Wednesday, July 02, 2014

And then we went to Bolivia ...

The beginning of this summer has been full of big events, one after another in rapid succession.  The wedding.  Then my dad, who had a bad fall the week before the wedding, had hip replacement surgery and we were back and forth several times to see him. And then, we went to Bolivia.

Now, I am home and it is quiet and I look ahead and see not big happenings but small, daily, routine regularity.  The incessant barking of dogs at night in Malasilla has been replaced by the constant hum of cicadas; high altitude with its dry, cool, thin air by sultry, humid, hot days with the threat of afternoon thunderstorms.  The daylilies are still blooming and the garden desperately needs weeding.  I have a large quilt to finish and plans to make for family gatherings and work in the weeks ahead.

But for today, for this next weekend, I am moving slowly, telling myself it is just fine to sit on the porch and read for a long stretch and then perhaps close my eyes and rest.  I can do a little here and there and not worry about making or checking off lists.  I can wander in the garden and pull a few weeds but I am not going to start on any big project in earnest just now.  It is time to rest.

I almost didn't go to Bolivia.  I had thought I would stay home and mind things here while Coty and Joel went, but strong encouragement to come from my dear friend, Lisa, and the changes in plans of others who had previously considered making the trip, leaving a smaller group than originally expected, prompted me to just say yes and go.

We went as a team from our church - not to build a building or hand out food or anything like that. We went to hang out with SIM missionaries at their annual Spiritual Life Conference.  Coty spoke every morning during the week on the Sermon on the Mount and while he did that with the moms and dads and older adults and single college student summer interns, the rest of us played with the children.  We brought a five day Bible Club curriculum which we worked our way through in the mornings, but mostly we colored and read books, played silly, impromptu games and  rolly-ball (an old Pinckney stand-by, made up years ago when we had a house full of little people).  We held little ones on our laps and pushed them around on bikes in the courtyard.  Some of our group spent time with the teens reading and discussing a book. We went on walks, played basketball, ate meals all together in the dining room, drank coca tea, and gazed across hillsides with small farms, sheep, and eucalyptus trees.  It was a week of getting to know the wider SIM Bolivia family.

Each of us that went feels richer and more deeply appreciative of the challenges faced by the folks we met, who, compelled by the love of Christ, live and work in a culture not their own.

The conference week was bracketed by two weekends in La Paz with the Miser family.  We did touristy things - shopping in the city market area, riding the new Teleferico (well, some did.  Joel was violently ill that morning, so he and I laid low at the apartment) hiking, eating out at Scotty and Lisa's favorite restaurants.  We also just enjoyed normal life with them - cooking, eating, washing dishes, playing games, meeting their friends, hauling water when there was no running water in the house, drinking coffee.  The time with Scotty, Lisa, Natty, and Jubilee gave us more insight into their specific challenges and knit our hearts even more closely together.  We miss them a LOT already!

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