What a great, but chaotic, summer here in Bolivia. We have recently hosted four volunteer teams in a row, and have another one from coming in a couple of weeks—and we love every hectic minute of it. Many of you know we had planned on traveling to the U.S. this summer, but because of residency visa issues here in Bolivia, we have had to stay put for the time being. We did make a quick, one week, trip to Kentucky to complete some paperwork for Vanessa and Luciana’s U.S. residency and citizenship applications. I won’t bore you with the inane details, but please keep our immigration challenges, on both continents, in your prayers.
Just a short note—and plea—concerning our financial needs. First, thank you to everyone who has faithfully supported us throughout the years. We wouldn’t be here without your prayer and financial support. We know economic times are tough in recent years. I think because of this we have lost a few faithful supporters and our donations are now below the level that we need to continue serving in Bolivia. We love serving in Bolivia and don’t want to have to leave this ministry. If you feel God’s leading, we would love to have new partners supporting us monthly. It is easy to get started, just click on the big donate button up in the corner. Now on to more interesting news.
The Ruth and Noemi Transition House for Girls (from Vanessa)
The Ruth and Noemi House is doing well. I don’t remember if I mentioned this previously, but the Centro de Vida (Pregnancy Crisis Center) that we work closely with has practically closed its doors because of financial shortfalls. They have only kept one staff person and she has moved her counseling office into the Transition House. So, as you can imagine, with that has come some change. We used to have capacity for six girls but now we only have capacity for four. Although until not very long ago we had five girls and three babies!! Two babies were recently born, praise the Lord! He is so full of mercy. These babies almost didn’t make it, but now they have been born! One of them was given for adoption to a very sweet Christian family. What a huge sacrifice of love this was for the mom though. As I watched as this young girl held her beautiful baby girl for the last time and then gave her away to her new mom, I just praised God for his provision in my own life, allowing me to keep my little baby girl (who is now sixteen, can you believe it?). The other baby has now gone home with his mom and grandma who came to the house and took them on good terms.
We are grateful at Ruth and Noemi to have the privilege of serving God in the restoration of relationships. All of our girls have huge problems—emotional, spiritual, financial, etc., yet I can see God’s incredible love as He has brought them to Ruth and Noemi and they are safe, at least for now. It is a battle talking to them about God and trying to make them understand His unconditional love when all they have seen is the very opposite from people who were nearest to them. Despite that, two of our girls have recently received Jesus in their heart! I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you that somehow have helped us in this battle, support comes in so many ways, not just money! You have listened and obeyed and believe me I know obeying is not easy.
Personally, I am learning to hang all the problems from work on the imaginary hanger outside the house. I just give it all to Jesus, with those exact words, and when I come in, even if there are toys everywhere and a mountain of dishes on the sink, life is wonderful.
News from Agua Yaku—a water well drilling ministry (from Danny)
Agua Yaku continues to expand in scale and scope, drilling lots of water wells throughout Bolivia. We recently sent a team to drill a well in the department of Oruro, high on the altiplano of Bolivia. We have now drilled wells in five of the nine departments of Bolivia. Our primary focus continues to be in the Guarani Indian communities in the Izozog region south of Santa Cruz. We have had great success there both drilling wells and working in evangelization with local pastors and churches.
Soon we will begin a partnership with a sister Christian organization that is doing river ministry in the Beni department. More than 400,000 people live on the rivers in eastern Bolivia. The only way in or out of their rural communities is by river boat. There are almost no clean water wells in these communities. Agua Yaku has the perfect, simple and transportable, technology to drill wells and provide access to clean water in these rural communities. Visit our website (www.aguayaku.org) and download our recently completed manual on how to drill using the Baptist method. We hope many organizations and communities around the world can use this manual to begin inexpensively drilling their own water wells.
Expanding into new ministries: As you can see from the photos, we have been experimenting with a new building technique that will allow us to build, and teach others how to build, strong inexpensive houses in impoverished areas. As it is in many parts of the world, affordable housing is a great need in Bolivia. We ran across this building technique, called “earth bag building” or more formally, the “flexible-form rammed earth” technique on the internet and thought we would experiment with it a bit to see if we could incorporate it into our ministries here in Bolivia. The current project you see in the photos is a house/office we are building in Pailon (an hour outside of Santa Cruz) on the property of the Casa Mariposa, a transition house for Mennonite women and children escaping oppressive situations in their colonies. If you are interested in learning more about this building method visit: www.earthbagbuilding.com for a quick primer on the topic.
We apologize for the recent scarceness of ministry updates. That is either a sign of our laziness or busyness. I would like to think it is the latter. In any event, we promise to do better. Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support. Please write to us, or better yet, come for a visit to Bolivia.
Danny and Vanessa
Danny and Vanessa