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).