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, December 27, 2007

Eliana Walking

video

Tis the Season!

Here's a taste of what's been going on during the Christmas season in the Marcum household:

We put together gift bags of hygenic items and treats for the children who live in the women's prison. Here in Bolivia, it is common for the families of the inmates to live with them in the jail. Katie has been key in this ministry, holding a weekly Bible study for the ladies in the prison, and one in a sort of "half-way" house. This year she involved the ladies in putting together and delivering the bags.



We wrapped up studying Colossians and Philippians in small group and had our small group over for a Christmas party, making it more of a formal occasion with a sit-down dinner and small recital featuring the children in our group (2 of whom attend a special music school here and play the viola, piano, and sax.)

A taste of home! In a random conversation with one of the brothers from the church, Josh mentioned how much we miss rhubarb from the States. Amazingly, this brother grew up in Oruro, attending a Catholic school in a monastary. He told us the nuns there grow rhubard! Of all the things! He brought us back some on his last trip home, and came out the day before our small group dinner to learn how to make strawberry rhubarb pie - Josh's favorite by the way!

Following in my mom's footsteps! Growing up, my mom would make multitudes of Christmas cookies - lots of different kinds, and many years we would make plates to give away. This year, I decided to follow suite and made 8 different types of Christmas cookies and 17 plates to give away to the members of the church, our small group, and some of our neighbors.

Two weeks before Christmas, Josh informed me that since he was preaching the Sunday before, he would really like the kids in the intermediary class to present a little drama of the birth of Christ. So I went to work on costumes. It was a simple little production (the kids actually just read and acted out the Scripture from Luke), but I think all enjoyed it.

Meet Priscilla and Alejandro. She is a single mom with 2 children. Her oldest, Yusaara, has spinal meningitis and attends a special school for the disabled here in Cochabamba. Priscilla lives in a small room with her two kids, and works really hard to provide what she can for them. The church's benevolence program, of which Jeff is in charge, helps them out some with groceries. Alejandro is quite a handful, but has such a good heart, you can't help but love him to death. He loves to sing - and you can hear him belting out the songs above everyone else in church. Anyway, on the Sunday before Christmas, Miguel, another one of the brothers, bought gifts for all the children who regularly attend services (and a few extras for the visitors who came!) The look on Alejandro's face when he opened his little car was priceless. Definitely what the Christmas season is all about. And Priscilla was thrilled to death when we sent a gift home with her for Yusara. Please pray for this precious family and the many like them in Cochabamba.

35 weeks and counting! Just a few more to go before the newest baby girl Marcum makes her appearance. We spent Christmas day with the Forbess family (Katie is due just 2 weeks before me!) and Jubilee and Michaela enjoyed playing together as always. We dispensed with traditional Christmas dinner (this pregnant woman didn't feel up to turkey and all the sides!) and had lasagna instead (a special treat here because the ricotta cheese is hard to find). Michaela got a trike for Christmas, and loves riding it everywhere. And mom's best Christmas present was that Eliana started walking! Video to come shortly.


Merry Christmas from the Marcums!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Thanksgiving

Seems like a lot has happened since my last blog post. Josh took a trip to Sucre to visit his family there and for the inauguration of the church; his family returned with him and spent 10 days visiting with us here - Jenny and Erik's stay being unwillingly (although we loved having them!) extended due to the polictal problems we're experiencing (for more on that please visit BBC news); we celebrated Thanksgiving complete with smoked turkey and cranberry sauce; Eliana is taking her first few steps; we said goodbye to the Sandovals as they left on furlough (now it's just us and the Forbesses!). Here are a few highlights from the last couple weeks.


Turkey time! Josh and I got a good laugh this year when we went to buy the turkey. We heard of a place that according to everyone sells the best turkeys, and so went exploring one day down in the Cancha to find it. We never would have found it if not for the huge 6 foot inflatable turkey outside the door of an autoparts shop - yes - I say again autoparts! This family raises turkeys on their farm outside of Cochabamba and sells them in the back of their autoparts store out of a deep freeze - but they were good turkeys! I tried my hand for the second year in a row at cooking the bird - but we had such a crowd (Josh's parents and James, his sister and brother-in-law, the Forbesses and Sandovals and 2 from the Sucre team), we actually cooked 2! Josh smoked one - and I actually think his turned out better. There's nothing better than Thanksgiving dinner - especially when you are able to find cranberry sauce to go along with it. Everyone pitching in to bring sides and desserts (including pumpkin and pecan pie!) and the fellowship around the table made it a year to remember.


Michaela had a blast playing with James. I was worried she'd be bored out of her mind when they left.


Josh and his dad went to work and replaced all the screens on our windows - many of which had rotted through. As it gets warmer and starts raining more, the flies and mosquitos get bad. I have been very thankful for our new screens the last few days.


Nana was in heaven with 3 out of her 4 grandchildren. We missed you, Kaidan!


This is our first year since being married that we'll celebrate Christmas in our own home. It was also Michaela's first year to decorate the tree! She caught on quickly to what the Christmas spirit is all about.


We made Christmas cookies with Nana and James. I wasn't quite prepared for the whirlwind of decorating Christmas cookies with a 2 year old! But in spite of the mess, it sure was fun.


We found a little plastic bat and ball for Michaela for a dollar and my creative husband set up a makeshift t-ball court in our back yard with a pvc pipe. Michaela loves playing baseball - and is actually getting pretty good at hitting the ball (although she still needs a little practice with the logistics of running the bases!)


Josh's mom and I made a trip to the used clothes section of the Cancha (the Bolivian version of goodwill) and she bought Michaela some dress up clothes for Christmas. She and Michaela then proceeded to have a tea party in their new clothes. Michaela loved it!


Michaela in her dress up clothes.


Eliana took 12 steps on her own! She had lots of people to practice with, and loved every minute.


We spent the day a local retreat center and the daddies and kids went swimming together. It was Eliana's first time to really enjoy the water - and Michaela had fun as always swimming with Daddy.


Zion and Eliana discovered the tupperware! They had fun playing together (although Zion can run circles around Eliana).

Friday, November 09, 2007

And the news is...

Eliana is officially crawling! Not far yet - but definitely getting from one point to another on her hands and knees. This 7 month pregnant mom is definitely happy that she will now be able to get places on her own - and looking forward to the day she starts to walk (although I may regret my words as soon as she starts getting into everything!).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Family Camp 2007

When we began discussing ministries as a team during the beginning stages of our development, several on our team expressed the desire to coordinate and network with the already existing churches in Bolivia. Since the beginning of our time here, we have attempted to visit and encourage the brethren in all parts of the country, and in return have been much encouraged as well. However, we didn't want to encroach on things that are already happening among the churches. For example, there is a yearly ladies and mens conference that the congregations organize. So we decided to plan something a little different - a retreat focused on families. Josh has had some experience planning and organizing these during our years working for the iglesia in Memphis (thanks, Jim!) and so had at least some idea of where to start. And I must say, I have a husband with a head for details - so he made a great point man. However, it was definitely a team effort. The Sandovals and Forbesses helped so much with the logistics and made sure the camp went smoothly. One of the newly baptized brothers, Pedro, organized all the sports tournaments. The ladies and I planned Bible classes for the kids during the adult classes. And we invited a Bolivian brother, Tom Allen, who has been preaching in the States for the last 10 years to come down and give the classes. He did a wonderful job presenting from the book "A Purpose Driven Life" and gave the best sermon I've heard in a long time on Sunday (partly because both girls slept through most of it - they were so tired!). And God is so good. He used the camp and Tom as a catalyst for 7 baptisms last Sunday! 4 of those baptized were ones Josh has been studying with for months - so he was very excited. By the time the weekend was over, I was ready to pass out I was so tired - but it was a wonderful experience all the same. Here are a few pictures from the camp and Sunday's baptisms.

The camp was about an hour from Cochabamba near a lake called Coroni. It was beautiful and cool - at a higher elevation than Cochabamba - and a welcome escape from the warmer days right now where we live.


Here's a view of some of the cabins. Families slept together with 3-4 families per cabin.


This is one of the main worship times in the chapel. We had 5 worship times with singing and a lesson.


Here's a picture of the group. We had representation from Sucre, La Paz, 2 churches in Santa Cruz and Cochabamba - a total of about 130 people including children.


Meals were provided by the camp and were tasty Bolivian fare. Here is a picture of fellowship time in the eating hall.


We planned a mini-VBS for the kids, with lessons focusing around the "I Am"s of Jesus, songs, and an activity.


Sports tournaments were planned especially for the adults, with groups competing from each church - men and women. Here are the kids playing dodge ball. There was even a rock climbing wall - which was a big hit.


We held a talent show the last night which was a lot of fun. The kids performed a couple songs we had practiced during the class time. Josh and his sister Jenny sang a Paul Simon song (Jenny played guitar and Josh harmonica), and also one by the Mexican group Mana.


Here is a picture of one of the baptisms on Sunday morning. Unfortuately all the pictures turned out a little fuzzy. This is Pedro, who was baptized along with his wife Beatrice and teenage daughter Rebeca. Josh has been studying with their family since June.


We also held a special inauguration for the contact center and unveiled a new sign. We are partnering with Tom Allen's church which also has a Christian Education Center. They are providing funds every month for the purchasing of materials for the library. We are very excited and grateful for the help we're recieving from them.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tribute


My granddaddy, Dean Clutter, passed away very peacefully on Monday, October 29th at around 7:00 pm. My grandmother, my parents, my aunt and uncle, and one of my cousins were with him till the end. My dad and mom were reading Psalms to him till the last. My sweet husband spent 4 hours on the phone trying to figure out a way that I could go home for the funeral (which is on Tuesday, Nov. 6th), but it was financially impossible (not to mention difficult timing, as we just got back yesterday from hosting a family retreat at a camp an hour from Cochabamba for all the churches in Bolivia and all hands were needed on deck!).

They are going to post tributes to my grandfather on a bulletin board at the funeral, and so though I can't be there in person, I will of course be there in spirit and thanks to the wonders of technology, I'll be able to have my tribute posted along with the rest of my family.

"My granddaddy. It's hard to put into words what this wonderful man has meant in my life. For starters, he has given my family an amazing heritage of faith. I can't begin to describe the blessings that stem from a family rooted in God and His word. My granddaddy provided that for my mom, who then passed it on to us, and now I have the incredible task of passing it on to my children - his great-grandchildren. Scripture truly speaks when it says "showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands." Ex. 20:6

He was not only an amazing example of faith in his personal walk with the Lord, but also in his service to Him. I am so proud to have a grandfather who spent over 60 years in full time ministry right up until the Sunday before his surgery- through ups and downs and different churches. I remember he would always leave the house at least an hour before service to study and pray before each sermon. He kept a record of all of his sermons in files in his office - I would love to look through them some day. His personal library was a tribute to the hours he spent in the studious reading of the Bible. One of the most touching gifts he ever gave was a set of Biblical commentaries to Josh. I know he had used them well before he passed them on, and Josh was very grateful.

His marriage to Grandmother was just another powerful example of his faith lived out. They were always loving and considerate of one another. They always worked in the garden together. When Grandmother lost her eyesight and ability to read, Granddaddy read the Bible to her every night.

I remember lots of little things as well - fishing trips and pool games, a bowl of ice cream every night, giving Michaela her first bite of ice cream at 8 months, an amazing memory that never forgot a name or face, joking with my brother and teasing my sister, special nicknames for us grandkids, smiling blue eyes, lots of laughter (I tell people that my Granddaddy reminds me of the laughing Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins), special woodworking gifts he made for us, tears that came too easily when he was touched by something, warm summer evenings in their homey house on furlough, lots of Christmases and Thanksgivings together during and after college - playing euchre and drinking apple cider, a special Christmas day hunting trip together, playing the bugle for us kids.

All I know is he touched countless lives through his life, including mine. He was faithful to his family, his wife, his country, but most of all to His Lord. As hard as it is to say goodbye from afar, I take comfort in these words. "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." I know Granddaddy is in the eternal rest found in Christ, this special servant and soldier of the Lord held close to His side, commended for his walk of faithfulness. We will love and miss him greatly, but we will rejoice again together on the other side."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

To Obtain One Bolivian Drivers License You Must...

1. Take at least 15 trips to transito (this is not exagerated!)
2. Take 2 trips to Interpol to obtain one background check costing 40Bs.
3. Take 2 trips to the police station to obtain one request for a background check and one background check (for which you have to purchase a special form) in total costing 35Bs.
4. Take the theoretical exam on a Thursday night (in Spanish) covering signs, road rules (are there any in Bolivia??), and car mechanics.
5. Have at least 10 copies of your Bolivian ID card, 5 copies of your passport, one copy of your birth certificate, one copy of your American drivers license, one copy of the theoretical exam, one copy of the list of the theoretical exam saying you passed.....
6. Have 2 pictures 3x3cm on a blue background costing 15 Bs for the files and one digital picture for the actual license.
7. Stand in line for 2 hours to have an eye exam which costs 50 Bs.
8. Stand in 7 other lines at other desks.
9. Pay 160 Bs. for the actual license.

However, I am very proud to say that after a year of driving without a Bolivian license, I am now a legal driver in Boliva! (Although, for the record, they probably wouldn't give me many problems so long as I had my American license to show - many of my ex-pat lady friends drive without licenses).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Granddaddy

Last week we got an email from my mom saying that my granddaddy was on his way to a cardiac center in Michigan, as they were pretty sure he had had a heart attack. Turns out they aren't sure if he did or not, but his heart was in pretty bad shape and they decided to do quadruple bipass surgery. After a few days of waiting due to some blood and pulmonary problems, they did what seemed to be a successful triple bipass surgery. But complications developed, as often do in 83 year old men, my granddaddy had some breathing problems, developed pneumonia, had to have a temporary pacemaker installed etc.

Needless to say, it's been a difficult couple of weeks for my family. My mom has taken off work temporarily to be able to be with my grandmother and granddaddy at the hospital. I just got an email from my dad saying that things continue to look bad for granddaddy - and that within another week, they'll have to make some tough decisions about medical care, seeing as his chances of recovery are slim.

I was very thankful when I heard of the successful surgery - I guess I started thinking about how nice it would be to have Granddaddy to be able to meet Eliana and the new little great-grandaughter that will be joining our family before we go back next June on furlough. But maybe God is ready for this great servant of his to join the ranks in heaven.

Growing up in Kenya had some sacrifices to it. I didn't get to spend much time with my grandparents. But I have always loved and respected my grandparents so much. My granddaddy has been preaching for all of his adult life - up until the Sunday before these heart problems occured - and has touched countless lives for Jesus. He is a joyful, humble, people-loving servant of the Lord, and I am so proud to have him as a grandfather. He never forgets a person's name once he meets them (a talet I wish I inherited!)

Anyway, I guess I am requesting your prayers for my grandfather and my whole family as they face this together. I knew being gone for 2 and a half years that both Josh and I might have to face some family loss from afar. But it still makes me sad to think I might never get to see his baby blue eyes smiling again - and let my 2 little girls meet him.

Thank you for your prayers and your love and support. I am so thankful for the Christian faith - for being able to face times like this with the hope of heaven and the love of Christ.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Eliana!

We celebrated Eliana's first birthday on Saturday with a traditional Bolivian birthday party, a saltenada (which means you serve saltenas, a Bolivian meat pastry, and cake midway through the morning). It wasn't a very big affair, but we invited the people who are important in Eliana's life - our Bolivian homestay family, members of the church, the team etc. It was a fun time of food, fellowship, and even a couple games of horseshoes (thanks again to the Chessers for bringing the equipment down, we sure have gotten good use out of it!). Here are some pictures from the day.

The birthday girl


The big sister


The birthday cake


The kids table


The guests


Horseshoes


The pregnant ladies

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beauty

- the clouds hugging the mountains
- a nap with both girls asleep to the sound of the first good rain of the season trickling outside
- a tousle-headed 2 year old upon just waking up
- baby babble and a snaggle-toothed grin
- a fresh glass of lemonade shared with Eli Arcos on a spur of the moment visit
- chocolate ice-cream and 20 minutes of uninterrupted conversation with my husband in the middle of running errands
- the joy of Swahili choruses on a tape long unlistened to
- fresh baked chocolate chip (yes, I actually found chocolate chips here!) cookies
- early morning waking to the birds singing and the movement of new life inside

As they say in Africa: "God is good, all the time!"

Monday, October 15, 2007

And the Verdict Is.....


It's another girl! We went this morning for another ultrasound - a place that was recommended to us by another ex-pat lady who had 2 kids here. The doctor was really nice, gave us a CD and everything of the ultrasound, very sure that it is a girl, and it cost us all of $12. One of the perks of living in Cochabamba. Of course, we are excited to have 3 girls so close in age! And the doctor said she looks beautiful. Josh is now officially what they call a chanclatero here (a word we'd never heard before coming to Bolivia that technically means "sandle man" but refers to a man who has all girls). We know God has special plans in store for our 3 beautiful little ladies.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Update on Eliana

Well, it's been an interesting experience getting the tests done on Eliana after her urinary tract infection. It seemed like we had several hiccups in the process.

Hiccup #1- We got back from our trip to Sucre and had Eliana's tests scheduled for the next day. Only thing was we woke up to find the whole city shut down because the transportistas (taxi and bus drivers) had the whole city blockaded in protest of road conditions. We couldn't even get to the grocery store, much less get Eliana downtown for her tests. So we rescheduled.

Hiccup #2- For some reason (although the clinic was very professional), we had to bring our own medical supplies for the tests. So Monday morning rolled around, and we went out to the pharmacy to buy 2 siringes, a bag of hydration fluid, and an infant feeding tube to use as a catheter. We stopped at several pharmacies (including the major chain pharmacy in Cochabamba) and no one had the feeding tube. So we went to the main hospital and tried both the main pharmacy there as well as the pharmacy in the pediatric section. Strike again. As a last resort, I headed to the children's hospital. On the way, I saw a pharmacy they had recommended at the hospital. So on the off chance they would have the catheter, I stopped. Wonder of wonders, they had it! I paid all of three bolivianos for the thing I had been all over the city for (that's about 50 cents).

Hiccup #3- I arrived with Eliana at the clinic and waited while they got everything set up. Right as we were being called back, they looked at me and said, "Oh, are you pregnant?" Obviously. I would not be able to accompany my child to one of the tests seeing as it was an x-ray. Nice of them to tell me this beforehand! So I had to call Josh who was at home with Michaela, and he had to wake her up and come down so we could have someone present with Eliana during the bcug test.

Hiccup #4- We went to pick up the results from the test the next day and to drop them by our pediatrician's office. Only to find out our pediatricain had been in a major car accident that afternoon and was hospitalized. Needless to say, I nearly freaked out - I've become so dependent on this man with everything that's happened with the girls the last few months. Not to mention the fact I know he has a family and I have no idea where he stands with the Lord. Come to find out, he was in stable condition and concious, but had broken his hip and so would be on bed-rest for a couple months at least. At which point, I called for back up. We went to language school with an American pediatrician who is now working for a whole health organization in the city. I called him up and asked him to read the results for us so we would know where to go from here.

Results being that Eliana does not have any kind of reflux and everything looks completely normal with her urinary tract system. We can now stop the antibiotic and there's no need for a surgery of any kind. Praise God!


I couldn't resist including this picture of Eliana. I tried hard to get a picture of her 2 teeth, but couldn't seem to get it timed right. Trish gave me this one - even though it only has the 1 tooth, I think it's pretty cute.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Independent Streak

So last month we celebrated Nathan Bull's 2nd birthday (happy birthday, Nathan!). I don't know what it was about his party - it was a nice but simple celebration with just our team. But Michaela is still talking about it! Maybe she's finally figured out what birthdays are all about - or maybe it was the Bull's new apartment - or maybe it was Nathan's new trike.

The next day, she told me she was going to Nathan's birthday. She got on her little push car and rode it around the house. Then she took it outside and asked me to carry it down the stairs. Then she asked me to open the gate. Since we live in the country, I did, thinking "What could it hurt?" and told her to turn around when she got to the end of our driveway - about 100 meters long. She took off down our gravel road riding her her car - when it got too hard on the gravel she pushed or pulled it. She got to the end of the road, turned the corner and kept going. At which point I went after her. When I got to her, she was still bound a determined to go to Nathan's birthday (their apartment is a good 20 minute drive from our house)- she threw a fit when I made her come home, got a spanking for it and cried the whole way back to the house.

And that's not the only run in we've had with Michaela's independent streak. She wants to do everything by her self - her most common saying is "Lala do it!"

I pray every day for wisdom as He helps guide me through the muddy waters of parenting.


Michaela and Nathan on his birthday trike

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sucre

Well, I've been having technological problems - which is the reason why this update is so delayed. But finally I have been able to download the pictures from our trip to Sucre. We were blessed to be able to take a long weekend to go visit Josh's sister in Sucre, Bolivia, the judicial capital of Bolivia (also known as the White City: it's a beautiful colonial city with all the buildings painted white). They arrived with a team of 2 families and 3 singles from the Quito School of Biblical Studies back in April. We were very exicted to have another work started in Bolivia, not to mention the fact that now we have family a little closer. We had a wonderful time staying with Jenny, her husband, Erik, and our precious little nephew Zion. They have a nice home right near the center of town and Jenny saved my sanity by giving us two rooms (Eliana sleeps so much better that way at this point). Zion is exactly one month older than Eliana, but is already walking, climbing stairs and getting off of furniture himself! Amazing! He and Michaela and Eliana had a lot of fun playing together. It was a blessing to be able to worship with the newly forming church body there in their contact center (which is like a little coffee shop), and to see how Jenny and Erik and their team are getting into people's lives there. We were also able to visit the dinosaur park there, and a children's park on Sunday that has rides for kids. But the highlight was definitely celebrating Zion's birthday. It's nice to be able to be a little more involved in at least one of our nieces' and nephews' lives. Travel there and back was a little challenging as it always is in Bolivia - Josh took an overnight 10 hour bus (got on the wrong bus initially, and had a cramped, uncomfortable trip), and I flew with the girls (you try flying with a 2 year old, a one year old and being 5 months pregnant!). I told Josh I don't want to travel any more until this baby is born! But we are very thankful for the time that we had in Sucre.


The 3 cousins


My beautiful family!


Zion sharing cake with Jenny and Erik


Zion's cake. Jenny made carrot cake in bread pans, and one of their teammates, Angela, decorated it like a circus train. Super cute! And only slightly ruined by the fact that their dog, Cosita, licked off some of the icing before we could enjoy it. Needless to say, Jenny was very upset!


At the dinosaur park. A mining company discovered a wall covered with hundreds of fossilized dinosaur prints. It is now a tourist attraction complete with lifesized models of the dinosaurs. Michaela loved it!


Michaela playing at the dinosaur park


Worship with the church in Sucre

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eliana

It seems this has been the year of unexpected health concerns for our family. Poor Eliana came down with a fever last Thursday afternoon. At first, I thought it was teething, but after a day of the fever been fairly high, I called the doctor and he graciously agreed to see her Saturday morning. He checked her all out, and said it was probably a virus - some kind of cold or flu. The fever continued - it seemed to come down when we gave her pain medicine, but every 4 hours, it would spike - high - and we would do rounds with cold rags or in the tub. After another couple days, I was really concerned. I called the doctor again and he said he wanted to take some stool and urine samples. So I spent the next day sitting next to Eliana for several hours as she sat on our little portapotty. No luck. And her poopy diapers were at night - no lab here is open at night. The next day I called the doctor in tears - Eliana had stopped eating and drinking that morning. He immediately agreed to see us, and we took her down to the children's hospital. He put her on an IV to hydrate her (a horrible 15 minute process of trying to find her vein), and to help us get the samples we needed. I spent the afternoon and evening holding her in the hospital. We finally got the urine sample (thank goodness for pediatric urine collecting bags!) and they discovered she had a severe urinary tract infection.

Our pediatrician, Dr. Monroy, had left us in the care of another doctor there as he does his personal office hours in the afternoon. This doctor came in and began to explain to me in Spanish what we were going to do (as if I was 2, which on one hand, I really appreciate as understanding medical jargon is one of the most difficult things for me in Spanish; but on the other hand, it really annoyed me!) She told me that we were going to take 2 more urine samples for culture purposes, and then give Eliana an antibiotic intraveneously (as the infection was really strong and she had been throwing up some in the last few days). She told me I had to go down and pay for the urine samples and antibiotic before we could go upstairs to the emergency lab and get Eliana treated. At this point, it's 6:00, and everything on our level (general consultation) is basically shut down. The nurse who had been monitoring the IVs has left to go home. So I leave Eliana crying in her crib and walk down the hall to information to pay. I get there and tell the man I need to pay for the urine samples. He looks at the form and asks if I have the urine. No.... We're supposed to go upstairs and take the samples. Well, you have to have the urine before you can pay for it. I don't know, but the doctor told me I have to pay now. So he calls another dr. This dr. comes and says the same thing. He says the only way you can pay in advance is if it's urgent. I tell him the doctor who wrote the prescription told me it's urgent. He asks where it's written on the form. I tell him it's not! But this is what the first doctor told me!

By this point, I'm extremely frustrated and beginning to cry - and I can hear Eliana screaming down the hall. They finally get ahold of the doctor who wrote the perscription. She tells them exactly what I told them - that it's urgent, that I need to pay, that we'll go upstairs and take the samples now - but in the meantime makes a comment to them both that I don't understand her Spanish very well. At which point - I positively loose it! I call Josh and tell him that he better get down here right away (he had left to go pick up Michaela). I think he thought I was having a nervous breakdown! Then I tell the doctor that yes, I don't understand Spanish sometimes, but that I did understand what she told me, that I was explaining it to the information desk - and that they were refusing to listen to me and take my measly 25 bolivianos so my very sick child could get the treatment she needed.

We finally got it all worked out; Eliana got her treatment; our pediatrician, Dr. Monroy, came by to check on us and explained everything to me in English (have I mentioned how much I like this man???). He is going to run further tests due to the severity of the infection, as he is afraid there may be some kind of reflux in her bladder (after talking to my mom, she said I had 3 urinary tract infections in my first year, and continued getting them consistently till I was about 6; so I guess it's possible that it is something genetic. It's amazing the things you find out about your childhood after you become a parent!). In the meantime, we have had to take her every 12 hours to the hospital to receive her dosage of intraveneous antibiotic (this is for 3 days, and then we'll switch her to an oral one).

As we left, I told Josh, I know they think I'm the emotional, high-strung, gringa lady. But I wish they could see it from my point of view - running off of 6 days of fever/fussy/clingy baby, worried that she'll have a febrile seizure (as the doctor did tell us sometimes they run in families), little sleep, communicating in a second language, trying to work with a medical system that's unfamiliar to me.

I'm just thankful we know what's wrong and can finally do something about it - as difficult as the last few days have been taking Eliana for her IV every 12 hours. She is feeling better now, the fever is gone, and we've actually gotten her to smile today!

Thanks for the prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf.

Note: Many, many thanks to Liz and Dave Chalenburg who sent us a package several weeks back containing infant Tylenol and Ibu-profen. It has been invaluable the last week!

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Difference between Moms and Dads

The difference in parenting styles was never more apparant last night at our house. I was putting Michaela to bed - a routine which consists of reading, singing, praying - you know, those things that generally have a calming effect on children and prepare them for sleep. Josh came into the room with his hands behind his back and said, "I have a little friend who wants to say goodnight to you." He then proceeded to pull out a huge toad (I was expecting the cat!) and stick it in front of our faces (after a lengthy discussion of the matter, he says he held it in front of us; I still say he stuck it in our faces). Michaela's reaction was not helped by the fact that mommy reacted adversely ("Ahh! Get it out!")! But I was totally surprised. After 2 minutes of terrified crying, I finally got Michaela to calm down by telling her daddy had taken the frog outside. We then proceeded to go to bed - although this time Michaela got up 3 times to talk about the frog and make sure it really was outside. Josh said, "Usually she likes frogs." And I proceeded to explain that the presentation of the frog was unusually disturbing. He might have gone about it in a slightly different way. As I said - the difference between moms and dads!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August

It's been a full month in the Marcum house. We hosted several events out at our house; God has blessed us with a big yard and big kitchen which makes it feasible to have large groups of people out from the church. We had a team day before the Forbesses left for furlough, and then invited all the school age kids and their families out for a hot dog roast and games, and then hosted our small group for a grill out the following week as well.



The following week, we left for a few days of much needed vacation. We drove about 3 hours over the mountains (a spectacular drive!) to a tropical area of Bolivia called the Chapare, and stayed in a nice hotel in a town called Villa Tunari. Michaela really enjoyed the playground (the park as she calls it) and the water slide. Mom enjoyed reading the last Harry Potter book (thank you, Katie!), and the restaurant open all day. Dad enjoyed swimming with Michaela, relaxing and reading as well. And Eliana just enjoyed hanging out.




We also visited a wildlife refuge in the area called Parque Machia. They have lots of parrots and monkeys (which just run free) and a few other smaller animals as well (an otter looking thing - I'm not sure what the name is). Michaela really enjoyed being in close proximity to the monkeys - although I was a little nervous. The day before a little girl had returned to our hotel with her finger bit! We escaped with no monkey bites, although one did try to climb up the sling I had Eliana in and stole a roll of my film!



I also took the opportunity of some free time to take some pictures of the girls (thanks again for the dresses, Jauna)! Enjoy! And click on our flickr badge to see more pictures of the girls and from the last couple months as well!





We were ready to get home, though. Apparantly, Eliana doesn't like sharing a room with the rest of us - we had several restless nights (but she sleeps all night at home!). We're getting ready to gear up for a round of fall events - a new study for our small group, Josh teaching a new class at the contact center, a ladies day once a month, a family encampment in November. We continue to be excited about the way God is working and feel very blessed to be here serving Him!