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.