Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Things You’ll Do for a Stamp in Your Passport

One of the joys of living in a foreign country is leaping through all the hoops to get your paperwork legal and in order. We have been working for months on getting our permanent visas, but the process has taken longer than we anticipated. So, we were left with 2 options: pay a fine for the days we were in the country without a visa, or leave the country in order to receive another tourist visa. The Marcum blood in Josh was ready for an adventure, so we opted to go to Peru with the Forbesses in search of a stamp in our passport.

We left on Thursday and took a bus from Cochabamba to the capital of La Paz. It is a 7 hour bus ride and was a long trip, but it was made more enjoyable with the company of the Forbesses. The most uncomfortable part was not being able to go to the bathroom very often (when you’re 2 months pregnant, that’s even worse!). I had to ask the driver to stop at one point and reverted to my missionary kid experiences of going to the bathroom in the middle of nowhere (i.e. find a covered spot and squat!) But we made it safe and sound, and because it was my birthday weekend, we put up in a nice hotel in La Paz and ate at a superb Middle Eastern restaurant (I don’t know when food tasted that good!)

The next day we took a 4 hour bus to Copacabana on the border of Bolivia and Peru. One of the highlights of our trip was being able to see the spectacular scenery of Bolivia. Copacabana is on Lake Titicaca, one of the largest lakes in the world and also the highest navigable lake in the world. We had to cross a section of the lake on a ferry, and as it was a little windy, the experience was slightly terrifying. I was sure our little ferry was going to capsize at any minute! Once in Copacabana, we took a taxi to the border and proceeded to fill out the paperwork required to leave and reenter the country. After some hassles with the border officials (at one point they told us we would have to stay in Peru for 24 hours before returning to Bolivia!), we acquired the coveted stamps in our passports and made the 4 hour bus trip back to La Paz.

After another pleasant night in our hotel, we boarded another bus back to Cochabamba, this time a “bus cama” or “sleeper bus” with a bathroom for my pregnant body. Unfortunately, after on the road, we discovered the bathroom was out of order. You can’t win for losing! All in all, Michaela and Jubilee did an excellent job with all the traveling. They really enjoyed playing together on the bus, and it made the trip much more bearable to have the Forbesses along. I enjoyed aspects of the trip (although I can’t say I enjoyed every moment), but at least we got our visas, and Josh got his travel bug out of his system (at least for the time being!)

Crossing Lake Titicaca

Crossing the Peruvian Border

On the Bus

Lake Titicaca


The past month has been filled with blessings upon blessings - and, yes, a few trials too. But as in everything, we can see God's hand working things out for the good of those who love him.
*We discovered that we're expecting baby number 2! Although it came as quite a surprise, we are thankful for the blessing of a beautiful and growing family. Michaela's brother or sister will arrive around the 6th of November.
*We found a car! We prayed and thought long and hard about the kind of car we wanted to buy. We ended up buying a '94 Land Rover in excellent condition, but that doesn't look too fancy. We are thankful for the fact that it has room to seat 7, so we have the ability to transport our growing family as well as visitors.
*Josh began taking Quechua classes. Quechua is the ancient language spoken by the Incan empire before the Spanish conquest. It is still widely spoken in areas of Bolvia, including Cochabamba. We are thankful for this opportunity because we feel that it will open doors into sections of Cochabamba that would not be as readily accesible without it.
*I celebrated my 27th birthday. The team made it a special time at one of my favorite restaurants here, complete with cake and presents. Josh also treated me special by taking me to a nice hotel and paying for a massage!
*We had our first visitors from Austin Ave.: Roland and Carol Bowen. Not only was the fellowhship much enjoyed, but it felt like Christmas with the care packages from Austin Ave. and my family.
*Although Josh was very sick with amoebas for about a week (one of the trials we've experienced), we were thankful for the blessing of good medical care at the clinic here. I told Josh I wanted to see the clinic before our baby is born, and he decided to check it out in person!
*We had a team retreat that allowed us to get away from the bustle of the city and the stress of language school. We enjoyed the time to share together and to enjoy one another's company. We are daily thankful for the support that God has provided for us through our team.
*We are still holding worship services in our homes, but our group has grown with a handful of Bolivian brothers and sisters who were previously converted in other locations and are now living in Cochabamba. It is exciting to see our group growing already!

Our Biggest Blessing!

Team Retreat

Julie's B-Day celebration

Thank you God for a Healthy Family

Worship service in our home