Friday, May 21, 2010

Cochabamba part. 2

Welcome Back!

After a few days of presentations there was nothing our fearless leader, Jeremy Kochendorfer, would rather do than ride a bus and then hike 8 miles with Kevin and Lisa Hoffman. So we sent them on their merry way to visit Mizque (the town/village that the Hoffmans reside in). Gordon and Niki also departed back to Santa Cruz to make sure they were home so they could vote in their district. 
Yes we were lucky enough to make our visit during the national election time. All the different cities were electing mayors and the advertising was everywhere. Posters plastered the city walls. Giant billboards shown the smiling faces of many candidates. An obnoxious neon green paint ,reminiscent of the ooze from Ghostbusters, could be seen on walls, on overpaces, bridges, and in even in the storm drains that run through the cities.  
I apologize for not getting some great pictures of this advertising. I was taking it all in and often times forgot to snap some shots. 
Here is one example of a billboard in Cochabamba

During our couple of days alone with the Wolheters we had some great time playing with the boys, relaxing, playing many games of Settlers (most of which Molly won) and just enjoying each others company. 
One highlight of the weekend was when we were able to visit the Saturday market with James. Some markets in Bolivia are open everyday, but some are held only on Saturdays. Sometimes the Saturday only markets are cleaner and may have better product. We went later in the morning so by the time we walked through the fish/meat area the smell had become quite pungent. I stared down the row of meat vendors. The vendors were mainly middle aged women with white bandanas holding their hair back, wearing aprons, and wielding very long and narrow knives. James was on a mission to bring home some ground beef, but after looking over the selection, considering the time of day and the fat content he decided that the Wolheter household could wait for their supply of ground beef. 

The produce selection is amazing. Fresh avocados just melt in your mouth. And flowers are very inexpensive. 

I purchased a fresh pomegranate and decided that it is a fruit best used for juice. It was the flavor of a less flavorful starburst with the texture of Corn Nuts. 

Cochabamba part. 1

I am adding a disclaimer to this post. Writing in the "here and now" is much easier than writing about an experience more than a month later. That being said... Life has been somewhat hectic with planning for a wedding, preparing to move to a different state with my new wife, planning for deputation, and working on designs to prepare the mission office for General Conference. I will recall  the experiences to best of my ability and add pictures to help. 

Wednesday March 31, 2010
After the first couple days in Santa Cruz we all set off to the wonderfully beautiful city of Cochabamba to meet up at the Wolheter residence.

Waiting at the Santa Cruz Airport. Sipping some espresso. Molly was behind the camera. 

I had been mentally preparing for months. I was preparing for the moment I would meet "the infamous Wolheter family". Molly had told me numerous times how much I would absolutely love James, Jenny and the boys (Coy, Cy, and Cade). After our short flight from Santa Cruz we exited the plane straight onto the tarmac which was not common for me, but made me feel like an important dignitary or something. We all entered the airport in Cochabamba and retrieved our bags. As we walked out into the lobby/foodcourt area we were bombarded with smiling faces extended arms for hugs and asking to take our luggage. These smiling faces were not only James and Jenny Wolheter, but also Kevin and Lisa Hoffman. Each and everyone one made me feel immediately welcome and as we walked out to the parking lot I wasn't carrying or wheeling a single piece of my own luggage. This display of grace and servanthood made it that much easier to view Bolivia as home.

I made quick friendships with everyone.

We bonded over many games of Settlers of Catan

The time in Cochabamba was filled with fun and games, but also with fun and meetings.
Jeremy Kochendorfer (State side Ministry Coordinator for Evangelical Church Missions) led us all in some good discussion. We all did some bibile study from the book of Acts prior to our meeting together in "Coch". I think each of us got a little something different out of the study and discussion, but it was good to share the common passion for missions and ministry.

To Be Continued...

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