We officially made it to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The flight was long and we were all tired and very sleep deprived but what a joy it was to see Pastor Ruben and his wife Isabel face to face once again, to give them hugs and to again be welcomed back into Bolivia. Pastor Ruben and Isabel were waiting for us as we exited customs and the members of the team had their first chance to hug them and sense what Lakeshore has known for some time. We are called to be here and work with this wonderful couple.
We managed to pack all our luggage into the bus we will have for the week we are here. Amadeo, our bus driver for the week, was extremely patient as we loaded up the entire back of the bus with all of the team suitcases and each of our personal items. It was packed! After a 30 minute drive, we arrived at the hotel with just enough time to squeeze in the last of the hotel’s breakfast. On the flight over, the airline fed everyone dinner at 1:00 in the morning. Not surprisingly, none of us were very hungry at that time so breakfast tasted amazing.
After we got all the rooms situated and the bags unpacked, everyone got to go back to their rooms to take a short nap and a possible shower before we continued on with the day. We met again to head out for lunch and then made a group trip to the grocery store. There aren’t water bottles in packages at this store in Bolivia. Each bottle has to be purchased individually. So, we loaded up carts full of water bottles and sodas to take to the work site. We were quite the sight as we wandered the aisles of the store with four grocery carts full of beverages. We must have been offered help twenty times while we were there. We stood out quite a bit. The Bolivian people were lovely and extremely helpful and in no time at all, we were back loading up the bus to take the short trip back to the hotel.
The afternoon was spent organizing bags of gifts for the Faro del Cielo church, getting the finances of the trip organized, finishing up some sermon notes for the sermon Pastor Gil will preach on Sunday and generally preparing for things to come later this week. There may have even been two teammates who braved the cold water in the hotel pool for a brief minute.
This evening we met with Pastor Ruben and Isabel and his daughter Alejandra and her husband Bruno for dinner. It was the first time we had seen Bruno and Alejandra on this trip and, as always, their joy is infectious and it was a blessing to get to spend some moments with them before the week got going.
Overall, this day was just what we needed. While we did have a set-back early on in the day, we were still able to recover from the travel, organize the church’s gifts, purchase what will be needed for our work days and spend time with our host pastors. It may seem like small, insignificant tasks but each task we completed today sets us up for a fruitful week to come. We are believing God has great things in store and we are waiting with anticipation to see what the week will hold. Tonight we will rest as tomorrow is our first official work day at the church. We have seen pictures of all the work the church has done since December and we are excitedly waiting to see all they have accomplished. We can’t wait to share all the moments with you.
We love you all. Thank you for your prayers and your support for us as we are here.