Happy Fourth of July to all of you! I hope that you’re able to enjoy some festivities with friends and family in light of the current pandemic restrictions.
Bolivia is still in a total quarantine, over 100 days of strict quarantine by now. It’s amazing to consider. Thankfully, we will be adopting some new measures by July 6 that will slowly begin to open up the country. On the one hand, this is a relief because it means that people can start to socialize and work again. The quarantine has hit the poor the hardest. On the other hand, the slow opening comes with some unknowns. Government projections indicate that we still have not hit our peak number of COVID-19 cases. We’re expected to do so in July or August. When we entered the total quarantine in March, we had 24 registered cases. Now we have over 32,000 confirmed cases (though experts acknowledge that the real number is likely approaching 100,000) and over 1,000 deaths. The hospitals are already overrun and a few people have been dying in the streets. Please keep our government officials in your prayers as they try to navigate this difficult time with as much wisdom as possible.
I continue to do ministry from home via Internet and Zoom. I mentor and work on English materials for a missionary course that we’ll be launching next year at El Alfarero. I’m also creating videos of myself giving lectures for a course I help teach on transformational discipleship. We’re putting the curriculum online so people can continue to take the course since we can’t do it in person. Even though El Alfarero has been shut down this entire time, thank God we continue to receive donations to help keep us solvent. Some of you have helped with that campaign, so thank you!
I recently spent four afternoons at the Talita Cumi home and I hope to return again in about a week on a more regular schedule. The boys were excited to have me back and I too was overjoyed to return. We created get-well cards for one of the tías who has Coronavirus, I led separate devotionals for the younger and older boys, helped them with their homework, and played freeze tag and soccer in the boys’ courtyard. Most of children tell me that they’re bored of being shut in at the home and that they can’t wait to return to school, see friends, and play at the park. A few of them are worried about the virus and their families. Please keep these things in your prayers as well.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. I feel remarkably blessed to be in Bolivia at this time. My prayers are with all of you too.