Sunday, April 22, 2012

Feliz Cumpleaños Sarita!

On Saturday we had an invitation to celebrate the first birthday of Sara Carolina. This little one is set apart in our congregation because of her story. She not only belongs to her adoptive family but also to the entire church body. At less than two weeks old she was brought to the church by an elderly woman and left with the ladies at the weekly ladies meeting. Over the past year she has been adopted by one of the women in the church and has become a regular on Sunday morning. It has been fun to watch her grow and share a bit in her story.

Saturday we attended Sara's first birthday party. The invitation said the party would begin at 1:30 pm. When we arrived no one else appeared to be around so we headed back home. Around 1:50 we headed back down and joined the decorating crew! After much preparation and waiting, the party started at 3:15 pm. We were thankful for the delay so that Nathan and Lydia could join us "right on time" after her nap!

Part of the decorating committee

We celebrated in traditional Bolivian style including: lots of balloons, a couple of clowns, jello, cake, games and fellowship. Over all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There was a slight melt down when our girls couldn't get in the crowd to grab goodies that fell from the piñata. But after some tears, and the generosity of some of the older kids, all was right in the world again.

Jello: a party "must have"

With the birthday girl

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter in Bolivia, take 2

Our second Easter in Bolivia.  What can we say?  Well, to start, it was much, much different than last year.  During Easter 2011, we had only been in Bolivia about 2 months.  Kaylee was dealing with a pretty severe case of initial culture shock/stress.  We went on a weekend retreat with our church, which turned out to be a very tough experience. 

One of the hard balances to find as missionaries is between becoming a member of the host culture and retaining our culture of origin.  For us, Easter is one of the biggest days of the year, especially as believers.  Here in Bolivia, many evangelical churches (including ours) do not celebrate it at all!  It's not wrong, just different.

Because we did nothing special last year, we decided to make this year different.  We found out that our church was going to do a campout for the annual retreat.  Because of the kids, unknown conditions, and other factors, we (wisely) decided that only I would attend for part of it, and the rest of the week would be spent celebrating the Resurrection in a way that is meaningful to us.

Kaylee recently purchased a new flannelgraph and our inaugural story was the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday.  We continued using it throughout the week in our daily Bible story time, and the girls love it!!

We also sprang for white eggs (very unusual here) for dyeing:

On Friday morning, I loaded up in the back of a truck with a bunch of friends and headed out for Pairumani Ecological Park:

I took a very heavy 80-pound duffel and had to haul it up a 1/2 mile, 21% slope.  But it was worth it!  I took tarps (boy were they handy!) and several tools that made their way all over camp, being helpful.  There were 36 tents in camp, plus my hammock.  We were split into 6 groups.  Here's my team's encampment:

Using the hatchet I brought, several friends and I made ourselves useful cutting down dead eucalyptus.  I have a feeling that after this weekend, my friends have a much better understanding of who I am.  I really am more comfortable in the woods than in town!

My sleeping situation was very unusual.  Everyone was worried that I'd get cold, even after I assured them that I have slept this way in Montana, below freezing.  I was quite comfortable, and probably slept better than anyone else, considering the rockiness of the ground.

On Saturday afternoon, we got a whopper of a rain storm.  My team was thankful for my tarps, and many others came to enjoy our fire (more pictures!).

 When I got home, I discovered that Kaylee and the girls had been having fun as well, exploring some of our culture's Easter silliness:

On Sunday morning, we did another flannelgraph story about the Resurrection, and turned the girls loose to look for eggs in the living room (yes, more pictures!):

The highlight of the weekend was church, followed by lunch with a few other missionary families.  Because our host church was still in the woods, we took advantage of the opportunity to go to a different church.  We chose to go to the Cochabamba International Church and thoroughly enjoyed our first church service in English in 15 months.  We enjoyed singing familiar songs and an excellent sermon. 

Not only was it a blessing, it demonstrated to me, personally, the importance of being taught in your heart language!