2019 Vida y Luz Camp

As our family is still continuing to travel and visit different brothers and sisters in North America, the ministry in Sucre continues. Two weeks ago, Vida y Luz Christian school hosted their yearly campamento (camp) for high schoolers. For 3 days the entire high school and middle school grades leave Sucre and go out into the country side for a time of fun and spiritual enrichment. We praise God that this year 7 different students accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior. The wonderful thing is many of the students are returning students who have been exposed to the gospel for the first time in their lives and have finally made the decision to follow Jesus as their Lord.

The school has never been shy or secretive about teaching Christ in every subject at school during the school year. But at camp, it is a special time where the staff at Vida y Luz can spend more personal time with the students and share more specifically about the Christian faith.

Jose was a major leader again in the organization of the camp. He organized the games with the current staff at Vida y Luz and is now coordinating the follow up with our ministry that we do together call “Rebells for Christ”. It’s very important in the first month that these new believers get the follow up that they need. So please be in prayer for these students as others from our Church and the school walk along side of them in their new faith.

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First quarter of Furlough 2019

Greetings everyone from cold Grand Rapids Michigan. We have been in the US a little over 3 months now.  We were not ready for the cold. As you can see, the boys enjoyed the snow, but Laura and I have had a hard time with the cold weather and long winter.  We hope the summer is coming soon. We can’t wait.

But the warm fellowship has been very refreshing since we have been back.  We are staying in the greater Grand Rapids area in a place called Jamestown.  They have a mission house they have graciously allowed us to use and it has been an answer to prayer and a blessing.  The “Shalom House” as it’s called, really is a place of peace and rest. We have enjoyed our trips to Meijer (Nico has too on the pony) where we have enjoyed pushing a cart around again instead of walking through the outdoor markets of Sucre with our bags. It has been a nice change. 

Gabriel is currently doing home schooling with Laura. Nico is staying at home as well. We have been blessed to be able to do a few fun things. Gabriel and I were able to go to a Pistons Game, which Gabriel wanted to do for years. The Pistons lost but we had a great time in Detroit. We have gone to the local library many times exploring for hidden treasure in their vast treasury of books. Gabriel joined a soccer league with his friend Zion. They have enjoyed learning to play better and it has been a great experience for Gabriel. 

Since we have been back, we have visited 9 churches in the Michigan and Illinois area. Sometimes its only Gabriel and I and other times the whole family makes the trip. Right now we would like to connect with all our current donors and supporters to show them what God has done in Bolivia the last 5 years of our ministry and how they can continue to support the ministry going froward. The hope is that later in the year we might be able to visit new churches and donors to help us to continue preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Bolivia for the next 5 years.

 

While visiting a church in Palos Heights, we found out there was a Lego store close by and went for a visit. Gabriel was in lego heaven and enjoyed the visit.

We had a few great visits with my (Glenn’s) family.

We had a very very late Christmas celebration with my family. We opened presents and they even left the tree up for us into March so we could celebrate together. The boys were blessed.

 

 

 

English Summer Camp 2019

This January 2019, we hosted our first ever English Camp. We have seen how learning English is a good and useful tool to spreading the gospel and so we hosted our first camp.  We had 20 children come who are in elementary or middle school to participate. For 4 days, we camped out on the Vida y Luz campus.  We spoke exclusively in English and taught them games and actives in English.

We taught them how to make pancakes and they cooked for themselves one morning. They also ate eggs and bacon which is an American classic. And we had cereal and milk another day.

We also cooked our own pizzas. We had the kids gather the ingredients and prepare their own meal. The kids loves this activity.

We also taught them board games in English like Risk, Blockus, Spoons, and other games completely in Enlighs.

What camp is complete without a camp fire? We enjoyed time practicing English and eating marshmallows.

And finally, we sang many many songs. We sang worship songs and even the famous “Baby Shark” song. I can’t believe I did all the motions with the kids. 🙂

South Olive Playground and Classroom work Dec-Jan 2019

On December 26, 2018 a group from the Grand Rapids Mi area left just the day after Christmas to come down to Sucre Bolivia and serve with us.  A group of 11 brothers and sisters came down to do a building project. The goal was to build a new playground for our school Vida y Luz and to finish off building two classrooms.  For months, Laura and I along with the help of other brothers prepared for their arrival gathering materials for the project. In Sucre, there is no Home Depot where you can go and get everything you need for a building project like this. You have to contract small business shops to coordinate everything together.

When the team arrived, we got to work almost right away. Even in the rain, the team was determined to work which is a big testimony to other Bolivians of the heart for service these brothers had.  We had much adversity during the project. The weather at times because we are in the midst of the rainy season.  At times we didn’t have the supplies we needed because the materials were not delivered on time. Yet, with all the adversity the team continued to have a positive attitude and continued working.

The best part was the relations that were built while working together. The South Olive team worked together hand in hand with other brothers and sisters from Sucre.  At times, they couldn’t communicate clearly because one only knew Spanish and the other English. But its simply amazing the bond we have in Christ. Christ’s love and peace transcended the language barrier and deep relationships were formed.

The experience was profoundly impacting on both American and Bolivian groups. The time together will not be easily forgotten. Because of all the adversity, we unfortunately  were unable to finish the playground. The project also was much bigger than I had originally thought it was going to be. But the two classrooms are finished! Praise God! We are so grateful for this team and their impact they have left here in Sucre for the Kingdom of God.

We are working now on finishing up the playground. Its been difficult as we have also been doing our normal ministry and we just have English Camp 2019 this past week. But we hope to have updates and the finished project pictures within the coming weeks.

Marlin and Dan working hard on the playground. We would have been lost without them

They painted the new classrooms like professionals 🙂

 

I don’t even know how many wheelbarrow loads these girls carried. It was amazing!

Cami was the first to give the new slide a try!

Basketball and Soccer Court at Vida y Luz

It has been a long time coming but finally Vida y Luz has a basketball and soccer court on the school campus.  For years, the kids have been playing in the dirt soccer and they had no exposure to basketball.  But the school raised the money with several fund raisers over the years and with a final generous gift, the school was able to finish building the cement court. The project started in January and just recently in October we were able to finish by putting up the new basketball hoops.

It is interesting how these hoops were made. We couldn’t just go to a home improvement store or buy them from a supermarket of some kind. They had to be built by hand by a metal specialist. Then after the man built them we shipped them to the school on back of this old truck.

But the kids have loved the new hoops and it has been a real blessing. When the truck arrived at the school the kids were jumping up and down like it was Christmas cheering.  While the Chicago team was in Sucre, I was able to try it out myself. If you didn’t know, I’m a big basketball fan and enjoy playing. I hadn’t played 4-on-4 since I was last on furlough in the States. So I was able to play a bit with the brothers from Chicago which really blessed my heart.

The hoops have wheels on them so that we can be moved and the soccer nets can be set up. We haven’t been able to complete two things. One the court needs to be painted and two we haven’t been able to paint and clean the soccer nets. These are the last two details but the court is in use every school day. The the kids love it. They have enjoyed being able to play and there are hopes of having a basketball team one day. For now, it’s amazing to see this dream come to fruition and see kids coming together and playing on the court.   We know this court will be used for the Kingdom and we are blessed to have been a part of the process of bringing this to Vida y Luz.

Chicago Team 2018: Project School Garden

Last week, we were blessed with a mission team from Hebron Em in Chicago IL.  We love hosting this  team which is coming for it’s 4th straight year.  Each year the team has changed and grown. We were blessed to have 7 brothers come down this year (no women sadly this year). The purpose was to get to see our active ministry here in Sucre Bolivia with the church plant Vida Abundante and the school in secession at Vida y Luz Christian School. The added bonus this year was the team was going to work on a project to build the school its first school garden.

For 2 and a half days, the team worked hand-n-hand with students, teachers, Laura and I to get this school garden  going.  Working the ground in the Andes Mountains can be a real challenge as the team found out. The ground can be very rocky, dry and hard in parts.  But the team pressed through the put up half of the fencing, dig the foundation for the green house and to build new raised beds for plantings.

The new garden is going to be dedicated to helping teach kids practically the value of farming and how to be able to sustain themselves from the land. But that is not all. We have high hopes for this new garden to become a place where the students can also do hands on science experiments and understand the value of farming.

Once the garden and green house are finished, the students will be able to grow and plant plants and measure their growth.  It will be an excellent place to really study the beauty of God’s creation and how He has created plants and vegetation.  On Thursday, the elementary school already planted potatoes and corn.  Its a very exciting time!  We will keep you updated on the progress of the garden and its growth. This is just the beginning. Praise God!

Laura in this picture is directing students on what to do next in the garden.

 A group of elementary school kids on Thursday are working together to use our very own compost to add to the new raised beds to prepare them for planting.

 

Just using one layer bricks we elevated the ground for the kids to be able to better access the plants and study them. Chicago team here building the beds.

Inserting the fence polls into the ground to keep out other unwanted animals who might damage the crops.

Putting on the fencing on the posts.

Group of High Schoolers working on the foundation of the green house.

A teacher at the school hard at work as well on the project.



Digging in preparation to plant some fruit trees

Vida y Luz Elementary School Camp 2018

September 28-29, 2018  Vida y Luz had a two day, one night camp for elementary school kids from grades 6th – 3rd. We held the camp on the school grounds where the kids slept in the classrooms and enjoyed the beautiful mountains surrounding the school. Laura and I, of course, were in the midst of planning and organizing the camp. We had about 20 kids participate.

We had different games and actives for the kids. The game above is to hit the ball with an orange dropped into a nylon put on the players head. Everyone gets lots of laughs out of this game which is very fun. Above, Gabriel is in purple trying to hit the ball.

We had a large camp fire with marshmallows. The professor Alejandro brought his guitar and we sang worship songs around the camp fire. The theme of the camp was “Resolving Conflicts in a God Glorying Way.”  During the day, the students had time to hear from Laura and different teachers on how to deal with conflict. What the dangers of unresolved conflict looked like. And they were encouraged to seek out reconciliation like 2 Cor 5:18b-19 says.

We praise God that students not only had a fun time but were edified and had the opportunity to hear the gospel preached to them clearly.  In the following weeks, please pray for those kids who are interested in accepting Christ as their savior. Pray for the follow-up.