Monday, October 13, 2008

Mission Trip!

Kristen here: just copying my blog over in case you were wondering what we interns are up to these days. Fyi: Bethany is our newest intern.

Two days after Katie and I returned from Chile we took off for Potosí, which is up by Oruro and La Paz (more north). We left Saturday morning and are currently on the drive back. Sooo much happened, I’m afraid to write all of it, because I think you might be a little bored…but I’m going to anyways. So grab a cup of tea (or rice milk!!) and settle down for a long one…!

We spent the night in Oruro (unexpected stop). We had a bit of car trouble so we had to have it fixed there. We were pleasantly surprised to have a bathroom and warm room to sleep in. However, this was only the beginning of the bolivian hospitality that we experienced during our short-term mission trip.

Our team consists of Dr. Jorge (Potosino, Dr. Jorge has a huge heart for his fellow potosinos, he consistently travels out to the campo to offer medical assistance as well. He directs Red Vida de Esperanza, the group that we went with). Javier, a missionary with Mission Unida Mundial. He lives in Vinto (right by Nate’s workshop where I go about twice a week), but works in a village in the mountains. He speaks Portugues, Spanish, and Quechua. Waldo, is a dentist and also part of the leadership of Red Vida de Esperanza. He’s a clown, literally, and enjoyed entertaining the kids and us. He’s also from Potosí. Hermana Vickie, is our cook, she’s a very sweet lady and make’s sure we’re all behaving! Rosi, is also a dentist and just finished her practicum in Chapare. This is her first mission trip and she was very excited to participate. Also my roommates Jen, Katie S, and Bethany came along.

We went to seven communities, very rural and poor communities. They were all very different, but most of them were cold. The first village we went to, we made a late arrival, but there were still townspeople up waiting for us. They then proceeded to bring us mattresses, blankets, tea, and bread. We realized pretty early after our arrival that this was probably the poorest community we had ever seen in Bolivia, or elsewhere for that matter. I felt guilty when I realized that because they had given us a bunch of blankets, it probably meant that someone had to go without. What sacrifice! We stayed in the school, both windows were broken but the boys taped them up with cardboard before we went to bed.

Almost all of the schools had a special ceremony welcoming us, complete with the bolivian national anthem (I have a few lines memorized and a cheat sheet that I can use to memorize the rest of it!), interpretive poetry, songs and traditional dance. In most of the villages the older generations spoke mostly, if not only quechua. I have a long ways to go to be fluent in quechua, but I have learned a few helpful phrases. (Ama wakaychu—don’t cry!)

For our program we did puppets (a skit about dental health, as most of the parents and grandparents have rotten or no teeth.), a clown drama, games, bible memory verse--Juan 3:16, coloring pictures, and distributing Samaritan’s Purse boxes. It was so neat to see the kids that receive the boxes, and get to tell them how and why they came here. (Helpful hint, to those of you who do boxes for samaritan’s purse or busses international I strongly suggest that you don’t include playing cards. In the rural communities that we have visited, cards are associated with gambling, casinos and other destructive addictions that the churches are fighting against. Soo….go with some cool sunglasses or gloves or something…)

We also participated in a few church services where I had to give my testimony twice—talk about being put on the spot…however it was really neat to hear it translated from Spanish into quechua!!

The biggest thing that God has been teaching me is to give my best every day…there’s a song by Jesus Adrian Romero (one of my most favorite artists), called Te Daré lo Mejor (I’ll put on a video of it, even though I don’t expect that many of you will understand it…), it basically talks about giving God our best every day, because that’s what he deserves. There were probably about 5 other verses, messages, or comments that convicted me even more. I just want to be able to stand before God with as few regrets as possible.

I have so much confidence in this organization that we have come with. Dr. Jorge, is the founder, and I feel like he has a really well balanced view of ministry. During our time in the campos, he was always meeting with the church and community leaders. We had tea with the teachers from one of the villages, and three of the teachers, openly mentioned that they were looking for a meaningful religion. Not worried about what others might thing, Dr. Jorge took the opportunity to share with them how meaningful his relationship with God is and how he offers that to all of us. He also encouraged and challenged them to keep on investing in the kids of the community. He preached at church a few times, did health exams in communities where there is no doctor, played games with the kids, and made sure all the needs of our team were met.

I give credit to all you short-term-teamers out there. I feel like this trip has been the most draining week in my eight months of missionary work here in Bolivia. ‘Though I wouldn’t trade it for the WORLD!! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to see more of Bolivia, hang out with kids, learn from my teammates, get out of my comfort zone.

Umm…there’s so much more I could write right now…but I imagine I’ll add some more by the time I post this. I’ll also try to post some PICTURES on my foto blog!!

Thanks for hanging in there!!


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