Saturday, May 23, 2009

Creepy, Crawly Things

A post mortem pic of a scorpion that Jake, Caleb, and Ben killed in the kitchen. They had to squish it with a book since they were all barefooted.

We moved into our new house a little more than a month ago. Since then, we have discovered that many creepy, crawly things also call this their home. We seen plenty of spiders (including a tarantula), cockroaches, many flies and gnats, scorpions (both inside and outside the house), a snake in the backyard, and a big ole rat in the backyard. Hopefully it was eaten by the snake...although I don´t think the snake was big enough. We haven´t seen any mice, so maybe the snake(s) take care of those. When my friends found out that the tarantula was on the loose in our house they asked me what tarantulas ate. I said I hope they eat cockroaches. ;^)

I remember a story that Mrs. Gregory (a retired missionary and mom to our friends, Susie and Steve) told me a long time ago. She said that she always had people telling her that they couldn´t be a missionary because they didn´t like snakes and bugs. Then this sweet, proper, southern lady turned to me and said "Like I do?! I don´t like them either. I didn´t go to the mission field because I liked snakes and bugs, or even because I could handle them. I went because God called me. I hate bugs and spiders and snakes like everyone else!" Even though she told me that story long before we were considering coming to Bolivia it is one that has stuck with me. I love it. I think of it often. I too have a huge dislike of these creepy, crawly things especially at night when they can and have crawled into my bed. But I am not here because I like bugs and snakes and rats. I am here because God called me and He will give me strength to handle whatever comes my way. In the mean time I am trying to exterminate them all. ;^)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More quotes...

Josh is probably the kindest kid we have, but some times he goes overboard in an Eddie Haskel kind of way. The other day Joe said to him "Josh, you are such a suck up." Josh replied "Why, thank you, sir."

Tonight Patience came to me and said "My legs are killing me, Mom. By the way, what does ´my legs are killing me´ mean?"

The other day Hope (age 7) said "I love bugs and spiders because they are God´s creation, but really they are just yucky."

A conversation between Patience and Joe yesterday:
Patience: Dad, you are always going somewhere.
Joe: Yeah, I have lots of things I need to do.
Patience: Sometimes it just stinks to be you. (Something she has heard many times from her dad.)

Background to the following story: Trash is a real problem here in Coch. There are many things you can do with it. You can throw it out behind your house or into the street or alley like many people do. You can burn it in the street like many of our neighbors do. You can put it outside and hope that all the stray dogs and varmints haul most of it off for you. Or you can take it to the public dumpsters that are placed at various locations around town like we do. Tonight Patience asked if we had any small pieces of trash. Joe said he didn´t think we did. She said "Well, I figured something out. The wind can help us. You can throw small pieces of trash up in the air and the wind carries them off. Joy and me did it today." I´m sure our neighbors are glad we moved in. ;^)

There really is no such thing as coupons here in Bolivia, but sometimes there ones stuck to items shipped in from the States. I found one on a package and was commenting on it. Paish asked what it was and I said "A coupon." She replied "A poop on doesn´t sound very nice."

Tarantula on the Loose

Yep, you read that right. There is a tarantula on the loose in my house. "How did this happen?" you ask. Well let me tell you. The other day the kiddos found a tarantula in our backyard. A new joy I´ve found of living up against the mountain. They decided to keep it in in their bug cages that we got them for Christmas. What were we thinking when we bought these?! Anyway, they put the little beggar...or actually the not-so-little beggar in the cage, fed him all manner of bugs and then put the cage in the living room so it could get a good night´s rest. Later that night Ben came to me and said he was in a quandrum because he didn´t want to kill it or let it die since it was so cool, but he didn´t want to let it go near our house either as we didn´t want it to come back for a visit. I told him maybe the next day he could take it far from our house and let it go. He agreed that would be a good plan. The next day Ben, Caleb and Jake spent the entire day pouring a concrete foundation at Casa de Amor (the orphanage our friend Jennifer started). About mid-morning I noticed that the cage was empty. When Ben got home that night I asked him if he had taken the tarantula away from the house and let it loose. He replied "Kinda". I asked what EXACTLY he meant by "kinda". He said Dad had told him not to tell me. Then I KNEW we were in trouble. After a little coaxing and threatening he told me that when he had gone to get it that morning it had already escaped. YIKES!!! It´s been over a week now and it hasn´t shown up anymore. Jaime, our language helper, told us it probably went back to the mountain where it lived, but I know that he was just trying to make me feel better about my sleeping on the floor. I now have friends who won´t come and visit until they see the tarantula´s dead carcass. I see their point.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pics from the Marriage Retreat Joe and I Taught

The whole gang

Opening the gifts they gave us

Joe and Jorge around the campfire

Looks like we bored Mercy to sleep...hope she was the only one.

Mercy´s newest boyfriend....son of Grover who Joe disciples

Guess who was the biggest hit of the retreat? Everyone wanted a turn to hold her.

Teaching together

Food prep....lots of Lima Beans

Enjoying the Pique Macho....a yummy traditional Cochabamban dish

Playing a new card game we´s a bit like ´Spoons´.

Mercy and Mauge

Joe teaching

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Mother´s Day Flowers

For Mother´s Day I got 11 dozen dozen for each kiddo. On top of that Joe gave me sunflowers and chocolate truffles. Boy, do I feel loved. The flowers are simply gorgeous so I had to share pics with you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Friends....My Heroes

ve wanted to write this post for quite some time, but have been remiss in getting to it. I want to talk about my friends...who are also my heroes. I´ve always had wonderful friends. It is something that God has blessed me with in this life, but I am more and more aware of how completely awesome and inspiring my friends really are. They are heroes of the Christian faith. If anyone says there are no more Christian heroes then they haven´t met my friends. I will by no means post a complete list of my friends who are my heroes here, but just want to introduce you to a few.

  • We have friends who are fellow missionaries with SIM that are serving in Sudan. Eli and Bethany moved to Sudan with their two preschool boys the around the same time we came to Coch. She has since had another sweet baby boy. They live in circumstances much worse than where we live without any real comforts of ´home´. They minister in a land of poverty beyond what most of us can imagine where people go without the basic necessities of life. They live without running water or electricity. They gather rain water to wash themselves, their clothes and their dishes. They live in the midst of disease, starvation, and young children dying daily. Eli and Bethany sacrifice themselves in order to share the love of Christ in a land that so desperately needs good news. To see this young couple give so much of themselves and to rejoice in doing so really inspires me.
  • Our other SIM buddies, Dennis and Deb, have been in language school in Canada to learn French and are any day now heading out to the harsh environment of Niger. He was a successful pediatrician and she a homeschooling mom when God called them to the mission field. They are more mature like me and Joe and I know that it is not easy to leave behind a whole life, career, and also to leave older kids in the States to follow such a call. (Though I must add that also like me and Joe they are only mature in age. ;^)) But they gladly obeyed God´s call and it´s been grand to watch their excitement on this faith journey. I pray as the Michael Card song says that they will find joy in the things they leave behind.
  • Lon and Sarah are serving in the eastern part of the world in a place where because of security issues I can´t even tell you too much about what they do. Recently they have been given opportunities to pray for and over demon possessed relatives of a new convert. They are a light shining in a dark place....and they too do it with joy.
  • Moving on we come to DaRonn and Angie. These sweet friends serve with us here in Coch. They have been in Bolivia for almost 8 years now. They have started an orphanage, a church (our church), and a pastor training institute. They are real people of vision and are driven (in a good way) to see God exalted and Bolivians following Him. I am so glad to have them in our lives as they have made our time here in Coch much more enjoyable. Angie was there with me for my entire labor and stayed through Mercy´s birth and even brought me a real Starbuck´s Frap in a bottle…a real treat here. She came to my bedside and prayed over me when I was in the middle of my miscarriage in January. She´s always there for me…rejoicing with me, crying with me, and cheering me on. I know I can always count on her.
  • Gary and Laura also serve here in Coch. They are part of a church planting team. It´s been fun to get to know them and we like just hanging out them. They are our ´Texas buddies´ and we can relate well. They too have softened our landing here in Coch. They not only minister to Bolivians, but to my family too as they have comforted us in our sorrows and helped us through the trials of endless bureaucracy and laughed with us through many funny and not so funny times of culture shock. Laura is the Kim Strickland of Cochabamba for those of you who know Kim. Kim knows all the good places to go and all the good products to buy in Northern Virginia. She´s my go-to gal there for all things wonderful. She´s ´in the know´ on it all. Laura is like that only here in Cochabamba. If we need to know where something is or if something is good or not, Laura is where I turn. She, too, is always there for me…whether I just need a cup of coffee and a chat or if I need real encouragement or if I need a helping hand, I know I can always call Laura. She is also the best hugger I know (I guess I should say “except Joe” here) and I can´t tell you how many times those hugs have ministered to me.
  • Kevin and Beth are also church planters here in Coch. They are some of the hardest working people I know. They are always on the go serving their church. Their big hearts and generous spirits are contagious and I just love to be around them. Their love for the Lord and the people of Bolivia is apparent to all who are in their presence for very long. Beth has been a big encouragement to me ever since I first met her. Above all her desire is to please the Lord.
  • Jennifer is another of our friends here in Coch. We heard about her before we ever even arrived on the field. She moved here to Bolivia almost 5 years ago as a young single gal of only 22 with a desire to serve God by helping orphans. She now runs three children´s homes here in the city that house a total of 40 orphans and she is always willing to take more. She loves these kiddos like no one I´ve ever seen and pours her very life into them. I never see her without at least one and sometimes two or three little ones hanging onto her. The kiddos of Casa de Amor may not have parents who care for them, but they sure do have someone who does. I hope my girls grow up to be a fraction of the wonderful woman that she is.
  • Jennifer´s parents, our dear friends Carl and Glenda, were our fox hole buddies here in Coch. They came only a couple of weeks before we did, so we endured all our ´firsts´ together...both good and bad. They too sold everything they had and came here to serve the abandoned children of Cochabamba. They are people that we just ´clicked´ with. I am so grateful to God for their friendship (although they have now abandoned us to go back to the States....for a while) and that God worked out the circumstances in all our lives to get us here at the same time. They were our ´out to eat´ buddies and we enjoyed going out and eating long Bolivian dinners and just talking about ministry and the mighty God we serve. They sharpened and encouraged us countless times. I can´t wait until they come back.
  • Jorge is another of my friends who is also my hero. He is a Bolivian pastor who also ran a successful automotive shop here in Coch. His wife is a doctor. They had a comfortable life here. Then, they felt God calling them to a small village of Bolivia where there is no clean water, no good medical care, no good schools and no one to share the Good News of Jesus with the people who live in fear of upsetting their ancestors or the gods they believe that control the crops, rain, and environment. It is an area so that is so much in darkness that one of the churches that Jorge asked to pray for him said that they would not do it. He wasn´t even asking for money....only prayer covering! They said he should stay where he is and do good work here after all there is plenty to do in his own neighborhood. But Jorge and his wife heard the call of God to go to another place so they gave up all they had accumulated and moved to very rough conditions in order to share God´s love with people who might have no one else to tell them.
  • Of course this list would not be complete without mentioning my parents, Paul and Darlene Watson, who are our bestest friends and biggest supporters in more ways than one. They raised me to listen to the voice of God and to follow Him above all else...even when it costs them personally. For instance they wanted us to follow God´s call on our lives even though it meant they would now live over 4000 miles instead of 20 minutes from their children (me and Joe) and their grandchildren. They are the most faithful, sacrificing, caring people I know and am so grateful that they are such a huge part of our lives. When the chips are down, we know they will always be standing with us. Not to mention that they are the heroes of my 11 kiddos….I´m sure it has nothing to do with all the spoiling they do. ;^)
  • Here I must add all our friends who faithfully pray for us…many of them tell me that they pray for us EVERYDAY. We don´t take that lightly. They are my heroes because I know that it is God answering their prayers that helps keep us on the field and in the battle.
  • We also have many dear friends who support us and our ministry financially. Beyond doubt we are here because of them and their investment in the kingdom of God. I pray that we will make good use of the support they provide and that their investment will pay big dividends in eternity. So many give so faithfully and I know several give sacrificially. You, too, are heroes to me.

I didn´t mean to make this all personal and about me and how much these people have ministered to me. I started this post to just let you know some of the people that I admire and look up to and to share their great examples. I wanted to acquaint you with you people I know that are giving their very lives to increase the kingdom of show you those who have taken what God has given them and given it right back to Him to be used however He wants. Above all I think that these people are available. They are at God´s disposal whatever that means. They say yes to whatever God asks them to do. They follow where ever He leads...what ever it costs. That makes them heroes in my book.

As I said I could not possibly mention all of my friends who are my heroes, so this is just a sampling to show you what quality of people God has brought into my life. I am in awe of you all and inspired by the example of your lives. I salute you my heroes, my friends.