LOOKING BACK OVER 6 MONTHS
In April we hit the land mark of 6 months here in Bolivia. The day itself 21st April passed unnoticed but now seems like a good time for us to give you some reflections on this time. It has been a harder time than we expected it to be but we can both say that we have seen God leading and protecting us through this time. We hope that the next 6 months still with its challenges will see us begin to thrive here.
Ed There is a word in Spanish 'Esperar' which means two different things in English, to hope and to wait. I think that this is probably a good word for these past months. We arrived in Bolivia and found life challenging, missing family and having different things making us feel unsettled. Through this time I had to hope and trust in God that He would carry my family and I through this time, again and again He did, though we didn't feel particularly close to him.
Our last year in the UK was very busy, visiting people at weekends and just generally being busy. Here in Sucre there is not that much to do at the weekends and I have had to learn to wait and to rest (partly due to life at high altitude). To be content to spend time with my family going to the park or a café for a Saturday morning and not rushing around. It's getting better but it is difficult to change something that has been so ingrained in my life for many years that 'I must be busy.'
The final hope has been that I would see Sarah happier here and having purpose. It was her passion for mission that started us on this road, but me who walked straight into the 'missionary role' with job and purpose.
Sarah It has been a tough 6 months what with one thing happening after another. However, it was whilst suffering with shingles that something suddenly changed, my perspective had shifted from feeling, lonely, insecure and so far from home to a more realistic analysis of our life here in Sucre, which actually has many positive aspects such as being able to do a job share so Ed gets to spend some quality time with Alana, learning a new language and culture amongst many more.
As yet I still have no defined role, and get frustrated as I keep pushing doors that don't open, but I have to keep reminding myself that God has called us here as a family and that he has his plans and purposes for each one of us.
In adjusting to life here one of the biggest struggles for us both has been in adjusting to a people orientated culture, not an easy task for two introverted task orientated individuals from a very task orientated culture.
Alana on the other hand is just enjoying life and all the new and exciting things that she discovers. Her vocabulary has also increased to about 6 words now including water, coca cola and pear.
Every new international staff member is required to attend an extended orientation period of three weeks, taking a more in depth look at FH as an organisation, how to live and work in another culture as well as many other things.
Within a matter of weeks our 3 week phase 2 programme set to take place in Peru, changed to a one week intense programme here in Sucre with us and the other Brit family.
This resulted in a very full week with lots of running around in order to fit around the children's schedules. However, it was a very positive week learning more about FH as an organisation, how our world view shapes the way in which we do things and more about ourselves.
I think we all came away from it feeling challenged about our own world views and the things we do as a result. The other point that stuck with us was about the need to change a persons values and beliefs in order to bring about positive changes in a persons actions. Something vitally important for an organisation such as FH which is involved with development work. A bit more info about this can be found on our blog.
Praise God For:
An encouraging and challenging time during phase 2
Beginning to feel more settled and at home
Opportunities to explore more of the area
The friendships we have with other expats
Please pray for:
Opportunities to get to know more local people and the courage to take those opportunities
Edwin, one of the shoeshine boys Sarah often chats with in the plaza
Our health, as we have all been suffering with colds and Alana with a bad cough
Ed, Sarah & Alana