Let us run the race

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Claus of Our Village

Do We Look the Part?
    We got up early on Christmas morning because the kids were outside waiting for us. We hurried to leave with the first load of gifts for our neighborhood kids. It didn’t take long to get ready because we don’t have to dress up anymore; the white hair and white beard are the real deal.

     Jaime was waiting at his gate and was all smiles when he saw us. He was just two years old when he was found alone on the street in the city. He  had been in an orphanage for two years when our neighbors inquired about him and began the process to adopt him. We were privileged to have a part in his adoption. Even though our neighbors are considered a poor family, the government is happy to place children in a Bolivian home rather than have them in an orphanage. We helped to buy a bed and clothes for Jaime; it was one of the requirements for the adoption. He is blessed to be in a Christian home now and his dad, Julio, is a leader in our Quechua church here in our village.
     Next door to Jaime is a family of eleven, with eight little ones. A few years ago they requested a visit from the church and most of the family accepted the Lord that night. The father, Daniel, has helped in the construction here in Rumi Rancho. They live directly across from our classrooms.
        Little Sherry helps to take care of the baby, but she still likes baby dolls. Her bothers and sisters help with the cows, cutting alfalfa and feeding the cows. They are all sweet kids.

      The kids greeted us with a gift of homemade cheese. A Christmas gift straight from heaven. It makes great lasagna and warms the heart too. A gift of love.

      They love to have their picture taken with us and they love their gifts and Christmas food.

     Nathaly is the daughter of one of my students. Her mom, Elida, quit school and had Nati and got married. When she was a teen I spent hours and hours trying to convince her to stay in school. Two weeks ago we attended her graduation, finally. She went to night school and got her diploma. She is even talking about going on to become a nurse. God answers prayer.

      We gave many gifts in our village and we were blessed with milk, cheese and eggs from the people here. Both of our churches had special kids' programs on Christmas day and shared the Gospel with many. Our city church gives out breakfast every week and on Christmas gives food and gifts to over one hundred kids. It's a joy to have a part in all they do. The mountain trip is this week and Rumi Rancho will have a big part again this year. We are thankful for God's people who help to make this all possible every Christmas. God has blessed again this year so we can bless many with Christmas gifts and the Christmas story, here in Rumi Rancho, and in hard to reach places in the mountains.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rumi Rancho Reindeer

Rumi Rancho Reindeer

There really are reindeer in Bolivia
Said Abby to her sisters, Ellie and Olivia

They seem to me just a little bit strange
Aunt Peggy says it’s because they’re open range

I’ve seen them and they are strange indeed
Because their funny antlers are red and green

Many kids walk far to go to Rumi Rancho to play
They hear stories of Jesus and always want to stay

They heard that Jesus was born a long time ago
His birthday is on Christmas day and He loves us so

Missionaries travel the whole world wide
To tell the Good News that Jesus is alive

He was born in a manger on Christmas day
So that we might learn of all God’s ways

The way to heaven is still the same
Believe in Jesus, He knows us by name

We know we celebrate because you are the reason
So Happy Birthday Jesus this Christmas Season

From Rumi Rancho you can hear the kids cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
     who is Christ the Lord.”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Graduation Day

Psalms 71:5 “For thou art my hope, Oh Lord God; 
thou art my trust from my youth."

     All of these graduates were students in Rumi Rancho over the last twelve years. Most had computer classes with Chuck and Juan, and all the girls were in my Bible and cooking classes. Many also were in our Quechua Church Sunday School and youth group. The local school in our community finally had enough qualified teachers this year to add the senior year of high school, making this the first class to graduate from the community school. But, from their youth they have been taught God’s Word in Rumi Rancho. We were privileged to be asked, by the director of the school, to participate in the graduation ceremony on December 2, 2011.

       I was asked to walk down the aisle with Vania and her dad. It was an honor! She played in our yard as a little girl and was one of our first students in Rumi Rancho. She plans to attend the government university in our city to study gastronomy. Wonder how she was led to do that? Smile. God is working through my classes, what an awesome God we serve. Cooking and Bible classes are making a difference in girls' lives here in our area. 

     The government university is free, but other expenses are a sacrifice for the parents. All of the families in our area are dairy farmers and depend on their kids to help with the work. To send them to the university is not only a hardship financially, buying books and clothes, transportation fees, etc., but also, it is more work for the parents to handle all the daily chores, cutting alfalfa, and feeding and milking the cows. Vania’s brother graduates from the university this year with a degree in engineering. The family continuously thanks us for the computer classes he had here at Rumi Rancho, making a difference in his life’s direction. What a joy for us to see God using Rumi Rancho to change lives, spiritually and educationally.

     Chuck received a certificate of recognition from the director for all he has done for the school, his physical labor, spiritual guidance and financial contributions. We both were honored to be a part of handing out diplomas. It was an emotional day for us as we watched these kids receiving diplomas, knowing they now are going out into the world. We are thankful we have had the privilege of being in their lives, teaching and guiding them, and helping them through their childhood. We are blessed! We pray that what they have learned academically through the community school in Alba Rancho, and spiritually through our ministry here in Rumi Rancho will "stick" for the rest of their lives.

     It seemed as though no one else noticed that strong gust of wind but me. Half way through the ceremony a storm kicked up and blew down the backdrop and the flowers. The rains blew in and everyone was frightened. They thought it was another tornado like we had two weeks before, just a few miles from us. Within fifteen minutes it calmed down and we went on with the festivities. I am sure a lot of prayers went up during those fifteen minutes.

     Vania's family has been a blessing to us over the years. Her dad, Imilio, is the president of our community and advises us about happenings in the village and the country. Her sweet mom, Miteria, sends us eggs, milk and bread regularly. We are always included in their family gatherings and meals, oh, the delicious meals. You have never tasted chicken like this, cooked in a mud oven, unless of course, you have a mud oven. Smile.

                   We thank God every day for the many opportunities we have to serve Him. As we get closer to Christmas we look forward to our mountain trips, taking the gospel to those who haven't heard the Christmas story yet. We continue to spread the gospel, both here in our valley, and to the highest mountain tops of Bolivia.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nathaly's Dissertation

I Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth,
 but be thou an example of the believers, 
in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

    Nathaly’s life exemplifies this verse, and she has been a testimony to the Lord since she was a little girl. She was only eight years old when we helped to start our city church where her dad has been pastor since it’s beginning. We have had the privilege of being involved in her life for many years. It was our joy to have a large part in her wedding in 2009. Pablo, her husband, has been our vet for many years. We also attended his graduation when he received his degree a few years ago. They are both very special to us, and they are  Godly examples for all who know them. Both participate in the music ministry in the church, and also teach the youth group.

     The first year of Pablo and Nathaly’s marriage they lived here in Rumi Rancho. They were a blessing to us, and the ministry. Nathaly helped in my classes, and Pablo helped with various things in his free time from the clinic in town. We are always invited to their family occasions, and last week was no exception when we were asked to attend her dissertation. It was a blessing to all who sat in to listen as she WOWed us all, even the dissertation committee.

     We listened for 45 minutes as Nathaly gave her dissertation on the WiFi  of Cochabamba. It was very interesting. She had everything memorized, and never skipped a beat as she calmly and confidently showed her expertise in the subject. She studied for five years at the government university here in Cochabamba and completed her thesis this year for her degree in Electronic Engineering. Although the university is free, there are still expenses for books, clothes, transportation etc. Her parents sacrificed to help her see this day.

When she finished we were asked to step out of the room while the committee decided her grade.We weren’t surprised when we returned to hear their decision, 100%. Now we say Inginera  (Engineer Nathaly) when we address her, smile. We are proud of her and thankful that we have a part in her life. Just one more reason we love being here in God's work in Bolivia.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

" My Girls"

Graduating Class 2011

     I’ve known them since they were born. Some were in my Sunday School classes, some in youth group and children's programs, and most in our computer classes. Then they became young ladies and entered my Bible and cooking classes. They learned many things, but most important every one has accepted Jesus as their Savior. In a few weeks we will participate in their graduation ceremony at the Catholic School in our area. This is the first graduating class from the school, finally they have teachers for all four high school grades. I will miss them, but I know they are ready, for life and for eternity. 

Younger Girls

We Cooked

We Baked

We Studied

We Prayed

We Had Serious Conversations 

 We Laughed 

And Received Prizes

We Made Angel Dolls

Ecclesiastes 3:1a "To everything there is a season,
 and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"

My Classroom is Quiet Now

     Some of my "angels" are sprouting their wings and flying on to the next phase of their lives. It is time to go; but soon it will be time for me to guide a new group in God's ways.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Greatest Gift

John 6:35, “ I am the bread of life;
 he that cometh to me shall never hunger,
 and he that believeth in me shall never thirst."

     Bread is always welcomed in the mountains. The highest regions don’t have firewood and a little further down the mountain where there is firewood, flour is scarce. When the kids see bread their eyes light up, just like they do when they see toys. But just like they readily accept the bread they also accept the Bread of Life. They are hungry for both, bread to satisfy the stomach and Bread to satisfy the soul. Every year we share the Christmas story in places where many hear it for the first time. A few weeks from now we will be heading out again to spread the Good News in these remote mountain villages.  The following pictures are of past trips, regions once without the Gospel message but now have the light of Jesus shining in them.

The Road Up the Mountain

They Heard the Bus and Ran to Greet Us

Chuck Arrives on the Quad

That Night Supplies Arrived

In the Morning We Begin Washing Hair and Cutting Toenails

The Girls Look Pretty

We Tend to Medical Needs

Vets Vaccinating Animals

Feeding the Crowd

Clothing the Needy

Receiving Gifts

Receiving "The Greatest Gift"
Romans 6:23b "but the gift of God is eternal life through
 Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Matthew 25:35,36 " For I was hungry,and ye gave me food;
 I was thirsty and ye gave me drink;
I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked and ye clothed me;

"Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least
 of these my brethren,ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sandals with a Voice

Philippians 4:19 “ But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

     Pablo lives in the Andes Mountains of South America. He is a shy, little Quechua Indian boy.  Just like everyone else in his village, Pablo wears sandals every day. They are made of rubber from old truck tires and they have a voice; but whose voice is it?

     To visit Pablo’s village you have to drive up a winding, bumpy, mountain road.  On the way you can see llamas, sheep, and goats roaming the mountainside. Pablo’s family is very poor; they live in a house made of mud bricks with a grass roof. His parents plant potatoes and tend to their animals.  Pablo and his brothers and sisters help to milk the cows and work in the fields with their parents.

      One Christmas everyone in the village was very excited because missionaries were coming to visit and bringing gifts, food, and a doctor to help the sick people. Pablo got up early that morning so he could finish his work before the missionaries arrived. He climbed up the mountain with his sheep and goats, and patiently waited as they ate the green grass. When they finished eating he scurried to move them towards home, thinking only of the presents awaiting him.

      Halfway home it began to rain.  Spotting a cave in the mountainside he bolted towards it, his animals following behind.  When he was almost there he slipped on the wet grass and landed on a sharp rock, narrowly escaping a dangerous fall down the steep mountain. Lifting himself up, he limped to the cave; his foot was hurting and one of his sandals was missing. He was wet and shivering; he just wanted to get home.

      The storm soon passed and he continued on his journey, hoping to find his sandal as he walked. In a distance he could see a skinny, black dog running towards him. As the dog got closer Pablo could see his sandal hanging from the friendly dog’s mouth. He offered it a piece of bread in exchange for the sandal and the hungry dog happily accepted the trade.

       Pablo slipped the chewed sandal on his sore foot and hobbled homeward.  He was crying and thinking about his parents; they had no money for new sandals.

      Limping into his village he was surprised to see the missionaries had already arrived.  The doctor and nurse ran to help Pablo and carried him to a table to clean his wounds. What nice people, Pablo thought; they talked about how much God loved him. They said God supplies everything you need and God sent them to his village just in time to help him. Pablo knew he sure needed a doctor just then.

      The next day Pablo received new clothes and toys from the missionaries and one very special gift. They brought new sandals for everyone, including him. He needed new sandals and God supplied his need again.

      Pablo ran to tell his parents about the sandals; he said his sandals told him something. Of course they laughed because sandals can’t talk, but Pablo had learned something about God. He told them,  “Jesus loves us so much he does things that tell us He loves us.” Pablo’s sandals didn’t speak to him with words; they spoke with love, and said to him, “Jesus loves you.” If we listen we can hear God’s voice through many things, even through sandals. The Bible says God will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

  How do you hear God’s voice telling you that Jesus loves you?

Mountain Ministry Moments

Mark 16:15 “And he said to them,Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature.”

      It has been ten years since we started the Christmas trips to remote mountain villages. Chuck and Juan began going to Juan’s village, high in the Andes Mountains above the tree line, where Juan and Amelia grew up and still have family. These trips have to be made on quads because the road ends before arriving to their village; from there it is an hour by a mountain trail to reach the final destination, a small community where life is hard and the people are precious.

     We also give gifts and food each Christmas in our village where we live and over the mountain behind our house.

     Our city church caught the vision; every Christmas they go to remote areas of the mountains that can be reached by bus or 4-wheel drive, taking many from the church to minister. We do medical work, dental work, and veterinary work and even delivered a baby last year.

      Above all we take the Good News to those who still haven’t heard the Gospel message. Each year God provides to do more ministry at Christmas; many have been blessed and now know the Lord. We are privileged to have a part in building God's Kingdom with our churches, friends and supporters. 

     Look for my children's story in my next blog about a child's  life in the mountains and how he met Jesus.