The dates for our 2009-2010 CARES events are now posted on our website. Visit www.sifat.org/cares to find out more information. Space is limited, so make your field trip plans now! The CARES program is an educational field trip for all age students, including public, private and home school groups (and scouts and church groups, too).
This fall’s CARES program is Around the World. Students have the opportunity to visit homes in our Global Village, where they learn about the country represented and participate in hands-on activities. From folk dancing in the Philippines to making tortillas in Guatemala, students (and their chaperones!) tour the world in just a few hours.
To book a CARES event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brookhaven UMC is hosting DecembeRadio this Sunday, Aug. 30th, at 6 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Arena in Brookhaven, Miss. Proceeds from this concert (tickets are only $10!) will help us finish Mama Yoli’s House. DecembeRadio won the 2009 Dove award for Rock Album of the Year.
We hope you come out to enjoy this Christian concert and support SIFAT in the process. The address for the venue is 1096 Beltline Road, Brookhaven, MS.
Is your group hosting a SIFAT fundraiser? We’d love to help get the word out by posting an announcement here. Contact Marie, email@example.com, for more information.
Our current intern in Ixiamas, Bolivia, is 2008 Practicum graduate Becky Forrest. During Practicum, Becky shared her experience on our blog. Now that she is in an intern in Bolivia, she will post updates as our interns in 2008 did. Becky served on short-term mission trips in 2007 and 2008 in Ixiamas.
Yeah! I have finally finished with all the paper work at immigration. It is a relief to finally have all that over. I really canâ€™t believe I have been here over six months–the time has gone by so quickly. Less than a week back in Ixiamas and back to classes with the kids. It is so great to know I wonâ€™t have to be traveling back and forth to LaPaz anymore. I can fully concentrate on what I came here to do.
The last month has been very busy. We had a wonderful week with the team from Christ Community Church. We reached out to 200 children of Ixiamas with Bible School. The team did not get to meet all of the kids of the Internado because of extended vacation, but some of them came back early so at least they got to spend some time with most of them. The team did some painting, helped to finish the chicken house intern Chas Jordan began and many other small projects that really needed to be done. We also visited the community of two of our girls and held Bible School for all the children of that community. This community had never had a visit with a team from the US, and they took us on a tour of one of the farms. It is really interesting to see how the locals work their fields. It was a great day enjoyed by all. Katie Acker came with the team and stayed with us at the Internado for three weeks. The girls at the Internado had a wonderful time with Katie.She taught them a dance to â€œI Surrender Allâ€ by Michael W. Smith that they performed it at the anniversary celebration at church.
Our director Mateo left Bolivia with Chas and Katie August 3rd for the US. Mateo will be attending the Practicum at SIFAT at the end of the month. He was very excited to be visiting the US and the SIFAT campus in Alabama. It is hard to believe that one year ago I was preparing to go to the Practicum. My life has changed so very much in the last year. God has used many circumstances to strengthen my faith and placed so many new brothers and sisters from all over the world into my life.
Marlene (Mateoâ€™s cousin), the young lady that was my interpreter on the trips to Peru and visits to immigration, is leaving next week for Seattle, Wash., to be an au pair with a very lucky family. It is interesting to watch these two family members take off for the US within a week of each other. Please keep both of them in your prayers.
I really want to let everyone that has supported me throughout the year know how much this year has meant to me and the spiritual growth I have had. When you are out of your comfort zone, you depend much more on God than when you live in your comfortable house and your weekly pay check. I encourage everyone to step out of the box, if for only a few days. It will really make a difference in your walk with God.Â
â€œThe Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Num. 6:24 â€“ 26Â Â Â Â Â
Two summer interns joined Becky in Ixiamas, Bolivia. Although they did not post throughout their time, we asked them to share about their experiences. This is the fourth (and final!) part in a multi-post series.
My first weekend was a little long to be honest. We worked on the chicken coop, went to the internet and hung out with the kids. It wasnâ€™t bad, but just not the busy life that I usually have back home. Sunday we got up early and went to church. It was good, but really long. When you donâ€™t know the language that well, sitting through four hours of songs and messages can be kind of hard. We also took a lot of pictures during our spare time. I love photography, so to be able to take pictures of the beautiful people and awesome sunsets was great.
One thing that God has taught me from being down here for a couple of weeks is to just wait on him. Itâ€™s so easy to get caught up in everything and lose focus, even in a situation that involves mission work. Just sitting in the hammock and listening to creation is an amazing thing. I love that there is so much time to spend with the Lord and really seek him. Another thing that really has stuck with me throughout the whole trip is something Pastor Keith talked about in one of the devotionals. Basically, he said we donâ€™t need to see people of a different culture as scenery or machinery, but to see them as people who Christ loves. I guess thatâ€™s been a big thing for me. Just loving these people and realizing that they are just as valuable to Christ as we are to him.
This past week Rachel, Mateo, and Miss Becky came back. I was pretty happy to see them. Also, the kids went back to school, which meant all of them would be back at the Internado. Speaking of the kids, they are all amazing. Iâ€™ve enjoyed being around them so much. Especially the girls, they have helped me in a lot of ways. Rosa, Nancy and Patty all helped me with washing my clothes in the river. What a learning experience. They are so committed to each article of clothing. They wonâ€™t wash one shirt really good and then half way do another. They do every single piece with power and efficiency. I wish I could say I washed ALL my clothes, but when it came to my jeans, I gave in and asked for help. After we got done washing, they talked me into going for a swim in the â€œfrioâ€ water. I thought the shower was cold, that river was freezing. Oh, and side note. When braving the cold waters of the shower, you must slowly submerge yourself. Getting in quick is just simply not an option. Okay, back to the river story. So I decided to be all cool and jump from the tree. Well there is a tree right beside the one you jump off of that has huge thorns all over it. I took the first step to the top and my foot slipped and it went right into the thorns. My foot was sliced up and bloody that day. The girls didnâ€™t freak out or anything, so I figured it would be fine. The boys are fun too. We got in the yard one day and did flips and cartwheels, of course they showed me up. Each kid is different and unique; I know God has big plans in store for them.
Towards the beginning of this week, I started working with the girls on a dance. I had no idea they would be performing in church. We just kind of had fun with it and had some good worship time in the process; until the girls found out they would be doing it at the Saturday night service. We found out Saturday morning so we began practicing over and over again. The words â€œOtra vezâ€ have been imbedded into my brain, which means â€œagainâ€ in English. They danced that night, and it was great. It made me remember how much I enjoy working with young girls through dance.
I feel like Iâ€™ve grown as a person and grown up a little bit. Itâ€™s only been three weeks, but God can do a lot when youâ€™re just open and willing to do whatever he wants. I have to say, Iâ€™ve enjoyed being off on my own. Itâ€™s not the easiest thing, but a lot can change in a short period of time when comfort is at a minimum. I mean, if you can get past the cold showers and eating rice three times a day, youâ€™re good to go. I would definitely encourage anybody who reads this to just get out the box. Do something different. Ask God to lead you in a new direction and just follow. Follow the one who loves you unconditionally and wants the best for your life. Iâ€™m the worst at being on fire one minute and then being below lukewarm the next. However, God is a constant God and that is what Iâ€™ve held on to this whole trip.
Ixiamas, Bolivia is an awesome place. God is doing so much down here and to be a part of it for a short time has been a great experience. My summerâ€™s almost over. Iâ€™m about to move, and Iâ€™m stepping into the next chapter of my life. Being here in Bolivia has probably been the most perfect, God-orchestrated thing for me just in the sense that itâ€™s hopefully prepared me for whatâ€™s coming in my life. I pray I get to come down here again and be here a little longer, because it has been an amazing ride. I leave for La Paz in a couple of days; Iâ€™m pretty stoked about having a hot shower and eating some good food. I would like to thank the people who have been praying and supporting me throughout this trip, words canâ€™t express how much you all mean to me. So, thank you so much and may the Lord bless you all.
Two summer interns joined Becky in Ixiamas, Bolivia. Although they did not post throughout their time, we asked them to share about their experiences. This is the third part in a multi-post series.
Well, my name is Katie Acker, and Iâ€™m from Ohatchee, Alabama. I just graduated high school, and Iâ€™m about to move to Mississippi to attend Belhaven College. This past spring, I began thinking about my summer plans. I knew that I wanted to take a trip somewhere new, but I had no idea where. A couple opportunities came my way, but Bolivia seemed to constantly be on my mind. My mother spent a whole summer in Bolivia when she was about my age. Iâ€™ve heard many stories about this foreign country, but never saw myself actually going. I remember saying when I was younger I would never go there just because my mom had already been. Well, God definitely had other plans because as I type I am sitting on a bunk bed in a room with screen windows and no air conditioning. I stare out the window, and I see palm trees, little huts and buildings, and a sunset that will make you go crazy over your creator. I am here in Ixiamas, and I canâ€™t believe it. Itâ€™s nothing short of an adventure when youâ€™re following Christ and doing his will, and that is simply why I am here in Bolivia.
Two weeks ago, I met my team from Christ Community Church and braved the Atlanta airport. I was super nervous to meet them, but then as soon as I did, they immediately welcomed me in. I said goodbye to my family and headed off to security check. I looked back to wave my last wave, and there my mother stood crying, I canâ€™t imagine what she was thinking. She was doing the same thing 30-something years ago. Now, her only daughter was leaving for the familiar country.
We landed in La Paz super early and slowly started to grab up our luggage and, hopefully, catch a flight to Rurrenabeque. We quickly found out that the plane was not flying due to a muddy runway, which meant we would be taking the bus. Thatâ€™s when I started to get a little nervous. I began remembering all the stories I had heard mom tell about the â€œdeath roadâ€ and the pictures I looked up on Google. This is when I started fervently praying for Godâ€™s safety.
What a ride it was. We saw some incredible scenery, and oh, did I mention I slept through the bad part of the drive? Some of this could be blamed on me getting close to no sleep on the flight from Miami, but another factor might be the sleeping aids I took. Boy did they work! I felt good when we got to Rurrenabeque. We arrived in the early morning and then hopped on some motorbikes to go meet up with Rachel, Mateo and Chas. We ate breakfast, crossed the river and got back on our awesome bus to head to Ixiamas. We arrived in Ixiamas, and I got settled in to my new home for the next three weeks. I met some of the kids, and I met my roomie, Miss Becky. I automatically knew I was going to have fun with her.
The next week was a whirlwind. We had devotionals at seven in the morning before the day got started. I dreaded them every time I had to wake up, but they were so good. While the team was here, we went to a village in Santa Rosa and hung out with the kids. We did work projects at the Internado and even had bible school with 200 children. It was crazy. I didnâ€™t realize how much I had enjoyed the team being here until they had to leave. I only knew them for a week and still I cried watching them go. They really blessed me.
Rachel, Miss Becky, and Mateo went with the team to go to La Paz to finish up some business. So that meant I would be here with the kids and Chas. I was a little anxious to see how Chas and I would get along and also, just to see how the kids would be around me. I knew that doing Godâ€™s will might mean me being â€œaloneâ€, but it hit me that day hard and fast; I was no longer in my comfort zone. I was in Bolivia, and I might have to put my big girl pants on and grow up a little.
Come back to tomorrow to read Part Two of Katieâ€™s summer.