Troy Wetherholt is one of our summer interns in Ixiamas, Bolivia. He arrived in Bolivia June 12 and will post to our blog about his experiences. Troy joins Becky and former intern Olivia (summer 2008), who returned for a month this summer.

Dahlia in the riverAfter a long sleepless overnight flight to La Paz and bumbling through customs and baggage claim, I was given a warm welcome to Bolivia from Angel. He showed me the city of La Paz as I tried to acclimate to the altitude and new culture. At noon I met Mateo at the airport and took the flight to Rurre. I was excited to see the jungle and be in the warmer climate. I met Rachel, her parents and Olivia, and the following morning, we were in a minivan on the bumpy road to Ixiamas. (Picture at left is the river in Puerto Ruso, the community’s main water source)
The school in Puerto  Ruso

My work in Bolivia for the two months I am here is to install wells in communities that need a clean water source. Bolivar taught me about the process of digging the well and how the pump works. My first week here we made parts of the pump from pvc pipe, leather and flipflop sandles. My training would be put into practice when members of the Puerto Russo, a jungle community, came to talk about installing a well next to their school. (Picture at right is the school in Puerto Ruso)

Bolivar and Troy  demonstrate the wellThe process of digging the well was hard work. The drill is picked up and dropped repeatedly by a team hauling on the rope it is attached to. Water brings the dirt up from the drill and through the pipe. After three days the drilling was complete. Bolivar and I came back to Ixiamas, and tomorrow we will go back to finish installing the well.(Picture at left is Troy and Bolivar demonstrating how to dig the well)

June 13 – 18, 2010 was an absolute BLAST!!! We loved having so many groups from so many different walks of life on our campus learning and growing every day. Last week, we hosted three churches from Alabama, one church from Georgia, one church from Mississippi, and one church from Illinois for a total of 69 participants!

All participants were stretched and taught in various ways throughout their week at Learn & Serve. Raphael Ogbole helped to teach many of the young men and women how to make mud bricks during their visit at SIFAT. These bricks will be used to help build a Nigerian house that will be added to our Global Village. The bricks will also be used to construct fuel efficient cook stoves to help reduce smoke inhalation among women and children in developing countries.


During the L&S week, Vicky Planta also taught workshops on edible insects. SIFAT held a conference this spring that discussed edible insects and the benefit of using them in daily diets to obtain protein and nutrients. The youth had a wonderful opportunity to learn about these edible insects during their stay at SIFAT!

Meal Worms

Every Thursday, we take youth groups that have come SIFAT to learn about missions and what it looks like to bear fruit in their daily lives, and ask them to serve in our local community. We send these groups to different projects, giving the youth and adults an opportunity to give back what they have been learning about all week with their counselors. Some of our projects include visiting our local nursing home, lending a hand at another non-profit organization, and helping keep our streets looking nice with the city street department. We have seen that students enjoy sharing God’s love in a very practical, tangible way while they serve in these areas around SIFAT!

St. Department

Keep checking out SIFAT’s Facebook page for updates on pictures. If you are interested in more information about Learn & Serve, please visit our website at or call our office at 256.396.2015.

Short-term mission teams, our international field study training participants and Learn & Serve youth groups have been coming and going since May. Wow! There are so many different perspectives and experiences to share, but SIFAT needs your help.

Did you go on a life-changing trip to Bolivia, Ecuador or Zambia? Are you a student, chaperon or youth leader who spent a day and night in our Global Village and served in our local community? Or, maybe as a university student or Haitian community leader you learned simple, appropriate technologies that can save lives and meet basic human needs. If so, we would love to hear your story.

Submissions for the SIFAT Journal or SIFAT blog may be made by emailing your story (with a photo!) to Marie, For possible inclusion in the Summer 2010 issue of the Journal, please send your article in no later than July 2, 2010.

Our current intern in Ixiamas, Bolivia, is 2008 Practicum graduate Becky Forrest. Becky served on short-term mission trips in 2007 and 2008 in Ixiamas. She is now in her second year as an intern.

The joys of having power on a regular basis after the blockade opened up and the arrival of fuel was short lived. One of the generators went out of service, and we now hove power on a day and off a day. We are not sure how long this will take or even if they plan on repairing the generator because we have power headed this way from the big hydro plant near LaPaz, which we have been told will be here before the end of the year. This also brings water shortage because we are not able to pump water up to our holding tank. In the United States, we take so many things for granted.

Winter is almost here with the cool south winds. I never realized how cold 65 to 70 feels when you are accustomed to the 90’s, and suddenly you have 15 to 20 mph winds and then the temperature drops 20 degrees. Two walls of my room are screened windows, so I close the curtains, duct tape them to the wall to keep the wind out, and pull out my wool blanket and fleece. In a few days, it will be 90 again. You can imagine how good that cold shower feels good on those days! That is winter in Ixiamas.

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Our first week of Learn & Serve was absolutely incredible! We had 102 participants from 5 different churches from the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.


The youth and adults enjoyed spending their time worshiping in the Quonset Hut, meeting new people in their SPEAR groups, being rained out of the Global Village…twice!, playing fun games on the soccer field and many, many other things!!

Challenge Course

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