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, March 14, 2007

Another Bolivian Experience

I returned from Brazil to find us in the midst of a gas shortages. This is a little more of a incovenience than in the States, because so many things here depend on gas. We have a gas dryer, a gas stove, a gas water heater, and a little gas stove that helps heat the house. Because of where we live now, we don't have a gas hook up to the city wide system, so we have to depend on the gas "garafas" or cans, that we get replaced every couple weeks. Josh ran all over town trying to find where we could replace our cans, and every place was out.

So we've been drying our clothes on the line, and showering the electric "ducha" (shower) to save hot water. Like Josh said, the most important thing is to have gas for the stove.

We finally talked to our Bolvian family, who told us of an "outlet" place that gets gas in every morning. But people start lining up at 5:00am to get their gas. So one morning, Josh got up, took the cans and went to stand in line. His cans were numbered 415 and 416. He waited for 2 hours, at which point, the people got made that they were waiting so long to get their gas and stormed the oulet place to make a blockade - at which point Josh left - he didn't feel like making a blockade and figured there was no order anyway so he probably wouldn't get his gas.

We drove by there a couple hours later - and they had resumed their places in line - but had made the line go across both major roads, so they could blockade and keep their place in line at the same time!

We finally decided it wasn't worth the headache to wait, so we paid the young man who works in our garden once a week to take our cans and wait for us. We got our gas today - hooray for hot water and machine dryed clothes!

Continent Connection Conference

I just returned from a week in Brazil, attending the Continent Connection Conference for missionary ladies in South America. It was a wonderfully encouraging time - I'm so thankful to Josh for making the financial sacrifice for me to go, and for spending a week alone here with Michaela!

Getting there was not without it's struggles. I had to apply for a visa here, and get a notarized and legalized letter that allowed me to travel with Eliana without her daddy. I spent a week standing in lines and visiting different offices (getting pictures that were the right size and background, buying little stamps, getting signatures from the right people - in other words, jumping through all the hoops) and by the end of all that, was wondering if it was even worth it to go. That is the only time I have ever said to myself - "I hate Bolivia!"

In addition to all that, the airline we were flying ended up cancelling our flight, so we had to leave 2 days early just to get to Brazil. The ladies organizing the conference were wonderful - they let us ride with them to the hotel, and put us up there for the extra 2 nights.

The hotel we stayed at was on a beautiful beach - I was surprised by the homesick feelings it gave me for Kenya. I felt a little guilty being there without Josh and Michaela.

The conference itself was designed perfectly with our needs in mind - we had time for contemplative prayer, time in small groups to share about every important aspect of our lives, classes that touched on everything from our emotional needs to cultural adaptation to team dynamics, and singing in English! They even provided a baby sitter for Eliana. And I think I gained 5 pounds from the great food.

I went away feeling spiritually refreshed - and it was good bonding time for the ladies on our team, not to mention I enjoyed the new friendships I made with some of the other ladies from other mission points.

However, getting home was as big of an ordeal as getting there. They cancelled our flight again, so we ended up taking another airline from Sao Paulo to Santa Cruz. We waited all day in the Sao Paolo airport and were delayed because President Bush was flying out the same time we were. We got to Santa Cruz at about 3:00am and discovered our flight for the next morning to Cochabamba had been delayed again till the afternoon. As we were checking in that afternoon, we almost got caught in an angry crowd who were upset that they had been waiting for their flight for almost 24 hours. But we made it home finally - to the great relief of our husbands, who I think were a little concerned we might never get home!

Growing up in Kenya, the ladies retreat every year was a highlight for my mom, and I I now understand why. I felt like I do when I'm around a bunch of missionary kids - at home.

Eliana's first time in the pool! She loved it!

The 4 Cochabamba ladies

Josh had the initiative to get Michaela's hair cut while I was gone! Cute huh?