You know things are bad here when even the locals are complaining about it. Over the last week we've been in the grip of a ferocious heatwave, taking temperatures to a supposed 36 degrees, but with searing humidity thrown in, it has felt like a lot, lot more. Sleep has at times been hard to come by, with even our co-workers (Benians could sleep through an Iron Maiden concert) turning up bleary-eyed and groggy most mornings. Our air conditioning units in the house, meanwhile, have been working overtime, with every pressing of the 'on' button evoking ever greater dread over next month's electricity bills.
Mercifully, we woke up yesterday morning to the slightest of south winds, yet it has been enough to make living conditions significantly more comfortable. More wind and showers are expected over the weekend as we anticipate the first throes of rainy season.
The week's lowpoint came on Tuesday lunchtime. I'll be careful how I put this (this is a family blog, after all), but in times of such humidity, when clothes practically have to be removed with a wallpaper stripping tool, the privacy of lunchtime in one's own home often affords one the opportunity to shed any (though not all!) unnecessary, er...ballast. Gallingly, our cleaner, Julia -- who gives the house a go-over on Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons, though usually from about 3pm onwards -- had turned up a whole three hours early so as to get away for an appointment. Never have I been less delighted to see such punctuality in a Bolivian!
Julia, truth be told, is the most reliable cleaner we've had so far, and proved her mettle last weekend by summoning me from this here computer keyboard and pointing out several evidences around the house of a rodent problem, which we First Worlders would have completely missed otherwise. Thus warned, we armed ourselves to the teeth with cheese and the most humane execution devices conceivable (humane as in you'd be gone before you could even say 'Red Leicester') -- I almost lost a hand just arming the things. Sure enough, Mickey bought it late on Wednesday night. In fairness, he had as much chance of survival as AFC Bournemouth.
If you're a seasoned reader of the blog by this point, you'll probably aware that the hearty servings of extraneous waffle mean only one thing: it's been a slow week. Indeed, for Amanda and most others at the Foundation, the real focus has been the coming week, when Fundación Totaí hosts another ENT surgical campaign, once again aided by Dr. Richard Wagner from the USA, and other visiting specialists (though on Wednesday of this week, weekly surgery resumed, with our new ENT doctor -- trained in Argentina -- overseeing his first case since his approval to operate here in Bolivia was confirmed). With the year's end looming ever larger, Amanda and her fellow board members have also been going over 2016's budgets with a fine toothcomb.
As for me, my time's mostly been taken up with one-on-one discipleship sessions, church administration, and preparation for sermons. It's looking like we're going to be in La Paz for ten days or so in late December (a Bolivian white Christmas???) for a wedding and a conference, so that's pushed several things forward as well.
- For the surgical campaign. Pray for the various health professionals involved and for those going under the knife. Craig and Elías (the church pastor) will also be giving evangelistic talks to the many family members who will be gathered in the waiting area.
- For the adoption process, of course. We are currently awaiting a key decision.
- For the family of Miguel Ángel (FT president, church elder) and Ruth; Miguel Ángel's mother died earlier this week.
- For our friends Carlos & Carla. You may remember Carlos had his motorcycle stolen back in September. We meet with them regularly and continue to be bowled over by their maturity in some challenging economic circumstances -- if anything, their involvement in ministry has only increased in recent weeks. Please pray for continued sustaining.
- November sees the end of both the school year and several activities at FT. This last week has seen end-of-year celebrations for the afternoon community classes, the football and basketball teams, and the mother-and-toddler group. Give thanks for the many young people who have come to a saving faith through these activities, and pray for continued encouragement during the long (and often boring!) summer holidays.
- OANSA (the church's children's ministry) also wraps up today. As above.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda