Friday, July 21, 2006

Contact Center Pics

This is the outside view. Our space is what is located behind the parked truck. The other side is going to be a medical laboratory of some sorts.
This is the patio of our neighbors occupying property in the same building. Our patio is exactly the same being divided only by a planter where you can see the flowers. Our patio is the same but the truck was parked in it.
This is a view from the back of the space. It is hard to tell in the picture but the room is quite long and so we are having partitions built to divide the space up into a reception area, a reading room, and two office spaces in front of the stairs. The picture is taken from what will be a larger room for Bible Institute classes and worship service until we find a more permanent place for the church to meet. Upstairs above the large room is a space where three more offices will be located. These offices will be important for doing Bible studies, for the Bible Institute and for the Community Outreach Program.

Good Health Report!!

Hey to all of you out there. I wanted to let all of those prayer warriors out there know that our God has heard and responded in a mighty way. Katie is still battling the infection but it is healing very well. We went to the doctor on Tuesday and the report was very encouraging. Please share with us in giving thanks to God and continuing to ask for Katie's health. Thank you so much to all who have been praying for her.

Additionally, I am posting today some pictures directly on the blog and also on our dropshots page of the contact center that we are currently remodling. To remind everyone, the contact center is going to be a very big a part of our work initially. We have already had some people walk in off the street and we have no signage or anything up yet. The Lord, I believe, has led us to a very strategic spot and we are hoping that many people will come to study the Bible through means of this contact center.

Another important piece of news is that the Chesser family from Austin Avenue arrived safely yesterday. Gary had gone to Santa Cruz to make the last leg of the trip with them to Cochabamba. Rodney, Tracie, Chelsea and Ruthie had a safe and uncomplicated trip except perhaps for running out of diapers in the Miami airport which proved to be a bit of an adventure, but they worked it out and are to be here with us for 10 days. We also are giving thanks for their safe trip and for their encouraging presence among the team these next few days.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sipe Sipe Festival de la Virgen del Carmen

These two photos are of the procession held in honor of the Virgen del Carmen in Sipe Sipe. We visited Sipe Sipe on Saturday.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Day in Sipe Sipe

Today Katie, Juji and I visited the town of Sipe Sipe. It is about an hour away if you are traveling by trufi or micro (public transportation). It was a very lovely day in the sun and fresh air of the valle bajo. There is the valle bajo (low valley) on the west side of Cochabamba and the valle alto (high valley) is towards the east. The large city of Quillacollo is in the valle bajo and then the smaller towns of Vinto, and Sipe Sipe are further west.

They were having a celebration in honor of the Virgen of Carmen by chance. We did not know that when we decided to go. The dancers were very elaborately dressed and put much fervor into their procession although the crowd was small. We heard a great deal more Quechua being spoken than we usually do spending the day in the city. There were of course a great deal more women wearing traditional polleras (skirts) with the characteristic straw hats that are common to the department of Cochabamba.

Katie and I sipped coke as we chatted and relaxed watching the parade go by. If we missed part of it, that was no big deal as the whole procession rounded the square plaza always staying within view and hearing distance. One woman selling peanuts had her daughter with her who was about Juji's same age. They said their hellos and both times we passed them freely gave Jubilee peanuts, showing us again how generous the people here are. We didn't know the people at all, but because they saw us with a small child they wanted to share what they had. We often find the people here, especially the Quechua who are selling their products eager to share with Jubilee expecting nothing in return. It makes us reflect on our attitudes of giving and receiving and is a little sobering.

We also would like to announce that our friends and family can now see daily photos (of course most of them will be of Jubilee), but we know you won't mind. Please take a minute and visit

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Maryknoll Graduation

This are pics of the Bulls', Custers', and Julie's graduation ceremony at Maryknoll. We are so proud of their hard work in language school. It was also a nice time to say goodbye to all the friends we had made at Maryknoll. The school was nice enough to also recognize Katie, Josh and I even though we did not actually graduate on that day.

Billy and Trish

Billy Gill has come from Brownwood to live in Cocha for one year. She has previously served teaching English in Monterrey where the Monterrey School of Preaching is located. She has also been a lifelong public school and Bible school teacher. Here in Cocha she is planning on developing a womens prison ministry as well as a ministry for the children of the women who are in prison. She is living in our building on the 7th floor. We are so happy she is here. And of course that is the lovely Trish on the right.

Daddy, Juju and Daniel

This is us at Butch and Trish's house with Daniel. Daniel is engaged to Butch and Trish's daughter Denise. Denise and Daniel visited Cocha in June.

July Happenings and Prayer Requests

Life in Cocha is going well. Katie, Jubilee and I are doing well. Jubilee is just getting over a little cold, it was nothing serious though. We continue to ask for prayers for Katie's health, as you may have remembered she is battling a serious infection. We have been continuing to see the same doctor and he has treated her very well. We do plan on going to the another doctor that Jamie and Julie have been using just to get a second opinion and make sure that everything is being done the way it should. Katie also had a little spill outside our apartment on Tuesday on our way to a 4th of July party and hit her back on the stairs pretty hard. She said that she is feeling better today.

As promised this post will address our contact center, although there are many more things to report. As the time for the public launch of the church in January approaches the team is becoming more and more involved in planning and preparing for that event. One very exciting idea our team came up with was to rent an office space in a highly accessable part of town. The purpose of the space would be multifaceted. Among the uses would be to house a reading center, an area where people can meet on nuetral ground for Bible studies, classroom space for more formal Bible lessons, a meeting area for the congragation as it waits to find a meeting space, and office spaces for the team members. The main idea is to give Cochabambinos a place to walk in and be received and welcomed by the church. We plan to work in shifts so that someone will always be in the contact center during normal business hours. We feel this will really generate alot of contacts leading up to our January launch.

We were fortunate enough to locate a property that is approximately 100 square meters that is right on the Prado which is a very popular strip with restaurants and shops. The Prado also happens to be in walking distance for the Custers, the Sandovals, the Bulls, for Billy Gill and for us. Billy by the way is from the Austin Avenue congregation and she is here to work with the team this year. Billy is living in the same building as us and the Sandovals. Currently, Butch, Gary and I are working on getting the contact center furnished and ready to open by the end of the month. We are meeting today in fact to go over our budget, to talk about what the name of contact center will be and to talk about how to get the word out that the contact center will be opening.

In other news, Josh and Julie were very gracious to have the team in their home for 4th of July celebrations. It is a hard day to be away from family as the 4th is also the birthday of my niece Sage and nephew Cedar, but the Marcum's did an amazing job at making us all feel like we were back home for a little while, complete with hamburgers, Dr. Peppers, potato salad and some good ole' country music. There were also some fellow former Maryknoll students with us as they are still in Bolivia awaiting their visas to go into Venezuela to work as lay missioners with the Catholic church. We had fireworks and some bobbed for apples even though it was quite chilly by the time the sun had gone down.

Also, this past Friday the Sandovals, Marcums, and Bulls as well as us were able to go and play walleyball with a contact named Ramber. For those who may remember Ramber was friends with an elder of the church in Pensacola and when Ramber moved back the elder put us in touch. Gary and I have studied with Ramber off and on and Butch has been able to play raquetball with him a few different times. It was very encouraging for Ramber and his family to receive a visit from the team and I am hoping that it is the beginning of a lasting relationship. Please continue to pray for Ramber and his family that they may continue to grow in their knowledge of the Word and that their knowledge will lead them to decide to follow Christ.

As always thank you to my faithful readers. It means so much that there are people out there who want to know all the details of what is going on and it is very encouraging as well. We wish all of you well in your ministries also.

In Christ,