Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Moulding Chronicles September 2014

Dear Friends,

In the last couple of weeks we have received both our visas and our ID cards so after what felt like a very long 7 months we finally escaped the city and spent a long weekend enjoying the cleaner air and beautiful views of lake Titicaca. Earlier this month we also had the privilege of celebrating Alana’s 8th birthday and enjoyed a fun afternoon of games and much laughter with friends.

Back in July Ed started an internet course with other members of FH called Coram Deo (Latin for ‘Before the face of God’).  The promotion video begins with an interesting and challenging question. ‘Do we see more and more of the Kingdom of God coming into our communities and our nations, or do we see more and more of our societies coming into our Churches?’ How would you answer the question? 

The reality I think is that for a large part we see more of the church influenced by society rather than society influenced by the church. However, there are places where we can see this happening in reverse, where individuals and communities of Christians are living out biblical truth in the situations where they find themselves, which often is nothing more complicated than being a good neighbour or genuine friend to those around them, who through their words and actions are able to share the truth about God’s love and saving grace.

The 12 lesson course challenges people to remove the glasses (worldview or paradigms) through which they see the world and to read the Bible, asking the following: 
  • Are we seeing the world and the Bible as God wants to see it or just as we want to see it? 
  • Are we using the whole Bible to understand life and how we are living it or just a part of it? 

They are difficult questions to answer because our worldviews are such an intrinsic part of our subconscious, formed from childhood and influenced by the cultures in which we live.

Darrow Miller, the course presenter gave an example of the effects of worldview from his own life. He was a born again Christian for 13 years before he realized that he was reading and interpreting the Bible from a materialistic and atheistic worldview that his culture had brought him up believing. His heart had been born again, but his mind had not. He had not taken off the glasses through which he saw the world. He had never questioned why he did the things that he did, or if what he did was glorifying God? If we then consider that if the chief aim of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever, then how important is it to be asking ourselves these same questions. Our minds are very powerful and determine what we can and cannot do. In Romans   12:2 it talks about how important it is for us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Therefore, we need to be putting our minds into action as well as our hearts.  

So as we move forward into the later part of the year we have much to be thinking about and chewing over as we try to take off our own tinted glasses. 

Praise for:
  • Visas and ID cards :o)
  • A fun and restful holiday at the lake
  • Improvements to attitudes towards homeschool
  • Really great kindergarten report for Isaiah
Pray for:
  • Swift and easy renewal of passports
  • For Ed as he plans his work for the next fiscal year with FH Bolivia
  • New Global president of FH that he’ll settle into his role quickly and be able to hear God’s will.
Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah and Lucas

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. 
Romans 12:2

Happy Birthdays

It doesn't seem possible that our baby girl has turned 8 this month, how the time has flown and what a young lady she is turning into, quite the social queen.  She decided this year that she wanted to have a party at home with a frozen theme, which was no bad thing being as its seems to be the theme of the year if the parties at Isaiah's kinder are anything to go by so I was able to pull plenty of ideas together to pull of a fun and interactive party.

Making crowns and snowflakes

Pin the nose on Olaf
Cut the flour cake - but don't let the sweet fall
Snowman biscuits that were eaten quicker than the real thing could have melted
We also took advantage of being able to make a frozen mint cheese cake in place of a traditional cake.

OK so I cheated on the figures, but it tasted scrummy
Musical statues of course

It took a little while to get everybody warmed up so to speak but once they got going I think they all really enjoyed our slightly different approach compared with the traditional Bolivian birthday party.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Moulding Chronicles July 2014

Dear friends,

These last few months have continued to be hard on all of us, but we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. As we look back we can see how God has been working and so want to share some of that journey through a journal entry in the hope that it will also bring encouragement to others.

“Iʼm in an uncomfortable position, something needs to change but what. Iʼm grasping hold of whatever idea comes my way to have something to hold onto - to grasp a hold of it to give me a sense of security - so what am I putting my security in? My own feelings of control, I know whatʼs best, I can put it into play, I can meet my own needs, I know what a perfect solution will look like - Do I? - Iʼm playing God, thinking that I can do it all on my own-and yet look at what is going on, so much is out of my control, big things are out of my control! Who am I kidding that I am in control.

ʻHe makes me listen in a way I couldnʼt beforeʼ Heʼs amplified it with a megaphone - look you canʼt control or make anything happen - only I can do that.

Why do I find it so difficult to trust Him with all that we need right now and all that we will need in the future, He knows what we will need upon re- entry - how equipped we will need to be, what opportunities of processing we will need, he also knows what struggles we will need to pass through in order to be stronger to face what lies ahead of us.

So what does that mean for me now - Let it go! Yes a song of utmost annoyance to so many a parent in this year and yet it resonates with me so much - I do need to let it go - that perfect girl I kept and still do keep trying to be, because that is not the person who God wants me to be.

Its time for me to stop straining to see the horizon and to focus upon what is in front of me in the now,so that I donʼt miss out on the beauty that God has given me now in this moment.

As I ponder these things I am reminded of what God told me back at the beginning of the year, messages that I so quickly forgot. To live in the moment I am living, to enjoy the moment and itʼs blessings. Reflection and looking back has its place - but I donʼt live there. Planning and forward thinking has its place, but I donʼt live there either. Focus on what He has given me for the now and enjoy it.”

• Encouragement 
• A refining of our vision 

• Three beautiful children who are such a blessing to us

• Open ears and hearts to learn the lessons God wants us to learn
• Wisdom to learn how to work from a place of rest

Ed, Sarah, Alana, Isaiah & Lucas

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:28

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The bus tour

Now that we are scheduling in regular school breaks, it gives us time to do a little more exploring of the city in which we live and to learn a bit more about Bolivian culture. During our break this week we decided that we were going to do the city tour on the big red double decker bus.  It turned out that we had the whole tour to ourselves.

As we were getting ready to set off, the local police all dressed up in tracksuits appeared on the road in front of us and proceeded to close off the road and have a game of football. Since living here we have come to expect random events, though as we approached the main centre we saw more roads closed off and groups of people gathered for volley ball, football, aerobics.  It turned out to be 'el dia del desafio'(the day of the challenge). That was a new one to me, but added to the views as we went along.

Second breakfast, or early lunch at 9:45?

The markets

One or two rolls of toilet paper with your potatoes!

The view, with the football stadium in the centre

Somewhere over there is our house

Just a few cables to dodge on the way through the streets

It was good to learn new things and to go places where we hadn't yet been too, and to feel at ease being a tourist for the morning and taking lots of photos.

The ever friendly herd of zebras that waved and blew kisses as we passed


Over time we watched as the colourful 6 storey building was constructed on top of the hill and took its form, wondering what it was going to become, with its little yellow railway car taking visitors up to the entrance.  What it became was 'Pipiripi' an interactive children's museum,  which has now been open since June 2011, and which has taken us this long to finally pay a visit.

It was certainly worth the visit with lots of hands on interactive activities spread across 6 different levels, and plenty of space to run around.  The ground floor was a space for games such as Hopscotch, hoola hoops, building bricks, ball pool and puppets.

Giant bubbles!
How to put yourself inside a bubble
Simple bubble making using cut off pop bottles
The boys enjoyed popping the bubbles rather than making them

On the next floor we were introduced to bubbles and creating our own Giant bubbles from an old car tyre, and a market place where the children could buy and sell fruit and vegetables to one another.

The market place and textile crafts

Shopping in the market
Deciding what to buy

The 5 minute rehersal
It was also quite a cultural experience as one floor included a dressing up area, and a space where staff helped to teach a simple dance routine which was then carried out on stage all dressed up. On the day we were there it was a presentation especially for the mothers on Mothers day. Alana very much enjoyed that part, though Ed wasn't so sure about his own performance.

All dressed up for the part
He didn't want to dance but didn't want to be far from Daddy either

The last levels were for more creative pursuits, modelling with clay and painting, which all of the children really enjoyed. 
Draw the city 

The interactive space continued outside with sandpits, skipping ropes, hoops and a myriad of other things to do, only it was a little too cold to play outside when we went, so its a definite plan to return again another day to have more fun together.