Flexibility is always the key word in Bolivia. The next morning, which was supposed to be the first day of work, it was pouring down rain. So much for the work day. But, in the name of flexibility, Niki suggested that they could repair and paint the walls in our little living room (It had needed repainting and fixing for at least two years). So we now have a nice purple room (I did not pick out the color!).
Saturday, the day before New Year's, was another rainy day. So we took the team to a couple of markets to let them get the feel for how most of Bolivia shops. The meat row was not considered a yummy sight. By the middle of the afternoon the rain had stopped so we all headed out to the project site to distribute invitations to a three day children's event that would take place in the Dios Es Amor church. That evening was spent welcoming the New Year with lots of fireworks - all kinds of things that would be illegal in Georgia. It was a fun night.
Sunday morning we all headed to the Dios Es Amor church for worship and dinner. The team shared some testimonies and I was invited to preach. It was a good service and one which helped to underscore the oneness that we have in Christ, regardless of our color or language.
When the last work team was here we had tried to take them out to the sand dunes on Sunday afternoon but were rained out. We planned the same thing for this team. We were not rained out but the bus broke down in the middle of a small river about half way through the park. So, so much for the dunes. We are thinking that we should remove this trip from future team schedules!
When your bus is stuck in the middle of a river what do you do while waiting for the truck to come and pull you out? Play soccer, of course!
Monday began the actual work at the site. Throughout the week the team cut rebar,
and tied rebar.
They also hauled dirt, poles, pulled nails and put up a wall. While all the work was not necesarily glamorous or even fun, the team hung in there through it all.
Monday afternoon we also began the three day children's event. It was a time of music, Bible story and crafts. The team members brought the craft items with them and helped supervise the doing of them. For many of the team members this was the favorite part of the visit. After all, who can resist the smiles and affection offered by about a hundred cute kids each day.
We did give the team one day off to just play. We went by bus about three hours up the river to Las Cuevas, a park with several water falls and swimming holes. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and then swimming and hiking.
For many members of this team this was their first experience outside the US and several went home expressing a new gratitude for what they enjoy that many other people do not have. All, I hope, left with a new vision of the need to reach out beyond the borders of their own communitiy to the world at large.
Thank you very much to the members of the Roberta, Georgia Evangelical Church, for your service and servant heart. Thank you for how you willingly served the brothers and sisters of Santa Cruz and for how you ministered to us as well. Y'all come back now, ya hear!