Still in La Paz. I thank God for the opportunity toÂ visit more La Paz while sorting out my visa issue. Yesterday I had to make an appealÂ with the Migracion office to get the 59 day-visa intended for Filipinos, as the border gave me only 30 days,,,After prayer and asking for favor, the same guy helped me sorted it out..
It is interesting alsoÂ this week as I meet different people in my trips (from Ixiamas to Lapaz, to Peru and back). Its amazing to be wiith different travellers and backpackers from all over the world. I Â met some Â guys from France, a Muslim lady from Morroco, a Kiwi guy (New Zealand) who lives in UK, a lady from Japan who also speaks Spanish. And today I am talking with a Jewish guy from UK…I wish I have more opportunity to share with them about God. Though I usually tell them I am Christian workingÂ with Â a Christian org helping out some kids.
Tomorrow I m heading out to Rurre and Ixiamas.Im glad to see more LaPaz. This is my 2nd time to be here since I got here. Bully and his family is hosting me. As I go around La Paz I see moreÂ the huge difference of it with the jungles of Ixiamas.,,,I saw the elite, the middle class and the majority of working class people. Im sorry I hate to segregate people by class, I just meant to describe the economic differences of the people. I realized how underprivilege the people in Beni (where Ixiamas is).However, life in the jungle is still good. People have more access to the blessing of nature. Coming here, I think I got the word “poor” redefined.Â In the midst of nothingness and seemingly poverty around Ixiamas and the lowlands of Beni, I still see that God is just and fair. It is hard to explain but I know God still bless the so called poor people in different ways.
Just a quick update with theÂ Internado, just last week before I left, the kids had a mini olympics game with the colegio. The boys and girls have teams for basketball and football, and footsal..it is suppose to be a series of games till Sept. On the first game last week, our kids did not do well, as they didnt get much time to prepare. And some of the boys were sick. Hopefully they get to prepare and practice more.
We also started the Bible Study groups two Sundays ago. We appreciate you praying for us.
I gotÂ back !I made it back, thank God !!Though I was only out for a day from Bolivia, I m so glad I was able to get back with no hassle.. I had to go to Peru yesterday to get a new visa. HoweverÂ before leaving the country I went thru some ordeal with visa issues. First in Rurre, the last time I had my visa there I was told I could only return after a month or I could extend but pay a lot..So, I came hereÂ to La PazÂ Tuesday after a long 24 hr bus ride thru the “most dangerous road”. I got to the Immigration and the guy told me I only allowed 3 months in a year herÂ for my visa. Which means I could only come back next year… ButÂ then, an angel like appeared a lady with a US passport she told me something i could do. I have to make the story short, when I asked for an appeal, a guy in the immigration came out who speak great English. We had some chit chat, then he told me, its okay you could leave the country and come back in few days, with no problem.. I was happy to hear that, at the same time bewildered with the inconsistency in the rules and the policy.
IÂ got my ticket then for Peru which wasÂ a day journey thru the mountain roads. I dont know anything and anybody in Peru except for a Travel Guide Book and a piece of paper from the travel agent for a hotel to stay.
Before leaving Ixiamas last Monday morning I was a bit nervous to travel for one I have to do the 24 hour ride thru the death road, then travel to Peru. Its threading anÂ unknown place, without knowing anyone nor any connection. I just went yesterday with the faith and prayer that the Lord will allow me to come back with no problem.
Anyway, the trip turnout to be a great blessing. As the busÂ drove northwest thru the rugged and dry hills and mountains, the scenery and landscaped reminded me a lot of Tibet.Â Â FamiliarityÂ gave me some comfort.Â And as the elevation went higher theÂ air got thinner as we reachedÂ 3800 meters around Lake Titicaca.Â Oops,,, i remembered the coffeeÂ that morning did not help with the altitude. Lake Titicaca is a huge lake and gorgeous with crystal clear blue water. It extends to the Peru side. It again reminded me of the highest salt water lake in Tibet called Namco. Both lake are in seated in plateau surrounded by hills and mountains. I was praising God for the beauty of His creation.
when I got to Peru side, after 10 hours travelling, a strange guy came to me and asked if I went to do an island trip. Since I didnt know, I tried all excuses to refuse. But it seems to be a good offer. I paid a little amount for a 2 hour tour to an isalnd in the middle of the Lake Titicaca. I was nervous and praying when I went with the guy. I thought I was stupid to go with a strangerÂ Â Â . I prayed and trusted God for protection.Â Â Â When we got to the boat there was a tour group and the trip turned to be a real blessing. It became the highlight of my trip.
Its one of the most exciting and great trip-tour I had done I guess. A community of indigenours people called Aymaran made an island from roots and grass with no land nor soil in the middle of the Lake. They have live there for 600 years.Â A lot are poor. They live thru fishing and selling crafts to the foreigners. I was nervous walking at first, as I thought the grass will sink, the houses were made of grass and plants from the lake. They have their own school (elementary only), a small hospital, and a church. It was so cool.
I know this is very long now. I wish to write more.I will try to post some of my unposted writings or blog in the next days.
I thank God for those who prayed for me. Ms.Becky pls shoot me an email. I lost your email add.
Dios te bendiga,
We ended our time inÂ Bolivia by being the proud participants in Ixiamas`parade in honor of Bolivian independence day…Being the only gringos, we definitely stood out, but had a blast just the same.Â
Â Spirits were highÂ as we prepared for two parades in less than 24 hours.Â Tuesday night, the kids marched with their classes and carried homemade torches in the shape of stars, moons and houses.Â Our resident artist, Miguel Nacho, made a huge helicopter torch…the star of the parade.Â Wednesday morning we got up bright and early and headed to the parade (wearing our new SIFAT Bolvia T-shirts).Â We marched and marched and marched and marched and marched.Â It was a tiring but fun morning.Â
After the march we headed back to the internado for a fun day of playing and saying goodbye`s.Â Because school was canceled for wednesday Katie and I were able to spend the whole afternoon enjoying the kids.Â Some of the girls prepared a huge feast in honor of the day.Â We had fried pork, Bolivian potato salad, rice, and chocolate cake.Â It was quite a feast.Â The fun ended when we had to say goodbye.Â It is sad to leave new friends, but I am incredibly thankful for my new brothers and sisters in Bolivia.Â All of our lives are richer because of it.Â
A cancelled flight, and several delays later we made it to LaPaz to be greeted by Bully and Angel.Â They got us safely to our hotel and we set out exploring.Â We were able to enjoy the city Saturday, but were left stuck in the hotel on Sunday.Â Sunday was election day, and NOTHING is allowed to be open.Â It was very quite in Bolivia on Sunday.Â This morning Katie and I visited the Tiwanaku ruins and learned a lot about the amaryan culture.Â We are finally back at the hotel and ready for a good night`s rest!Â We have to be at the airport super early in the morning (4a.m.!).Â
Once we get back in the states, we will post some pictures of all the work done over the course of the summer!
Â Dios Bendiga!
Hola hermanos, hermanos, amigos y amigas!Â (Hello to brothers, sisters and friends)
Hereâ€™s to share with you some of the highlights for this past summer in the Internado. (which isÂ suppose to be the winter in Bolivia)Â
After 3 weeks of vacation, (mid June to first week of July) the children all came back for the second semester of schooling. Everyone came back with excitement.
Morella is the newest member of the family in the Internado. This sweet and pretty young girl is in the 5th grade. She joins the group of elementary kids under the supervision of the Bolivian pastor, Hermano Elizeo.
Computer & English Classes.
I had revised the schedule for Computer and English classes for the second semester.
I have 4 students each class, 6 classes in the morning, 3 classes in the evenings and additional class for elementary kids in the afternoon. Thank God for the assistance of the Interns.
I am happy to see the kids learning more about the computer. At the start they struggle with Â learning new things. Most of them will say, â€œI canâ€™t do it, I donâ€™t know how…â€ With much patience and encouragement, I always tell them â€œYou canâ€¦â€
As they start to learn and do it, afterwards, they say, â€œYes, I canâ€.
For now they are learning the different functions with MS Word.
Thank God for sending a new dorm mom for the girls, as the past dorm mother went back to La Paz for her university degree. Â Ruth, the new dorm mom is also from the main city of La Paz. She is very good with the children. Please pray for her because she is more scared of the insects and bugs as we live in the middle of the jungle. She is also scared of the alleged snake seen by one of our girls near the river.
Praise God for the blessings of the team that came this summer; from Christ Community of Georgia, the team from South Carolina, and from Cullman, Alabama. The kids have enjoyed their visits. I also got to celebrate my birthday with the last two teams and with all the kids in the Internado.
This past couple of months I had witnessed the celebration of the anniversary of the founding of Ixiamas (June) and the main city La Paz (July). The townspeople did the traditional parade for the celebrations.
I also thank the Lord for the special blessing of the Interns from Auburn this whole summer; Abby, Olivia, Katie and Brian. Â Â They have been a great blessing to us all in the Internado, especially to the children. I appreciate their flexibility and being open to help in whatever way they could. We will miss them all.
I also thank the Lord for another visa extension for mid July to mid August. I would appreciate your prayers for leading for my next visa extension for mid-August to mid September as Bolivia has some changes on visa extension.Â
For this coming month of August I am excited as Internado workers (3 Bolivianos, Rachel and I) will start Bible Studies by groups with the kids on Sunday nights. Â Please pray for the power of the Word God to continue to work in the hearts of the children. Pray that they will have a desire to know more the Lord through His Words.
For the past couple of months, the Lord has been teaching me a lot of things through this place.
I am grateful for His mercy and grace. I am learning to thank Him in everything, whether in good times and bad times,
I Thess 5:18 â€œin everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for youâ€.Â
Dios te bendiga!
The last week has been rather quiet around the Internado. Rachel is back and we are so glad to have her. Unfortunaelty she had to return to a lost puppy, sneakers. We did everything in our power to return her before Rachel got back, announcements over the radio in town, we even offered a reward. But, alas no found puppy. So to lessen Rachel’s pain, several of the chicas brought puppies to the internado to replace Sneakers. Needless to say after two new additions to the Internado zoo, Sneakers was found, and the Internado dog count was up five. Yet, the abundance of puppies was not to last, Hermano Matteo mandated that all puppies, excluding Sneakers, be returned to from whence they came.
Saturday evening we experienced our first Boivian beauty pagaent at the colegio. Satina, one of the chicas from the internado, was choosen as one of the 2 representatives from her class. In an indeavor to support her, me, Vicky, and Olivia decided to brave the crowds and attend the pagaent. The pageant turned out to be similar to the pagaents we were used to, except for the typical dress, which consists of costumes, with seeds, sunflowers and grass. It was very interesting. Unfortunaetly Satina did not win, but she looked stunning and maintained her grace throughout the show. It was a wonderful way for us to experience more of Bolivian culture before we have to leave.
Tu hermana in Christ- Katie