And where do you live?

Slowly… Very slowly … Things are starting to open up here in Cochabamba. Looking out of the window you can see more buses bustling about, cars honking their horns and people out shopping and working as normal. The difference, probably like all over the world, is that everyone is wearing a mask and you cannot go very far without being squirted with alcohol gel or asked to wash your hands. We have enjoyed meeting with two people face to face for a walk outside this month.

Another remote activity we can do is keep in touch with ex-Cometa kids. We partnered with Juana and Caleb, who are both part of our volunteer team at Cometa, to deliver food baskets to those in need.

Challenge 1: finding out where they live. Many live on un-named roads and they send you directions along the lines of “Down the hill, past the open drain pipe, turn right and go two and a half blocks and it’s next to a house with a pink roof without a garage.”
Challenge 2: decide a time. Some are working a haphazard timetable when and where they can. Bolivian timekeeping is always a bit ‘mas o menos’. You get used to it and learn to love it.
Challenge 3: explain to them they need to wear a mask and they are not allowed to hug people after not seeing each other for months!

Now that some shops are open we decided to make a goodie bag/box for each of the centres we usually work with containing craft and art materials. We designed 5 activities for each centre with photo instructions or video clips to explain what to do. Some are simply creative and others illustrate a Bible message. We pray that the staff are willing to spend time with, and encourage the young people to complete these fun activities. Hopefully they will be able to take some photos and send them to us next month.

Although we are very thankful for each and every opportunity we have to do our ministry, we have made a decision to shorten our time here. We have been praying about this and seeking God’s wisdom and feel that we are only able to do a fraction of what we were able to do before the Covid-19 outbreak. The restrictions here have been incredibly strict and the likelihood is that the youth rehabilitation centre will be closed to us for the foreseeable future. We understand why this is, to protect the boys who are living in less than ideal conditions. We know that God is in control of everything and we believe that we have been obedient in following our calling. This is not the way we would wish to finish our ministry time, but doing street evangelism, visiting churches, teaching drama workshops and face to face discipleship all require very close contact. We hope to continue with as much remote teaching as possible in the coming months as we make arrangements. This has been a tremendously difficult decision for us. We are thankful for our friends and prayer partners for all their support and guidance to this point.

The girls at Mosojyan enjoying some activities we sent them
The girls enjoying a celebration meal at Mosojyan
Care packages for ex-Cometa kids and their families being delivered by our Bolivian volunteers
Children receiving their care packages and hand knitted hats all the way from England
Finally being allowed to see one of our friends for a “socially distanced” walk!

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