Wednesday, July 4, 2007

More on the Conference and Widow Makers

Happy Independence Day my fellow Americans!!! It is strange to not be celebrating our country's independence today. To not be with friends and family eating hot dogs, watermelon and swimming not to mention shooting off fireworks and traipsing to Franklin Park to watch even more fireworks is more difficult than I thought it would be. I miss it. I miss the celebration. I miss people reflecting on how wonderful our nation is despite all it's shortcomings. I miss the honor we give to those who came before us to make our nation "One nation under God with liberty and justice for all". Here in jest the missionaries from Great Britain call today the Day of Great Rebellion from the Queen's Most Rebellious Colonies. They are wearing black. It's all in good fun as we jest back. Still I miss celebrating with you all.

Well I suppose I must update you on which mattress I chose. Actually, Joe and I shared the hard as a 2 by 4 one. Yes we shared a twin mattress. I haven't done that since our days back at the church camp in Grand Lake, Colorado (circa mid to late 1990s). At least we shared it for the first few hours. Then I decided that it would be better for both of us if I rolled off onto the one that felt like an air mattress that has sprung a leak. It's not an air mattress. It only felt like it because it was so soft. It's so soft in fact I was actually touching the floor through the mattress. It enveloped me and I went back to sleep. Yesterday one of the coordinators of the conference made an announcement that they had extra cardboard for anyone who wanted it. They had put cardboard on the tile floor beneath the mattresses to help keep the cold from seeping through. I told Joe I was going to ask for more cardboard just so I could double the thickness of my mattress. :) We went to bed last night by 10:30. It's the earliest I remember going to bed in YEARS. We decided it would be best so we could make up for all the sleep we weren't going to get. The small electric heaters help keep our room warm. We had to buy them for our house since the younger kiddos would wake up with hands and feet that were like little ice cubes. We got them just in time to bring them here and boy are we glad we did. Back when we lived in Colorado we bought an expensive THICK down comforter one Christmas as a 'splurge'. It has served us very well over the years and is still in great condition. I believe that it is the best possession that we brought with us.

It was our first full day of the conference. It was a great day. Here are a few of the highlights:

Hope threw up after being spun around one too many times on the swing. Actually the kiddos are having a wonderful time. There is a missions team here from Wheaton, IL running the children's program while the adults attend the conference. The missions team is a team of families which we think is really exciting. It's so neat to see families on mission trips together. We hope someday some of you will do the same and bring a team of families down here. Our kids are having all kinds of fun meeting other MKs and are thoroughly enjoying the team especially since they brought American snacks!! M & Ms, Snickers, Twinkies, and American cereal. I haven't seen a happier group of kiddos in a while. They said "We have snacks all the time!! We made a car and ate it!" What a hit! Even the teens are thrilled. One of our kids even won a pocket knife which he's already had to have taken away. As much as they are missing Sandy Cove, it's nice that they have this to enjoy.

It's been great for Joe and I as we are getting to know missionaries from around Bolivia. There have been lots of great moments, but by far the greatest one has been praying with them. SIM's motto is 'By Prayer' and it's a joy to see that they mean it.

Another highlight of the day was discovering the secret of a 'widow-maker' since this is the only kind of showers here at the school. (See earlier post to explain what this is.) If you remember a widow maker works by heating the water with 220 volts of electricity as it comes through the showerhead. This doesn't give too much time for it to heat the water, so the more water you have the colder the water is. If you want it to be hot (again I use this term very loosely) you must have it only trickle out of the shower head. The more pressure you have the colder it is. That's the secret. I tried it tonight and the theory proves true. I was able to take a shower without absolutely freezing even though the girls' locker room where I took the shower has windows that are permanently open to the 35ish degree weather outside. At our new house Seth and Jake have a widow maker in their bathroom and we thought it was broken. But now we know the truth.

As I said before, it's interesting meeting and hearing from SIM missionaries from all over Bolivia. Cochabamba and Santa Cruz are among the nicest cities in Bolivia as far as living conditions go. So we are truly spoiled compared to those who live and work out in the Alto Plano and in the campo. They think that the school where we are staying with it's mattresses on the floor, running cold water, widow makers and toliets that we must bundle up and walk to in the middle of the night is Club Med while we think we're 'roughing it'. Even many of the houses that we looked at in Coch when we were house hunting didn't have hot water. It makes us realize how truly spoiled we all are in the United States and even here in Coch compared to the rest of Bolivia.

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