Monday, February 07, 2011

Family Newsletter February 2011


In his 1937 movie titled, Waikiki Wedding, Bing Crosby sings a lullaby to a lovely young girl swaying in a hammock who just happens to be named Leilani. The title of the song is “Sweet Leilani”. The name Leilani is a Hawaiian name which means “heavenly flower”. As most of you know by now our own sweet heavenly flower came into this world on January 20th weighing 2.96 kilos.

Leilani Berea Forbess joins her sister Jubilee and brother Malakai who both have shown to be very supportive of mommy and daddy with baby # 3. In fact they often yell at the top of their lungs, “the baby is crying!” just in case we don´t hear her. In general, Leilani is indeed a sweetie and she has even let her mommy and daddy get an occasional two or three hours of sleep in a row .

In all seriousness, we do want to praise our Heavenly Father for this heavenly flower and also because the pregnancy and delivery went so smoothly. At the beginning of the pregnancy we were a little concerned about doctors and we in fact changed doctors when Katie was about 7 months pregnant. It turned out to be a great choice and the Lord led us to a very competent and God-fearing doctor. When we handed her our 2 page birth plan she didn´t blink an eye and she diligently followed all of Katie´s wishes. We invite you to join with us in thanksgiving for the amazing blessing that God has sent our way.


The year of 2010 was quite a significant one in regards to the Lord´s body here in Cochabamba. During 2010 we said goodbye to two of the missionary families who came as part of our original 5 family team. We are thankful for the time and sacrifice given by both the Bulls and the Marcums. We ask you to continue praying for both families during this time of transition. The Bulls have relocated to the Dallas area where they will be working, raising kids and Gary will be pursuing his MBA. Josh and Julie took a job offer to go to work in Ecuador with Josh´s father. Currently Julie is with the girls at her parent´s house in Michigan and Josh is traveling as he works on fundraising and coursework at ACU. Please also continue to remember Julie in prayer as she awaits the birth of their fourth child in April. In other team news, Butch and Trish are doing well. They were blessed with a special visit by their daughter Elina (Denise), son-in-law Daniel and his two parents during the month of January. This was a very encouraging time for the Sandoval´s and we are so thankful they got to have time with their family. We too were blessed by the visit of Linda, Katie´s mother. Linda has been able to witness the birth of all three of our children and be there to help with everything from organizing, to cooking, to spoiling babies and we are so grateful for her.


The year of 2010 also saw some amazing generosity on the part of so many of you our supporters. One such supporter is a dear sister in Christ who donated money to help with our permanent building, student loan payments and two different ministry ideas.

One of those ministries is the purchase of solar cookers for families in need from the congregation and the community. Since October the recipients of these cookers have met once a month for prayer, Bible study and fellowship. We have also had one demonstration of how to use the cookers and will have one more demonstration in March.

The benefits of the solar cookers are two fold. On an individual basis they are easy on the pocketbook because they do not consume any electricity or gas. They only require sunlight for operation. This means the families will save on monthly expenses by not having to buy gas tanks as often for the operation of their stoves.

In a more global sense, the cookers also conserve electricity and gas usage. Each family has until April to save up their half of the cost. As a result of our sister´s contribution, the church is going to supply the other half of the cost of the cookers. If this turns out well, we are very interested in repeating the same idea perhaps in a different neighborhood or in a more rural setting where the impact could be even greater.

The idea of this project was to serve families in need in a physical way that goes beyond a one time bailout and offers a small step towards breaking the cycle of poverty. We also wanted to combine the serving of physical needs with that of serving the spiritual needs of recipients as well. Throughout the project we have kept a strong focus on prayer and study of God´s word.

We solicit your prayers that hearts would be touched through this project and that God would use this ministry in a powerful way.


Well, we couldn´t get Ty and his team to come down to Bolivia for a makeover of the contact center but we are doing our very best to give the contact center a new look. Thanks go to the same generous sister for her contribution, to Katie for her vision of revamping the CC, and also to Butch who has spent countless hours designing and constructing custom made furniture. There are also many others who have helped out with this project. The church members came together the day before Leilani was born to do the bulk of the painting led by Javier, an experienced painter. Gabi, Ronaldo, Wendy and Gonzalo have also pitched in at other times to help.

The idea of the makeover was actually borrowed from fellow missionaries serving in Sucre. In Sucre they have established a wonderful coffee shop type ministry which mainly focuses on college age students. We wanted to take this idea and adopt it to our circumstances making the contact center more open and inviting to both the brethren and people who may stop in off the street.

So far we have gotten a lot done. We have painted the entire downstairs area. The worn out furniture in the front area has been removed and new furniture will soon be purchased. Butch´s corner office has been removed to open up a sitting area in front of the existing coffee bar. Josh´s old office is being converted to a cozy place to read and study. In addition, the old library will be converted to a room which will house a small kitchenette area, sitting area and two small tables for sipping coffee.

On a personal note, I would just like to say thanks to Butch and all the others of the church family who have done so much work. I was not able to be there as much as I should have been due to the arrival of Leilani, but everyone truly came together as a body and the end product is going to be fantastic! Please join with us in prayer that this renovation would play an important part in bringing even more people to know the love of Christ.