What’s been going on at SIFAT? A lot! We’ve finished Learn & Serve for the summer and welcomed Practicum students. Schools and groups are coming weekly for CARES field trips, not to mention the retreats on weekends. Wow. Busy!

We have asked Practicum student Becky Forrest to let us publicly post the recaps e-mails to friends and family. Becky is an accountant who has been called to missions. Three years ago, she went on a short-term mission trip to Panama. In 2007, she traveled with an UMVIM group from South Carolina to Ixiamas, Bolivia to work with SIFAT. In 2008, she returned to Ixiamas to work with SIFAT again. Now, she has quit her job and is taking part in our training to prepare for being in full time ministry.

Through her posts, we hope you will understand a little more about what the Practicum is and what students are learning. Below is her most recent e-mail. Thanks for sharing with us, Becky, and welcome to the SIFAT blog!

Hi Everyone

It’s so hard to believe October is almost here. I have completed 4 weeks of training. Last week was not as exciting, no rabbits.  

We had TOT (Training of the Trainers) which is a training method by an organization called Life Wind. It is going to be a very useful tool regardless of where I end up going. With the course, I have access to 1800 lesson plans for almost any subject you could want to teach. The instructor is a retired missionary that spent most of her time in Albania.  This plan is used a lot in closed countries to introduce God’s word by first teaching moral values. The lessons use drama and storytelling. Friday was our turn to teach. My group was the 4 ladies I room with and our subject was physical examination of a goat. Fortunately for us right, outside our class room is a pasture containing 4 goats. We used the youngest and demonstrated how to see if we had a healthy goat, and then we had the class do it. It was so funny. Just imagine 4 women trying to hold a goat still while he was crying for him momma and our fellow students coming up looking at his ears, mouth, hoofs and checking for signs of diarrhea. I think you get the picture.

Every Tuesday one of the local churches sends a woman’s group with a covered dish lunch. I was talking to one of the ladies last week who told me she had grown up in Greenville (SC). Come to find out, her father’s brother was married to my mother’s sister. I guess that would make up cousins in law? It is truly a small world.

This week should prove to be interesting we are going to learn how to build fuel efficient cook stoves and gardening.

Please continue to pray for all the students here, we have all been away from home over a month, and everyone is missing their families.

God’s blessings to all,


Chaco Day, A Bugs Life,

The last few weeks have gone by quickly and here are some of my adventures here in the Amazon Forest.

Chaco Day. Few  weeks ago, for 2 weekends, the Internado folks  (workers and kids) had to go to chaco   (farming field) to work. Its about 3 miles from the Internado Property. Hermano Andres works there everyday taking care of the banana trees, cacao and other vegetables. For 2 Sundays, we helped him weed the plants.  On the first Sunday, we worked all day using machete to cut the tall weeds and other wild grass that grew around  the field.  Few kids were assigned each row. I paired up with some of the girls, and since I was not familiar with how they do it, I had to ask her where is our area. As I carpir (cut) the tall, wild grass and other weeds, I was excited cutting anywhere. So  the girls had to  tell me several times, “that is not our row”.  Besides the heat of the sun, we also had to work through some attacks of the bees and other bugs.  I tried to be careful as I was already beaten by a wasp just few days before that. Sad to say, Rachel was beaten by some wasps. She is okay though Mrs. Marsha.  We brought our lunch ( a vegetable salad with sardines and rice of course) and had a picnic at the barn.  After the long day work, some of the girls walked to the nearby river or streams of water.

The following  day  I didn’t realized how tiring it was, and I was sore and achy all over. I thought it was the age, but some of the girls had the same thing.    We all showed each other the callous and cuts we had on our fingers from the carpir. I enjoyed though working with the earth. The following weekend, some of the kids who didn’t get to go the previous weekend, had to go. For which I had to stay in the Internado to watch the kids who didn’t go the 2nd Sunday.

A BugS Life.

Back to the story where I was beaten by a wasp couple of weeks ago.We normally have wasps and other bugs flying around (of course) esp at night when there is light, all kinds of bugs in different colors, shapes and sizes fly around. One lunch time, as a usual thing there were some wasps flying around, I did not notice one on my drinking cup, until I felt a sharp pain and sting on my mouth. I screamed but it was too late. (most of the kids were gone in the river, they did not hear my scream.)  Just after few minutes, a kid noticed my lip is different. For a couple of days, half of my lip is swollen, and  I felt the sting, eventhough I put some hydrocortisone and took some paracetamol.   Just before that, I was also beaten by giant red ants that left  some marks around my right hand up to now. Its funny for me that it seems coming here in the jungle has change my prayer from he place where I used to be. Before, I would pray, “Lord protect me from watching eyes, and from dangers of being caught by the country authorities because of the work I do for you.”

Now my prayer sometimes is like this, “Lord protect me from the bugs” and when I go to the river, “Lord let me not meet a bibora (snake) today, or something like  this “ I would not really appreciate a visit of a cayman, not today!”  Some kids claimed that they saw some snakes in the river.

To be continued…a Bugs Life


Once again, I apologize for my poor writing from last time. Im sorry for grammatical and typo error. I meant to say last time, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break”.

(Please excuse my writing as English is not my first language.And I am still struggling to learn my fourth language-Spanish)

Just a quick update. Our kids continue to have the mini-olympics with the colegio (middle and high school). Our girls fotsal team won because the other team did not show up.

It was a bit challenging witht the girls basketball team, as last week, Rachel was in La Paz. The girls did not had a coach for practice and the game. Ruth the dorm mother, usually come to the game. But during the game she had to go somewhere. I was left with the team who had to play against the team from the senior year (whose players were much bigger and taller). They just swept our girls (like cats against small ants). With my little knowledge of playing basketball, I wanted to do some encouragement and coaching with our girls, however, I did not have words to use for playing  basketball in Spanish. I tried to tell our girls what  might help, but they just looked at me as if saying “what do you know about basketball?”, or ” what are you trying to say?”

Anyway, it was still fun afterall, though the Internado girls scored half of the other team´s score.

We were also blessed last week with the visit of Tom Corson , SIFAT´s Director in Alabama.It was short but good. I continue to have computer and English classes everyday with the kids. Its fun also to as the kids learn more stuff in the computer.

Blessings to yall,




” Blessed are the flexible, but they shall not break”. I think the last time I heard this word was from Nate Paulk (SIFAT). However, prior to  coming to SIFAT and relearning this principle, I had learned to live with this early on my in the missionfield. It is actually the grace of God that helped me learn and live with this.

The other Sunday while waiting for my flight from LaPaz to Rurre to go back to Ixiamas, this word was reminded to me.

After 3 hours of waiting for my flight, the TAM airline people announced that the flight was cancelled for the following day. I ended spending the night with a friend near the airport, and flew the following day, after a weird and strange ordeal with the airline crew. Besides that the cause delay to the passengers, I still have to pay them extra money just for them to let me fly after a day delay. Anyway, I got back to Ixiamas last Monday afternoon,  Thank God ! The kids were all happy to see me again.

Im back to my classes everyday. Then Saturday, August 30th, Rachel celebrated her birthday with us. We had a good supper that day, and had a good program afterwards. (Brian, your three little pigs story, is now only two little pigs, and they have grown now).

With the game series, thank God the boys won in the soccer game.Hoorrayy!!! And the girls won also on the footsal. The basketball team still needs to practice more.   

Til next then.Hasta luego ! Vicky

PS I apologize for my grammar and spelling error with my past writings.