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, 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


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!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Pictures!

Here's some of the latest pictures of our beautiful girls! They are so much fun. Eliana is living up to her middle name "Joy". She laughs all the time. Michaela is a wonderful big sister, playing and loving on Eliana, and is talking so much. We are so blessed to be their parents!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Musings and Goodbyes

Goodbyes are a part of life. And for a missionary kid/now missionary, they have become almost second nature. Not to say that I handle goodbyes in the best way. I've developed some coping strategies to transitions and goodbyes that might or might not be the healthiest. I think I deal with goodbyes in the same way I deal with past friendships. My mom always said that friendship is a blessing from God, given in certain seasons of life. We won't always have a "bosom" friend - in Anne of Green Gables language - but when we do, we should live it up and be thankful for the time we have with that particular person. All that to say, I see friendship as something that comes and goes with the seasons of life. I don't do the greatest job of keeping in contact with past friends - not that they were/ are not important. I guess I feel like sometimes I just don't have the emotional energy to maintain past and present friendships. Which is not to say memories of people and places don't surface with certain triggers. But I've found it easier to just not dwell on my memories of Kenya and of good, good friends. It's just too difficult. When those triggers arise, I might have a good cry - or journal a bit - and then I move on with the present.

I'm rambling. The reason I'm blogging today is because I had to say goodbye again, and I figured that I better put all this down while it's fresh. We said goodbye to the Custers today - it still seems all a little surreal. I can't believe they're gone and not coming back. It's hard to imagine how life will be different here with just 4 families rather than 5 (redistributing responsibilties, changes in team dynamics) - those of you who are on a mission team know that you become close like family. And our friendship with the Custers went back even farther than our team formation. We met Drew and Jamie when they were first dating - Drew was doing youth ministry and we were doing Hispanic ministry at the same church. We double dated a few times during their dating relationship, had many a conversation about our dreams of mission work in South America, Jamie and I endured several difficult years working and teaching in the Memphis school system, and finally through lots of prayer - we committed to working together somewhere in South America. Josh and Drew have been long time prayer partners, and Jamie and I have enjoyed many a "mommy" talk and prayer together as well. All that to say, we will miss them a lot - we'll miss Drew's good humor, vision, leadership and Jamie's sweet spirit, teaching skills and organization. And I'll miss the friendship that I knew would grow up between Hannah and Eliana. Since hearing the news that they were going back, I've been through a roller coaster of emotions (a little bit like the grieving process, because you're 'losing' someone important to you) -again, those who have been on mission teams probably know the best the variety of emotions you go through (and it probably doesn't help that I'm a little hormonal with 1st trimester pregnancy). Mostly I have just been sad. But we are very thankful for the 6 years that we have known the Custers, and the year and a half they were here with us in Cochabamba. They have left their mark on people's lives, on our team, and on us. We pray God's greatest blessing on them as they return to the States - that God would place them somewhere where they will feel fulfilled and content, and would use their many gifts to His glory. We love you guys, Drew, Jamie and Hannah, and will be praying for you as you transition into your new life Stateside.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bolivian Travels

With the Harding interns here for the summer, opportunities opened up to do a little bit of traveling around Bolivia. We accompanied them to Santa Cruz for the ladies conference, and also on a survery trip of La Paz/ El Alto. Josh took the opportunity of the trip to La Paz to take the interns to a very beautiful and out of the way place in Bolivia called Uyuni, famous for the fact that it has some of the largest salt flats in the world. It is an interesting trip because you can take the train, one of the only remaining functioning train tracks in Bolivia. In addition to all these travels, Josh took some of the interns with him on a day trip to some Incan ruins close to Cochabamba called Inca Rakay. All in all - it made for an interesting summer! Here are some pictures from our (mostly Josh's) travels.

The ruins of Inca Rakay. Archeologists think this may have been some kind of watch post close to the end of Incan territory. They are fairly remote and not very well visited or maintained, but interesting nonetheless. You should have seen the car when they got back! It was covered in about an inch of dust, partly due to the fact that they got lost on the way there and went about 40 minutes out of their way.

On the train to Uyuni. They took the executive train, and Josh was actually pleasantly surprised with its cleaniness and service. He met several interesting people on their train ride as well, a family from Virginia and an Eastern Orthodox Bolivian man who told Josh he needed to do some more studying, as the Eastern Orthodox church is the only true church : )

Josh on the salt flats. The girls and I opted to skip out on the Uyuni leg of the trip, seeing as this time of year it is frigidly cold. They "harvest" the salt and industrialize it, but the good news is that it "replaces" itself. Don't ask me how - I'm not a scientist.

A view from an "island" in the middle of the salt flats.

Josh licking (well, according to him, pretending to lick!) a table made from salt. There is actually a hotel where everything is made from salt.

Josh said he felt like they were one step away from a blockade through the whole trip. They took the train to Uyuni, only to have the tracks blockaded behind them, so they had to take a bus to La Paz (Josh said it felt like they were driving on a goat track the whole way!) We arrived in La Paz only to have the whole city shut down for a civil strike. There is a debate right now whether or not to change the political capital of Bolivia to Sucre instead of La Paz. So the city of La Paz called the strike in support of keeping the capital in La Paz. Thousands of people made an 8 mile walk up to the altiplano to show their support of the strike. One of the church members escorted Josh and the guys in the group on the march. It was a definitely a cultural experience! They actually managed to hitch a ride in a dump truck with about 40 other people for half the way. Here is a picture of Josh in the back of the dump truck.