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

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Visit From Grammy, Grandpa, and Uncle James

We had our first overnight visitors the last 2 weeks with the presence of Grammy, Grandpa, and Uncle James. It was a wonderful visit (although we had to get creative with some of the "household supplies" as our container still hasn't made it out of customs.) But it was exciting to be able to host family as our first guests in our home.

We picked Momma, Dad and James up in La Paz, since Dad and Momma were doing a conference there for the church. That in itself was an experience, as we drove our own car and made it our first Bolivian road trip. We arrived over the mountain passes without too much problem (although I left my purse in a little restaurant on the way, and had difficulty finding an open bathroom!) We enjoyed 3 nights with Momma, Dad and James in a quaint hotel in La Paz, and then made the trip back to Cochabamba, which turned out to be even more of an experience! Our car wouldn't start the morning we left, and when we stopped for lunch Mom's purse was stolen, and when we came to a split in the road on the way home we took the wrong highway and ended up in Oruro - the opposite direction from Cochabamba. The incredible part was that when we turned around to catch the right road, there was a paro (strike) in the town we had just left! In Bolivia, a strike means a lot of people sit across the road, blocking traffic in all directions. So we had to go offroading - Josh got to use his 4 wheel drive for the first time - in order to get around the blockade and back on the highway to Cochabamba. Needless to say, we arrived later than we expected in Cochabamba.

The rest of our visit was a little bit more low key. Momma got to babysit Michaela in the mornings while we went to school, and then we just enjoyed the usual family activities (movies, games of spades, time with the team, shopping excursions etc.) On Sunday, April 30th, we celebrated Michaela's actual birthday (her party was the day before) with a picnic trip to a children's park here in Cochabamba. Momma, Dad and James left a few days ago for Santa Cruz to give another conference there, and from there are heading back to the States on furlough. Michaela greatly missed them when they left - she loved especially playing with Uncle James and all the attention from Grammy and Grandpa. We love you guys and are so happy you were able to share our lives in Cochabamba!

First Birthday Party

Although the Bolivian custom is to go all out with a first birthday party (i.e. renting a huge facility with blow up air toys, having a clown, serving a full sit-down dinner to 50+ guests), we decided to go a little bit more low key. As Josh's dad says, "Keep it simple, keep it fun." But we did "Bolivianize" her birthday party to some extent. We decided to make it a "saltenada", or a party in the middle of the morning that serves saltenas. Saltenas are a very Bolivian pastry filled with meat that everyone eats on the street about 11:00 in the morning. We had Michaela's party in our backyard, and thanks to Josh and his dad, our yard was looking more beautiful than ever (they planted flowers the night before). Josh ordered 50 helium balloons to decorate (which Michaela loved almost more than her presents), and we served cake and opened presents. We invited the team, all our neighbors, our Bolivian homestay family, and the most special visitors were Josh's parents and little brother James who came down from Ecuador just for the occasion. It was an enjoyable experience (although this mom still can't believe her baby is one year old!) For those of you who would enjoy seeing more pictures, click on our "flickr badge"!

Michaela enjoyed the balloons almost more than her presents!

One of her favorite presents was her Raggedy Ann, sent all the way from the US by Nyanya and Babu.

Michaela sure enjoyed her loot, including a swing, sandbox toys, clothes and dolls, and a special teapot from Grammy.

The best part was having Grammy and Grandpa and Uncle James at the party (and of course the cake!)

Monday, May 01, 2006

One Year Old

We celebrated Michaela's first birthday on April 30th! Although I'll do a specific blog article about her birthday party, I wanted to post some of our cutest, most recent pictures of our one year old. I can't believe that a year has gone by already, and as I look back on the year and where God has taken us, I can truly see His hand at work. I can't imagine our lives without our little bundle of joy - her beautiful eyes and smile, her laughter and fascination with the world, her energy and cuddly personality. We are truly blessed!

Michaela and Mommy

Reading with Daddy

Learning to walk

Swimming with Daddy

Cutie Pie

Can you see my teeth?