Monday, June 30, 2008

A Look At Our House-Courtesy Of Google Maps


View Larger Map

In the previous post I mentioned the valley of Cochabamba. Click on larger map, satellite imagery, and then zoom in and out. You can see not only the terrain of the Andes Mountains, but also the size of the city all the way down to our little three bedroom concrete bunker....I mean house.

Pretty cool huh?

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Go Take A Hike!



Ben took me serious when he disturbed me for the 1,000th time the other day. I turned to him and said, "Dude, go take a hike!"

Well, he did. As you can see by the photo, he started walking North...straight out of the city and straight up the mountain....and up...and up...and up. Cochabamba sits in a valley, with a mountain range on every side. The mountains are 14,000 to 16,500 feet high. Our house is at about 9,000ft. Ben and some other people decided that they did not like breathing, so they went to climb the highest peak, called Mount Tunari.

It was an all day affair. Ben said that the climb wasn't that difficult...it was just walking uphill, except for, in his words, "The part that could kill you if you slipped." That makes a parent feel good!

Anyway, Ben said that all you had to do was keep walking, one foot after the other. But after about 14,000 ft they had to keep stopping. No one was tired, but no one could breathe. They were all gasping and gasping. Ben said that he will never take breathing for granted again.

Another thing happened. They had hired a guide to take them to the peak. Well, Mount Tunari has two peaks...the one Ben is on and the other one behind him. They were supposed to go to the other one, but the guide got lost. They found out as they approached the wrong peak that this was the first time he had been a guide (although he did not lie...this fact was not disclosed before the climb). There was a turning point, a pivotal decision had to be made and he went the wrong way. Due to weather and time, they were not able to backtrack and go to the right peak. I told Ben that he, Jacob, Caleb and I will do it in the summer (it is winter now). Only this time we will make sure we have a good guide.

I see a couple of lessons to learn from this little excursion. First of all, how often do we take for granted the little things in life...things we never think about until they are gone? Ben couldn't breathe....but this was the first time he had even thought about breathing since moving to Bolivia. God blesses us constantly, in thousands of ways....and many times we just suck the air in and go about our business. One in particular that I have been thinking about lately is the importance of friends and family. What a blessing! Relationships, sharing struggles, victories, laughter and tears! It is incredible to have the ability to walk through life with your family, spouse, children, siblings and the family of God.

But do you take it so much for granted that you don't think about it or do it? I know that I did not miss it until moving to the mission field where suddenly the language barrier stopped the development of relationships. Praise God for my family!

Another thing that we actually used in a family devotion. It makes a big difference who you decide to follow! The guide passed himself off as knowledgeable. He seemed like the right choice. He even charged them for the privilege of following him. Yet, he did not know what he was doing. How often do we follow the crowd, a political leader, image, ideology or religion without really checking into the credentials of the leader? Are we following a person or a group of people because they are right? Or is it because we think that they will lead us to our emotional end that we desire? Or is it just because? God has given us the Holy Spirit, and the Book Of Truth-The Bible, to guide us in our ethical, moral and...well in all of our decisions. Do we use it?

Just thinking in Bolivia!

Joe

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Going To School Living In Bolivia

Jacob begin college. He is now attending Moody Bible, with an intent to major in Musis and minor in Missions, or vice/versa...he isn't sure which he wants to be the King Of The Hill. I told him that maybe he is going to be a Musicionary...someone that uses music to reach and teach other people groups (this may be a made up name :)).

But the cool thing is that his classroom is almost 4500 miles away from his school. To our joy, Jacob has decided to stay on the mission field for another year. He will participate in our family, help out with the homeschooling of the other kids (he did a huge part of the teaching of the little guys this year, and is, along with Denise, teaching Hope how to read now), and be engaged in ministry. He currently plays on two worship teams and helps do the setup/takedown of our church worship service. Moody Bible offers fully acredited classes on line. Jake is taking Philosophy and Computer Science on line this first semester...hopeing to ease into the heavier academic demands of college.

We praise God and are thankful to Jake for his decision to stay with us! Pray for him as he seeks to discern God's plans and purposes and adjust his life to them.

When we homeschooled Jake, we actually coined a nickname for him. He always did his school in his Pajamas. As a matter of fact, if he isn't going anywhere and no one is coming over...he will sometimes stay in his pajamas all day long. From the time he was little, we called him Pajama Boy Jake---or---you can see it already PBJ.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here is a picture of Jacob on his first day of college..actually in his first minute of college. He logged onto the class and I snapped his photo. You will notice that he is in his pjs! He is also in a sweatshirt because it is winter here and the houses have no heating except what you can put on your head. :)

Jacob...we love you!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mami Está Aqui!!!!

Mom finally came home! Her two week was extended due to circumstances and flight availability. She had a great time in the States, but boy did we miss her here! Thank you to everyone that hosted her, gave us gifts for the baby, the baby shower, dinners, lunches, money, etc. You guys made her time in the United States wonderful. Our house has turned from a structure into a home. There is just something about having mom here. She gives an emotional support and stability to everything, much like Isaiah says, “"As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem." (Isa 66:13)

Here are a few photos of her return. We were waiting at the airport. We got there about 45 minutes early, and then her plane was almost an hour and a half late.  So many people had seen the family by then that they actually stayed to watch the reunion. I kid you not, when the children hugged Denise and gave her flowers, the entire airport begin to applaud, laugh and cheer! It was funny. We did not know how to respond, so we just smiled and waved.

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