Dear Friends and family,
I know it's no longer December or even 2009, but we are way behind in our correspondence, so I will just go with it. We had a great holiday season visiting with Vanessa's mom who came down from Kansas and with her brother and his family who traveled from Peru. We also had a great 15th birthday celebration (called a quinceanos and an important rite of passage in Latin culture) for Luciana on the 28th. But I'm glad the holidays are behind us, the kids are back in school, so we can get on with the work we are here to do. We have a lot of interest from church teams who would like to come down in 2010 to join us in working with the girls transition home or with Agua:Yaku drilling water wells. Please contact us soon so we can get your teams on our calendar.
Many of you have ask about the political situation in Bolivia, so I will give you a bit of an update. In December Bolivia re-elected Evo Morales as president. Earlier last year his party also passed a new constitution. Bolivia continues to be run by his socialist government, tightly controlling the oil and gas industry. The majority of Bolivia's indigenous population supports Morales in hopes that he will help revert the great social and ethnic inequalities that have marked Bolivia since the days of the Spanish conquest. While we don't agree with everything that Morales stands for or is doing, his landslide victory in the election has given him a political mandate that has somewhat pacified the opposition parties. The Santa Cruz opposition that has been crying for autonomy the last couple of years has quieted down and daily life has been pretty calm. We do not see nearly as many road blocks, protests, or fuel shortages as in years past. In some ways it is harder for NGO's to do relief and development work in Bolivia because of new regulations, but as of now missionaries are continuing to work as they always have.
Ruth and Noemi Transition House update: We have three new girls in the transition house this year. Juana, Fernanda, and Marina have come to us from Talita Cumi. Each have turned 18 and need to leave the orphanage. Bety recently decided to leave the transition house, so we now have four girls (including Paula, who has been with us for a number of months). Marizabel, the house mother, and Sara, our volunteer from Australia continue to work closely with the girls. We have had to move the transition house out of our formal rental property because of some legal issues with the property. Thankfully, we have found a new apartment that is in an ideal location next to the Centro de Vida crisis pregnancy center we work closely with. We have temporarily moved the girls into our old house, which is now the Agua:Yaku office and a mission guest house, until the new apartment is ready on February 1st. Please continue to pray for all of these girls, but especially for Bety as she tries to make a life on her own.
Agua:Yaku Water Well Drilling update: Warren McCaig, my missionary partner in this project, is back from a long fund raising trip to Canada. We also have a new short-term volunteer from the U.S., Greg, who will be working with us for a while. As I described in the last newsletter, we are gearing up for a new program to promote the use of a solar water disinfection method called SODIS. We will continue to drill wells where we can, but if wells are not possible because of geological constraints, we will promote the disinfection of contaminated water sources through the SODIS method.
Family News: Nathaniel will be heading back to the U.S. the first week of February where he will continue racing bicycles with his Ohio based team and will prepare to college in the Fall. He is planning on going to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where he wants to major in sustainable agriculture. And of course he wants to go there for the cycling. Fort Lewis has one of the top collegiate teams in the country.
Thanks so much for supporting us financially and in prayer. Please feel free to contact us if you would like further info on our ministries. We would love for any and all of you to come down for a visit if you want a front row seat to see how God is changing lives in Bolivia.