In November we celebrated Thanksgiving with people here. Although it is not a holiday here, some have heard about it through friends or movies and last year we had a great turn out. We were expecting a bigger turn out this year but ended up having about the same number of people – around 30 people not including the team. We invited people we know from our neighborhoods, for the kid’s school and from the university… basically we invited everyone we knew. It was a good excuse to get together and get to know people better and enjoy the blessings of community.
We were blessed in November to have Fernando and Patricia Sandoval come and stay with us and visit with the team for a couple of days. They were missionaries in Cochabamba, Bolivia for many years and before that, they were missionaries in Chili and Argentina. They are a beautiful and wise couple and Pilar and I especially miss them since they moved to the States. It was an extra gift that they came in November because when they lived in Cochabamba, we would go there for Thanksgiving any year we were in Bolivia during that time. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with them while they were here, but it was nice to see them during this season.
The government announced the end of the school year earlier than was expected or planned (probably due to unrest in Santa Cruz and in other parts of the country). Ironically, since they announced the end of the school year, there have been nothing major happening anywhere outside of Santa Cruz. But kids got out on the 25th instead of the 8th of Dec. I decided to go to Sucre with Pilar for a couple of days to visit. The last time was in September of 2021 so it was way past due to go. It was like going home. We were only there for about 5 days but we got to see a lot of people. I gave the talk in a women’s group and Pilar was with her 4 friends almost the whole time. It was great. The church seems to be doing well and I saw a lot of things that were encouraging.
With Rosana, Eli and Carl at El Camino in Sucre; Pilar with her friends at the Jurassic Park dinosaur museum.
The only down side to the trip was my decision to bus it. It’s about an 11 hour bus ride but for about $11 a person/ each way it’s a good deal. I’d bused to different cities a lot before having Pilar but had never done it with her. Because we now live in the southern part of the country instead of close to the middle, bussing is not a good option for us because most cities would talk over 20 hours to get there. Sucre is the closest main city to us. Anyways, Pilar is a champion traveler. Long trips in the car in the States she handles amazingly. Long plane ride also are easy for her. She’s been on trains and even boats and been fine. But Bolivian travel on bus over the mountains did her in. She didn’t feel well at all from the get go of going to Sucre and threw up a couple of times. I talked to people and received some helpful tips while in Sucre and I did them all- even giving her medication for motion sickness, and it seems to help at the begging, but she still ended up throwing up and feeling miserable. The roads are so incredibly curvy here and the drivers take the curves at a higher speed than they probably should. She survived and I learned that we have to fly if we travel in Bolivia.
Poor girl, got sick with a flu or strain of Covid when we got home (a lot of people had had it in Sucre and in Tarija) so she was knocked out for a couple of days with high fever, feeling dizzy and body aches, but she is better now and it didn’t last too long.
We are going to be praying and fasting on Monday the 19th and praying for the ministry here and for hearts to be touched by God’s truth and for God to bring conviction and growth here in Tarija. If anyone wants to join us, we would love for you to join us.
May God’s presence and power be seen in and around our lives as we remember His absolute love and gift in sending His son to be born in a manger for us.