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, 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


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."