Hello again from Bolivia! We are half way done with outreach, and our whole team cannot believe it. In the last 3 weeks, here are some things y’all have missed:
In our final week in La Paz, we worked at a Boy’s home for street kids. It’s a ministry in the mountains of Bolivia called Kaya. They take boys off the streets of Bolivia and give them a permanent home, food, and a family of other boys just like them. We built relationships, laughed, and played a lot of soccer with them. The saddest part was that they creamed us “gringos” every single time. They were half our size and age, and won over and over. Mostly we just got to have fun with these boys and reflect Christ’s value and love on them as much as we could.
We also got an awesome opportunity to partner with a shoe shining ministry in La Paz. In the city, there is tons of discrimination against shoe shiners that earn their money on the streets. The shiners wear ski masks, hats, and hoods, so that no one will see who they truly are. We got to shine shoes alongside them, wearing all of the things that they do. It showed us all how distorted value is in the world. That God’s heart breaks for these people because He says “Child, you are mine. You are valued because i say you are, not because of who they say you are.”. But the truth in that is He says that to every single one of us. Our value is determined by our King, not by the world. It was such an amazing eye opening experience as we were all pushed outside of our comfort zone, in order to see more of God’s heart for the value in all people, no matter where or who you are.
After a 10 hour long bus ride, we finally arrived in Cochabamba, which means “eternal spring”, for more reasons than one. The culture here is a bit less “busy city” like, than La Paz, and there is a chiller vibe. There is much more green because of the drop in altitude. Mountains still surround the city, but these mountains are green and lush, rather than brown and rocky like in La Paz. The food is amazing (stay tuned for pics on the next blog post). There is a saying that goes like this: ” The people in La Paz eat to live, but the people in Cochabamba live to eat!”, which is so true.
Since being here, we have helped with maintenance jobs on an orphanage for girls called “Daughters of the King” that is opening very soon. We have also served at a Kid’s Club in a much poorer area than where we are staying. It was like a VBS for kids here. It was equally sad and joyful to spend time with these kids, while seeing the reality of how they live. We served them bread and juice, which for most all of those kids, that is all they will eat for the weekend. Aside from that, we got to play with them and just love on them regardless of the high risk of catching lice from them all. I remember driving there knowing that it would be rare for a kid to not have lice, and that we all should pull up our hair. I began to think “oh no, I don’t want to get lice! I wont get too close.” Then Jesus spoke so boldly to me and reminded me of how he was the one who pursued the hearts of lepers. He was the one who sat with the lame and sick. He was the one who broke down boundaries of value by showing people that they are worth it no matter what. Right after that, my attitude changed and my heart broke for these people instead of holding them at arms length. As we had to go, all the kids were hugging us and running after our car laughing, and the last thing any of us could think about was getting lice. All we could think about was the joy that each one of those kids taught us, even with having so little. I would go back there in a second if I could.
Our whole team has been learning that choosing freedom is a daily choice. That every day we wake up, we fight alongside Jesus to walk in the healing that He gifts us. Please be praying for us to celebrate our own personal small victories and that we can continue to be empowered to fight. Also please pray for health, and constant joy to be willing in every single opportunity God gifts us in these last weeks.
All our love from Bolivia!
Shea Salisbury – DTS September 2014