Last night Jarred and I walked into our room after supper and Jarred noticed that there was a bat flying around. This was not our first encounter with bats. There was one in the other room one night and we could not get it out. Being volunteers of SIFAT and being very up to date with appropriate technology Jarred grabbed a broom and I grabbed a guitar. After a minute or two Jarred put the broom down and picked up a video camera and decided that he could be more help getting the bat out of the room by taping me swinging a guitar at it. After about six swings I finally hit it and knocked it into the door. Only slighty stunned the bat got back up and continued to do laps around the room. I finally hit it again and knocked it onto my top bunk. It finally fell behind out beds so moving the bunk bed and using a swift sweeping motion we were able to encourage the bat out of the room and then immediatly break into our we just killed a bat medly. At two oclock I heard what sounded like a grizzly bear on my dresser. I awoke Jarred who told me it was nothing and to go back to sleep. Two seconds later hearing a noise on his side of the room Jarred springs out of bed and asks me what it is. Well that is what I was trying to tell you about Mr. Tucan ,I told him. He shined his light and we see what was a rat about the size of Wisconsin eating my bread. We followed it with the light for about five minutes until it jumped on the window, climbs the screen and shuffles out of the large hole that we both could fit through. We had never seen the hole before and so in my infinite wisdom at two in the morning I decide that if I shove a towel in the hole the rat will not be able to get in. We did not hear from Lordis the Rat anymore last night but the towel is not gonna cut it. Lordis is more persistant than that so we will rig something up tonight, or maybe the Juggernaut will save us. As I was sitting with Elva one of our older students trying to convert the metric system and help her with her physics I remember a time in my life that I said, “why am I taking physics and chemistry I will never use this”. Well I was wrong, little did I know in eleventh grade that three years later in Ixiamas Bolivia I would be doing physics again. God uses us in crazy ways. -Addison-
This is the fourth installment in our SIFAT Remembers column, written by cofounder Ken Corson. This article was published in our February Journal, which you can download here.
At the time I was discovering a more practical theology, one that served human needs—physical as well as spiritual. Schmaucherâ€™s ideas, based on small scale and self-help rather than welfare, fit with my thinking. Thus before we left to work under the Bolivian Methodist Church, we went to Vermont for training in appropriate technology.
After two years of ministry in Bolivia, we returned to Alabama. Sharing stories of how we had used technology in the context of the church stimulated interest among Christians who heard us over several states. We called a meeting in our home church, Wedowee United Methodist, where we shared the great concern we felt for the hungry and suffering in our world. Those present responded by helping us create SIFAT as a Christian non-profit corporation. The founding name was Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology. However, at the first board of directorsâ€™ meeting, the founders agreed that we wanted the world to know that this was a work of faith, part of our living out our Christian commitment. So we adopted a second name also—Servants in Faith and Technology. The acronym for both names was SIFAT (See-fat). Not only did this name include faith, but also the aspect of servanthood which is a fundamental aspect of Christâ€™s teaching.
Last thursday night on the bus from La Paz to Rurre my camera was stolen on the bus. I did not realize it until later the next night and I thought I had left it on the bus or something. Me and Jarred went back to the terminal asked the man working if they had found a camera and if I could look on the bus. They told me I could tommorrow and they had not found one. I was mad and wanted to look then so we found the bus parked about fourty yards away on the street a block away from the police academy. While Jarred was on lookout I climbed up to the window and was able to get in. I searched that back of the bus and did not find anything. I did not want to spend to much time on the bus because I did not want any trouble with the owners who did not know I was on it or with the police a block away. I got off and we decided that we would ask the bus driver the next day. We got to the terminal early the next morning and asked and they said they had not seen a camera and that I could look on the bus. I looked again and nothing. I have had a good bit of time to think about it and yeah I am bummed that my carmera is gone. I also dont think that Jesus ever used a camera in his ministry. I think that he would have used the money for his camera and bought a windmill for a poor family so their cows would not die in the dry season. I am not trying to be profound or extremely deep or anything I am just saying. The rest of that night my world revolved completely around an expensive piece of whatever camera s are made of. I was completely consumed with finding this thing that I completely lost sight of why I was here in Bolivia. I am not saying that cameras or stuff is bad I mean it would be sweet to have a camera right now. I think that that is a ministry in itself being able to show people back home the peoples lives that ,hopefully by allowing Jesus to consume us ,we have touched in some way. It just hit me how silly it was to be so worried about a camera. I work and have worked with kids who dont have parents and have to pan the rivers in the summer to pay the small fee to stay in the Internada. Kids who at the age of twelve have dropped out of school and have nothing to do but make their living as the local neighborhood thief. Kids that know if their families lose their rice harvest they will not have enough food for the year. Yet these kids have the biggest smiles I have ever seen. They are the freaking coolest little creations of God. Huge brown eyes that are filled with their makers love. I was worried about a camera…. Its seems like the more clutter and stuff I fill my life with the more I worry I bring on. I guess it all boils down to where our priorities are. I dont know much about anything but I think that God def used this situation to teach me some things. Just think about it… -Addison-
So the first day that me and Jarred arrived in Rurre we just hung out and decided to book a tour. We shopped around and finally with much thought decided on a rafting tour we had found. The company was Donato tours and this was a unique tour only they offered. We say a few pictures and decided it would be fun. At nine oclock we showed up to leave for our tour. They were getting a few last minute things together and then we headed to the river. A boat drove us about two and a half hours up stream, what we later found out was 25 km. They let us out with our guide ,we had a quick lunch ,and then we started to pump up our raft. After about five minutes of pumping up our raft I noticed the label that said about a four hundred pound limit. I told Jarred and after comparing weights we realized that we almost topped that alone not to mention our guide. We got the raft blown up and set out back for Rurre. It was not long before we realized that this was not so much rafting but maybe we will call it floating. Also that this was possible the smallest raft we had ever seen. It was a sight me and Jarred and our guide trying not to flip our raft while also trying not to lay on each other. We had seen some fairly large rapids down stream a ways so for an hour and a half we waited paitently while floating in the boat. We finally saw the rapids and paddled full speed ahead at them. The rapids were actually pretty freaking big and with the size of our boat we were both pretty worried about it. We came to the first wall of water that was about seven feet high and without flipping managed it well. It was a rough ride for about thirty seconds and at one point I thought we were gonna lose Jarred. We made it through the rapids and then it became calm again for the next three and a half hours ha. We later decided the tour should be called float and get as sun burnt as possibe. When we arrived at Rurre we had lost probably half of the air in the raft and most of the Beni river was in the boat. Needless to say it was a blast. We both now can barely move because of the sun burn covering about 88% of our bodies. Today we woke up early and headed to the mini bus place to get our tickets that we had reserved for the ride to Ixiamas. We had saved seats for the nine oclock bus because all but the front two seats on these buses we are not able to fit in. We walked in the office and asked to pay for our reserved seats for the nine oclock bus and the man then informs us that there is no nine oclock bus and that we can pay for another bus though. We both were pretty frustrated and got two front seats for a bus that was leaving when it filled up. We are now in Ixiamas safely. We sat today at the bus thingy for seven hours. Jarred got the middle front seat and usually they are good seats that have leg room, but it just so happened that on this bus it was a wooden box that was crammed between the front two seats haha. The engine also was positioned to blow hot air from the engine directly on his sunburnt feet. He put his feet on the console most of the trip. Anyway it is good to be home in Ixiamas. Hopefully we will start the test wells pretty soon. Prayers are needed. -Addison-
Since this week has been a little slow with the kids gone and us having a couple of days off in Rurrenabaque, I had alot of time to think. One of the things I have been thinking about is Easter weekend. I thought about all of this things I will miss and how that its ok with me. I wont see young boys in the church who are ususally sweaty with messed up hair wearing suspenders and clip-on bow ties. I wont see girls modeling their new dresses and maybe even a hat that matches that of their mothers. I wont hear plastic eggs given by Sunday school teachers popping open and candy falling to the floor during Brother Jerrys sermon. I begin to think how this what I think about when I think of Easter and these are things that we, the church, have made it. The Resurrection is sometimes, if not most times, an afterthought. The way Easter is, its kind of silly if you think about it. Â´Â´Hey, did you see my new bright green shirt? O yeah, remember the tomb is empty? Man, I hope these Cadberry Eggs dont give me a cavity.Â´Â´ In a way, I am glad this Easter will be different for me. I think it will be refreshing. In all likelihood, I probably wont even go to church. And, I m ok with this. I plan on thinking alot about the Resurrection and not pastel colored shirts and jelly bellies. Furthermore, on the topic of the resurrection, I would like to share with the readers something I read last year by Brennan Manning, probably my favorite Christian author. In his book AbbaÂ´s Child, Manning writes that the church often times talks about two Resuurections. One is the physical resurrection of Jesus two thousand years ago and the other is the one promised to all believers in the end times. However, hardly anyone talks about how Jesus IS alive. We serve a risen Lord. According to Manning, if people really believed that our Lord was alive, they would be acting much different than carrying an attitude of serving a God who sits on a throne from a distance. I believe we are called to rejoice in that our Lord not only did rise, but he IS risen. – Jarred