Thursday, November 19, 2009

La Cancha

I realized that I talk a lot on my facebook page and also on my blog about going to La Cancha, but I haven´t posted picture of it in a while.  So this is my attempt remedy to that.  La Cancha is our version of Wal-Mart.  It is supposedly the largest outdoor market in South America.  It goes on for acres and acres.  You can get just about anything you need there (unless you need Starbucks coffee, Reese´s Peanut Butter Cups, the Little House on the Prairie series in English, a clean environment, a toy that lasts more than a couple of days, or a day free of smells of urine mixed with rotting veggies and meat that has been hanging out in the hot sun for hours).  Seriously, if we need it we go to La Cancha to buy it whether it´s a computer, furniture, fruit, artwork, paper, dead llama fetuses....we don´t actually need those, but the witches do to perform their rituals and there is a whole section of witches´ supplies.  You can also pick up pigs heads, plastic chairs, exercise equipment, donkey jaws...a whole wheelbarrow full of them, car parts, candy, bushels of coca leaves (used to make cocaine, tea, or just to chew to keep you awake...the Bolivian version of Red Bull).  Did I mention that they have tires, appliances, clothes, blankets, beauty supplies, toys, dishes, birthday supplies, tarot card readings?  Yep, it´s all there and more.  You can have your vegetable oil pumped from a 55 gallon barrel directly into whatever container you bring to hold it.  Didn´t bring anything?  They have extra 2 liter bottles that they find on the street they´ll fill for ya.  In the middle of all this madness there are dentists´ and doctors´ offices.  In fact the doc that delivered Mercy has here office there.  There is also an entire section (think blocks and blocks) of used clothing.  It´s the stuff that doesn´t sell at thrift stores in the States.  It gets shipped down here and that´s where we buy the majority of our clothing.  Just yesterday my mom (who is here for a visit...YEA!) and I went because most of my kids´ jeans have a viewing spot for their knees and they needed some ´new´ ones.  The section I usually go to buy used clothing is the section that all the pictures in this entry are from.  I will post other pics of us Christmas shopping in another section on another day.

See the piles to dig through?  Actually this is relaxing for me and I enjoy going to yard sales. 
Joe on the other hand thinks it is torture.

Want a bootleg DVD?  CD?  MP3? (Just no Little House ones!)

Fresh squeezed orange juice...smells sooo good and helps cover up some of the other
not so good smells.  Notice that she just has 4 glasses? 
After you drink yours she just dumps them
 in the dirty water in that red bucket and voila she´s ready for the next customer.
I wonder why we get so much typhoid and hepatitis here.

This little lady like so many more has had a really hard life. 
Note the ice cream ´truck´ in the background (a cooler on wheels).

Close up of the ice cream ´truck´.

Need some pantyhose?

Socks?  or an empanada or local drink in the background?

Other local drinks...I´ve never been brave enough (or stupid enough...I´m not sure which)  to try these.

In amongst the clothes are some veggies, but the biggest section of produce is in another place. 
I´ll post those pics another time.

You can take a break and eat some lunch at this lady´s ´restaurant´.

Lots of garlic (yum!) and delicious tomatoes too.

Need some spices?  Now that´s what I call bulk...Costco has nothing on us.

I wish these pics were scratch ´n sniff so you could smell the aromas surrounding these scenes.

Need a watch?  Guaranteed to last until you walk, not really that long. 
But seriously, it will probably last a good couple of days.

Me and Jake looking for a dress shirt for him.

Jake checking out the candy.

Yet Another...

This morning Joe told the little girls they could have the last they excitedly came running up the stairs...."Dad said we can share a bikini!!"  I don´t think so.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nomadic Lifestyle

One thing I have been forced to get used to living on the mission field is a nomadic lifestyle.  That hasn´t necessarily been an easy thing for me.  When we built our "dream house" in Purcellville, Virginia we imagined that it would be the house where our grandchildren would come visit us.  We had no idea God would call us to Bolivia and a life spent moving.  We have lived in four different houses in our little more than 2 years on the mission field.  We hope we are in this house until we come back to the States on home assignment, but then that will entail moving our entire caravan back to the States to live for a few months before packing up once again and coming back to Bolivia.  No easy task with any sized family, much less our herd.

We aren´t the only ones that endure such trials.  Missionary life is a life spent moving...a bit like the military.  We are after all in God´s army and He has troops all over the world.  ;^)  Two of the orphanages here in town are moving in the next few months.  Can you imagine what it is like to move a bunch of kids who already have attachment disorders from being abandoned and all sorts of other challenges?  Please pray for these kiddos that their transisitions would be as smooth as possible.  Our church´s orphange will have moved twice in as many years.  Almost 30 kiddos call the House of Dreams their home and they will be moving on the 28th of this month.  One of the problems with housing here in Bolivia is uncertainty of the political future.  People who own more than one house and renting one out are selling the ´extra´ one and liquidating their funds.

Recently I went to the airport to see my friend Krista off as she and her family moved back to the States after 7 years as missionaries in Coch.  Let me tell you that I didn´t envy her.  Even though her 3 boys and her baby girl were extremely well behaved and as calm as could be there in the airport I couldn´t help but think of the long journey they had ahead of them.  It wore me out thinking of it.  Then last week my friend Kim moved back to the States with her family.  Actually she and the kiddos went ahead of her hubby so he could finish up some things here.  So, she took 3 kids 4 years old and below, 6 suitcases packed full, 3 carry-ons, a couple of backpacks, a double stroller and two carseats....BY HERSELF on a plane bound for Miami.  I think she is superwoman...but I also think..."What was she thinking!?"  I don´t even want to think about our going back to the States on home assignment with 9 kiddos, 22 suitcases, 10 carry-ons, etc, etc. etc.

But the nomadic lifestyle isn´t all bad.  What has been good for me is realizing that this world is not my home, that stuff just weighs you down, and that looking after ´things´ is not why I was put on this earth.  As I am getting ready for spring cleaning and clearing things out and paring down once again I am reminded how easily and quickly I can accumulate treasures here on earth and just how much of my time and energy the stuff can take...storing it, cleaning it, caring for it.  How much do we really NEED?  I once again vow to lay aside every weight that so easily besets me and push toward the goal.  I want to carry people to the goal with me...NOT STUFF.  I don´t wanna spend (waste) my life looking after stuff.  I want to invest it in people.

I remember when we lived in Denver going to a museum and hearing about the pioneers as they moved west in wagon trains.  When they left the East they took only what they thought were the essentials.  Yet, many times along the way they might have to leave some of their ´necessities´ behind in order to move ahead.  Their wagon might be too heavy and their animals too weak to pull it.  It might bog them down fording a river or crossing a muddy prairie, so they would leave their treasures there by the river or on the plain.  There were places at the banks of some of the larger rivers that were ridden with beautiful antique furniture that had been in families for generations, expensive clothing, rare China dishes, precious books and all sorts of other material possessions.  Things that in another life held so much meaning to them, but now they were just things holding them back from reaching their goal.   Sometimes they even had to leave real essentials like food behind.  If they were to reach their destination they really did have to lay aside the ´extra´ weight.  It was more important to save the people and leave the stuff behind...even things that they had considered essential or things they had treasured.  What a great lesson for me.  Leave the stuff.  Save the people.  Leave the stuff.  Love the people.  Use the stuff.  Treasure the people.  Get rid of the stuff so I have time for the people. 

As a postscript to this blog entry I recommend that you check out the book Material World.  It is an awesome book that takes a statistically average families from countries all over the world.  A photographer takes their picture with all their possessions outside of their house.  Very eye opening. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Cultural Difference

The other day as I was teaching my kiddos I had the younger ones doing an educational game on the computer by me.  I overheard one of the questions...."Who helps keep your neighborhood safe?"  My ears perked up as I knew this could be interesting.  My little girls started blurting out answers:  "The dog."  "The guard."  "The walls."  Then the answer came on the computer..."The policeman".  My kids looked at each other dumbfounded and said..."Huh?".  Guess that software was made for the USA. 

The Rainy Season is Upon Us

The rains have begun.  Yea! (and not).  I have mixed feelings about the rainy season.  I love the rain, I always have.  I love big ole Texas thunderstorms.  Even as a child I loved them.  They never scared me, but always comforted me.  Here in Coch we go for months and months without seeing any rain at all, so it is wonderful to have it again and see all the brown start to turn green.  But it all comes at once; it´s not spread out throughout the year.  From now until February it will rain about 4 out of 5 days, and the rest of the year it doesn´t rain at all.  The rainy season also happens to be our summer time which is the bummer part for me.  I happen to love the feel of the sun warming our city, our house and our bodies.  At 8500 feet, it really cools off at night and so the sun is so nice in the daytime.  Cochabamba is called the City of Eternal Spring so I don´t really have any room to complain about our weather.  It gets up to around 80 degrees year round, but with varying degrees of coolness at night.  We don´t have the luxury of heating or airconditioning so this weather is simply wonderful.  However, I have just gotten used to not having to take a sweater or jacket with me when we go out at night and I was enjoying that, now I have to go back to keeping one near me all the time.  Sunday morning was our first ´big´ rain of the year and as I sat in church (a bit chilly) thinking about it, I realized how much I enjoy the sun, but then I thought how much I love the Son more. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

3 More Quotes

On the way to church...
Joy:  "I´m gonna sit behind Mommy because she smells so good."
Patience:  "I´m gonna sit behind Daddy so I can rub his head."

At church:
Hope:  "I´m not going to Sunday School.  I am going to sit beside Grandma in church, because I told her I would tarantulate the sermon for her."

Yesterday afternoon:
Patience:  "Mommy, I love you and you are so beautiful.  Do you know why I tell you that all the time?  So you won´t forget it."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Unmentionable Quote from Hope

Perhaps I need to tell Hope to not share her new saying….

“My name is Hope…that’s short for Hoper, and long for Ho.”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Still Small Whisper

My life has been busy this year. I started off the year without Joe as he was in the States for a missions conference. When he came home he brought a nice surprise with him… parents for a visit. While they were here I lost our sweet baby Jordan. As they were heading for the airport and their trip home my mom broke a tooth that held a bridge for her front teeth. She ended up staying for an additional 4 weeks to have her teeth repaired. In April we moved houses (yet again). In late June Joe, Mercy and I headed to Sandy Cove in Maryland to speak at a conference. We were so happy to get home and return to a ‘normal’ life. Then two weeks later Joe’s dad passed away on our 25th wedding anniversary. We scrambled together a quick trip for Joe, Mercy and I and headed to Texas for the memorial service. We got back, had a short respite from crises other than the normal crises of ministry opportunities and sick kiddos. However too soon we began preparations for Jake’s return to the US to begin his life there. I just got back from that trip and I miss him so much already. I brought my mom back with me for a visit and for her to be able to finish her dental work here. She will be here until December 5. We are glad she will be here to celebrate American Thanksgiving with us. Then I suppose we’ll start planning Christmas in full force. I almost feel like a North American with all we’ve had going this year. It’s been crazy busy. At this moment I don’t care if I EVER get on another airplane. I know that will change as I have too many people special to me too far away, but that’s my feeling right now.

Add to all of the above our regular lives full of ministry opportunities….

Joe’s teaching at the Seminary, the John Maxwell training classes, preaching at least 10 times in different churches this year, a couple of seminars, leading a parenting conference and a marriage conference…just to name a few. As for me I am still homeschooling 6 kiddos and taking Spanish lessons three times a week….yes, I still stink at it, but I’m trying! I also prepare meals without convenience foods, make it a priority to meet with other missionary gals for mutual encouragement, clean up vomit way more often than I’d like, pass out needed meds, try to keep our family running as smoothly as possible, spend way too much time packing and unpacking and moving our nomadic family, change a few diapers, return emails (eventually), keep up with friends on facebook, look for ministry opportunities as I sit, stand, walk, and buy my veggies in the market, am working on training our brood to have at least a modest smattering of manners, I also try to work a bath or shower in there….just to name a few.

If any of you are still with me, my the point of this blog is not to tell you what all we do….many of you do much more than I do. My point is that in doing all that we do I often wonder if I am doing the One thing that God has called me to. Am I so busy doing all that is necessary that I neglect what is essential? Often I hear the still small Voice whisper to me. The Voice of God that is not in the crises, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, not in the busy distractions of life.  He reminds me in the midst of all I have going to remember why I am on this earth. That Voice reminds me to examine why I do what I do, what I should let go of and what I should reach for in order to further His kingdom. That’s what I am about….what Jesus was about….revealing and furthering God’s kingdom here on earth until He comes again. I’m not just here to pass time. I am here to accomplish a purpose. His purpose. And if I don’t join Him in that purpose He will choose someone else who will. I don’t want to be passed over. I want to be a part. A part of His story. Of His eternal plan. My story is only important in the part that it intersects with His work. All my work will burn up. His work is eternal. 

God, help me listen to your still, small Voice and connect to Your plan for this world….reaching people with the good news of what You have done for them, caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans, helping to bring health to the sick both physically and spiritually, discipling believers, building up Your church, reaching out to those in need, loving people and showing them Your love. This are the things You care about. This is what matters. May my life be one that matters….not for me, but for You.  May my life be one of purpose like that of your Son.  May I not get distracted or bogged down with busy-ness.  Keep on whispering your plan to me and give me the strength to follow that Voice.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Quick Quote

I have a whole list of new blog articles I am going to write....hopefully starting tonight or tomorrow, but in the mean time I wanted to let you know that I am still alive.  I am back from the States dropping off yet another grown son (sniff, sniff).  I will write about that and much more later.  For´s a quick quote...

Patience to David as she is on the computer:  Could you barely push this button for me cuz I don´t even know what barely means?!