Hello to everyone. Yes, I know it has been way too long since our last blog update and for that I apologize. The good news is that there is lots of good news to report. The Lord continues to hear your prayers on our behalf and on behalf of the work here in Cochabamba. Thanks for your faithful intercession for us and the work of God's Kingdom. I will begin with a few "highlights" and will try during the next few days to continue writing until I have recorded everything worthy of reporting.
We are doing well although the past six months have been challenging. Our main challenges have been trying to keep healthy, keep sane, and keep rested. Obviously with a three and a half year old plus a newborn those three things can be difficult to maintain. As I had mentioned in earlier posts, Malakai had been sick several times with respiratory problems. For the past two months or so, he has been doing much better. We have located a respiratory specialists who specializes with children also. He basically has a combination of asmthatic symptoms and allergies that when coupled with Cochabamba's poor winter air quality make for some breathing difficulities. The doctor has helped us to treat the condition and hopefully the coming of the rainy season in October will also help.
Jubilee is doing well also. She had a four week winter vacation in June/July so she was able to spend lots of quality time with mommy, daddy and Malakai. She is now in her second week back at school and will continue until November when the children have summer vacation. Yesterday she visited a gymnasium with Katie and she really enjoyed her tumbling class so we will probably enrolling her. Jubilee is getting to be such a big girl. We are so proud of both of our children, they are such blessings! She is really missing her friend Mikaela who has been on furlough since the first of June and Nathan as well who just left last week for a short visit with his mommy and baby Grant.
Katie and I are doing well. Malakai lately, has begun taking a bottle for me and Betty which allows Katie so much needed freedom to ocassionally get out of the house and slowly involve herself once again in different ministries. Most recently, Katie along with Trish, Laura and the ladies of the church put on a lovely Ladies Tea. It was a very encouraging time when both church members and visiting ladies were uplifted in song, Bible study, and other activities. One of the best outcomes of the Tea was the participation of the Bolivian ladies. There were four of the Cochabambina ladies who presented character studies on women from the Bible. Gabriella, Sonia, Maggie, and Ofelia all presented lessons which were well received. Another activity that Katie has been involved in along with Trish is a Bible study for new Christian ladies. The group started out small but thankfully has grown. It is held on Thursday nights before the regular CAFE group and has become a mini-CAFE group of its own. Now participating in that Bible study are: Gabriella, Sonia, Maggie, Ofelia, Patricia C. and Palmira in addittion to Katie and Trish. Katie has also been studying with Augustina who because of her job at her beauty salon is unable to come to the study with the other ladies. Lately, Katie has really enjoyed partnering with Laura and Trish and the other ladies of the church family. She is also looking forward to Julie's return as are all the other ladies.
I too have been busy although maybe not as quite as Katie :)! One of my most important ministry outreach activities as been the continuation of the ESL classes using the Bible. In March I began an English class focused on the Life of Christ. We studied from the beginning of March to June 9th every Monday. For that course I had four groups ranging in size from 2 to 14 students in each group. At the very end of the course we had a special graduation dinner for all the students who had completed the course in our home. The course was designed to cover 15 lessons about the life of Jesus. We had so much to talk about and learn that we only completed the first five lessons! After the first course had ended in June, I repeated the course with new students along with the help of our three Harding interns, Heather, Elizabeth and Jacob. The interns did a fantastic job with their students and at the end I was very proud and appreciative of the work that they had done. The second course we offered with the interns got only to lesson 3. So, fortunately I had a great reason to continue the course with all of those who were interested. I combined students from the first course and second course into two groups that meet on Tuesday afternoons. Both groups are going well and currently we are just finishing up Matthew 5 and 6 which have proven to provide great opportunities for English conversation practice and even greater opportunities for sharing the gospel. I praise God for the privilege and joy of teaching these wonderful people about the good news of Jesus.
NEW BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Since the last blog update there have been three new Christians added to the Lord's Body here in Cochabamba. Among them are Bruno, Ofelia and Patricia. Bruno is the 13 year son of Maggie who was baptized earlier this year and began as a student of Butch's Bible Institute classes. Ofelia was the one faithful attendee of the Oasis ministry that I began in March. The Oasis idea did not take off like I thought, but something much better happened which is the birth of a new sister in Christ. Ofelia at the beginning was very torn about her decision because she was employed with another church in town and was very afraid of losing her job. She lost the job partly because of her decision to be baptized but God has worked in her life to continue giving her other forms of employment. She in fact thanks God for all that has happened lately in her life. Ofelia has a daughter Yolanda who is about 11 years old. Patricia made the decision to become a Christian just last week. Her story is also very interesting. She began coming to church through the suggestion of her son Diego who is on a scholarship in Switzerland and was invited by fellow Bolivian students in Switzerland to attend a church of Christ in Gineva, (sorry I forgot how to spell that in English). Patricia somehow found the phone number of Renan Vargas and began visiting worship services. She also began attending the Life of Christ courses I was offering at the time as well as the CAFE groups held at Butch and Trish's on Thursday nights. Please be praying for Bruno, Ofelia, and Patricia as well as their families.
There will be more to come, but for now I will close. I need to go pick up Jubilee at her school.
Love you guys!
La Familia Forbess