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

Friday, February 09, 2007

More Pictures

I am in the process of posting more pictures from Christmas, launch Sunday and my parents visit on our flickr account. Just click on the flashing flickr badge at the bottom of the right hand column to view the pictures.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Nyanya and Babu visit Bolivia

Well, the definite highlight of the month of January was my parents visit to Cochabamba. They arrived the day before the launch, bringing all kinds of goodies for Christmas and my wish list of unfindable or very expensive American items. They spent a wonderful 3 weeks here, enjoying our new house (did I forget to mention that we've moved???? I'll post a few pictures of our new place soon), time with the grandchildren, sightseeing around Cochabamaba (including the Cristo, the Cancha - Bolivia's largest open air market, downtown, an attempted trip to seeing some Incan ruins), and a trip from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, which takes you from the highlands to the rainforest (this was made especially with my parents hobby of birdwatching in mind. And they did see lots of interesting birds!) They also blessed our team with a day seminar on strengthening our marriages. It was very hard to see them go - especially with the thought that it will be a year and a half till we see them again on our first furlough. This mom is sure going to miss the extra set of grandmother hands, and just time to talk and share about our lives and the work here. But I am so thankful for the time we did have, time to show my parents a little bit of our lives here. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for sacrificing the time and money to be here with us! We love you!

Babu and Michaela playing with her new blocks

Nyanya and her granddaughters

Babu and Eliana

Overlooking the city from the Cristo statue

The way we go to the Cancha - Mom and Dad got a kick out of us weighted down with 2 babies

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Christmas in Ecuador

This blog entry is long overdue! But I wanted to post a few pictures of our time in Ecuador. We enjoyed so much being with Nana, Papa, Uncle James, Aunt Jenny and Uncle Erick and cousin Zion for Christmas - the first Christmas we've been able to celebrate with them since 2000. Michaela loved the Marcum "park" as she called it, complete with swing set, fish pond, ducks, horses, puppies and a swimming pool. We made special memories going to cabins that Joshua remembers going to growing up, and on Christmas morning with all the cousins (we missed you Kaiden!) together. Michaela recieved some special presents - a baby doll and stroller, a special Barney cup, plate, and bowl, and a children's riding saddle (which stayed in Ecuador to be enjoyed by all the cousins and Uncle James). Thank you Nana and Papa for such a wonderful time. We love you!

Nana and Michaela opening her baby doll

Papa and Michaela

The cousins and James riding the "group gift" - a children's saddle!

Nana, cousin Zion, and Eliana

Dada, Michaela and Shiloh

Mama and Eliana enjoying some down time at the cabins on the lake

Nana and Michaela

3 little Santas

On top of Mount Pinchincha (Eliana couldn't ride the ski lift up - she was too little!)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Inauguration Sunday

After months of prayer and preparation, the Church of Christ was officially launched in Bolivia. We are so thankful for all of you who were present with us in prayer and spirit on that day. I rejoiced in and prayed over all who attended. God is good - all the time!

God's victory was not without struggle against Satan's hand. Our city was embroiled in conflict the entire week before our launch. Coca farmers from the surrounding countryside, in support of president Evo Morales, came into the city to protest the actions of the provincial official, whose actions were contrary to the president's party. For several days, they shut the city center down with blockades, until (as a last resort to get them to leave), the citizens of Cochabamba formed their own march and attempted to route them from the city. 150 were sent to the hospital and 2 were killed. The city was basically shut down. No public transportation was running, and fresh food was hard to come by. Into all this mess flew 23 representatives from Austin Ave. and my parents. We prayed for safety and for the success of the launch, fearing that the turnout would be poor. Already, the representatives from churches in La Paz and Santa Cruz, who had signed up to come, called to cancel, saying they couldn't get bus passage to Cochabamba.

Luckily, the coca farmers aren't paid overtime, or on weekends. So they left town. City life returned to normal, and our Austin Ave. folks were able to escape from their hotel in the center of town and see a few of the sights.

Sunday morning arrived and our building was filled to overflowing. Our biggest surprise was the arrival of one of the elders from Santa Cruz, who had driven all night and personally removed some of the blockades from the road in order to give his blessing. We enjoyed a time of praise and worship, and and inspiring lesson from Butch Sandoval, focusing on each person's need for Christ, especially in light of the political happenings of our city.

The highlight of our morning was the baptism of Camilla, one of our youth. Her mother was one of our first contacts in the city, a former member of one of the Santa Cruz chuches who was ecstatic upon finding our small body.

We are so excited to see the way God is working - already attendance is up on Sunday mornings, and we have a list of visitors to visit. Please pray for God's Spirit to continue to move hearts and minds, as we seek to bring the people of Cochabamba to a better understanding of His person and His will.

A view from a teammate's apartment of the unrest

Josh organized a ballon give away with the help of Austin Ave. to get the word out

Prayer of blessing during inauguration Sunday by one of the Santa Cruz elders

Camilla's baptism