Just a few days ago, I received a phone call. A pastor from another local church wanted to talk to me about the materials that are being put together for teaching. I met him and his wife and we talked for nearly two hours. I showed him the lessons that are finished, and he took nearly all of what I had brought with me. He is interested in more lessons in the future. Little by little, we are getting the lessons more organized and ready to be used. Sharon Wiebe is such an encouragement to me in this area and has been putting my lessons in the Bible college library here in Santa Cruz as they are completed. Gerada, the secretary there, helps me correct the Spanish errors the lessons contain. For those who might be wondering, I learned Spanish on the streets of Vallegrande…not in a classroom. (If I had it to do over again, I most likely would have studied in an institute!) 🙂 Then 11 years with the Deaf, and…well, my written Spanish did not improve much. It did not have to as I had to work so hard to learn Bolivian Sign Language. I am told I am fluent in spoken Spanish, but I know sometimes I make mistakes there, too. In spite of all that, God has been good to allow so many people to help with the lessons. It really is a team effort! Right now, I am working on a series of lessons called, “Christ in Every Book of the Bible.” I’m up to the book of Proverbs! We’ve also started to do some missionary stories (by popular request!) 🙂
Tomorrow, Elena (one of the girls from the Megumi orphanage where my daughter works) and I will be traveling to Vallegrande. Marisol, the pastor’s wife is a very talented teacher with many years of experience. We hit it off right away and I feel like I have known her for years. Anyway, she is also helping with the lessons (though we have not done much together yet). All of the lessons we are making are black and white so as to make them affordable. The only cost will be what it costs to photocopy them. Effort will also be required as they will need to be colored. Elena, who has a unique gift for coloring the lessons (she is a tremendous help with my Sunday school lessons), will be teaching a class on how to do just that. Colored pencils are used by most children here and with a little coaching, most can learn to color almost as well as Elena. This includes teachers – which also means I will be taking the class as well! Elena and I both desire to be a blessing to the teachers in Vallegrande. I have not been able to meet with Sandibel, the young woman who is an artist. Unfortunately, she lives well over two hours from me (yes, Santa Cruz is huge!). We just haven’t been able to get together.
My daughter seems to be past the “rough” stage in her pregnancy, though she still has some difficult days. Only 3 1/2 months to go! Thanks for praying for her. I’ve often tried to imagine what it will be like to have a new grandbaby, due in part because I love Abigail so much. A friend of mine told me, “Oh, don’t worry Carolyn, it’s just like opening a second bank account! The love will grow with interest!!” I liked that!
As I have mentioned in earlier updates, working on the lessons is very time consuming. So much so that if I am not careful, I can sit in front of my computer all day (I think I’ve mentioned this, too!). I am trying to reach out more to some of the people at church. Eva is the only other single (as in older-and-never-been-married) woman at church. Sometimes, single women don’t fit well in this society – so we are trying to get together more often just to be an encouragement to each other. Just this past Sunday night, I was helping one of the young mother’s carry some things as she had her hands full. She lives very close to me. Anyway, she invited me inside her home and we talked well over an hour. She wants to do this every Sunday night and I realized that she needs a friend. People were always a very important part of Christ’s ministry. I never want to lose sight of this.
I have been doing much thinking lately about this…about a myriad of things. I do not think it is always easy to have a missionary for a friend. I don’t often write personal emails for lack of time. As much as I enjoy Facebook when I am using it, I very seldom do. Sometimes, I have to admit that I feel quite guilty about this. I was reading a small book by Amy Carmichael the other day and I was surprised to learn that she had often felt the same way. She said that she felt that many of her friendships were weakening. They weren’t, of course, but because of the distance and lack of corresponding, she feared that this would become so. The Lord lifted her heart with “…if only the Lord Himself be the golden bond between heart and heart, all is well. A faithful friend is the medicine of life.” I have been blessed with so many good friends. Just today, I received a question-packed email from my friend Joan. It was so “her!” I miss her. I miss so many…John, Julie, Danielle, Donna, Jim, Lovena, Jan, Becky, Sheryl, Carolyn, Linda, Dave, Ann, Yvonne, Cathy, Freida, Terri, Gina, Cindy, Debra, Denise, Diane, Kari, Janette, Jenni, Martie, Nancy, Patty, Selena, Vicki, Rosie, Rachael, Anna, Jerry, Barb, and so many, many others that were I to mention all of you, my letter would take you into next week. Please know that when I think of you – and I do think of you more often than you know – even my heart smiles. Thanks to all who have been and are “medicine of life” for me.
I have to close with an “Abigail” moment. My five year old granddaughter came to my room the other day and said to me rather seriously, “Grandma, when you get real old and don’t have any more teeth, I’m still going to love you!” After laughing, and silently counting how many teeth I have left, I thanked her and told her that this was indeed good news! Grandkids really are grand, aren’t they?
Have a good week!
Your sister in Christ in Bolivia, Carolyn
Field Address: Casilla 3183, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, SOUTH AMERICA