I don't want this to be one of those "Poor me I'm a missionary and my life is so hard" spots. Truly I feel honored to be a missionary and I have no idea what suffering is. There are people all over the world who go to bed hungry, don't have any food to feed their children and are literally tortured for no other reason than they identify themselves with our Lord. So, I will attempt to keep my whining to a minimum seeing as how I have a blessed life beyond belief. However today we did have a disappointing day. We went to meet with the owner of the apartment we hope(d) to rent. We thought we were going to sign the contract and begin moving in at least by early next week. Instead we met with the owner and a couple of 'homeowner association' leaders who had concerns about the size of our family, that our kids would be at home all day and not go out to school, that we would use too much water (which is a commodity in Coch), and that we might be too noisy. Amalia and Antonio who are both Bolivians that work at the SIM Bolivia office (here: Mission Andina Evangelica) went with us to help us out with the meeting. Amalia with translation and Antonio with advice and help with the contract. Amalia told the ladies what a good family we are and that our kids are well-behaved, that we run a well disciplined ship, and we are 'tranquil'. (Ok, so she doesn't know us too well yet.) After voicing their concerns and hearing our answers and Amalia's sales pitch, the two ladies relented and said they thought we would be okay. They said they could tell we were good people (read: have money). At this point we were hesitant though. We don't want to move in where we're not wanted and don't want to be blamed for anything that might go awry at the apartment building. We met with Amalia and Antonio privately and asked their advice. They both agreed that it wasn't a good way to start a relationship with the people in the apartment and they might just be complainers and find opportunities to complain about us even if we don't give them reason. We agreed and decided to tell them now we weren't sure we wanted to live there. After the two ladies left, the owner stayed to talk with us. She said she had no problem with us living there and that we would have no problem with her. She said she wouldn't rent the apartment to anyone else until we decided what we wanted to do.
So now I guess we're back to square one. Tomorrow we begin looking at houses again. We've been in the guesthouse for 4 weeks and 1 day today. We're really ready to find a place and settle in here in our new home. We know that God is in control and He will provide for our needs. We are not wavering at all in our belief that Coch is exactly where God wants us. He is the One who rewarded us with our children and He is the One who will provide for us all. We know in light of eternity this is nothing and it really is only a small setback. But as Joe said we can know we are right where we are supposed to be, that God will provide for us, that we will find a house and look back on this as a small 'blip' and yet today we still feel sad and disappointed.
On a happier note, we met a man who owns a store in La Cancha and it seems to us that God is at work in his life. He found out we were here as missionarios and wanted to know what we believed. He said that he did not consider himself a Christian, but that he did believe in God. We are praying for him. His name is Ismael. Please pray along with us. He agreed that we could come by and talk to him some more. He knows very little English, but is eager to learn and said he would help us with our Spanish. Pray that God will continue to work in his life and that his eyes would be open to the truth.