Auburn UMC sent a team of college students, vets, medical professionals and others to Quesimpuco, Bolivia, from May 14-24. Because the project is in such a remote location high in the Andes Mountains, internet access is unavailable. Team leader Scott Middleton has been contacting his wife Lindsey, who is sending us updates, via satellite phone.

May 15 Update

I am happy (and relieved) to report that the team made it safely to Quesimpuco about an hour ago. No car troubles, no one got sick, and they made the trip in 10 hours and 45 minutes – in other words, they’ve had a really good day! They have already unloaded and are now getting settled in for the night. They will attend church in the village in the morning, enjoy the official village “greeting” and then get set up for the week. There will be no call-in to the AUMC services tomorrow – they will do that next week from La Paz (where the Bishop of the United Methodist Church there apparently is planning a dinner for the team!). They will also have a visit this week from John Funk, a missionary in Bolivia with the Board of Global Ministries of the UMC.

I think we’ll all sleep better tonight, knowing they all are safe and sound — and that each team member is exactly where God has placed him or her. They probably won’t check in for another day or two, so I’ll send another update then.

If anyone would like a visual of Quesimpuco as you pray for the team, Scott found this image on Google earth – it is a few years old and predates the bridge site, but it’s an amazing illustration of how far this team has gone to be the hands and feet of Christ: click here.

May 17 Update

Hello again,Scott had a lot of information to share when he called tonight, so I literally took notes! Today, there were about 35 optometry patients, 50 dental patients, 220 animals at the vet clinic (but word has gotten out – they are expecting as many as 1,000 tomorrow!) and about 120 kids at VBS. Some team members also built new pews for the church. When school let out this afternoon, the students came up to play, so I think they enjoyed some quality time with the high school kids, as well.

Yesterday, the team enjoyed the village greeting, which was apparently interrupted by rain (unusual for this time of year), and then went to church. They set up the clinic for today, and then went back down to the village for evening worship. Scott said the weather is windy and cold, and it took 3 or 4 calls before the satellite phone could get through. He called about 8:30 our time (they’re an hour ahead of us) and said that everyone else had already gone to bed.

In other news, the Bolivian government is preparing to build a hospital and new elementary school in Quesimpuco and will apparently be tearing down the Catholic church to do so. For those of you who have been before (or who have, like me, just seen lots of pictures) this will include tearing down the bell tower, which is probably the biggest landmark there. This will leave the Methodist church as the only house of worship in the village. The missionary delegation (not sure who that entails besides John Funk and his wife) will arrive tomorrow and stay for a few days, and they will have Market Day on Wednesday.

I think that covers all my notes! It sounds as if everyone is in good shape and they have all earned a good night’s rest. Scott said he will check in again, probably on Wednesday. I know we will all continue to lift up the team in prayer!