During this COVID crisis, sometimes finding fresh veggies has been difficult for us where we live. Laura has slowly been working on our terrace garden. We live in a very small house in Sucre so we have to use every little space available to us. The terrace gets great sun and its an open space where she can work. Plus it have a great view of the Andes mountains all around us.
We really like fresh organic food. Growing our own is the only way to really get organic here as most of the veggies and fruit are now sprayed down heavily.
In this container, we are growing broccoli, swish card, carrots and some green onions. It is winter season right now which is very dry. Its in the 60’s during the day and can drop down to 32 at night.
Here are are growing some strawberries in a raised bed. We also put in some more green onion, which I just love with eggs in the mornings.
In a pot, we are growing these massive broccoli. It so exciting to see it growing every day.
These pots are growing a variety of veggies and fruits.
Down stairs in our patio area, we have a small apple tree which gave fruit for the first time this year. We ate 18 apples from the tree. We also do our own compost down in the patio area and have a worm bin so cut down on our waste management.
Nico and Gabriel have both helped out in the garden and its been a joy doing it together as a family.
Gabriel is working on his photography, in which he took the majority of these pictures.
Last week, Sucre Bolivia moved the quarantine from a strict level to a moderate level. I took our car, which hasn’t been used in 4 months, to get an oil change and a new battery. We might even have a little mouse in the car now. We are going to get it cleaned up for use again.
There are now buses, taxis and cars everywhere. It was a 4 month strict quarantine. The new moderate level allows people to leave their houses and open up work again. People can be out from 6 am until 4 pm Monday – Friday. On the weekends, everyone is supposed to be home. Some government offices and buildings are still closed and there is limited travel between cities. But the reality is there is a lot more open then before as long as the new quarantine guidelines are followed. No churches are allowed to hold services and all large public gatherings are forbidden in the mean time. But at least we can leave our front door on a weekday.
So for the first time in 4 months, Laura, Nicolas, Gabriel and I left the house together and went to visit the school property and Laura’s parents and family. Wow, it was great to be outside in the fresh air. Its dry season as you can see in the picture above, but we were just happy to be outside.
The situation in Bolivia isn’t getting any better. COVID continues to spread rapidly. But Bolivians need to work again as people live on a salary of what they make daily. Many of the poor are starving and struggling so the decision to reopen hopefully will help them. But the hospitals are still over run and people continue to die in the streets from COVID especially in larger cities like Santa Cruz and La Paz.
At our school in Vida y Luz, we have 3 teachers who have the virus as well. One of the grandfathers of our student died from it. Their entire families are sick and infected now. Please be in prayer for them during this time.
We are very thankful for the scholarships we are able to give students to continue attending Vida y Luz even during this time of quarantine. Vida y Luz is completely on line and the children can continue to get a Christ centered Christian education from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. We have 3 students again this year that we have raised funds for their education Ayelet (6th grade), Valerio (3rd) and Wilson (1st).
We praise God that we have been able to raise funds for Ayelet (6th grade). A church in Jackson Michigan has committed to give towards her scholarship. All the money has not yet been collected but they are hosting fund raisers to raise that support.
We are also grateful for an anonymous donor who was willing to match any donation up to $1200 for the boys scholarship. A church in Saginaw Michigan has committed to give towards Valerio and the anonymous donor then matched the gift 100%. Praise God with us! Especially in moments of crisis with COVID, the church continues to shine it’s light in the form of generosity. Thank you so much for partnering with us for the kingdom.
Students in this program are expected to earn a B average grade, show good behavior and their parents volunteer throughout the school year. Each family pays a monthly amount depending on their financial situation. These students not only get a good education but are introduced to Christ as well. Recently Valerio and Wilson wanted to confess their faith in Christ. Amazing to see the Lord calling these young kids to himself through the school. If the Lord leads, please give towards this life changing ministry. Account # 150899 Vida y Luz STUDENTS HELP
The second week of June, Sucre tried to reopen some of its’ businesses and stores. Public and private transportation still was prohibited but the government gave out more special permissions that first week. But sadly during that week COVID cases rose at an alarming rate while things were open. So the government quickly shut down everything again and we are on a strict quarantine once more. It has been almost 4 months of this strict isolation.
(Pics From newspaper -Correo de Sur)
The number of cases and deaths are still rising. Now, bodies are left on the street because hospitals can’t admit anymore people into their COVID units. People are dying in the streets and their bodies have to be picked up by special government officials in hazmat suits because of the fear of more spread.
Some of the busiest areas in Sucre like the picture above, are now empty. As we pass through this bitter season, we ask for prayers for protection for our family. We continue to do ministry from the house via online classes at the school Vida y Luz and we do sermon messages that we record and pass out for the church. Please pray for Sucre and Bolivia.
(Pictures from Correo de Sur Newspaper)
The coronavirus continues to spread in Bolivia despite strict quarantine regulations. We have been in this lock down now for two and a half months. We can only leave our house on Thursdays to do a little shopping in the morning and we are not allowed to use our car. There is no public transportation either… no buses or taxis. Only essential cars with special permission may drive.
Because the virus is spreading rapidly, in an attempt to slow it down the government has closed down food markets where the virus was found. So far 2 major markets in Sucre have been shut down. The sellers have fled to the streets in hopes of selling what ever products that are remaining.
The Bolivian government has talked about opening up again. Not because we are doing better with the virus but because many people are starving and they need to work. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. With the current crisis people are not able to buy their daily bread.
In the midst of the crisis, we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been studying a book by John Piper to help motivate people to engage with God’s word on a weekly basis. We also have been sending the sermons recorded for people to watch.
The school Vida Y Luz continues to do their classes online. It’s been a struggle financially and we are praying for guidance moving forward. Both Gabriel and Nico have been involved in the zoom classes and it’s been a real adjustment for them. But we are grateful for all the work teachers from the school have put into continuing the education of our student body.
(Pic is from Sucre’s local newspaper online of the Police restrictions after various persons where discovered to have the COVID-19 virus in the local market of Moro)
Just like everywhere else in the world, the COVID-19 virus continues to spread in Bolivia. Last night we had the 3rd case documented and reported in Sucre. Sadly the person was from the market and had contact with hundreds of people in the crowded market that he possible infected. The market has been shut down for now. The picture above shows the Police blocking it off. Some people had been sneaking out at night to the markets and buying and selling. But now with this new discovery it’s been completely shut down. Today, the interim President of Bolivia has called the evangelical church to a day of prayer. So we will be praying for Bolivia and for the world as it deals with these problems.
For those of you who know me pretty well, I like to exercise and be active. My favorite sport in the world is Basketball. There is no basketball on the TV and we can’t even leave our front door to go for a walk outside of the house. So I have been doing home exercise with Insanity videos. They are not popular anymore but when I was a pastor in California, I really got into the insanity workout routine. For me, I like to get up at 6:30 or 7 am to start the day exercising and then spending time in the Word with Jesus.
For the workouts, I was able to find (before the lockdown) a kettle bell which has been a great compliment.
So before the kids wake up in the morning and get going for home school, I’ve been exercising down stairs in the living room. It helps with the stress of the situation and the anxiety. I personally find exercising in the morning motivating and a great way to start the day. I try to exercise 5-6 days a week focusing on either power, cardio or abs.
It doesn’t look like Bolivia has peaked yet but after a month of strict quarantine people are tired of being inside all the time. There are rumors the president will lessen the quarantine for right now but we will see what happens next. She will give a speech today or tomorrow once a decision has been made. Thank you for staying up to date with us here in Sucre.
Life and ministry have been very different in Sucre during this historic time. The Coronavirus still continues to grow in the major cities of Bolivia. Here in Sucre we have only 2 cases (April 27, 2020). But all of Bolivia has been on strict lockdown for the month of April. We to remain in the house 24hours and not to leave unless a emergency. You can’t go outside your front door unless its your day to go shopping. One person between the ages of 18 and 65 per family is authorized to leave their residence to buy food and basic necessities in the morning of their designated day according to your Bolivian ID. The picture above is one Thursday that I was allowed to leave my house and look for food.
There is no public or private transportation. So everything has to be done on foot which is very exhausting because we live so far away from the markets on the edge of the city.
When I go out, it is required to wear protection. This is the best I can do. Some areas people are sprayed down with some kind of chemical or cleaner before you can enter a government building or public market etc.
We have had a few close calls where we had just barely enough food to make the week. But we have not starved and we are thankful for that. God has provided through his people and we found a smaller market that we can get some food on our day.
Nico and Gabriel have been doing homeschool work in the house. Laura continues to teach her classes at Vida y Luz via online videos she downloads for the students to watch. Gabriel and Nico get assignments during the week to keep their minds growing and learning.
We have been doing some other things as well in the house. The other day we cleaned our car on the back patio area. It was a boys thing just to get wet and clean the car together.
I continue to upload sermons for the church plant Vida Abundante. It is a learning experience but we are finally understanding a bit more how it works. We have received good feedback from the church even though we are not able to meet together on Sundays right now.
Thank you for praying for us and look us up on facebook as well, where we have videos and other information.
Yesterday, the Bolivian government made a statement ordering all schools and public events to be closed down until March 31 in response to the world wide spread of COVID-19. There have been a few cases in the major Bolivian cities but we have only had rumors in Sucre. There has been anything confirmed yet. But the Bolivian government is taking this seriously as they know the county is not prepared to handle a decease of this magnitude.
Vida y Luz will be shut down along with all the school programs until March 31 at which time the government will reconsider the current situation. The teachers will be sending homework home for the kids to do while waiting to see what is next. Our church plant is praying about what our response should be as we don’t want to give in to fear but we also want to be responsible at the same time.
In the meant time, the US government has issued a level -3 warning to all Americans living aboard that we should avoid large crowds and groups and try social distancing. We will be monitoring the situation and we will keep you informed as we more forward.
Rebeldes por Cristo (Rebels for Christ) has started up again this Friday night. We had the best turn out we’ve had in a long time and we give God the credit for that. We were thinking maybe 10-13 students were going to come but we were over joyed that 24 kids came to our youth outreach Friday night. We are excited for the future of this ministry. We had from middle school to high school aged kids come. It was a great blend and mix of kids from different backgrounds. Some were Christians and others are interested but have not committed their lives to Jesus yet. So it was a wonderful time sharing the word and encouraging the youth.
We did an opening “ice breaker” game with a Bolivian brand of M&M’s which the kids love as they don’t get to eat that kind of candy all the time. They all got to share a bit more of themselves.
We played aground game called “Death Ball” a fun youth group game we learned about in the US. The kids loved it and it was a huge success playing the game in a big group of 22 kids!
After our group games we had a time of Bible study. We looked at why we are called rebells for Christ. The goal and purpose of the group is to follow Jesus and not the ways of this world. If we just follow the sinful path in culture, than we are really conforming to the ways of the world and not to Christ. Being a follower of Christ means we are going to be living very differently. In a very real way, we are rebelling against the culture in order to follow Christ.
After the Bible study, we had free time. We have different actives such as video games, board games, card games and snacks. We had invested in a few good board games and brought them back to Bolivia with us. The kids enjoyed them a lot!
Favorite video games are racing games and Fifa soccer games.
Praise God with us for this event that exposed these young men and women to the gospel. The new space is really amazing for these kids of actives. Thank you to everyone who gave towards the new building for the church. We had two young girls come up asking for prayer from our leaders because their family is broken from Carnival. We prayed earnestly over them. Afterwards, they gave us the biggest huge and thanked us. Our hope moving forward is that more can be ministered to and more can experience God’s love and redeeming power in their lives.
This week has been carnival. If you haven’t talked to us personally about our experiences or read some of our blog posts in the past, just know that Carnival isn’t what the movies make it out to be. Here in Sucre Bolivia it is a very dark time. Most Christians escape from the city because of the noise, the immorality and total anarchy that takes place. Most people believe that from Friday – Tuesday before lent is a time when God turns his back on humanity to let them indulge in any earthy, immoral desire they want. Then on Ash Wednesday they go and confess their sins ( or they don’t) and start religious observances during lent. The immorality that happens is difficult to express in words… people of all ages from kids 8 years to teenager to adults drunk on the streets. Crime skyrockets out of the roof… there are more break-ins, more rape, and just immorality of every kind during Carnival.
Our new church building is located in a hot zone for Carnival and isn’t safe to get together during this time. So we held our first Church picnic out on the school property outside of the city. We invited the entire church to come out for a day of fellowship, prayer and good fun. Here are some pictures from the day.
We focused on prayer, the scriptures and fellowship
We ate roasted chicken, potatoes, corn, cauliflower, and faba beans. Really delicious
Kids enjoyed the food as well.
Laura serving up some food with her mother and sister.
Gabriel and some of his friends taking a rest in the shade.
Cami really enjoys her chicken.