January has been full! The girls are on summer vacation and that always changes things up, but it has been nice for all of us to have a break from school and enjoy a slower routine.
We went to Sucre to visit the church there. We had not been in a year but in a lot of ways its like going home. It was great seeing people and seeing how the church continues forward. It has been hard for them to not have missionaries there, but at the same time they are continuing and learning how to do things. It is encouraging to see.
(Left to right top: Pilar LOVED being with her friends in Sucre; Celebrating the birthday of Nathaly. Left to right bottom: One night of the conference; Pilar and Catalina in the main plaza on the Sucre Lions. )
I was asked to give a three day seminar and, having heard some feedback from some members, decided to do a resume on the book "Searching for the Pattern" by John Mark Hicks. It's a book about the author's "journey in interpreting the Bible" specifically coming from a Church of Christ background. It's a really good book and it was perfect for the church in Sucre. I will probably end up doing a seminar or series on it here in Tarija. The Sucre church was encouraged by our visit and I hope we can go more often.
I needed to move Pilar to a different school before the school year starts in February. She is sad that she needs to change schools and I am sad for her. She had made really good friends at her old school and it's another change after a lot of changes in the last couple of years. The reason I decided to change her is because she will be done with elementary school in two years (she is going into 5th grade) and high school (7-12th) is in the afternoon at her school. That would mean that Catalina, who is six years younger would be in the morning and Pilar in the afternoon and would never see each other which I don't want. Also it would be really complicated for my work. Schools are extremely hard to get into here. A lady from church, Elvira, has been helping me since last November to try and get Pilar into the school her kids had gone to. Having someone with connections to the people in charge is one of the only ways to get kids into schools here, especially if they are transferring schools. This school doesn't have high school in the morning either but is connected to a school that does and supposedly kids from this school get first pick at that high school. I walked to the school at 4 in the morning to get in line on the day of registration and was first there which was surprising as some lines start the night before. There was only 3 spaces open for her grade and the director said straight out that the only reason Pilar was getting one of the spots was because Elvira, who she knows, was standing right by me. I'm praying this change will be good for the family in the long run and that Pilar will make some really good friends. Please pray for her.
This week Catalina (Zeineth goes mostly by Catalina now) and I went to La Paz for her appointment with the US embassy to apply for her tourist visa. I was thankful that, although Catalina acted tired, she didn't get sick from the altitude. Catalina is full of energy but she handled the lines and waiting very well. It took a more time for us as they looked into my background with Pilar and couldn't figure out why I was asking for a tourist visa and not citizenship like I did with Pilar. With Pilar I waited the full two years that is required for citizenship before going to the States. Since we haven't been to the States for three years, I decided to apply for a tourist visa that will allow us to go to the States and not wait the two years before applying for her citizenship. In the end we were approved and we got her passport and visa mailed to us very fast. Now it's figuring out when to go to the States with two kids in school but I'm glad it's possible now.