Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday Post -- 08/07/17


I have a little time to share a quick update; we are busy, but we know people are always keen to get our news, and that will especially be the case this weekend for those from a certain corner of the west of Scotland.

The team from Strathaven Evangelical Church have been here now for a week, and their contribution has been immensely positive. After the usual long journey here, they arrived last Saturday morning, used the weekend to re-charge the batteries, and from Monday onwards got stuck right in.

(Special mention to team members Sarah and, er, ‘Mum’, who, under no obligation whatsoever, came along with us to a wedding on Saturday evening. It began around 10pm, and we didn’t leave till 1am. Bear in mind that British Summer Time is five hours ahead and you can perhaps grasp the scale of that achievement!)

Sunday was a real bonus, in that our church friends had organised two separate events outside of the regular morning service. Kenny & Claudia Holt (back from the old country for a two-week visit) hosted a barbecue at lunchtime, while another couple put on a baby shower in the afternoon, with the invitations extended to that most un-baby shower of species: men. There were ample opportunities, then, for the team to meet – or, in Mum’s case, catch up with – many of our friends and fellow workers here, and it was obviously a great little introduction to the culture here.

Bunch of drama queens (and kings).
The first couple of weeks of July are the mid-year school holidays here, and the team’s main remit this first week has been to participate in the five-day club, organised annually by FT’s sports area. The five-day club meets in a local school, and is a combination of games, praise times, evangelistic Bible lessons and group work. Every day this week, the team performed a five-minute sketch (mimed, of course!) to illustrate the main point of the day’s lesson. The team have come up with these themselves, and they have been really powerful enactments of the gospel message, yet simple enough for young children to grasp.

As is usually the case at these clubs, the group times have included the completion of a worksheet. But this time, the team members also prepared five craft activities, meaning the children could go home every day with a tangible reminder of the day’s theme.

The headline reads: 'Holidays are more fun with Fundación
Totaí'
. The caption reads, 'Guitarist Craig Cunningham
demonstrated why so many have dubbed him this
century's Jimmy Page' (that's a fib).
Their contribution, in short, was immense, and was even recognised in the local press! A father of some children in attendance happened to be a scribbler with the Trinidad daily newspaper, and spent some time talking to some of the Bolivian team members on Thursday. Yesterday, just before we left, he turned up with a copy of yesterday’s edition, with a page dedicated to the five-day club and a particular emphasis on the Scottish angle.

The five-day clubs have taken place in the mornings, and the team have used the rest of the days here to read the Bible together, prepare for the next day’s activities, or just hang out with the locals (Mum, it emerges, plays basketball). They will be teaching the main lesson at the church’s children’s ministry this afternoon, and next week will see them branch out into other areas of Foundation and church’s ministry.

We are passionate about welcoming volunteers here, though it can be a lot of work. It is particularly encouraging, then, when a group arrives with their sleeves already rolled up, and a willingness to serve wherever needed. It has been a pleasure to serve with them this week, and our prayer is that the impact of their time here would be felt for many years both here in Bolivia and, we pray, back in sunny Strathaven.

Sam warms up for next week (!) as he explores the surroundings at the
five-day club with friend, Kenny.
Prayer
  • As ever, Sam has coped admirably with the unique demands of this week, but has come down with a fever in the last day or two. Pray for a swift recovery.
  • Pray for the children in attendance at the five-day club, that the gospel message they heard this week would be received with gladness.
  • Pray for the team in their second (and final) week here.
Praise
  • Yesterday, incredibly, was our tenth anniversary! God has been faithful.
  • And when our twentieth rolls around, God-willing, Mauro and Mily, a young couple from our church, will be celebrating the same milestone. Theirs was the aforementioned wedding last Saturday evening, at which Craig officiated. Very few people actually get married in this culture, so give thanks for the powerful witness of this to their friends and family, and the great encouragement we feel as a church.
  • We have also been really blessed by our time with various ex-missionary friends who have been in town for that self-same wedding. Our old friends Maicol & KC, with their son Caleb, are staying with us until mid-August.
  • Give thanks for the team, their impact, and their own spiritual growth this week.

The day ends over Laguna Suárez, Tuesday.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!

Craig & Amanda

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