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, September 30, 2009

3 months later

Today marks 3 months since the accident... a good time to post updates on how everyone is doing... again, in no particular order.

Miguel has been out of the hospital now for several weeks! The surgery I spoke of in the last update appears to have gone well. He is living with his mom right now, as he still needs supervision and care although he can walk, talk, and eat by himself. He has been to worship with us several times, and also to quite a few church activities. We have also set up a rotating visitation sheet and many church members have volunteered to take a morning or afternoon to sit with him so that his mom can get out. He seems to enjoy the time with the brethren and Josh feels that he is making some small improvements in his memory. His kids are still living with their aunt for the time being, but have been to Bible class a few times as well. We rejoice over the progress that has been made and continue to petition the Lord for his complete recuperation.

Bruno Vargas is out of his wheel chair and walking with the aid of a walker. He continues to go to physical therapy to work on his knee, but is slowly improving. Freddy's arm is almost healed, although he still is wearing a brace for support. Please continue praying for the Vargas family, though, as their family experienced another blow recently with the passing of their grandfather, Renan's father.

Camilla is now bandage and cast free. She is also undergoing physical therapy for her arm and will have another surgery within a few weeks of finishing her final exams.

Rebeca is walking great! She is of course still undergoing physical therapy as well. She is writing an article for the national church newspaper about her reflections surrounding the accident.

We are still searching for a permanent home for Wendy, who lost her daughter Ariana. We managed to find an apartment for rent, but are looking for someplace a little more permanent. Wendy continues to mourn for her daughter, but has found much strength and solace in the church body and in God, for which we are thankful.

Sunday was the birthday of Diana. Her parents, Jorge and Sandra, wanted to do something special in remembrance of her life, so we shared a cake and pizza and a slide show of her life. I was home that morning with a sick kid, but Josh said that service was packed with people who had known Diana. And Ariel, her brother, was there for the first time since the accident that morning! He is in a wheelchair now, but can sit up and move around somewhat, with the hopes of making a full recovery.

Jonathan and Rachel Sandoval have both started their first year teaching in Searcy. Rachel is doing well and enjoying her job. Jonathan's back is doing well, but he's having a lot of pain still in one shoulder. He went in for an MRI, which they decided not to do because of the metal plate in his back. So he will have physical therapy instead for a few weeks and see what kind of progress is made there.

Kevin got the casts off his feet but is still in his wheelchair. It will be a long slow and painful process of walking again.

Alejandra, Josh and Rosa are all doing well. Rosa may have surgery on her nose in another few months. Alejandra's bandages are off her arm and she is doing some physical therapy. Josh's injuries are completely healed. He is going next week to a missionary men's conference in Brazil and I am thankful that he is going to have some time surrounded by a lot of spiritual counselors.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for our family and our church body. God continues to work and be glorified here in Cochabamba, and we pray that the same may be true wherever you are living!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Point of Convergence

As I was waiting in line for 45 minutes outside the community center yesterday to refill our gas cans, I had plenty of time to meditate :) My first thought was to be thankful for a cloudy day, so as not to be waiting in the hot sun. My second thought was that it has hardly seemed like Bolivia the last year... no blockades or shortages of anything for a long time. It was too good to last. This week we had a blockade and gas cans became a scarcity again. Thirdly, my thoughts focused around the variety of people waiting in line with me.

Bolivia is interesting that way. There are several places I have been waiting in line, when I'm struck by the wide cross section of people waiting with me (in the identification office, getting my driver's license, and waiting in line for gas refills). I don't remember this being the case in the US...although I do remember waiting in Memphis for 2 and a half hours for my driver's license. Maybe because here everything is still so centralized. In the US (at least in the big cities), there are generally multiple offices for everything... so everything ends up being more 'zoned' for lack of a better word.

As I 'people-watched' yesterday (one of my favorite things to do), I saw the elderly and the youth, most likely waiting in line for their parents; women and men; the wealthy (dressed to the nines) and the poor, probably using a good portion of their week's wages to refill one of their most precious posessions; cholas with babies slung in aguayos and a more modern pregnant woman with a baby in a stroller; and myself, a gringa lady. We were all waiting in line for a nessecary commodity in life. Waiting patiently, because there was no other recourse, and smiles and sighs of relief all around when the gas truck finally pulled up.

A point of convergence. A place where all lives cross, no matter your status, class, color or gender. That's how I felt yesterday. And I was struck by the thought that our churches are supposed to be that way, although I get the feeling that they rarely are. May we all strive a little more to reach out to all types of people for, "You are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."