New Campus Bridge Under Construction!

Many of you may remember the news of our suspension bridge (on SIFAT’s campus in Lineville, AL) collapsing this past July during our Learn & Serve Summer Experience. We continue to thank God for his protection of our participants and his provision for our organization after the event. We now have reason to celebrate — a new bridge is under way! A new suspension bridge is being built on our Galilee Campus. The bridge will span Mad Indian Creek connecting our campus once again. This bridge is not only functional, it will also serve as an example of a monumental bridge project SIFAT implemented in Quesimpuco, Bolivia in 2008.

This bridge, in Quesimpuco, Bolivia, is the inspiration for the new suspension bridge on SIFAT’s Lineville, Alabama campus.

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STM Update: Articles from Auburn EWB Team

Auburn University’s Engineers Without Borders team traveled to Quesimpuco, Bolivia, with SIFAT in August as part of a five-year commitment to serve the people of this region. The most recent issue of Auburn Engineering, a magazine produced by the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, features a cover photo of some of the students with Benjo Paredes and an eight-page spread with photography by Jeff Etheridge and an article written by Jim Killian.

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Bolivia: Video from AU EWB Team

The Auburn University Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter served in Bolivia August 2-12 as part of a long-term commitment to Quesimpuco. Since this is the EWB team’s third trip, the AU Office of Communication & Marketing (OCM) sent a media team to capture video and photos of the service learning experience in which these college students, faculty and alumni participate. The EWB team works throughout the year to design simple technologies that can be used in this remote village in the Andes. While in Quesimpuco, team members work with the community to teach the concept of the technology and discuss different ways it can be implemented with the available resources.

You can read more about what the team did and see photos from their trip by clicking here. Watch the video AU OCM produced of the partnership among SIFAT, EWB and the people of Quesimpuco below!

To learn more about our international projects and trips, click here.

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.

Rachel, Mateo and Becky at churchMuch has happened since my last post. First of all, I am now home, and I will not be returning to work at the internado next year. Leaving was very hard and emotional since the staff and kids had become my family. However I feel God is leading me somewhere else yet to be revealed. The last two years have been a remarkable experience for me. I went to Ixiamas thinking I was going to help the children of the Internado, but as with most missions experiences, I have received so much more than I gave. There is no better way to increase your faith than to step out of the box — living in Ixiamas for two years was a giant leap for me. I just can’t thank God enough for giving me the courage even though there have been moments when I cried, “Lord what am I doing here?”. Now, I will try to highlight some of the events since my last post.

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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.

We are still having long lines to get gasoline, and we may soon be without since there is another blockade in Caranavi like the one at the end of April last year. When the gas trucks don’t get through then we don’t have power because our electricity comes from diesel generators. Right now, we are on a limited schedule. Just think if you had to do everything that uses electricity on certain hours. It makes it difficult. Of course, we are not as dependent on power like everyone is in the US. We are hoping the blockade doesn’t last too long because much of our food and supplies come by bus and trucks from LaPaz.

September was very hot and dry with many wild fires in the countryside. One blazed through our farm (Two Trees) and destroyed the building and all of our cocoa trees. This is the 3rd time our trees have been destroyed by wild fires. It seems like every time the trees start to mature they are burned. Some of the young trees that were planted last November may survive, but we won’t know for a while. Join us in praying some may be revived when the rains start. They don’t have any burning regulations here and with hot dry winds and temperatures over 100 degrees the fires spread rapidly. In September, everyone is burning their fields getting ready to plant rice in October and November. We have had a couple of rains that helped put the fires out. There is no way of controlling fires here. Once they get out of control, they just have to burn out. However, we now have some areas we haven’t used for planting before cleared. With the help of some of our students and Delia (our groundskeeper at the Internado), Rachel has planted beans, peanuts and watermelon. Andres (our farm worker) has already planted our rice before the undergrowth came back up.

Rachel, Mateo and I joined the principal of the schools in the surrounding communities for a visit to two schools, so we could share with them about the Internado. The small schools in the communities only have classes through the 6th grade. If they continue their education, they need to attend middle and high school in Ixiamas. We really had a fun morning sharing the word of God with these children. We made gospel bracelets and sang some fun songs like Father Abraham. We have plans to visit more schools in the next month to spread the word about everything we offer families here at our boarding home. Pray for the doors to open for children that need our services in the upcoming school year.

Bolivar finished with three wells in Nuevo Esperanza before his visa expired, and he returned to Ecuador. We still have many people in outlying communities that need clean water. Please keep this in your prayers for a new project next year.

Please remember all the staff and children here in your prayers as we are beginning to make plans for the new year. The school year here is from February to the beginning of December, so our year is quickly coming to a close.

Grace, peace and love,