The Adjei Bi-monthly(ish)
In October we had a visit from 2 pastors in Mexican Newfrontiers churches, then in November David travelled to Mexico again to be in the yearly Newfrontiers conference. Both these times were very positive, with us being assured that we are loved and cared for as a family and a church.
At the beginning of the year we started renting a building in town for the church. It has 3 separate offices and is actually the same place that we had been borrowing for the last few months. We were encouraged to take a step of faith in renting something for ourselves as a church and when the offices became available we saw it as a good opportunity. The first week after the offices became “ours” we had 53 people come on the Sunday morning - very encouraging!!!
Lily has just had her first Christmas, and to make it more special it was with some of her grandparents. It has been great that so many of our family have been able to make it out here to meet her- I don’t think any have been disappointed yet (nor she with them!). Lily has now learnt to crawl and pull herself up…and everything else down!
Just last week we bought our tickets to come to England. The girls will be missing nearly 2 months of school for us to be able to make it to their Aunty Anna- Marie’s wedding at Easter. Then the girls and I plan to stay on until the beginning of August. David will however be making 2 trips, returning to Bolivia a couple of weeks after his sister’s wedding and then back to England at the end of June for his brother Ben’s wedding. I think I may have just made that sound more complicated than it is!
Unfortunately we have been refused British citizenship (after a lot of time, work and cash spent on attempting to do it) for Gaby. This makes travel sometimes more expensive and to some countries impossible without Gaby and Lily having British passports. Plus as her parents we found it upsetting that we were flatly refused what we had originally understood was going to be one of our children’s rights. We have been unable to travel to Mexico as a family for this reason and it will be too complicated (and maybe impossible) for us to travel to England via the USA, which was the cheapest and easiest route offered. Please pray that sometime soon the Home Office will have a change of heart and grant us British nationality for Gaby and Lily. After all Gaby just LOVES Marmite (is there anyone other than the British (and Australians) who like it????).
There are 3 girls in the home just now: Monica (16) has now been there for well over a year. Cesia, who is 17 years old and 7 months pregnant, arrived at the beginning of January. And Pura (12) has been with us for about 2 weeks. We also recently had a girl called Gabriela who at the end of January was able to go back to her family and who since then has been coming along to church with us.
Yanyt and Salustio have now returned to the home after 5 months away doing their YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS). This has been a very positive time for them - including a 2-month outreach to Argentina. Please pray for them as they get used to being back in the home again and for Jimena (our other staff member) and the girls as they adapt to the changes.
Monica has now started school again (after 3 months holiday). She did very well last year and there is a possibility that if she starts this year well she may be able to jump up a class which will bring her nearer to the age of her classmates after a few years of missing school in the past. Pura has also started school again this week and so far is enjoying both her new school and her new home.
The boys’ home continues to go well. They now usually have about 35 boys living there at any one time, some who have now been there for more than 2 years. A few of them this year have been able to attend an army course alongside their schooling which serves as an alternative to doing a years military service which is usually required of all Bolivian men. Nearly all of the boys have been in school - many of them achieving the highest grades in their class.
About a month ago Julio Cesar came to live in the home. He is 15 and was working as a windscreen washer just down the main road from our house. One day a lorry crashed into the back of the bus whose windscreen he was cleaning, subsequently pinning him to the taxi in front shattering his legs. The bus insurance (which has now been obligatory for the last 3 years- before this, vehicle owners would simply flee from an accident) paid for his hospital treatment and then he went to live in El Camino. He has a lot of metalwork inside his legs now that will stay in for over a year. In a couple of months time though he should be able to start learning to walk again - until then he is in a wheelchair. He is a bubbly, friendly boy who is happy to be in the home. It had just been the day before the accident that one of our team had been warning him of the dangers of working in a busy road and trying to get him to come and live at the home. Maybe if he hadn’t been hit he would still not be at El Camino, so please pray that continued good will come out of this.
The political situation seems to have calmed down a bit over the last couple of months, although things are still tense and there seem to be constant strikes and protests from one sector or another. The constituent assembly charged with rewriting the country’s constitution still haven’t managed to agree on a voting system to approve any of the clauses that they may one day get around to writing – they are now just over half-way through the appointed time in which they are supposed to finish the whole process and present it to the country to vote on.
One reason for the slightly reduced political tension is that the whole country tends to come to a standstill at this time of year anyway as everyone gears up to celebrating “Carnaval”. Four days of incredibly loud music, extreme drunkenness and… water balloons. Any time you try to arrange anything between New Year and this time of year, the reply always seem to be, “Let’s do it after carnival”.
However, there is another reason why people’s attention has been diverted from their political differences – the weather. We are currently in the middle of the rainy season, particularly for the eastern lowlands of Bolivia. But this year the rains have been increased by the phenomenon known as El Niño. Basically it means that we have had constant rain since the New Year. Rivers are bursting their banks, crops have been destroyed, houses have been flooded or swept away, smaller communities have been completely cut off from the outside world and there is a risk of outbreaks of disease. Lots of families have lost everything they worked their whole lives for… We’ve also been hit by an outbreak of Dengue fever (similar symptoms to Malaria) – there have even been cases of a particularly virulent strain that causes haemorrhaging. So, all in all Bolivia really needs your prayers.
Thanks for all your support and encouragement.
Sarah, David, Jasmine, Gaby & Lily xxxx