Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving

I wasn't planning on posting another Bolivia blog, but so much happened at the end that I decided to do one more.

I did make it safely back to the USA for which I am thankful. Steve (one of the pilots) flew to Guayara on Nov 20 and we then took off Sunday morning for the city of Trinidad and ultimately Santa Cruz. We had to do Trinidad because we needed to pick up a couple passports which two of the missionaries had been trying for about a month to have returned to them so they could travel. Kody, one of the passengers on the plane was one. He really needed to get his back from the government office because his plane was leaving for the U.S. Monday morning, about 9 hours after my flight. Thankfully the Immigration office sent someone to the airport in Trinidad with the two passports (one for another missionary back at the school). Blessing number one.

We arrived in Santa Cruz after a wonderful flight. If all Mooneys are like the one we flew in, I'm sold. It was comfortable (for the most part). I had pretty good leg room (not that cockpits are spacious).

Some pictures of the Mooney and our flight:

Steve loading the cargo with Kody helping.




This is the Cessna 182 stationed in Guayara for use with medical flights. They hope to get the flights back up and running soon.




Cessna 182





The Mooney is a rather clean aircraft (drag wise). It is good for transporting personel and cargo over distances. Steve was able to get the burn rate down around 7 gallons per hour (we were at 65% power, but then we had about a 40knot tailwind which got us up to just over 200kts/hr = over 230mph) on our flight, which was quite nice.




I just got my stuff in up front and plugged in my headset (on the right)





View of the control panel. It is nice that the plane has two different GPS systems.



A reason I didn't sit in the back... The front seats did move forward once we got in though the backseaters had to get in first. I was the last one in since I was by the door.




The cargo. Thankfully we each had an allowance of 50lbs/person for luggage. The rest we had to ship via a local airline.




We are loaded up and almost ready to push the plane out of the hangar.




The Bolivian jungle below. The province of Beni is flat jungle so there aren't really what you'd call landmarks.


video

A quick look around the cabin. I was using my camera for this so the video quality is not that great. I was hoping I could see some of the instrument data in the video, but can't.

You can also see this on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCS9zYukZBA



First attempt at a cabin photo...trouble in the back though... Pictured: Steve on the right front and Kody in the back.



Well, out of the two photos everyone got in. Pictured, me, Keila, Kody


We landed in Santa Cruz after a rather enjoyable flight. After we went to the apartment and dropped off our stuff Kody, Keila, and I then went out to an internet cafe and a pizzaria!!! Mama mia! The pizza was nice (advertised as NY style pizza). That was a blessing, a chance to relax a little.

Around 8:00pm someone called a taxi for me to take me to the airport. My flight left at 12:15AM. I wanted to get there in plenty of time (I don't like getting to airports late). We waited and waited - no taxi. Called the taxi company again and cleared up a little confusion on their end (Keila had called for a taxi the next morning and they thought the taxi for me and her were the same one) and they said a taxi would be there shortly. Well, around 9:20pm or so, Richard and his wife to live in the apartment (more like a house) and help the travelers to pass through the GMI apartment/compound gave up on the cab company and flagged down a taxi. Another blessing! It was 9:30PM when I left the apartment for the airport which was 30 minutes away.

We were driving along and finally got on the road heading out of town towards the airport. My driver was working his way through traffic when we came upon a semi. We were in the left lane (not there are what we'd recognize as traffic rules though they do have traffic rules) and the semi was in the right just ahead of us. My driver flashed his lights and honked and proceeded to accelerate past the semi. Well, I don't know what was going on in the cab of the semi, but the semi ended up slamming into our right side, smashed the whole side of the car in. Thankfully no injuries. My driver sped up and to get out of the situation then pulled over to take a look...he wasn't too happy but the car could still drive and we were ok, another blessing! Thankfully he kept on the job and we kept driving. Down the road a ways we stopped at a toll booth and asked the operator where the airport was (this was the taxi's first time to that airport). We drove past it!!! I was already looking at the time pondering where he was taking me and praying that we'd get to the airport in time.

I knew most of what I was going to have to do when I got to the airport and I wanted enough time, enough time for me to do the various booths - checkin with the airline, airport tax booth, exit tax booth, airline booth again, security, immigration (plus pay a fine for overstaying my visa), gate, and a new one for me - airline security (first time for me ever being searched by airline security, but maybe AA doesn't trust Bolivian screening as they searched everyone boarding the flight). Well, we turned around and finally made it to the airport at 10:30PM. Another blessing! I wish now I had taken a picture of the taxi, but I wasn't in the mood to hang out. After getting everything done that I needed to (except for the unbeknownst airline security check) I got to the gate just after boarding had begun...wew. God is good.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

School Photos

Primary Grades with teachers Sarai & Lyli. Lyli is also the Principal of the primary school.




Third Year. Front Row: Carla and Grecia. Back Row: Samuel, Franz, Max, Noel, Juaquin, Omar, Alcides, Jhunior.





First Year...and since I can´t use my computer at this particular cafe and I can´t remember all the names, you´ll just have to enjoy the picture for its artistic qualities...:) The cafe and I use different word processors and I don´t have the time to use my computer to convert...sorry.




The School




I´m dying in this photo, my right knee is still hurting from my jogging mishap. Front Row: Elizabeth, Helen, Lyli, Keila, Sarai. Middle: Kody, Me, Gabriel. Third Row, Susie and Cornelio, Clint (Mindy is taking this photo). Back Row: Mamerto & Estela, Sandra & Enrique, Ruan & Tara.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

International Food Fair

The Food Fair!
For the past three years the school has had an international food fair that has also served as an outreach tool. The staff purchase the supplies for their respective countries and work with students who sign up to make and serve the food. This year was a success as well and along with the outreach being done in Yata has opened an opportunity for the school. Please see the previous blog about the opportunity to open a church in Yata. Pray that God will bless this opportunity.

It is also nice to think that three weeks form today I will wake up in Michigan!



In continuation from the photo posted on last week's blog...




Ooops!! Obviously I didn't cover my trail well enough as the Mexicans raided the American booth claiming I held them up down yander...ahem... Not in the picture, but definately present were Keila and Lyli.


Thankfully we were able to reach an amiable solution to the situation, though I still wish that it included some burritos. Left to Right: A sponsor of the USA booth, Teachers: Sarai, Lyli, and Keila. You can learn more about Lyli's and Keila's stories if you contact GMI and request the "Having Nothing, Having It All" DVD.

(www.gospelministry.org)

Setting up the auditorium and booths. Devorah exhibiting her enthusiasm for Mexico.



Kody directing the chime choir. Teacher Sarai and Enrique (in the background) were the masters-of-ceremony.


Tara directing the choir.




Kody playing the piano. The title of the piece is “Malagueña”.




Raul and Rimberto putting their practice to work.





Nurse Susie helping set up the Belize booth. Susie met her husband Cornelio in Belize. They have lived in Tennessee for a number of years before coming to Bolivia.

The Belize booth all set to go.



The Bolivian group preparing their food.




The Bolivian booth under construction.




Chicha de Mango. They pealed the mangos and boiled them.




Bolivia all ready to go.




Canada cooking away preparing their Chili and garlic bread. They also served cornbread. Mindy (left) and Helen (right) led the food preparation.




The Canadian team setting up.




Oh Canada…from covered wagons, chili, cornbread, and garlic bread it seems awfully American. ;) The food was good, the cornbread and chili was especially nice. The garlic bread was good too and it was braided.




The Mexicans setting up.



The Mexican team.


The South Africans. Tara focused solely on the S.A. side of things this year since there were four other Americans but thankfully she went up front with us and helped us sing the national anthem.





Franz demonstrating the proper pose for sautéing onions.




Onions getting chopped by Euridice.





The apple cake getting mixed up. It isn’t the healthiest cake, but wow, it is good.





The oven warming up for the biscuits and the Canadians’ garlic bread.





Team USA cooking biscuits, gravy, and apple cake. We served mashed potatoes and gravy to our team for lunch.




Jhunior cutting more onions!




Gabriel cooling off the potatoes for lunch. We had mashed potatoes and gravy…yum.




I had to wash Old Glory because it had been tucked away in a hut. Carla and Ximena rushed over to get their picture taken with the flag as it was drying. It was nice to get it cleaned up and flying for a few minutes.




We didn’t get our biscuits into the oven in time so we had to reheat the oven. When the oven is heated the fire is put out and the logs removed.





Franz working the oven.


Please continue to keep the school and staff in your prayers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drum Role...

This past Sunday we had the annual international food fare at the school. Students signed up for the various countries represented at the school. I of course was with the United States booth. It was a big success, so big infact, that I will have to finish uploading the photos next week!

Please make this paragraph a special prayer request. Last Sabbath the mayor of the village of Yata and his wife came to church at the school for the first time. That God will continue opening doors in Yata and working on the mayor's heart and his wife's heart. The mayor wants to give the school some land in Yata for a church! He wants to do the deal before his term ends at the end of the year! Right now, there is one...one woman in the village of Yata who is an Adventist. The school trucks a number of people to the school each Sabbath for church so having a church in Yata would be a huge blessing and open the door for more outreach. This is hot off the press so please pray that God will move this forward.

Despite the mission service oriented theme of the food fair there was a few minutes of time for some goofing off...





The Mexicans, teachers: Sarai, Keila, and Lyli encountering trouble on their way to Canada in a covered wagon. From what I understand, the bandit was after the burritos that the Mexicans had made. It is obvious from how baggy his clothes are that he either acquired clothes that were too big or his success in this line of work has been limited.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Close Your Eyes and Dream On!

This is a post about food! Most of these pictures depict what we get per that meal for a serving. Not all of these meals are mine for a particular reason… I am thankful for the food though there are particular dishes (just like at home) that I avoid. Seasonings are different down here which can add a different twist to a familiar dish (such as black beans and rice, a favorite of mine). The school also seeks to cook things the kids will eat. We are dealing with a different culture and the school does try to plan menus that are culturally sensitive…somewhat anyway though a number of these wouldn't be considered Bolivian. The standard meal here in the lowlands (if one can say such) is rice, chicken, and yucca. Needless to say we don’t exactly replicate that…

I was going to reorganize the pictures, but given the number plus I'm using my touchpad mouse I'll leave them in the order they are in. So sit back and enjoy and maybe, just maybe at the end of this post you'll be hungry...or not...haha - sorry, humor greases many an axle. All-in-all, God has been good and has provided.


Sabbath Breakfast: sweet roles (generally 2 per person) and Bolivian style oatmeal or non-chunky granola (I guess a number of the Bolivians don't like chunky granola). It isn't all that uncommon for one to find little sugar ants inside the role as it is taken apart.



Bolivian style oatmeal is a little bit of oatmeal in sweetened water (essentially). 'Gringo style' is would be more in line with what we are used to.

Sabbath Lunch: This is a somewhat common dish for Sabbath, at least when there is soymilk Sabbath morning. The patties are made from the…curd(?) that is strained out while making soymilk. Rice again… Sometimes there will be a leaf of lettuce accompanying.



While Lyli cooked up the tofu (next picture), Kody and I made the curried potatoes. Making our own meals isn’t all that common but makes for a nice treat.



A rare treat – Lyli cooked up some scrambled tofu and thankfully I was able to see what she put in it. The tofu has to be brought from the USA.




One of the additives I use from time-to-time.




Friday night: Pizza!... Putting it into a hot skillet and slightly searing the top and bottom adds a nice touch.




Majadito…I’ll just say this isn’t a favorite of mine… :)




Lentils and Rice is a normal fare. This occasion they deep fried some eggplant in a batter and served it. I was able to nibble on a couple pieces of the eggplant before I let it slide a different direction than down my throat…





Probably my favorite meal – lentil hamburgers! Two per person is the serving with no condiments. I am thankful to whoever invented ketchup! I have been using ketchup on rice as well.




Another rice and bean dish with beet salad.





Potatoes with a ‘salsa’ and salad. I generally skip the salsa since I don’t care for the seasoning and just add some salt to my potato. As noted earlier the students don’t really like potatoes, so potatoes really are for the sake of the gringos.




Sabbath Supper: bread and popcorn. Generally two pieces of bread and a cup of popcorn per person.




Yes this is spaghetti. It is not like one would expect…





When there is ‘excess’ rice, use ketchup…at least that is what I do. I am so thankful for the ketchup.




Rice and I don’t know what along with beet salad and a leaf of lettuce.





Corn bread. Generally one piece is what is served per person – that is the meal.




Black beans and rice without potato. This is one of my favorite dishes though I tend to add a bit more salt.





Black beans with potato and rice. Potatoes aren’t all that popular here in the lowlands, it is a highlander food.





Rice and sort of like a potato soup.




Peanut Soup which I have yet to bring myself to try though others vouch for its palatability.




Lots of rice, salad, and peas. More than I can eat now.

Well, these are the majority of meals. Missing are burritos, plantain and salsa, and saltanias. There are other foods which do appear from time to time, but are not the general fare. The cost of these meals for everyone comes to around $500USD ($b3500) per week which is why developing agriculture at the school is so important.


“When the Lord gives a work to be done, let not men inquire as to the reasonableness of the command or the probable result of their efforts to obey. The supply in their hands may seem to fall short of the need to be filled; but in the hands of the Lord it will prove more than sufficient.” –PK 243:1

“The call to place all on the alter of service comes to each one. We are not all asked to serve as Elisha served, nor are we all bidden to sell everything we have; but God asks us to give His service the first place in our lives, to allow no day to pass without doing something to advance His work in the earth. He does not expect from all the same kind of service. One may be called to ministry in a foreign land; another may be asked to give of his means for the support of gospel work. God accepts the offering of each. It is the consecration of the life and all its interests, that is necessary. Those who make this consecration will hear and obey the call of Heaven. –PK 221:3



I wrote this blog middle of last week. In the mean time I have been doing some reading and would like to share a couple excerpt with you:

Chap. 117 of “Conflict and Courage” - "Give Me This Mountain"

I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me. . . . Now therefore give me this mountain. Joshua 14:11, 12.

Before the distribution of the land had been entered upon, Caleb, accompanied by the heads of his tribe, came forward with a special claim. Except Joshua, Caleb was now the oldest man in Israel. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones among the spies who had brought a good report of the Land of Promise, encouraging the people to go up and possess it in the name of the Lord. Caleb now reminded Joshua of the promise then made, as the reward of his faithfulness: "The land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord." He therefore presented a request that Hebron be given him for a possession. . . . His claim was immediately granted. To none could the conquest of this giant stronghold be more safely entrusted. . . .

Caleb's faith now was just what it was when his testimony had contradicted the evil report of the spies. He had believed God's promise that He would put His people in possession of Canaan, and in this he had followed the Lord fully. He had endured with his people the long wandering in the wilderness, thus sharing the disappointments and burdens of the guilty; yet he made no complaint of this, but exalted the mercy of God that had preserved him in the wilderness when his brethren were cut off. . . . The brave old warrior was desirous of giving to the people an example that would honor God, and encourage the tribes fully to subdue the land which their fathers had deemed unconquerable. Caleb obtained the inheritance upon which his heart had been set for forty years, and, trusting in God to be with him, he "drove thence the three sons of Anak." . . .

The cowards and rebels had perished in the wilderness, but the righteous spies ate of the grapes of Eshcol. To each was given according to his faith. The unbelieving had seen their fears fulfilled. Notwithstanding God's promise, they had declared that it was impossible to inherit Canaan, and they did not possess it. But those who trusted in God, looking not so much to the difficulties to be encountered as to the strength of their Almighty Helper, entered the goodly land. -CC 123

What would happen if we each said what Caleb did? What if we each chose a street, a neighborhood, a town, a city, a county, a region, a nation and said ‘Lord, I want to win that for you”? What would happen? Caleb wanted that mountain and he went out and took it for God, he acted and God blessed.