I (Rosie) can’t imagine many more picturesque spots to enjoy looking back on two weeks of marvellous Step fun than where I’m currently writing. I believe it’s now our 4th time at the Trinidad lake, and I’m soaking in the peace of the surroundings, and the joy of hanging out and all relaxing together, treasuring it as such a precious part of the past 17 weeks of this crazy experience together. These two weeks have been no less crazy than what has become our normal. In fact, yesterday looking at a small pool chock-full of our new little (non-swimming) friends from kids club, may have been a moment to top our score on the crazy scale. But there’s much more to catch up on a little further back that that!

Last Monday (26th June), started as a typical cafe-downstairs-for-breakfast Monday morning for us, and we enjoyed a day working in the garden and on the community projects mentioned in the last Step update. But by the end of the day, we welcomed our Bolivia Coordinator Amanda and her husband and son, Craig and Sam, to our little home here. Amanda was coming for our mid-way check up, and hopefully she was pleased that there were still 7 Steppers happily serving here at Fundacion Totai. We certainly were pleased on Monday night as she very kindly cooked us all a marvellous dinner to share together! I turned to Izzy a few bites in and we excitedly rejoiced that it tasted like proper adult-cooked food! This was the first of many practical ways that their family blessed us over their short stay.

In the evening Craig led us in a great devotional. We went on a bit of a New Testament tour, looking at the prodigal son parable as well as some Scripture from Paul’s letters, but all of it focused on mission life, or more generally how we walk faithfully in life with Christ. Amanda also shared wisdom about ministry experience and for me this particularly gave strength. I think that each of us came away with encouragement, certainly a worthwhile evening.

 

The next day the fun didn’t stop, as we all bundled into the ambulance (our usual mode of transport here) and headed to, you guessed it, the lake! I adored this day out. 8 year old Sam was a constant source of belly-laughs for us. We have some new household quotes from sweet enthusiastic Sam that are still making us crack up and smile thinking back to mud fights, volleyball and silly games.

Work continued well for the rest of the week. I have to say I’m not exactly sure what goes on in the community garden, as the others tell me they’re busy ‘priscillaring’, which is some Spanglish phrase I’m not entirely familiar with. Something about the new planters they’ve been busy getting together! It does look great though by now, and I know Carlos has so appreciated the man (and woman) power to get it to this point. Safely tucked away from the sun, but not without risk of cabin fever, me and Catherine got to work inside turning our new blue walls into something a little more interesting. On one wall a large logo mural is underway, and more excitingly, we’ve started too on the larger seascape section. We also did some sport at the very close cancha (covered sports pitch thing?), played lots of games together (thanks to our revolutionary using our tv less pledge), and even did some speed dating style discussion questions for one night’s devotional time. The working week was topped off by a treat out at a restaurant in town to belatedly celebrate Izzy’s birthday. Last weekend was everything from sorting out plane tickets, to refreshing freshly squeezed juice, some birthday celebrations, traditional silly games, back to the classic Sunday night volleyball tradition we’ve come to love.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you feel tired reading I haven’t even started on ‘club vacational’ yet. This week we had the immense pleasure of helping out at the El Jireh/Fundation Totai kids’ club for the little ones from the community on their Winter holiday. We’ve all been totally stretched by this – from being stretched in having to communicate with Spanish in a crazy pace, to being literally stretched by many children dragging us in different directions. Days of competitive games, evangelistic talks, activities, and the military operation of handing out snacks were so fulfilling. The gospel sharing was excellent – using an analogy of a watermelon to explain sin, Jesus’ death, clean hearts, life of faith and heaven. And all topped off with the aforementioned pool trip. We got there first and quickly got a splash session in, but the rest of the afternoon was wild. Many of the kids don’t ever get the opportunity to swim. Their joy and being able to clamber onto us lot and be totally crammed into the refreshing water together was immense.

We also squished in a big market trip, a competitive football game, FaceTiming our builder friend from Argentina, trying some alligator for tea, and getting ourselves back to the lake (with homemade quiche, thanks Tim & Catherine) today. For Izzy there was even some surgery watching as she continues to explore downstairs at the foundation and see what’s going on with the medical work.  Seriously, praise God we’re more or less in one piece!

Today we shared lunch with the dream team Carlos and Carla (and their son Keny), which was not only another great chance for James to hone his culinary skills under pressure, but allowed us a chance to hear their testimonies. Carlos summed up his crazy life story as the miracle of the result of his mother’s prayers. And we thank the Lord for this miracle, because to spend time with this man is a gift. But it’s also a reminder once again of our gratitude to you continuing to uphold us in prayer. Thank you!

Some points as we look back and think about squeezing the last few drops out of our time on Step are:

– Pray for the hearts of the kids from club vacational. Trinidad, as does everywhere, needs gospel centred lives. Pray for continued faithful ministering to these kiddos and how, for God’s glory, this might affect this place.

– Thank the Lord for each of our strengths on the team, and the way he’s provided opportunities for us as individuals to learn and grow.

– I suppose this is a biased prayer request coming from half of the devotional coordination team, but praise God and pray on for our devotional times together, especially as we think about how everything we’ve thought about will impact us as we wind up.

With love,

Rosie and the team.