Newsletter 12

One of the great things about Alpha is that the whole course can be downloaded in Spanish! We started our very first Youth Alpha course in Cometa last week for the boys and for the girls. They loved it! Most young people in Bolivian culture don’t get a chance to voice their opinions at school; the teacher knows all the answers, and to question the system is not advisable. Youth Alpha gives our young people the chance to tell us what they think and feel about God, faith and the meaning of life in a safe and fun environment. Many of the young people are starting to enjoy group discussion for the very first time. Our Church here in Cochabamba have been so impressed with the material that they have also started Alpha for adults and young people at a mid week group.

Through the week
Our Saturday afternoon sessions are gaining momentum and we have a new worship leader from a well known church called Kairos (it’s like the South American equivalent of Soul Survivor). Caleb brings another dimension to our meetings, with his very laid back attitude and reggae style worship. When his work is done he swings his guitar over his shoulder, jumps on his chopper motorbike and rides off into the sunset. Only in Bolivia folks!

Many of the leadership team at Cometa and Camino have changed as they are only contracted for one year at a time. This can be quite problematic as we need to start building relationships again from scratch. However, some of the staff have been there since we started our ministry in 2014 and this helps with the transition. Last week we were given permission to keep the work going so we started a fresh drama/discipleship group for ‘sentencia’ (those with longer sentences). It was so encouraging that some of last year’s group wanted to come along to help. They remembered the material and began to encourage the less able boys. What a treat!

We try to meet up with as many ex-offenders as possible and it was such a privilege to meet with Lucy again this month. This time she brought her mum and two children and with her. Before we met Lucy 5 years ago she had been living on the streets and sleeping in a disused railway station. All family relationships had been broken. She is now living back with her family and seems genuinely happy. We also had a meeting with ‘California’ who left Cometa in November, whilst we were in UK. He now has a job and is studying in the evenings to finish his last year of high school. He was very impressed with the Watford football shirt we brought from England. Mainly because it has a South American player’s name on the back! (Thanks Charlie!).

Rumble in the jungle
We had some spare time after New Year so we took the opportunity to visit Hali in Santa Cruz. Hali runs a programme for children and families in some of the poorest communities in Bolivia. We have been Hali’s mentors for a few years now and it was good to have some quality time together. It’s always an adventure when we visit the low-lands of Bolivia and this trip was no exception. The plan was to take a 4×4 trek in search of waterfalls. Crossing 25 rivers and navigating jungle tracks that just didn’t exist on the map was great fun, though slightly worrying at times. But the pay-off was breathtaking. A double waterfall cascading over a 70ft over-hang and our own private inland beach complete with a natural pool. We had found paradise! But paradise only lasted 10 minutes before Miguel spotted one of the deadliest scorpions known to man (Two Tailed Arizona Bark Scorpion). We kept our shoes firmly attached to our feet for the rest of the day, and we were surprisingly very grateful that we had only been bitten by mosquitos.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers in 2020.
We can’t do this work without you…


On our adventure in the jungle, when the road got so bad the 4×4 couldn’t go on, we decided to walk the last few kilometres to the waterfalls.
Just don’t think what could be lurking in the water….
After seeing this little fella, we decided to put our shoes back on!


A lunch stop at a Jesuit church outside of Santa Cruz
Lunch with friends, Rafa and Gabi
‘Christmas dinner’ with stuffing from home.


Glad to see Lucy doing so well.
Our friend ‘California’ who we met up with for lunch. Thanks Charlie for the shirt!


Hali and Dean, BBQ, s’mores and the best ever Guacamole





Newsletter 11


Merry Christmas… We hope you are enjoying the Christmas season: mince pies, Christmas carol services, nativities, watching ‘The Holiday’ warm fires and cozy evenings.

However, it is almost summer here in Cochabamba and it is hot (about 25 degrees most days but sometimes up to 30). It is the beginning of rainy season too, so there are lots of lovely flowers in bloom. We arrived back on the 4th December after our stay in the UK. We have been trying to ease back in gently to the drama and activities, but we do seem to have been very busy straight away.

The political situation is currently calm, with a temporary President calling for new elections in March/ April next year. Many people have been effected by the three week blockades, but transport and life has returned to normal for now.

The boys at Cometa and Camino were so pleased to see us. There have been a couple of boys who’ve been given early release and we are trying to find a way to get in touch with them. One young person, Gabriel, who we’ve nicknamed California gave us a call this week and we are meeting up with him on Monday. We hope to be able to find out where he lives and put him in touch with a pastor in his neighbourhood who can help him to find some work experience in the New Year.

We only had two sessions to finish in our twelve week drama course, so we managed to squish those into December and we are able to present certificates to about 24 young people. Each person will get a certificate outlining the course, a printed T shirt, all their work and a discipleship booklet designed for teenagers asking questions about their identity in God. Wish we could take photos of the presentation but the rules don’t allow us to take cameras into Cometa.

Christmas here in Bolivia has gained a bit more of a Western edge in the past few years. We see an elaborate mismatch of lights twirled around the palm trees and various nativity scenes with cartoon characters… Imagine Olaf the snowman with baby Jesus and the Grinch standing around a Coca Cola train! Most families will wait until Christmas Eve to buy a gift for someone in the family and they eat a spicy chicken and pork soup at midnight on Christmas Eve followed by a type of Panatone with chocolate milk. We will celebrate with our church family on the 23rd December with a ‘drama extravaganza’ and have a quiet relaxing day on the 25th. Will be thinking of you all as you enjoy your yummy turkey and pigs in blankets watching repeats of the Downton Christmas special.

On Tuesday we helped run a special Christmas party for the girls at Mosjo Yan, which is a girls refuge we worked at a few years ago. The volunteers were hosting a tea party for them at the mission guesthouse (the only place we have found a good Christmas tree!). We presented some short drama sketches, which they loved and we played some silly Christmas games, like dressing up whilst passing a balloon along the line and drawing picture on each other’s backs. These are all girls who have been victims of abuse from family members and are in the home for their own protection. It literally breaks your heart to see them and hear their stories. One girl, who is now over 18, came back as a helper and recognised us from a few years ago. We are looking to start volunteering there in the new year.

The girls and staff from Mosoj Yan enjoying their Christmas party