back, the director was waiting on us.  He was obviously having a bad day because he was quite rude and advised us that since we are a private school, he has nothing to do with us.  He said that we must travel to Trinidad (a 9 hour car ride) to the District Education office to do all of our paperwork, etc.  He was washing his hands of us.  We knew that that was not true.  His office is over all education in the area, both public and private.  To make a LONG story short, we spent the next hour talking to him and trying to come up with a solution.  I must was a very trying situation.  I had to pause and send up a quick prayer asking the Lord to calm me and to give me the appropriate words, because this man was really hitting us hard and being disrespectful and rude.  And, as He always does, God heard and answered my prayer.  I was able to continue without letting anger/frustration get the best of me.  :)  It’s just hard when the rules are changed in mid-game, if you know what I mean.  He was talking about both sides of his mouth and you could tell he was making things up as he went.  Anyway, by the time we left, we retracted everything he said and even apologized for his temper, attitude, etc.  He had been up all night traveling back from Trinidad (the roads were very bad due to the rain, so he didn’t get back when he was scheduled to) and he knew that he was in a bad mood.  So that was nice and helped a bit.  But Jodi and I still left somewhat frustrated at the whole situation.  If you only knew....

But God is Good, Merciful and His Grace is sufficient!  Amen!

Tomorrow is another day.  :)

God bless!


November 22, 2013

This morning we had a PTA meeting to talk about report cards and next year.  It was supposed to be a short meeting (30 minutes top).  Well, 30 minutes turned into over 3 hours!  Parents brought in documentation needed to register their children for next year (which is good, trust me!) and had to fill out the Familia Feliz application for their child for the 2014 school year.  The problem was the majority of the parents couldn’t read or write.  :(  We didn’t know that.  So we spent most of the time reading them the application questions and filling them out for them.  We finished about 12:30 and were exhausted!  The rain had stopped and the intense heat returned, so we all felt really tired afterwards.  We ate a late lunch and then rested a bit before heading into town to do a couple of errands before Sabbath and the Bible study at the base.

The study, as usual, was great.  The guys are still very excited about learning about God’s Word.  We’ve only got two more lessons left in this series, so we’ll finish in two weeks.  Then, we’ll start another series in January.  I’m glad we’ll be able to continue.  The studies really are one of my favorite parts of the week.

Please pray for one of the soldiers.  His told me tonight that his brother passed away this morning from a heart attack.  He was 25.  :(  I felt so bad for him.  How I long for the day when death and sorrow shall be no more!  

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Happy Sabbath everyone!  God bless!


November 23, 2013

It was a relaxed Sabbath today...and what a blessing it was!  Since most of the children have gone home, the services today were more intimate and personal it seemed.  It was still a hot day, though, so I tried to stay inside as a much as possible.  I keep thinking I’ll get used to the heat (and I guess in a way I am...just not comfortable in it.  :) ).  

We had a good lunch and spent the afternoon talking, reading and meditating on God’s Word.  I was able to get a short nap in too.  At 6:00, we had vespers as usual.  The circle was much smaller, though.  I had the worship thought.  We talked about the nearness of Christ’s coming, as well as first chapter of the Great Controversy (the destruction of Jerusalem).  After our customary closing hymn and prayer, we had rec time with the kids.  Then, I headed into the kitchen to help with supper.  

While I making supper, Juancito (a 10-year old boy) came up to me and asked me if he could go into town to see his mom tomorrow.  It caught me off guard. I had heard stories about his past, but in bits and pieces.  I knew that his mother lived in Rurre, but was told that she has mental disabilities and isn’t stable.  I asked him when was the last time he saw his mom and he said, “The day that she brought me here.”  That was 3 years ago!  My heart really went out to this little boy.  I told him I’d talk to Jodi and we would see.  After talking with Jodi, we decided we’d take him to see her and, if all seemed well, he could spend the day with her and we’d pick him up before coming back to Familia Feliz.  So, I went to talk to Juan to let him know and to try to find out a little more about his past, how he got to Familia Feliz, etc..  He was happy that he was going to get to see her.  However, he was adamant that he did not want to stay the day at his house.  As a matter of fact, he told me he only wanted to stay a few minutes and he didn’t want to be left alone there.  He wanted someone to be there with him.  He just said he wanted to see his mom.  I kept talking with him.  He told me that his mom brought him here when he was 7 and said that she was moving to another city and he would live here now.  Since then, he hasn’t had any contact with her or his step-father.  He said that his step-father was a pretty nice guy, but that his mom was at times mean and did bad things to him.  When I asked him what kind of bad things, he immediately bursted into tears.  I told him it was okay, he didn’t have to answer.  I had been told that his mom threw a pot of boiling water on him one time and it scalded the left side of his chest, so I knew why it must have been painful for him. Once he calmed down, he said that she would hit him a lot, with whatever was nearby.  Several times, when she would get frustrated and overwhelmed, she would kick him and his little sister (3 years younger than Juan) out of the house and wouldn’t let them back in.  They’d have to walk to an aunt’s house to sleep.  My heart broke.  Juan is a great kid!  He’s respectful, smart, playful and gets along with everyone.  I’ve been with him for 5 months now and I didn’t know most of what he was telling me tonight.  It makes me wonder how much more he is holding inside.  And how many other kids have similar experiences.  I gave him a big hug and told him how special he was and that he was loved very much.  He smiled big and gave me a hug in return, then headed off to bed.  I was left thinking about all that he had told me and wondering how tomorrow will go.  I must say that this little boy had a special place in my prayers tonight and will still in the future.  

Well, it’s off to bed now.  Thank you Lord for the blessing that is Your holy Sabbath day!

God bless!


November 24, 2013

Today was the 4th Sunday of the that means we take all the children to town.  We packed everyone’s lunch (pasta, roasted eggplant from our garden and potato salad) and left at 10:00.  Juan asked if he could spend the day with me in town after we left his mom’s house.  I was more than happy to have him with me.  

We dropped everyone off at Narguila’s and made sure each child had their allotted 5 bolivianos to spend.  Then, Jodi, Juan and I headed to find his mom.  I was excited about Juan being able to see his mom again after all these years.  After all, what child doesn’t want/need to see their mother?!  But at the same time, I was worried about how it go and how it would affect him.  Juan showed us where to go and we finally stopped in front of a small saw mill.  From there, he said, we had to walk.  The house was back off the road and was very...humble.  His mother was out in the yard with two little girls (Juan’s step sisters) and, when she saw him at the gate, was extremely overjoyed!  Aside from the mental disability, she has a physical handicap as well.  She has a pronounced limp and trouble speaking.  But she “ran” up to hug him and was crying.  It was a very touching moment.  She was genuinely happy to see him.  Juan went up to hug her, but was much more reserved than she was.  I watched him intensely during the visit to see how he reacted and responded to everything.  The mother invited us to sit on a bench in the yard.  She was extremely hospitable.  They are extremely poor and don’t have much of anything...but she went inside their one-room house and came out with two green coconuts and a machete for Jodi and I to have something to drink.  We thanked her very much.  Though very humble, the yard, house and children were very clean and well-kept.  We talked for about 10 minutes.  Juan didn’t sit beside his mom.  He sat on the end of the bench, on the other side of Jodi.  He didn’t say much of anything while we were there.  We formally introduced ourselves to his mother and asked her some questions about Juan, his past, etc.  When asked how he got to the orphanage, she said that she had taken him because she knew that he would be safe and taken care of there.  She admitted to not treating him correctly and making many mistakes.  Tears formed in her eyes. At times, however, she would throw in random facts in the middle of her story (for example, she has an orange tree that produces really big fruit and lots of coconut trees), then goes right back to what she was saying before.  But other than that, her words were coherent and she seemed truly sincere.  We were able to get some of the necessary documentation on Juan that we needed for the Ministry while we were there.  Then, we said that we wanted to get a picture of all of them.  The mother was happy to do so, but first took the two little girls (20 months and 3 years old) to wash up and change their shirts.  I’ll see if I can attach the picture here.

Juan said he was ready to leave, so we said our goodbyes.  We had to go get copies of the documents, so we told her that we would return after while to give her the originals.  Juan was quiet in the truck too.  When we got back to town, Juan and I headed to get the copies, some water (today was probably the hottest day here yet!) and to start “our day in town” together.  While getting the copies, Juan asked if he could bring back his old backpack when we go back to take the documents to his mom.  I told him of course...he can take back whatever he wanted.  He smiled and took my hand as we walked down the street.  He stayed close to me all day, holding my hand most of the time.  He wanted to walk through the open market and just look at things.  So we did that.  Then, we headed to eat our lunch.  I got us a pitcher of cold pineapple juice to share.  He liked that.  He decided to buy himself an ice cream with his 5 bs.  Then, I took him swimming at one of the public pools.  The two other boys from Familia Feliz were also there.  They played, swam and laughed for hours.  I just laid there in a nearby hammock, watching him and taking in everything that he had told me and I had seen during the last 16 hours.  As he ran past me, I could see the burn scar on his side (although I must say, it has healed VERY well.  It looks more like a birthmark now than a burn mark.).  He was having a great time and I was happy for him, but I still felt so sorry for him inside.  Ever wish you could just fix the world and make everything better??  That was me today.

Miguel (left), Juan (right) and me by the pool.

All too soon for the kids, it was time to go home.  They got dried off and we headed back to the truck.  Juan held my hand again, laughing all the way as we joked and played.  

Once loaded in the truck, we went back by his house to return the papers and pick up his bookbag.  This time, just Juan and I went in.  His step-father was home.  He gave Juan a hug and then introduced himself to me.  He is a much older man...late 60’s I’d say.  His mom is 27.  He told me about how he found the mother, Juan and his sister living in a ditch on the side of the road, so he took them in (she became his wife) and he has worked to help him and provide for them.  Since then, they have had two more children.  He wanted me and the new directors to know that he never did anything to hurt Juan.  He said that he had been falsely accused in the past of beating him, burning him with water (to which he also added that that happened with the mother, but since she is “crazy” he didn’t know if that was on purpose or not) and even sexually abusing him (I hadn’t heard that at all, but I pray that hasn’t happened!  I’m going to try to talk to Juan later on about this and see if he can/wants to share anything with me.).  He said that Juan was a very bad boy and he had to spank him on several occasions...the same with his sister.  That is why neither one of them are living at home now (the sister lives with an aunt), because of their behavior and his inability to handle them since he’s older and going blind.  I told him I would pass that information along to the new directors and thanked him for his time.  Then, I reminded Juan about his backpack.  He was standing the whole time right beside me, not saying a word.  He still didn’t say anything when I mentioned the backpack, so I asked the step-father if he could bring out Juan’s backpack.  He asked Juan which one it was and he answered him.  While the stepdad went inside to get it, I asked Juan if he wanted to run in and help him look for it.  He shook his head no and stayed right beside me.  After a couple of minutes, the stepdad appeared with a bookbag and we said our goodbyes.  As we walked back to the truck, I asked Juan if he misbehaved a lot before (because this kid never gives any problems at Familia Feliz.  Most days, you don’t even know he’s there.)  He said, “Sometimes I was.”  and that was it.  We got back to the truck and came back home.

On the way back, Juan sat in my lap in the back of the truck.  He held my hand a good bit of the time before falling asleep in my arms.  

What a day!  I’m still trying to process things in my mind.  Juan said he would like to visit his mother again next month, but again, just for a few minutes and not alone.  So we’ll try it again and see how things go.  Please keep my little buddy in your prayers.  And please pray for wisdom for us staff to know how to handle these situations.  Thanks.

God bless!


November 25, 2013

Jodi and I had to go to town again this morning to go to a general meeting with the Ministry of Education about end of year procedures.  Luckily, it wasn’t as long as the last one!  We got done by 10:30, ran a few errands in town and was back home by 12:30.  That’s a record, I think!  :)

After lunch, we worked on a couple of documents that we had to turn in to the Ministry and, then, Hunter and I headed back to town for me to turn them in.  We got back around 7 pm and guess what?!  Warren was back!!  We knew he was traveling and expected him some time today or tomorrow, but he got back around 6pm today.  It was really good to see him!  He’s been gone for two and a half months in Guyana.  He brought two new volunteers with him, his nephew Gerald (from the States) and Shondell (from Guyana).  We talked and caught up a bit, then I went to eat supper.  We’ll talk more tomorrow.  At the big house, I met Gerald and Shondell.  We made sure they had everything they needed, then I headed to my house for the night.

Another good day in the jungle.  Thank you all for your continued prayers!  God is Good!


November 26, 2013

God is Good!  It started raining during the middle of the night and cooled off a lot!  What a blessing!  :)

I helped make breakfast this morning, as the girls and Ori went to pump water from a nearby creek into barrels so we’d have water for cooking and washing dishes, etc.  Today was day 5 without water.  :(  

We were supposed to go and move 2 tons of rock down the road for the new water system the community is installing (to hopefully fix the problem of everyone losing water every time it rains).  But, due to the rain, we had to postpone it.  

Jodi and I headed back to town this morning because we had to pay the remaining balance for the well and do a couple of other things.  When we got there, there was no power in town, so we were unable to get the money out of the bank for the well.  We could only pay part of it.  We’ll have to pay the rest tomorrow I guess.  

I also went to the army base to talk to the Colonel about having the soldiers come to help with the roof.  He has been traveling a lot lately and we’ve been missing each other.  Actually, it’s been about 2 months since I’ve seen him.  He just got back from a trip yesterday afternoon.  When I got to his office, he walked over and gave me a hug and told me how good it was to see me.  We then sat and talked for about 15 minutes.  He told me about some of what has been going on with him and about some medical problems he’s been having (please keep him in your prayers).  Then, he told me that he wanted to thank us again for everything that we’re doing for the soldiers and the base.  He said that they were just chosen as the best army base in their district and he believes that we have played a part in that.  He also told me that he’s been given orders to remain at this base for next year and that he wants to further our relationship (more seminars, classes, having the soldiers help with Pathfinders, etc.).  He assured me that we would always have a place there as long as he is here.  He also told me that they will help us with anything we need (as far as the soldiers helping with the roof, maintaining the grounds, etc.).  After our meeting, he accompanied me to the front gate, thanked me again and gave me another hug before returning to his office.

Isn’t God simply Amazing??  As I thought on all that has happened with the soldiers and Colonel since we met in early August, I couldn’t help but smile big as I walked down the road.  God’s ways truly are higher!

We were back at Familia Feliz by 1:00 and had lunch.  In the afternoon, I was able to catch up on some reading and rest a bit.  Then, Juan and I went for a walk.  I wanted to spend some time with him and make sure all was well...which it is.  We talked about birds, fireworks, cars and Christmas, among other things.  :)  After a little while (and sending up a prayer), I talked to him about what his stepdad had said.  I’ve had to have this conversation a few times already with other kids, but it’s always a hard one to have...having to ask a 10-year old if he’s been sexually abused.  He was very open about talking, though, and told me that no one had ever touched him inappropriately.  I asked a couple of times, in different ways, just to make sure.  He assured me that nothing like that has ever happened to him. Thank the Lord!  I was very relieved.  He’s one of the few then that haven’t been.  We continued our walk, talking and playing.  Soon, it was time to head back for supper.  

After supper, some of the staff stayed around talking for a bit.  Shondell and Gerald joined us.  It’s fun getting to know them.  

Then, I headed home to listen to a sermon and, now, to write this entry.  Oh!  Praise report....the water came back on this afternoon!!  Praise God indeed!  :)

Talk to you tomorrow.  God bless!


November 27, 2013

Today was another scorcher.  I got up, had my devotion and then went for a run.  After breakfast, Ori and I headed to the back of the property where the guy was cutting the wood for the addition and roof of the boys’ dorm.  Luckily, we had hardwood trees on the property, so that meant we could have all the wood we needed cut for a fraction of the cost of buying it all from a saw mill.  God is Good!!  The man is almost finished, so we went to check on things and see if we could get the truck near the wood to pull it out.  We came back to the main campus and Ori went to get the truck and we (the rest of the male staff) were going to meet him there to load up the wood.  However, just as I was about to leave, some parents showed up to talk about enrolling their children, so I had to stay to translate and assist them.  When I finished and was about to head to the jungle for the wood, I saw everyone walking back.  Turns out part of the ground was really soft from the rain this week and the truck had gotten stuck!  We ate lunch and then all of us guys headed to push it out.  I figured with all of us there and working together, we should have it out in no time.  Wrong!  It was stuck good.  The drive shaft was touching the ground.  We worked for over an hour on getting it loose.  An hour may not seem long under normal circumstances, but in the intense heat and with all of the mosquitos that we attacking us, it was too long.  :)  We were finally about to lift, pry, push, etc. the truck enough to get it out.  As soon as we got back, ALL of us had to hit the showers.  We were soaked and dirty.  But we got the truck out!  :)  Again, God is Good!

About an hour after the truck incident, most of the staff headed to town.  Warren and I had to some errands to run (finish paying the well driller, talk to the Colonel, pick up some supplies, etc.) and the others wanted to call home and talk to their families (which I did too...:) ).  We were in town about 3 hours.  We also enjoyed a much deserved tamarind juice and pineapple juice after all that heat today...delicious!  

When we got back to Familia Feliz, Jodi called me in to her house.  She was talking to a lady that had been contracted by the government and an international organization to conduct a study/census of orphanages and children homes in Bolivia.  I translated for Jodi and Warren as they responded to all of her questions.  She also talked with a couple of the kids about Familia Feliz.  We had prayer with her before she left.

Overall, not a bad day (minus the heat, of course...:) ).  Now, it’s off to bed.  Tomorrow we’re meeting at 6:00 am to pull that cut lumber out of the jungle and bring it to the boys’ dorm.  

God bless you all!


November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I can honestly say that today was a Thanksgiving like no other I have ever experienced.  :)  It started early 6:00 am all of the male staff were in the jungle at the rear of our property to remove the lumber that had been cut for the roof project.  We knew it was going to be a hot day, so we wanted to beat the heat.  There were about 75 pieces of lumber that had to be carried approximately 1/4 mile to where the truck was.  Each board/post weighed between 75-150 lbs, depending upon the length.  The easiest way carry them was loading them on your back.  So thus we worked for two hours.  We had to make two trips, as to not overload the truck.  We finished just before 8:00.  The heat was already upon us (ALL f us were drenched to the bone it seemed) and the mosquitos were something fierce, but we were able to get all of the wood from that section that had been cut pulled out.  The only bad thing was, with all of the saw dust, bark, dust, etc., my allergies really started to bother me.  

As soon as we finished with the wood, I changed clothes and shoes and hurried to the road to run.  You see, last year on Thanksgiving, my brother (Joshua) and I ran in the 5K Turkey Trot race in Massachusetts.  We planned to run in it together again this year, but plans changed and I ended up here in Bolivia.  :)  But I told him that I would still run the race, same distance and at the same time as he, so that we could continue the tradition.  Last year, it was very cold (28 degrees) when we ran.  This year, for me, however, was quite different!  It was over 100 degrees with high humidity and my back was scrapped and sore from carrying the wood, but it felt good to “finish the race.”  I immediately hit the cold shower when I got back.  Boy, did that feel good!  By 9:00, I was in the kitchen getting started on lunch.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, all of the American staff was in charge of lunch.  We all had different dishes to make or help make.  I made the dressing, carrot souffle and peach cobbler.  (Note:  making dressing in a wood-burning stove is a bit different than a gas or electric stove!  :) ).  When all was said and done, we had the above-mentioned food, along with mashed potatoes and gravy, sauteed eggplant, gluten, pasta, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and chocolate cake.  Not bad at all!  The kids really liked it too.  It was a lot of new food for them, as well as for the other staff members.  We had a lot of fun.

After lunch was over, I retired to my house.  My allergies were really bothering me, so I took something for them and headed to bed.  I woke up just before supper, feeling a bit better.  I went, ate and watched as the other staff played volleyball.  After about half an hour, I came back home.  

While not the typical Thanksgiving day, it was full of blessings nonetheless, all of which I am extremely thankful for.  Throughout the day, I made a conscious effort to thank God over and over for all that He has done and continues to do for me.  I am blessed beyond measure...and certainly beyond what I deserve.  I realize that and am eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for His Goodness to me!

I pray that each of you had a blessed day as well and that you were able to spend it with those you love...if not in body, then in your mind and memories.  God bless!


November 29, 2013

This morning we started working on prepping the boys’ dorm for the work next week.  We separated and planed the lumber, made some of the joists we needed and sorted out last minute details.  Then, Chris and I started to remove the thatch roof on the sides of the house.  That was fun.  :)  However, it was amazing to see how many roaches were living in it!  :(  

Everyone worked very hard for about 2 hours.  That two hours seemed like 8!  Today was the hottest day I think we’ve had since I’ve been here.  It was about 110 degrees I believe.  It was a stifling and debilitating heat....just wore you out.  But God was Good and helped us through the day.  

Chris’ parents arrived from the States today to visit him and spend a week here in Bolivia.  They were kind enough to bring us some things with them.  

In the afternoon, a few of us headed to town, to take Chris and his family in as they are going to be traveling on their vacation, and to do the Bible study at the base.  I bought a few things that the kitchen needed, got supper and updated my blog from last week.  Then it was off to the base.

I am so thankful and happy to participate in this time with the soldiers.  It always brightens my day.  Attendance is still good and the soldiers are much more comfortable now giving prayer requests and praying out loud.  It warms my heart!

I found out tonight that one of the soldiers was injured today while working in the carpentry shop.  The saw he was using kicked the board back and it hit him hard in the chin, requiring stitches.  He’s in the hospital here in town.  We had special prayer for him.  I’m going to try to go and see him tomorrow.  Please keep him in your prayers.  His name is Marco Antonio.

Well, another Sabbath day is upon us.  I pray each of you receive the special blessing that it brings and that you are drawn ever nearer to the Cross.

God bless!