Friday, March 27, 2009

Aaron's visit...headed to the coast!

Aaron has now been here one week and we have been busy, but have enjoyed our time together. On Monday we head out from Bogota to visit the coast. We'll be traveling by bus. It is 18-20 hours from here to our first destination: Barranquilla.

We'll be visiting the UCU group there and doing some video filming for the up-coming 40th anniversary of UCU in June. From there we take a 2-hour ride to Cartagena. Cartagena is the city we will potentially be moving to after we are married and so we are going to see the possible language-schools as well as cost of living and the school where the LAM may place us.

After that we take another 2-3 hours to Sincelejo which is a bit inland and VERY hot! We are visiting some fellow-LAMers there and will be receiving pre-marital counseling from Connie Befus. From there, we head home and will arrive in Bogota on the 9th.

Its going to be a long drive, but we are looking forward to the time together and a break from the cold cold rain. The coast averages 75-85 degrees year round with 90-100% humidity and no air conditioning. Believe it or not, even that extreme heat will be a welcome change to my 50-degree, no indoor-heating, constant rainy Bogota.

Wish us safe travels! I'll write again either from the coast, or as soon as we get back. Here's a map of our route for those of you into geography...

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Girl Named Lisbeth

Meet Lisbeth (pronounced Lizbet)

This young lady has been taken under our wing here at UCU. Originally from the coast, one of our staff workers has basically adopted her. She recently turned 16 and spends her days here at the UCU house. Her story is similar to that of many many adolescents and I'll hope you'll read on to see how the Lord is changing her life, and mine, through her being here.
Lisbeth is from the city of Valledupar in the far North of Colombia. While she is 16 years old, she has the emotional maturity of an 8 year old and has very little education. Raised by somebody who she thought was her grandmother, Lisbeth is the daughter of a prostitute. Only recently have we discovered that her "grandmother" is likely to be somebody who is not blood-related at all and simply took her on for the first 15 years of her life.
Lisbeth's upbringing was far from pleasant. We suspect an abusive past and her temper tantrums and complete lack of social norms all point to a past that is less than ideal. Taking her on has been a trial in patience for us all. But when she isn't upset about something or hyper-focusing on minor things, she is one of the most sincere and adoring people I have ever met.
Grace is working with her on some basic education. Lisbeth can read, but my guess is that she reads at about a 3rd grade level. Its painful to know that sometimes, my Spanish vocabulary is more expansive than hers. We are also working on her motor skills to help with hand-eye coordination. Don't get me wrong, as far as we know, she has no mental disabilities, but there are many things she was never taught. In addition, I am working on some geography basics with her. Before coming to UCU, she couldn't point to Colombia on a map. Now she is learning about North, Central, and South America. She is a quick learner and loves to discover knew things, including Biblical things.

She spends her days banging on the piano, though she has never taken lessons, and strumming on the guitar. She sings whatever tune comes to mind, which very seldomly reflects the melody she is trying to play on the piano. But she lacks no motivation to learn, even if it means being self-taught. She has been taking knitting lessons from me and is proud to have finished her first little square in a yarn color she calls "extravagant".

The most rewarding thing to watch is how she loves the Lord. Of course her outbursts and child-like behavior seem so inappropriate for somebody her age. But she does love the Lord with a child-like passion. She loves to re-tell Bible stories that she is learning and sings at the top of her lungs during times of praise and worship.
Please pray for Lisbeth in Bogota, Colombia. Pray that the Lord would continue to grant us wisdom in helping to teach her both the basics of life, and the Word. As she matures emotionally, it is certain that she will begin to recognize the terrible wounds that her past has left. The Lord can heal her from the inside out, and that is my hope for her. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Lisbeth is just one of the many people that you are helping!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recovery, Culture, and Bible Study

Recovery: Things are going very well in that department. I got some AWESOME news from the Doctor last week. He informed me that I have very mild endometriosis. So, that is great! The cysts they removed were just regular ole cysts that do nothing except cause pain. Well, the cysts are gone, and so is the pain. So, I'm on some meds for the endometriosis but nothing too severe. God has showed himself so faithful to me this past week! YAY Jesus

Culture: Its been a while since I wrote about cultural things so I thought I'd take a second for that. I'll make it short....
Showers. Why showers? Well, first of all, there are little to no bathtubs here as is the norm for much of Latin America. AND there is seldom a hot water system in the house. So, we use a particular kind of shower head, called an electric shower, that heats up the water instantly before coming out to rain over you. The only downfall with this system is there is little to no water pressure. I'v gotten used to it though. When I was home for Christmas, I felt like my American shower water was going to drill through my skin. :) The other thing is that they take showers in the morning, every morning, and only in the morning. If you go anywhere without a morning shower, you are "nasty" :) In my experience in the States, shower times vary depending on the person. But so long as we bathe, there isn't a problem. NOT the case here. Weird huh? You MUST shower in the morning, no matter what the temp is.

Bible Study: A few weeks ago, before the surgery fiasco, I had a women's Bible Study. It was for the girls of UCU and we met at a local park outside on a beautiful day and studied about self esteem as seen in the Bible. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this, which is frustrating. But, I will say that it was awesome! There were seven of us in total and, though the group was small, we had a wonderful time of sharing and learning together. I have another one this Thursday and am starting to work on it now. Please pray that more girls will come and that the Lord would lead me to talk about whatever needs are represented by the group. Till next time!

QUOTE: Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.

R. C. Sproul

Monday, March 02, 2009


What is surgery like in Colombia? Well, mostly the same. The only thing that is particularly different is the care you receive post-op. As I was waking up from being under general anesthesia, the Dr. decided it would be a good time to talk to me about what he discovered. The ONLY thing I remember is that I have endometriosis. He didn't tell me how to take care of my wounds (I have three: 2 about 2-inches long and a small one in my belly button), He didn't tell me what exactly "one week of rest" means, and he prescribed regular, over-the-counter, Tylenol for my pain. On his way out, he gave me a hefty shot of Tramadol for the pain and then let me sit in recovery for two hours throwing up because the pain killer made me sick. I'm writing this all in humor because when all else fails, laugh at life. Then again, yesterday I had a time with friends where I laughed for 10 minutes straight and quite honestly I think I did some damage as today it hurts to do anything, including sit in my chair. :( Go figure

In all seriousness, I'm doing well except for pain. I go in later this week to meet with the Dr. to discuss treatment options. What is Endometriosis? Click HERE if you'd really like to read more about what I've been diagnosed with. My mom had it and, while it is manageable, it has some unfriendly symptoms.

I'm taking this week easy and mostly off my feet. I have missed a complete week of classes, which I'm annoyed about, but it looks like I'll be missing at least 2 more days. So, I'll deal with the mountain of make-up work this next weekend.

I got my computer back which has been so helpful since I'm required to stay off my feet. I've spent the time re-writing the many MANY documents I lost. Other than that, I'm happy to be alive and only in moderate pain. Aaron is coming for a visit in 2 1/2 weeks which I am very much looking forward to. Sorry it took so long to update. Thanks for your prayers!
p.s. for all you medical types out there, here's a pic of my ultrasound. The big round object is the 4-inch cyst they removed. :)