Today was our ‘fun’ day! We went to El Patio around 9am to get salteñas. It was a good time of fellowship, exchanging some gifts, talking. Then, we broke off into little groups to go shopping, sightsee, etc. I went with Carmen, Tina, Silas, Josue, and Marco to shop, then look at Casa de Liberdad Bolivia’s equivalent of Independence Hall. Then we looked at a store/’museum’ featuring real hand-made textiles. Women sit at a special loom and can spend 6 months making an 18″x12″ piece, creating shapes and using colors to tell stories. I ended up buying a beautiful poncho made on a different electric-powered loom from alpaca fur. If you see me wearing it, now you know the story 😉
Lunch was pretty much skipped (I did buy some fried plantain chips) since we were all full from salteñas. We were back at the hotel by about 12:40, and there I exchanged gifts with Carmen and talked just a while longer. By 1pm, we’d loaded the busses with all our suitcases, and I said goodbye to Carmen. We both cried a little and, laughing, blamed it on the sun. It’s been incredible to spend so much time doing good with such a good friend. She’s absolutely incredible in personality, warmth, God-fearing/-loving. You should see the way she cradles kittens and dogs, the way she interacts with our crazy five boys. You should hear the way she calls me ‘my Bella.’ She’s assertively gentle, is a good way to describe it. I’m so incredibly lucky to have her as a friend, confidant, intermediary, loved one.
We (and several translators) took the busses to a high point where we could see over much of Sucre. There we took plenty of individual, team, and group pictures. Then we all held hands in a circle and prayed over the city. Then, with a short pit stop to buy popsicles, we were on our way to the airport. We said goodbye to Josue and Isa, the last two translators accompanying us, and were on our way to Santa Cruz.
The rest of the day was probably some of the best 9-or-so hours of my life, in really interesting ways. Faviolla, a translator from a previous trip, took us from the Santa Cruz airport to her own house, where she was going to feed all of us dinner. The entire bus ride took more than 2 hours, since we were travelling during rush hour. I sat next to Eric and had the first heart-to-heart digging conversation of the evening. We talked about marriage and dating (his wedding is in November), serving youth, and many other subjects. He has very good insights into many various subjects, and it was very cool to pick his brain for a little while.
Once we arrived, Faviolla’s family and another family worked hard at preparing us dinner, and I had the second awesome conversation of the night. I sat at the long table with Janie and Tanya, and we picked Janie’s brain for a long while about psychology/counseling things. Is Myers-Briggs a legitimate and useful test? How to think about extraversion vs. introversion? Is it possible to actually change your reasons for doing something so you have the ‘right motivation?’ Janie is an incredible thinker. One of my favorite takeaways is the use of the Cognitive Behavioral Triangle to explain how we think about faith: reasoning, feeling, doing. Look it up and think on that.
Then, I guess this is kind of a third conversation. When we started eating, we continued talking, but landed on and dug into the topic of Lighthouse/youth ministry. That’s the conversation that eventually had me crying because I was articulating the feelings I’ve had over probably 5 years on ministry. Janie prayed over both me and Tanya, and we bonded as a little dynamic trio/roommate group. We decided sometime last week that our motto would be that we’re “fearless and otherworldly.”
On the (much shorter) way back to the airport, I talked with Tina in a fourth good conversation. Talked about school, Silas, her take on ministry. And at the airport, after clearing security, we began a wait for our 2-something am flight. During that time, I had a fifth good conversation—with Silas. Talked about life things. I love the guy nearly like a little brother.
Stay tuned for more…
Isabella – 7/14/17,