Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MILESTONES

April and May are months that mark some very important milestones for us. 

April 15, 2012 = One year of ministry together in Bolivia

April 14, 2011
All our bags were packed to the very last pound that regulations would allow. My guitar case was securely (and perhaps excessively) taped and ready for the "fragile handling" of the airline employees. We had our tearful hugs and goodbyes and headed toward the security checkpoint. As I set my wallet and shoes into the bin I realized a couple things. The next time I'd put money in that wallet it would be Bolivianos (currency of Bolivia). And in 3 connecting flights later, those shoes would be stepping out onto Bolivian soil which we would then be calling "home". 

I still remember the deep peace we had getting on that plane out of the Omaha airport. This wasn't a peace that had just come naturally. In the months leading up to our departure Molly's father and my mother were both diagnosed with a similar form of lymphoma (Cancer of the lymph-nodes). This hit both of our families very hard. It was truly one of those catalyst moments when God asks that toughest question. "Do you REALLY trust me"? God was calling us to an important ministry to the people of Bolivia and asking us to leave our families in the palm of His hand. By stepping on that plane we were saying to God, "We trust you to be fully in control just as you always have been". Praise God both Molly's father and my mother were able to receive chemo-therapy treatments and have been in remission for many months now. We still find ourselves faced with that question from God. "Do you REALLY trust me"? In fact we're faced with it often in the midst of our next milestone.

May 5, 2012 = 2 months directing "New Hope Tutoring Center"

If you receive The Evangelical Challenge magazine then you may have read our article in the most recent issue. It talked a little bit about this new ministry that we are diving into. God has blessed in great ways as we have partnered with the Santa Cruz District of the Bolivian Holiness Church in reaching out to a community in need. Several years back, Molly formed a vision in her mind of a tangible way to reach and teach Bolivian school age children. That vision has really taken shape in the last several months. On March 5, 2012 we had our opening day at Nueva Esperanza (New Hope).
That first week was filled with a bit of chaos as we tried to get all the children to fill out registration forms, take pictures, and to get acquainted with the schedule of the center. Several things have been tweaked since those first days, but we have fallen into a comfortable and familiar day to day.
We show up right around 1 pm in order to set up all the tables, chairs, and boxes with materials for teaching. The center is officially open from 2-5 pm Monday through Friday, though some kids start showing up around 1:30pm. The tables are divided by grade level and on an ideal day we are able to have one volunteer at each table. We have a good core group of volunteer teachers from a few of our churches, but we constantly pray for more people to step up to the challenge.
The basic schedule is homework assistance from 2-3:30 with varied game breaks,which Bryan leads, for each class. If at 3:30 there are students completely finished with their homework they are rewarded with the "activities table" where they can color or play with a variety of different board games. At 4:30 we have daily devotional time which is lead by one of our volunteers and then we end the day with a small snack (usually kool-aid and cookies or fresh fruit).

Here are a few highlights from the past 2 months
Cleaning up the lot before the first day




Molly teaching the devotional during the first week

Look how they hang on her every word

Group picture in front of the sign

Another one with the sign and a handful of volunteers


Fellow missionary Gordon Elliott volunteers 2 days each week
and here he is leading the devotional

An "interesting devotional illustration" for the story of Samson

Giving directions for games with the 3rd and 4th graders



Ernesto just being silly

Bryan and Moises working on Math homework

Doug Burrows having a "deep conversation" with one of the 1st graders

Puppet show on Day of the Child

Behind the Scenes


Giant colorful parachutes are always a bit hit



Doug Burrows helping make self-portrait puppets

Boys with their self portrait puppets on Day of the child.

Molly and Doug serving snack

Bryan drawing a picture for his "buddy" Leonel.

and the most important milestone...

May 29, 2012 = 2 year wedding anniversary
You know how sometimes you look through an old yearbook or just see a couple walking down the street and think, "How in the world did THAT guy get THAT girl?" Well speaking as "THAT guy", I'm not asking questions. I'm simply enjoying how incredibly blessed I am to be spending my life with the most amazing woman I've ever known.


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