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

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cousin Sion

Congratulations to Josh's youngest sister, Jenny, and her husband Erick, on the arrival of their little boy, Sion Reyes, on Sept. 24th. Jenny was a trooper through a tough labor, but look at the wonderful reward! Sion weighed 6.5 lbs. We love you guys are are keeping you in our prayers. My only question is, "What is this kid?" A baby born in Ecuador to an American mother and Mexican father, who is going to be raised in Bolivia??

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Here's just some random pictures of us and Michaela that haven't been put on flickr. Sorry - we aren't very consistent picture takers. I'm trying to do better!

You know you're in Cochabamba when....

1. Every other day seems like it's a "Dia Ferriada" (holiday), or strike day. And you never know what they're celebrating or striking about! You just get caught by the parade downtown and wonder, "What could it be today?" They sure know how to party here!
2. You get a grocery cart in the States, but rent a kid with a wheelbarrow when you go to the open air market here.
3. The air is polluted, and the public parks trashy, but they have a "Dia de Peaton" (Day of the Pedestrian) where it's illegal to drive in order to conserve the environment. Seriously - there are absolutely no cars on the road! We have to have house churches on that day because no one can get to church!
4. You spend 25 Bs. (3 dollars) on your manicure and pedicure in a little hole in the wall shop a block from your house.
5. It doesn't matter if you forget to buy milk at the grocery store, because you can just send your husband to the little tienda a block from your house to get whatever you need - even a fresh pineapple for 2 Bs. (25 cents).
6. It hasn't rained in 3 months, but the fruit trees in your yard are flowering and the jacaranda trees are "raining purple snow".
7. You go to buy shoes for your daughter at the mall, and discover that all the stores are closed from 12:30-4:00.
8. You've lived in the country for 8 months, and scoured the grocery store for baking soda, and just discovered that they sell it in little bags in the pharmacy of all places! By the way, everything comes in bags, even the milk and the vegetable shortning!
9. You wait 3 hours in an immigration line with a fussy baby, only to discover that they require one more paper that you don't have (that somehow they forgot to inform you of last time), and don't accomplish anything.
10. You can't get your mail for a week, because the post office is on a hunger strike. USPS - we miss you!

Like anywhere, you love some things and get frustrated with some things. But regardless of whether or not you enjoy it, it is interesting to be able to experience life in a whole new context. This missionary kid is glad to be back somewhere that feels like home, if only for the simple reason that I know, and others can tell, that I don't completely fit in here!

Family Matters

Moving to a new country - on top of being a missionary - requires that you do some re-evaluating of your family's everyday workings. The last month, we've had to re-evaluate a couple different aspects of how we "do" life here. One of them has been finacial. How do we organize our money and our budget in such a cash based society? We had it down in the States. Develop a budget, use our debit card and record receipts in our nice sophisticated Microsoft money program to track how much we were using and to help us stay within budget. That just doesn't work when you're spending cash on everything, and half the time don't even get a receipt. Like Josh said, "It just seems like they nickel and dime you to death here (or in Bolivian terms, centavo you to death)." 2 Bolivianos (Bs.) tip for the grocery kid or for the guy washing your windshield in the middle of the road, 5 Bs. for every taxi, 7 Bs. for a car wash, 10 Bs. on Tuesday to the guard every week for his nightly coffee and coca, 64 Bs. for an hour of my tutoring every week. The list just goes on and on. So we sat down together and came up with a list of everything we're spending money on and tallyed it all up. Now we pull out that much cash at the beginning of every month and divide it up into "envelopes" (really it's a nice little pouch with different pockets). Now when I go to the grocery store, I pull out my weekly budgeted amount of cash - and I don't go over, because I take my trusty little caluclator with me and add as I go. I think this system is really going to help us see where our money is going and stay within our budgeted amounts. And Josh will stop asking me "Did you take money out of my wallet?" : )

The other thing we've had to rework - especially now that Josh is spending more time out with people, and working at the office - is our calendar and family time. It seemed like we hadn't had a day off in several weeks. Things just kept getting added to our days - and then Josh wouldn't know what I had going and I wouldn't know when he was going to be home (frustrating when you're trying to coordinate your meetings, and child care, and meals!) So we sat down and printed out a calendar for the month that we tacked up to a corkboard. And then we blocked out Thursday, which was really the only day with not much going on, to be our family day. Last Thursday, we packed up the car, the kid, and the dogs and headed out of town to a park about half an hour from Cochabamba. We picniced, and hiked, and Josh set up the hammock for Michaela and I to take a nap. We enjoyed the view, the eucalyptus trees, the streams, and the quiet! Thank you, God, for seeing the need for a Sabbath!

Pregnant in Bolivia

Although being pregnant in Bolivia does entail some unique experiences (long waits in the doctor's office, breathlessness due to altitude), I have to remind myself that women experience this very normal part of life in all kinds of countries around the world. However, as I wait for sometimes 2 hours in the doctor's office, there are some things I miss about the US (certain food cravings as well, and ready access to TUMS). I feel that I have to be a lot more assertive in asking questions because there is so much unknown. But, on the other hand, I have never seen ultrasound equipment as sophisticated as the machine in my doctor's office. And, who knows? The experience of delivering in a 2 room private clinic may be even better than the nice Baptist hospital in Memphis.