Highlights from the last few days:

  1. Watching half of our team hop around at the last VBS dressed in clown attire- complete with white faces and blue noses. 
  2. Volunteering to help wash dishes and getting attacked by the cook with pancake batter and flour. 
  3. Enjoying the scenery in this amazing country!
  4. Learning 5 skits in 3 days. 🙂 We’re pretty much acting professionals. The kids have loved it!
  5. Perfecting the spanish language via children’s songs. 
  6. Intense volleyball tournaments with the Monteblanco staff. 
  7. We can buy two liters of pepsi, candy, and new earrings for less than two dollars. 
  8. The fact that being late in this country is completely acceptable. We love latin time 🙂
  9. The general consensus is that we’ve eaten more food here than we’ve let ourselves enjoy in a long time. Bolivian juice is our favorite. 
  10. Sickness had Christopher down for a few days, but he’s up, feeling better, and ready to go!!! 🙂 Continue praying for a healthy team. We’ve been blessed so far with good health. 

From intense volleyball tournaments with the Monteblanco staff to dressing up like clowns for the local church’s VBS, we’re keeping ourselves entertained down here. The weather has been beautiful and aside from one of our leaders getting sick, we’re all doing very well. The cook blessed us with an American meal two nights ago. We had hamburgers, chips, egg salad, and Pepsi. Today is Bolivia food day and we’re all ready to expand our horizons. 🙂 We think we saw pig ears in the kitchen somewhere…

So, a few of the students have been journaling and we’ll be posting their thoughts over the next few days. Enjoy 🙂
      Greetings from Monte Blanco! It’s been an interesting and entertaining few days. We’re learning how much Bolivian culture can differ from our own. Learning that Bolivian time isn’t always as punctual as American time, we’re learning to be extremely flexible in our ministry, play time, and work time. Getting adjusted to cultural differences is not always easy, but we’re amazed at how God is bringing two very different cultures together in a remarkable way. The staff at Monte Blanco is amazing. They are all so welcoming and fun to be with. While we don’t always understand each other, we are constantly making jokes and learning from one another. We started our first VBS two days ago at a local church. The kids were very scared of us at first but slowly warmed up and have been more welcoming each day. We walked through the village finding kids to come to VBS. After songs, games, skits, crafts, and some delicious Oreo cookies, the kids went home happy.
     Our contacts have shared details about some of the children’s home lives. It’s been difficult to hear. Most of these kids are rarely shown affection. So, we’re learning that something as simple as a hug and our time can bring smiles to these kids’ faces. We have also visited Manos De Amor, a home for abandoned children. The kids were overjoyed to have us there, and we felt extremely blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with them.  We played games that had us dancing like ducks. We’re pretty sure the kids were laughing AT us, instead of WITH us. Regardless, we had an amazing time!
     Our nights have been filled with skit rehearsals, craft preparation, and of course, some intense games of Volleyball. Christine and Jheri took on two of the staff from Monte Blanco in a game of basketball. The gringos (americans) were victorious! We’ve really enjoyed teaching all of the Bolivians english. Their favorite phrases consist of “No problem,” “Very good,” and “I am beautiful.” We are also learning some Spanish.
            We are staying in a beautiful camp with landscaped grounds, roses, and fruit trees, and on either side of the camp there are the most beautiful mountains. We have every intention of tackling them this week for our free time. Driving through surrounding villages has made us really grateful for our accommodations. While we have well-constructed buildings, comfortable beds, and hot showers, we just have to look right outside the camp gates to see the poverty that plagues this country. The houses are made of adobe and cement and so many of them appear to be caving in. The people work so hard in the fields here, but have so little to show for their hard work. It’s humbling. The Monteblanco staff has also shared a lot of the struggles that are common in the villages here. It’s really been a blessing to know that we are some of the vessels that God has brought here to bless these people.  We’re anxious to see how he’ll continue to use us. Yesterday we offered this older man a package of cookies. He couldn’t speak, but just waved his hands and clapped out of thankfulness. Pray that the Lord continues to use us here and to keep us healthy!

(((The internet is incredibly slow. Pictures will come as soon as we can upload them to the website!)))