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, February 25, 2010

Everything you can

You know you are doing everything you can when you...
-boil and filter your drinking water
-filter the water to the whole house
-sterilize all your fruits and vegetables
-sterilize juice bags
-use antibacterial spray on your kitchen counters after washing the dishes
-bleach the rinse water for your dishes
-have antibiotic soap, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer all over the house (and in the car)
-air dry your sippy cups (all dishes for that matter!) until there is not a drop of water on them
-sterilize your toothbrushes once a week
-use boiled water for brushing teeth
-clean/disinfect your bathrooms 3x a week
-sweep and mop (with disinfectant) your floors 3x a week
-empty the trash and lysol the trashcans and bathrooms 3x a week
-continually rebuke and remind your children not to put hands or anything that might possibly be remotely dirty in their mouths!
-contiually rebuke and remind your children to wash their hands
-only order bottled beverages and/or cooked vegetables at restaurants or church functions
-only eat 'God-wrapped' fruit when out and about
-keep your pets outside at all times
-wash towels and linens once a week
-feed your family probiotic yogurt mixed with ground up papaya seeds every day

Despite all these precautions, Eliana still has parasites - we've only been treating them off and on for the last 9 months! This is so frustrating and discouraging. I hate the fact that she is almost always taking some sort of medication. I hate having to force my child to take foul-tasting medicine every day. I hate having to wash out poopy underwear all the time. I hate myself when I get frustrated with Eliana or with washing out poopy underwear; if something were to happen to one of us, I don't want her memories of me to be a frustrated mommy when she can't really help it! I hate taking in samples to the lab 2x a week. I hate seeing Eliana with circles under her eyes and not gaining weight like she should. I hate feeling like I have to force my child to eat to see her gain weight. I hate feeling that I'm sacrificing my child's health to be on the mission field. I hate feeling guilty, like I should be doing something more or better to help her get over these parasites. I cry and pray over this situation all the time.

And yet at a very low point this last week, as I was praying, God helped me put things in a better perspective.
-Eliana is active, intelligent and happy and is not loosing weight.
-What mother doesn't have to wash out poopy underwear?
-What mother doesn't have to force her child to eat or take foul-tasting meds?
-I am not having to care for my child through a life-threatening or debilitating illness.
-Eliana is alive.
-I have the money and means to provide her with good medical care and medicine.
-I have the money and means to buy the cleaning supplies I need to take every precaution to provide her with a clean and healthy home.
-I have the money and means to buy healthy food and provide clean water for my family.

I would appreciate your prayers for myself... my attitude, my patience, my love... it has been one of those emotional roller coaster kind of weeks. And for Eliana, for her complete healing and prevention of getting parasites again. God is good, all the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jana!

We finally got around to celebrating Jana's 2nd birthday on Sunday... she turned 2 on February 4th. My baby... 2 years old. It's hard to believe. This time of year always reminds me of her birth. She's my Carnaval baby, born on the Monday of Carnaval 2 years ago. We drove to the clinic with windows rolled up to keep us from getting soaked by the water balloons. That night we didn't get much sleep due to the partying at the disco across the street from the clinic and we had to pay extra for her birth because it was a national holiday. Jana was my surprise baby... surprise pregnancy, surprise - 2 days late (my other 2 came nearly 2 weeks early), surprise red curly hair that gets redder every day, and every day she continues to surprise me with her personality... she is extremely affectionate (she loves giving kisses and hugs), adventerous, inquisitive (her favorite word right now is 'why?'), determined (her Papa says she walks like a farmer), active and flexible, serious but so much fun. As a mother I am continually amazed by the unique gifts, traits and talents of my children. I love you, Jana!

This year we celebrated Jana's and Grant's birthdays together with the team, complete with potato soup, cake, and presents. Jana wanted a butterfly cake; Grant chose a train. We sang and prayed with the kids and enjoyed some outside play time (with water guns of course!). It's wonderful to have team 'family' when other family is far away. Happy birthday, kiddos!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Funny quotes from the girls....

Eliana on going potty... (I found her the other day washing her hands...)
Me: Did you go potty?
Eliana: I went potty, wiped myself, cleaned out the little potty and washed my hands all by myself.
You have to imagine her sweet little distinct voice while she's telling me this!
Me: What a big girl you are!
Eliana: I don't need you any more. :)
Me: Well, I guess daddy and I will just move to a different house.
Eliana didn't think too much of that idea :)

Michaela on heaven....
Michaela: Where does God live?
Me: Well, God is everywhere and lives inside us, but God's home is in heaven.
Michaela: Where is heaven?
Me: Most people think of heaven as being somewhere up in the sky, but we don't really know. Heaven is where God lives.
Michaela: I'm going to live in heaven.
Me: Good! Because I want to live in heaven forever too, with you and God!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


For those who live in Latin American cultures, it is Carnaval time! Tomorrow and Tuesday are national holidays. There is a huge parade in Oruro with national dances. Traditionally, Carnaval is the weekend before the start of Lent, the Catholic month of fasting leading up to Easter weekend. Here in Bolivia, it is generally celebrated with a lot of energy, good fun and water fights for the young at heart... as well as, sadly because of the world's influence, a lot of drinking, partying, and sycronistic religious practices (like burning incense to Mother Earth).

We have tried to highlight the good aspects of the holiday. This year the youth had a scavenger hunt in the center of town and then lunch and a water fight at our house.

Fellowship and food... my batch of brownies sure went quick!

Rolando and Bruno face off on the capture the flag field.

Water fun! Even Michaela got in on the action... although she really didn't understand the rules of the game... she just tried to get everyone wet :)

The Thursday before Carnaval is known as Dia de Commadres... for lack of a better translation "Girlfriend Day". Generally speaking, ladies have the night out. We decided to celebrate with the sisters of the church by having a fun get-to-gether on Saturday. We dressed up, played games, shared snacks... and finished up with a full blown water fight. It sure was a lot of fun :)

We had some icebreakers to get to know each other better.

We played games... this one consisted of a treasure hunt to find partial Bible verse phrases and then putting them together as a team.

Here are all the costumes... Can you pick out Trish Sandoval? She won the prize for best costume!

(If you haven't figured it out yet... she's the lamp/table!)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

3rd Anniversary

January marked 4 years for our team in Cochabamba and 3 years since the official inauguration of the church. It's kind of bizzare looking back and realizing the craziness of that inauguration... political turmoil, the blessing of tons of Stateside visitors, the first visit my parents made, Eliana as a 2 month old baby. It all seems so long ago, and yesterday at the same time.

And what a blessing to look at these 2 pictures from our 3rd anniversary...

And see how much that the body of the Lord has grown here in Cochabamba. From our team and 1 family to this! God is good.

What a great feeling to be able to sit in a worship service directed by our Bolivian brothers!

We gave out 'servant towels' to honor those who have served the church in various capacities this last year... and the servant award went to Gaston and Miguel for spending so much time and money helping repair Augustina's house. What an emotional moment to see Miguel receive this plaque.

3 of our youth recieved a scholarship fund set aside for them by the Richland Hills Church of Christ. Rebeca and Bruno have shown special perseverence in continuing their studies while recuperating from their major injuries recieved in the bus accident.

The church leaders presented the missionary families with plaques to thank us for our service.

And of course we had to document the occasion with lots of pictures!

We praise God for the way He is working... the numbers are secondary to the way we have seen people's faith change their lives... in the way they have handled the tradegy and struggles of this last year... in our relationships together... in their families... in their growth in the Word and prayer. We are so thankful to have been a part of this work over the last 4 years, and pray that God will continue to use us to His glory for many more to come.