Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bolivia: Visiting our friends

Rugged, stark beauty.  Dramatic snow-capped peaks.  Colorful markets.

We did see some beautiful sights in Bolivia, but that's not why we went.   Though we thoroughly enjoyed the "tourist-y" kinds of things we were able to do, we didn't go for the sights.  No, we went for some very special people - our friends, who are missionaries and church planters in the La Paz area, Scotty and Lisa and their daughter, Natalie.

We loved getting reacquainted with almost 3 year old, Natty.  The paints we took (a gift from one of our church members, Amy) were a big hit.

Coty and Scotty left Lisa, Natty and me in Mallasilla on the Thursday after we arrived and rode the bus for three hours to Ouruo, where Coty spoke at a pastor's conference.  

Neither Coty nor I had had any trouble with the altitude until that Friday in Ouruo, when Coty couldn't sleep because of shortness of breath.  When he started shaking uncontrollably, he got worried and woke Scotty up.  Scotty took such good care of him, calling a doctor friend in La Paz and then at the urging of the doctor, going out to find an open clinic (at 3 AM, folks!), and getting Coty there to be treated.  In the clinic, Coty was put on oxygen and before long, he felt much, much better.  It's amazing what can happen to our bodies when our cells aren't getting the oxygen they need - and how quickly they can recover once the oxygen starts flowing in!  After that episode, Coty didn't have any more problems and was able to go on and speak several times the next day - on very little sleep the night before!  Scotty and Coty returned on Saturday night.  We were glad to have them back and to hear the good report of the pastor's conference - altitude induced oxygen deprivation and all.

It was funny in Bolivia to hear the pronunciation of Scotty and Coty.  They rhymed.  Sort of a cross between Scott-y/Cott-y and Sco-ty/Co-ty. 

Coty, Scotty, and Natty at the top of the mountain over looking Mallasilla

The reason I went to Bolivia was to spend time with my friend, Lisa.  It's been a very difficult last year for her.  Their baby son, Zion, who was born premature, died when he was 19 days old.  (you can read more at Lisa's blog, here) We talked a lot about their loss, the grief, the emotions, the hard things.  We talked about other things, too - food, parenting, friends and family, their life and ministry in Bolivia, books, movies, and more.  We sewed some, too.  That was fun!

The whole time I was there, I felt so thankful for the opportunity to be with Lisa in her home - to eat meals together; to cook, wash dishes, do laundry; to walk their streets, shop in their market, visit their favorite playground; to drink coffee in the morning, smell the smells, hear the sounds.

Staying in someone's home and just living life with them brings a special closeness.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have done that now with two of our missionary wives, Lisa and Michelle.  I've been feeling ever since that trip to China in 2009 and now with the trip to Bolivia, that part of God's work for me in missions is simply caring for the missionary wives and moms.  Visiting them in their new home countries is a big part of that.  It is one thing to read an occasional update.  It is something entirely different to "live life" together.

After coming home from Bolivia and time with Lisa and Scotty, I feel better able to pray for them, to advocate for them, to keep them and their needs and concerns before our church family.

I told a few friends before the trip that I was going as a Titus 2 traveler - just an older woman with a passport who can travel light and doesn't mind long plane flights or immigration lines, going to do what older women are supposed to do for younger women.  It's really quite a privilege.


Scotty and Lisa said...

My time with you was such a special gift. Thank you for being willing to endure the plane rides, lack of oxygen, and morning sickness (mine, of course) to bless me so richly!

Trish T. said...

Beth, I barely know you, but I can so see you being that Titus 2 woman to go anywhere and encourage other women. You are definitely suited and gifted for that role. I would love to connect with Lisa since we share a common bond of having a child in heaven. Could you send me her email address or Facebook info? Thanks!