Thursday, December 17, 2015

New adventures!

We have been on several trips since we last sent an update.  I will be dividing them up into two updates.  Enjoy!

Listening to God is the most important thing in this ministry.  We as humans can not do the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is through connection with Christ on a daily basis through prayer and studying of His word that we are able to know the work He has planned for us.  It is with this in mind that we ask for your prayers and support as we fight the Devil who is trying to stop this ministry with all his worth.  Pray for each of us as individuals and pray for the people here in Bolivia whom God has designated for our group to reach out and touch for his Kingdom.  Praise God for His dedication to us and to the lost of this world.

Health Expo on the 8 Fundamental Health Principles
On November 22nd Chris and I were invited to participate in a health expo that another church, Calocoto SDA in the south zone, were putting on.  A couple from our church, Bajo-Llojeta, is also a part of the other church and when they found out I was a Physical Therapist, they invited us.  So early on Sunday the 22nd, Chris and I along with our two kidlets boarded a Puma bus for downtown La Paz.  We met our friend, Ingrid, at the Puma stop and then proceeded to catch another mini bus to the park where the event was being held.  At the park they had set up 8 booths which taught about the 8 fundamental health principles.  I had a choice to check blood pressures and give education or to give massages to people.  I felt my Spanish was not adequate enough for education in the Blood pressure area and since I enjoy giving massages, I went to the massage booth.  While I was doing massage, Chris was watching the two kids and visiting a little with the people in the other booths.  After helping set up the massage booth, I then, with my very little Spanish and lots of demonstration, proceeded to teach the others in the booth how to give a decent massage to the people since they had not ever given one.  They were a quick study and after a quick prayer with the whole group the Expo began.

The Adventurer Club and the Pathfinder Club were out on the sidewalk handing out pamphlets and inviting people to a meeting in the evening to expand on the 8 principles and other adults were inviting the people into the booths.  We gave a lot of massages to people who were at the same time educated on the importance of rest and drinking lots of water.  There was always someone available to educate the people I was massaging cause again my Spanish was lacking.  However even with the language barrier, I felt that I was able to bless many people with relaxation.  This was a very fun event and we were very appreciative to be included in the event.  We met some very wonderful Christians and yes we were able to practice some of our Spanish. 

Pictures from Left to Right and Top to Bottom:
1. Chris with some church members in front of the kids tent; 2. Crystal with the group in the massage booth; 3. Friend Ingrid and other volunteers taking blood pressures; 4. Set up for the Health Expo; 5. Pure air booth; 6. Nutrition booth; 7. Adventurer Club who helped invite people to the Health Expo right off the street. 
A survey trip not to be forgotten!
November 25th, early afternoon we loaded up into our jeep, Sunny Samson, and began our 4-5 hour drive out to the peninsula Copacabana on Lake Titicaca.  The trip was planned as a relaxing trip to check out Copacabana for when we have other people come down for a mission trip to give them a fun sight seeing adventure. About 2-3 hours into the trip we were passed by two police vehicles and not too much further up the road we saw big trucks driving up the embankment on the left side of the road.  Just a side note, people do drive on the right side of the road here when they are not passing or being stupid.  So we looked past the trucks and saw a mass of people in the road.  We came to the conclusion that this was a demonstration.  So we decided that Sunny Samson could handle the off roading and so we followed the trucks through the field that they were driving in.  We came to another road, found a small section where we could drive over the little ditch and barely missed being hit by another truck coming the other way before begining our trek around the town.  We followed the road until it T'd.  We figured go right as it could put us past the demonstration and we would still be able to go through the town.  Wrong.  We got to the town after driving through a small field and found that the people were demonstrating on both sides of the town.  This was a small town and they were mad about some road construction or something like that.  The people had thrown Large rocks onto the road and were blocking both ways out of this small town.  It is one of those towns where you would joke "Don't blink or you will miss it".  Well we figured we could go around the group on the side of the road, after all we did just drive off road to get there.  So we began to follow this little white truck.  We did not get far before the people demonstrating saw us and surrounded the little white truck.  We saw one man pick up a medium sized rock and the people were telling the person to turn around, that they could not pass.  Well most likely those people were drunk as they don't usually demonstrate without a bit of alcohol in them.  So for the sake of safety we turned around and drove back to the T.  We instead took the left turn and headed down a gravel road between two fields.  After driving quite a distance on this gravel road we missed our turn and found ourselves driving on another gravel road that led us right into a school yard.  We didn't know what to do so we got out and asked the only person that we could see and she said "drive the river bed".  We really didn't want to do that even though the river was small so we attempted to scoot around the edge of the campus to hopefully get to another road.  Nope, we ended up in the cow pasture.  So we asked another guy, he also said to "drive up the river bed and follow the tracks there".  So we drove back  to the river bed, shifted into 4WD and off we went.  What an adventure.  We finally made it to the road we were meant to arrive on and drive into another little town and made it back to the main highway.

The sun was getting lower in the sky and we sped as fast as we could to reach Taquina before sunset.  We made it with about 45 min to 1 hour to spare.  We lined up to cross the straight on a boat and waited.  The day was really windy so the boats were not going across the straight at the time.  We inquired as to when they would begin passage again but none could tell us as it was all based on if the wind died down enough to calm the waves.  Well we sat for about 20-30 min and decided to get the food down for dinner.  Just then a man came by and told us he could take us and to follow him.  So we drove up onto the boat behind a small bus and began the adventure across the straight.  The winds were still going and the waves were still pretty rough.  I was actually quite afraid and did my best (after scaring Corey) to claim God's promises for protection.  Chris ended up taking Corey and calming him down.  We made it across and pulled over in the square to have dinner.  It was already dark when we began our last hour drive to Copacabana.  Nine hours after leaving LaPaz, we arrived at Copacabana inquired at the first hostel we found and settled in for the night.

Thursday the 26th, we got up early, made breakfast and hoofed it to the boat for our ride to Isla del Sol, Island of the Sun.  We settled in and enjoyed meeting other tourists from all over.  Two ladies we sat next to were from Vancouver, Canada who have been traveling all over South America.  We enjoyed telling about our mission here and hearing their stories of their travels.  We finally arrived at the North side of the Island where we disembarked.  We were told by a tour guide that he would lead us up to the temple and that it would be 10 bolivianos to see the attractions.  What the tour guide and everyone else failed to tell us was that it would be 10 Bolivianos a person to even set foot on the path.  After hiking up to the ruins, we decided to have lunch then tackle the 3 hour hike to the south side of the island.  However since our thanksgiving lunch ran a bit late and we needed to be on the south side of the island at 3:30pm to catch our boat, we had to make this 3 hour hike in less than 3 hours.  So I strapped on Cara, Chris picked up Corey, and we started hiking.  Now understand this is not a flat little trip, I think I counted 7 peaks that we had to climb up over to get to the south side.  Plus the island was about 13,000 or 14,500 feet above sea level at times and the altitude plus the quick hike directly after lunch was making me nauseous.  Not too long after we started down the trail, DJ, Jodi and Manny realized Chris and I were not going to make it quickly by carrying the diaper bag and the kids.  So they took the diaper bag, Chris took the camera and Corey and I had the baby.  We hiked and hiked and hiked some more.  At one point we reached the top of the 3rd peak and there was a toll booth there.  They told us that in order to go on we had to pay them 15 Bolivianos a person.  So we gave them the money and kept hiking since we knew we had to get to our boat.  Then after 2 grueling hours of hiking  we finally made it to the south side.  But again there was another gal standing there asking for 5 Bolivianos a person to enter the town.  Now this was tourism at its finest.  We paid the lady and began the last leg to the boat.    This leg was a fairly steep downhill with donkey dung all over the path and slippery rocks.  But at 3:30 on the dot, Chris and I were boarding our boat. We found out after getting onto the boat that the little 3hr hike  was actually 4 hours from where we were dropped off from the boat and that we just made it in 2.5 hours plus 1 hour before lunch.  The total distance ended up being 13K after we were told it was only 7K. The only thing we have to say is "Praise be to God". 

We made the two hour trip in the boat back to Copacaba and made the very sore walk back to our hostel where we made Nachos and leftovers for dinner and all headed to bed.  The next morning we were up early and loaded the jeep up and headed home.    

We survived this survey trip and learned three things.

1. Use Sun Screen when it is sunny and you are hiking up at 14,000 feet.
2. Be prepared to catch any type of intestinal bug possible (Praise God we are all better 2 weeks later)
3. It is good to experience the adventure you will take your guests on before they do, so that there are no surprises.   

Pictures above from Left to Right and Top to Bottom:
1. City of Copacabana; 2. The Team on the boat ride to Isla del Sol; 3. Manny and DJ on the boat; 4. The Group sitting down to Lunch; 5. Thanksgiving dinner: Homemade burritos; 6. View from the boat of the Islands; 7. View from the Island of Isla del Sol; 8. One of the Ancient Ruins on Isla Del Sol; 9. Our Family after the 13k hike up, down and over 7 plus peaks from the north end of the Island to the South End of the Island.
Visiting a Medical center 
Just outside of Taquina on our way home from Copacabana, is a small medical center that the Quakers built.  A while back, DJ and Jodi heard about this little medical center and wanted to visit it.  The Center is staffed by just one nurse and is used by the government for 1 week a year or so they were told.  So we decided that since we were there we would check it out in person. 

It was a great little center, with a room for dental, OB, a few sick rooms for patients, MD consulting rooms and a Pharmacy.  On the property was also a 3 story high building for housing medical personnel and any sick people who didn't fit into the center.  It had a small kitchen and living room. 

After speaking to the people who manage it, we found that a doctor use to practice there however he did not have enough work so he moved on to practice elsewhere.  The two gentlemen who showed us the place, offered to let us do some medical work there.  We are considering this and praying about this opportunity. 

Samson Was Lost but Now is Found (and at home)
The morning of November 29, we (Chris, Jodi and I, along with the kids) took Samson to the market to shop for food as usual. For the first time, we left the vehicle unattended for a short while. As Jodi came back one time to leave groceries in the car, it was not there. She looked up to see it rounding the corner with only one person in it. It dawned on her that it wasn't Chris, because the man was too short. Someone was stealing the car.

Jodi ran after it, hoping to see where it would go. She grabbed a taxi and pleaded with him to follow the car. Unfortunately they lost the jeep within three blocks. The taxi driver kindly took her to the police station where she registered her complaint. The taxi driver then took her back quickly to the market, she picked up Chris, the kids and we went to the bigger police station. Jodi filed her complaint, had DJ getting someone to bring him and Manny to come meet us and try to find the vehicle.

Thanks to a tracking device, we were able to track down where it went. So then for the rest of the day Jodi, Chris, Manny and DJ were with the police chasing down the car and the suspects. They found Samson, but he had been stripped - everything in the jeep had been taken out. They found many of the things around the people's yard and in their house, but not everything. Manny's driver's license and Mexican ID cards are gone. All DJ's tools, the air compressor, and all our groceries were gone. But they at least found the jeep.

Poor little Samson. The police interrogated the woman in the house and then took the husband, who showed up shortly after, to jail and the woman went to jail later that evening. Supposedly, they were just keeping the vehicle for the robber, but who would know. A neighbor said she'd just moved to the area but had seen at least 10 cars go in and out of there recently.

They had to leave Samson there until the next day making everyone nervous. the following days after that were spent at the Police station along with running around town to get paper work printed, signed, and legalized by a lawyer.  Samson was finally released to us on Thurday December three.  Now to get all of the stickers back on and some of the needed items to keep in the jeep that we lost.

Praise be to God for all his help and leading in this trying ordeal.  

Samson Where we found him in the Thieves Yard.

Samson Has Returned Home.
Corey has made some new friends: Maribel (Left) and Juliette (Right)

Be watching for our next update on how the Mission Trip to Cotagaita went and what is coming up next for the Eno Family. 
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