Thursday, July 14, 2011

Winter in July...among other things

Wow how fast a month flies by. A lot has been happening here in Santa Cruz.

A Funeral: A couple from one our churches lost their 11 year old son due to medical complications. More of the story can be found HERE on Gordon Elliott’s blog.
It was the first Bolivian funeral service for both Molly and me. It was an all day commitment. We arrived at the church around 9am and didn't leave the cemetery until about 2pm. It was such an unnecessary loss, but it seems a common thing when people just don't have the money to get the help they need.


A Wedding:  Molly and I embarked on a daunting task of crafting as we agreed to supply over 20 bows for the wedding of Molly’s friend Veronica. I have a new found respect for the establishment of Hobby Lobby. There isn’t really a one-stop shop for all your crafting needs here in Santa Cruz. It took a few more steps and searching in different markets, but we found tulle (that we later cut to the proper width and length ourselves) and ribbon that, amazingly enough, was a good match for the wedding colors. Granted Molly did a majority of the work with actually assembling them and doing the needed “fluffing”. In the end they really made the church look fantastic. 
Wolheter boys
all dressed up for the wedding

Us dressed up for the wedding
The wedding and the reception were both beautiful, but a bit chilly.  

A Change of Seasons: Yes that is right. I said, “a bit chilly”. It is currently winter down here in the southern hemisphere. Now winter in Santa Cruz is of course greatly different from winter in my home state of Iowa. We don’t have snow or sub zero temperatures here, but we also don’t have insulation in our houses or central heat. I kind of laughed at the other missionaries when they said it was going to get cold, but when you have had a couple weeks in the mid to upper 40s, with lots of rain, and with a house made out of brick, concrete and tile, it tends to chill you to the bones. Thankfully the cold didn’t stay too long and it looks to be warming up for a long time. We’re looking for the other extreme here pretty soon. Could be upper 90s with 110% humidity. Now THAT feels more like an Iowa summer.

A Week with Adolescents: Each year World Gospel Mission extends an invite to Evangelical Church Mission in Bolivia to attend their annual retreat. This was Molly’s and my first time participating in this retreat. We went just a little bit out of the city of Santa Cruz to a nice retreat center called Los Cedros. Molly and I were asked to lead the youth program and we enthusiastically accepted. We led the youth in a four-session study entitled “Stressed Out”. It talked about four ways that we experience stress and paralleled with experiences from the life of Abraham in Genesis.
1. Stressed Out by High Expectations
2. Stressed Out by Situations Out of Our Control
3. Stressed Out by Instant Gratification
4. Stressed Out by Loss

The youth responded well to the study and we had great discussion each day. The study was beneficial for us too. As we prepared the lessons we were challenged in our own lives to trust God with everything we stress about. It was a great week and I think everyone felt really refreshed. 


4th of July
campfire for roasting marshmallows

James Wolheter wowed us
with a great fireworks display 

Celebrating America's Independence
While in Bolivia


Jenny Zimmerman and Nathan Brown play a
 "minute to win it" game
 while Mark Elliott watches on the sidelines.

Eva Brown and Haziel Martinez playing
"Cupstacker"

Bryan looks on while youth build
marshmallow and spaghetti towers
for a lesson illustration




A Group of Smiling Georgians: Tomorrow we have a work and witness team arriving from Fort Valley, GA. There are 15 on the team and they will be here for 10 days to do a building project on our district lot as well as help at an afternoon Vacation Bible School at one of our local churches near the district lot. We would appreciate your prayers for safe travel, safe working, and for God to be present in every part.

That pretty much gets you caught up with what is going on with us down here. Aside from special events like weddings and retreats, our weeks are filled with Spanish classes, homework, church services, and just trying to immerse ourselves in the culture. Thank you again for being part of our ministry circle. We couldn’t do anything without your prayers and encouragement. We’ll post some more updates after our time with the work team.

Blessings,
Bryan & Molly Canny

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