After two months of cold wintery weather trailing us all the way almost to Miami, Florida we were greeted by beautiful Bolivian weather. The sun was shining, the air was warm but not humid, the breeze was blowing and the trees and plants looked as though it had rained each day that we had been gone. We so much loved our time in the United States with all of our loved ones, friends, family and supporters, but we as a family were surely ready to get back home. We arrived last Wednesday so we have been here for about a week and a half now. The kids are doing wonderful and even getting themselves back on a normal sleeping and eating schedule thanks mainly to Katie's hard work and we too are stepping back into life here in Bolivia. We even took the plunge and are having business cards made after having lived here for four years! Upon returning that was something we had always seemed to put off that we just decided needed to get done immediately upon getting back to Bolivia.
As a matter of fact at this very moment Katie, Jubilee, and Malakai just walked in the door with their new carnets which are Bolivian ID cards. They had tried to pick them up before leaving for the states in December but they were not ready. We are thankful to God that He is constantly at work in our lives even in regards to our paper work! Also, right now Katie and the kids just went up to see Roland Bowen of Brownwood who arrived today and will be here for about a week. We are also very thankful for Roland's time with us here in Bolivia.
I have been busy since we arrived getting things set up for my last semester of my MA program which entails a student teaching experience, a comprehensive test and two major projects due by May. Please pray for my sanity and that of Katie :) On a more serious note, I do ask for your prayers that I would be able to balance ministry, family and school in a way that glorifies God.
I also ask special prayers for my Grandmother Leyda who has lost three siblings during the past year and I know that it has been extremely hard for her. The third sister to pass away passed just this week and I know that Grandmother is sad and rejoicing at the same time. I wish I could be there but I am so thankful for my wonderful sisters Darla and Mandi who are there with their great husbands and beautiful children. Along those lines I have a major prayer of thanksgiving regarding my little sister Mel who just got notice that she will be offered a transfer to Rogers, AR and she and her husband Chris will now be in the same town as my other sisters and their families very soon. This is great news and we are happy for Mel in both her professional achievements and for her personal growth as well.
Concerning the work here in Bolivia, as usual there is much to tell and not enough time or space. Let me begin with painting you a picture of our first Sunday back in Cochabamba. As people trickled in during the service the meeting room became fuller and fuller. At the beginning of service we had already greeted several people we had not seen but by the end of service there were many many more people who had arrived. I was asked to lead singing on Sunday so I was able to express how happy we were to be back and share communion with our brothers and sisters in Bolivia. As my eyes scanned to crowd, I noticed the faces of three individuals who have been attending worship service and other activities for quite some time now. Betty and Walter who are parents of Wendy and grandparents of Arianna who was one of the young ladies we lost in the accident were in the audience that day. The difference was that on this day Betty and Walter had now been baptized into a new life with Jesus and words cannot express how happy my heart was at that moment to see how God is transforming lives in this city. I know that Arianna would have been so happy for her grandparents!
Additionally, my eyes fell upon another new sister whose name is Giovanna. Jovi as we call her for short has also been worshiping with us for quite a while now but had also made the decision to begin a new life in Christ while Katie and I were gone. Jovi is a young woman whose office is now in our apartment building and therefore we have the blessing of getting to see her often. One of our favorite memories of Jovi is from one day when Katie was getting a little worried about the flower and mama bear costumes she was to come up with for the next day for Jubilee and Malakai's play at school, Jovi popped in and helped Katie create two wonderful costumes. Jovi is indeed a creative self starter and we know that the Lord has great plans for her new life of service and ministry. Please pray for Betty, Walter and Jovi in their new walk with Christ, that they may continue strong and come to know one day in fullness the spiritual riches they have been given.
That is all for right now. Not because that is all there is to say but because that is probably more than what you wanted to know :) In closing, we send our love and askk that God continue to bless you as well.
Jeff & Kt