Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Three O'Clock and All's Well-ll

Do you remember that line from the old Disney Robin Hood cartoon? "Three o'clock and all's well-ll". That's what our security guards do more or less...really more than less. There are 3 men who watch our street 24-7. It's a father and his two grown sons. So grown in fact that the first time I met one of them I told Joe I had met the dad and he said "No, that's one of the sons". They walk up and down our street in order to deter any crime. The security guards in Bolivia don't carry any weapons. Most just sit in or beside a blue box that looks like a metal port-a-potty. Some, like ours, are more active. They walk up and down the street and carry and blow a whistle. They blow the whistle if they see something amiss or someone doing something they aren't supposed to. That's all well and good. They also blow the whistle every once in a while in order to let the property owners know that they are on the job and not asleep. It's a good idea in theory. However our guards tend to be over zealous with the whistle-blowing. The first night we slept in the house we didn't get much rest, but now we're used to it. Like the other day Joe was telling someone how zealous they were and he said that they blow the whistle every hour. I disagreed and said it was more often. That night we paid closer attention. They blew the whistle at 11:00, 11: 04, 11:15, 11:35, 11:40, 11:47; 11:55 before we stopped counting. They do it in the daytime, too. The second day we were in our house they kept on blowing and we still weren't used to it yet. I told Joe to open the door and yell to them, "We trust you! You don't have to blow the whistle." Of course he didn't. Now we are used to the blowing and it doesn't bother us. We are grateful that they guard our neighborhood so well. They even helped us unload all our groceries from the taxi last week. They are extremely conscientious and also very friendly. Most guards we've seen might mumble a "Buenos dias" if we speak first. Our guards call to us from across the street anytime they see us. They like talking to the kiddos whenever out for a walk. When we went to the conference we were told that we shouldn't leave our house without a house-sitter. We tried to find someone to stay at our house, but most were taken already since all the missionaries needed someone to stay in their houses. We told our ministry coordinator how diligent our guards were and asked if it might be okay if we didn't have someone house-sitting. He talked with the guards and determined that it would be enough that they were watching so closely and knowing we were gone. Sure enough, when we returned the house and its contents were safe and sound. I guess we can put up with the whistle. :)

I also wanted to list a few things that I am grateful for living in Cochabamba. In no particular order they are:

  • Our Lord for calling us to this place and walking daily with us.

  • Our children for being so flexible and adjusting to all they've need to

  • Our big brother and sister here: Allen and Marilyn Andrews, fellow missionaries who have done so much above and beyond the call of duty to help us get settled in Coch.

  • The Bolivian people: The more we get to know them, the more our love for them grows.

  • Our new house and the feeling of normalcy after months of not having that stability.

  • The weather: They say it's the city of eternal spring. I think whoever they are, they are right.

  • The wonderful food: fresh fruits and veggies (loads of tomatoes, peas, potatoes, carrots, pineapple, apples, limes, tangerines, bananas, papaya, mangos, starfruit, chicamoya, almost any thing you can think of, tasty steak, chicken, yaqua (homemade hot sauce served with every meal), the older two guys have tried and loved cow heart, Seth even likes chicken heart shish-ka-bobs, the traditional dishes: silpanchos, pique macho, empanada, saltanas and the list goes on. Cochabamba is considered the bread-basket of Bolivia. The other day a Bolivian man told me that Cochabambinos don't eat to live, they live to eat.

  • The various bands that have asked Jake to join them. He so much enjoys playing the piano and the guitar with them.

  • The young people who have befriended our children.

  • The youth group that our kids go to at the international church

  • Amalia: a Bolivian young lady who works at the MAE office that has helped us in every imaginable way from interpreting to house-hunting to furniture shopping with us

  • The bathtub in my bathroom: I know many of you prayed that I would find a house with a nice tub. God answered abundantly above all we could ask or think. It's HUGE taking three empties of the hot water heater to fill it. :)

  • The tile around the tub that has pictures of antique French perfume bottles on it. Where they got this tile in Bolivia I have no idea. It's so lovely to look at while I soak.

  • A nice washing machine made in Korea that even heats the water. Two handymen that we hired to install breakers and such didn't believe us. They thought we were mistaken, that such a machine didn't exist. Everyone in Bolivia washes all clothes in cold water (even if it's the cold river). Well, almost everyone. Not me...once I get the breaker installed anyway. It will be nice to have hot water to wash very 'germy' items.

  • That at least SOME of the books we sent ahead last February arrived. Please pray for the other half or so to make it. We're all enjoying them. (See photo.) When I unpacked the books I felt like I was home.

  • The guards who watch our house so diligently (even if they do take that whistle-blowing a little too seriously).

  • All of our friends back in the states who have supported us, encouraged us, prayed for us, emailed us, and kept up with us though we now live many miles away.

  • Antonio, a Bolivian fellow who also works at the MAE office. He was with us the day I cried at the meeting with the HOA people from the apartment we had hoped to get. I think it really got to him. After that he took it upon himself to find us a house even though it has nothing to do with his job description. He looked at houses for hours for us and it was he and Amalia who found the house we are now living in.

  • My parents who even though I know they miss us and we miss them tremendously have done all they can to be supportive of our call to live so far away.

  • Of course I can't fail to mention my best friend and husband who has taken care of me every step of this journey.


Janice Phillips said...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Rich said...

We love following the blog and its great to see how God is working!

D&P said...

We really enjoyed talking to you
tonight. When we finished we
e mailed Joe then read the blogs
we had missed by being out of town
this week. Keep up the good work.

Kim said...

It's good to hear that you all are settling in. I laughed at the story of the chairs being too short....kindergarten style! I watched the youtube video on your Holman's page. Loved hearing Joe's voice (I miss you guys) but need to hear Denise too! Make her talk, Joe!

Blessings all,
Kim Strickland ><>

Patti Gregory said...

.. hey Denise.
I love going to your blog.
They say that one of the
best tools for a missionary
is their sense of humor.
You have that down!
I esp. like hearing about the
security guards, mouse story,
and your grateful list.
I am soo thankful to God for
answering prayer on the bathtub!
Love you, Patti