Last month was a time of reflection, team-building, vision casting, and nurturing relationships after my month-long visit to California in December. I am happy to be back in Bolivia and begin a new year of sharing Christ and also striving to improve upon the foundations that were laid last year.
In early January El Alfarero had a retreat for its team members from both of our locations: Santa Cruz and Sucre. We had 27 people in all at the retreat center. Our principal focus was how to make El Alfarero a “safe place” for everyone who passes through our doors. We met in small devotional groups to study Psalm 71 and 2 Timothy 2 and we also did a workshop on conflict transformation. I came away from the retreat feeling encouraged and excited about how God is going to be magnified this year.
January was a thrilling time to be at the children’s home, Talita Cumi. Upon my return I handed out several Christmas gifts to the children from a donor in the U.S. Each of the boys received a pencil pouch and pencils for school, Pogs and toy cars, and all of them collectively received Jenga and Connect 4. Each girl received a pencil pouch and pencils along with Starburst chapstick. The younger girls also received a play tea set while the older girls received craft sets to make paper mâché and bracelets.
A couple of weeks ago a missionary from Alabama, Chip Riley, passed through Santa Cruz, Bolivia from Brazil on his way to Peru. We consider his visit to be a major blessing especially considering that Bolivia was never a part of his original traveling agenda. Chip made quite the impression on the kids with a variety of games and activities, each with their own unique biblical lesson.
For example, the children wrapped up four of the kids like mummies in toilet paper. The wrapping of the mummies represents death and how Satan wants to keep us trapped in lies and sin. Then the children ripped the toilet paper away representing how Christ came to save us and give us life. Another exercise utilized a glass tube with a current running through it that would light up and make a loud sound when the tube was touched on both sides. The children took turns holding the tube with one child holding one end and another child holding the other end. This represents how God created us to love one another and live in community. (I cannot put pictures of the kids’ faces online, so please see my monthly e-mail newsletter for more photos of the children.)
~ I’ve been able to spend quality one-on-one time with some of my English students.
~ One of the boys of Talita Cumi prayed to receive Jesus Christ over Christmas.
~ While a few members of the El Alfarero team left at the end of the year, we hired some new members and acquired a Chilean family that will serve with us for two years and a missionary from England who will be here for six months.
~ Please pray for wisdom for me as I begin to take on a more concrete role as a mentor (as opposed to just an English teacher) for those who are seeking to know the Lord or grow in their relationship with him.
~ Please pray for our El Alfarero team as we are still seeking to hire at least one person and make necessary strides in our finances.
~ Please pray for Talita Cumi: salvation and healing for the children, energy and patience for the workers and volunteers, and wisdom and perseverance for the leadership.