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

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A lifetime

Last night I was honored to attend a concert given in honor of a good friend's parents-in-law. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. 2 months ago, as I sat in the mass for our 3 young ladies that died in the accident, I felt that we had now been here in Bolivia for what seems a lifetime... a little melodramatic, I know, but we've experienced so much of life here. Baby showers, births, baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings... life... and now death.

I got the same feeling as I sat in the concert last night... the feeling of 'a lifetime'. It was their legacy there on stage. All of their children and grandchildren and even they themselves performing in a talent show, honoring their love to each other. You would be hard pressed to find that much musical talent in another family. The grandkids all performed in a small 'rock' band - singing, percussion, guitars, piano. Then after the break, the father - a professional opera singer - sang several love songs to his wife. She in turn read him a poem she had written. There was a beautifully done ballet, perfomed by a niece. Then all the children and father performed different duets - mostly Spanish folkloric music - singing, guitar, even the traditional Bolivian flauta (that part was amazing!)

I couldn't stop from crying. I hope someday Joshua and I will be able to celebrate our parents lives together in such a way. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness again, remembering the accident, for the second chance Joshua and I have at someday, Lord willing, reaching our 50th together. I don't know what kind of legacy we will leave behind us, but I hope and pray it will be one that glorifies God through the lives of our 3 beautiful children. And finally I mourned the loss again of those 3 beautiful lives. Watching the grandchildren perform on stage made me accutely aware of how much we lost. Each individual's uniqueness: their personality, their talents, their inner beauty.

This morning was another emotional morning. A worship service marking the 2 month anniversary of the accident. It was a wonderful tribute to God's presence with us, His working through His body, gratefulness again for His goodness, celebration of our salvation through His Son, and prayer for those who continue to struggle, both physically and emotionally. Kevin was there for the first time this morning! What a blessing to see him and Bruno sitting together in the front in their wheelchairs, sharing a Bible and weeping together. What a blessing to have the Christian family that helped in the rescue attempt worshipping with us this morning. What a blessing to have Jorge and Sandra, parents of Ariel and Diana, get up and thank the congregation for their constant spiritual and financial support. What a blessing to see Carlos, Miguel's brother, with us. What a blessing, knowing that Miguel is out of the hospital, that surgery went well, although only God knows when and if he will recover completely. What a blessing to be able to call Miguel and Ariel up on the phone and sing to them. What a blessing to have representatives from the Bull's supporting church with us. And what a blessing to be able to eat and fellowship with one another afterwards.

We did our share of crying. But God is continuing to heal with His Spirit and through His body. My prayer is that He will continue to take our 'lifetimes' - both of Josh and I and of his church - and use us to His glory.

Friday, August 28, 2009


-curly red ringlets and blue eyes
-Eliana singing on the picnic bench
-a hot cup of chai
-the wind blowing in the trees
-roly poly puppies
-Josh pushing Jana in the swing
-planning a tea party for the kids
-a good friend
-singing and playing English hymns on the piano
-Michaela hugging Jana
-a long nap
-the sunset
-jacaranda trees in full bloom
-blossoming peach tree
-migrating swallows
-Michaela watering flowers

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2 months later...

Sunday marks 2 months since the accident. A lot of water under the bridge and yet still feeling the aftermath in so many ways. I thought it was past time to post an update of some things...

-Miguel continues in the hospital. He has come out of the coma, but has some traumatic brain injury. He can talk, eat, walk by himself, but has little memory of people or events. He is like a little kid. Thankfully, the family and doctors finally decided to move him to a better clinic, and not to the psychiatric hosptial. The transfer was made on Monday. Josh made 5 different trips on different days, attempting to make the transfer and there was always some kind of hold-up. The doctors are planning on operating on a blood clot in the cranium sometime soon. Please continue praying for Miguel and his family. We were very thankful to see Miguel's kids at church one Sunday, but they are sad and struggling to assimilate all the changes in their lives lately. They have been to see their dad, but he didn't recognixe them. We continue to pray for a miracle in this regard and would appreciate your prayers as well. It is discouraging and sad for Josh to see Miguel continuing in this condition - and strange for him to think that he was sitting right next to him when the accident happened.

-Ariel was released from the hospital yesterday, after another pelvic surgery. The first surgery was done wrong - one hip was 4 cm. lower than the other one, and he would have walked with a very severe limp. His parents were worried about his extended recovery and continuing pain and so got a second opinion from another doctor. Thankfully, this doctor seemed to know what he was doing and Ariel was sitting up within days after the surgery. He will now have another 2 weeks recovery at home and then continued recovery in a wheelchair. His cochlear device finally arrived too and we are just waiting for the technician to calibrate it. Ariel continues in good spirits in spite of it all, but his parents are really struggling with the continued tragedy of his health and the loss of Diana. They really need to be surrounded by prayers and the presence of God at this time.

-Most of the others in the accident are recovering well. Rebecca is walking better every time I see her; Kevin continues on bedrest for another month; Bruno will not have to have surgery on his knee, but is doing physical therapy daily; many of the others now have their casts or bandages removed. Josh has been encouraged by several discussions during the youth class together. Many are still struggling emotionally, but are finding strength in God and in each other.

-Butch made it safely to the States with Jonathan and back. They are now settled in Searcy and Rachel is teaching.

-As far as our family goes, Josh is pretty much completely physically recovered. We've had some sickness over the last month, but thankfully everyone is healthy right now. I think both Josh and I still have moments of tiredness and sadness - as I know do the rest of the team as well. It still seems like every day, there is some kind of follow up to do regarding the accident.

I want to express again how thankful we are for the many ways we've recieved encouragement through emails, facebook, and even lately real cards - thank you to Austin Ave. and to Livonia for having your kids make special cards for us! It means so much to us and the church here! And over the last couple days, we've been extremely blessed to have Dale Hawley here with our team. We were able to spend some great time together sharing about our team and everything that's happened over the last couple months. It was good to get away and to have time together. Thank you, Austin Ave. for making that happen!

We continue to find our strength in the Lord and in His body! May He continue to work through us, using us as 'instruments of His peace!'

Friday, August 07, 2009

Fun Pictures

Here are a few fun pictures (thanks to Katie!) that we took on our trip yesterday to La Cabaña hot springs with the Forbesses. It was a wonderful, relaxing way to spend the 184th Bolivian Independence day!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

If I had a camara....

I have been wanting to take a few pictures of things over the course of the last couple weeks, but seeing as we are still without a camara (it didn't make it in time for Josh's sister to bring down to us), this is the best I could do.

If I had a camara, I would have taken pictures of....

1) Eliana's black eye. She and Jana were trying to stand on the same chair and I think Jana pushed her and she fell off and ended up with a black eye.

2) Jana climbing the slide by herself.

3) Our dog, Daisy's, six new puppies!

4) The people added to our church body in the last week - Elsa and Carmen through a new commitment to Christ and baptism, and one family (Johnny, Ligia, Rosa, Ricardo and Mateo) officially placed membership with us!

5)The cuñapes (cheesy yucca bread) that I made for the first time. They turned out really yummy, and I'm excited because they are one of the girls favorite things to eat here.

Tomorrow is Bolivian independence day and we are off to the hot springs... this time with the Forbesses!