Newsletter 12

Alpha
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…

 

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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.
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Just don’t think what could be lurking in the water….
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After seeing this little fella, we decided to put our shoes back on!

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

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

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

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