Orchard Mission Team made it to Cochabamba safely and God moved governments as they did it without some “vital” documentation!! Here’s the message from Kara:
“Orchard Mission Team made it to Cochabamba safely!! Here’s the message from Kara:h, despite missing some important documents. God is good! Very thankful for the prayers and support.” — with Jesse Terrell, Cheryl Westphal, Kathy Miller and Colorado Yarrows.
Orchard Missions Team is Loving God and Loving People in Bolivia! Keep them in your prayers as they work hard and love, teach, and play with the kids.
Youth spending their Spring Break sweating, waking up early, and spending all their time caring for other people?! This is Orchard Life!
Bolivia update #1
Key Players in our Bolivia Experience:
The Team: Kara (aka, “Fearless leader” or “mom”), Jesse Terrell, David & Kathy Miller, Cheryl Westphal, Lindsay Steele, Tess Goscha (12), Clayton Steele (13), Cat Terrell (15) Eliana Suarez (16), Gracie Yarrow (16).
Katie Stewart: grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, has spent the last 10 years in Bolivia as a full time missionary. For much of that time Katie has been the director of El Centro De Amistad y Apoyo (The Help and Friendship Center) – an after school program for children in Cochabamba, whose goal is to end the cycle of poverty through education and the Gospel of Jesus.
Reyna Quispe: Bolivian Pastor and our cook during our trip. This amazing lady ministers to women in the coutry side of Bolivia, but also had a lifelong dream of cooking for missions teams, so everyone wins in this situation! Because of her loving and careful preparation, our team gets to enjoy traditional Bolivian dishes, knowing everything has been prepared safely for our weak American stomachs.
Alejandra Quispe: husband to Reyna, also a Pastor and a master carpenter.
Alex: Bolivian taxi driver, who we’ve hired as our driver the last 4 years.
What we’ve been up to…
Monday morning 11 of us walked out of the Cochabamba airport, where we were greeted by Katie Stewart and Alex. Their smiles were as warm as the high altitude sunshine, and we were relieved to finally arrive in our destination after 20ish hours of travel.
After settling into our guesthouse and resting up a bit, we climbed 1,399 steps to Jesus’ feet….more formally known as El Cristo De La Concordia. Imagine that huge statue of Jesus that’s in Rio De Janeiro, except it’s in Bolivia.
After a day of recuperation, we were ready to get to work.
Tuesday morning, David, Jesse & Cheryl went to Alejandro’s workshop, where they got going on the week’s job of building a bunch of chairs. They were also treated to sopa de mani (peanut soup). There are perks when the workshop and Reyna’s kitchen are in the same place!
Meanwhile, the rest of us went to El Centro, where we attacked tons of weeds and a massive pile of dirt – almost as big as Mt. Sopris. When the mudslides happened earlier this year the center had to build a new water system, so our main job is to move this dirt monstrosity that was created from digging the well, from the property and onto the road. Needless to say, we won’t need to do too much Crossfit this week.
While our mornings are spent mostly in the dirt and sawdust, our afternoons are dedicated entirely to the children at El Centro. We worship together, play games, act out Bible stories, and make crafts. Each team member is assigned to a specific class so we can focus on relationships with those children. We make fools of ourselves as we try to use what limited Spanish we have, and the children graciously accept us with huge smiles and so much joy. They truly bless us, and we are thankful to spend time with them. Our stories and teaching all revolve around the theme of Kindness. Pray that these truths from scripture will land in their hearts, and they will realize God can multiply our small acts of kindness and impact the world around us more than we could ever realize, and God showed the ultimate act of kindness in sending Jesus.
A few team members share their thoughts from the trip thus far…
I’m having so much fun with all the kids at The Center for this second year in a row. The kids have such a desire for acceptance, and the fact that we have the ability to give that to them because we have God’s love in Christ, is simply put, amazing. Offering hope is the reason I came back this year, and though there are challenges, I have zero regrets for giving my time and resources. – Jesse
Hi, My name’s Gracie Yarrow and lately I’ve been feeling a bit distant from God with everything that’s been happening in my life. But through this mission trip, I’ve been empowered to become closer to him again, through worship, through the love and joy of the kids, and through the encouragement of everyone on this team. And for the first time in a long time, I’ve felt his presence in my life again which is a miracle in my eyes and frankly, something I’ve really needed for a while. Praise God!
Hi, my name is Clayton Steele and trip is bringing me a lot closer to God. I am getting to know this culture step by step. I am loving the people here because they encourage me and have fun with me. Everyone is so great on trip! The Holman’s have been really nice. This trip is pulling me a lot closer to God and to Bolivia. I hope that no one else gets sick like I did.
As the team leader, my greatest joy is always in seeing the team come together to work hard, love others, and encounter God. We have a really special team of 5 middle schoolers/high schoolers and 5 adults, and I am so thankful for each person and what they bring to our “family.” I feel like God is doing something really special. Sometimes you have to travel to another continent to get away from the distractions of every day life so you can hear God’s voice. He is here. He is speaking. – Kara
This is my second year going to Bolivia, yet on my way here I prepared myself to be sent back. There were issues with my visa, and for the 7 hour overseas flight I wasn’t sure if I would get in the country. It was a huge relief when a kind immigration employee gave me the go ahead. I made it, and so did the rest of the team, safe and sound! Now that I’m here, connecting with others on the team, the children, and God are my favorite things to do! – Cat
Bolivia update #2
Serving alongside the team at El Centro has been such a pleasure. Tonight after our program with the children, we had the opportunity to host many of the teachers and classroom helpers for a big team dinner at our guest house. This has become one of my very favorite traditions of our trip – it had an awkward-ish start 4 years ago, but has gained momentum as our relationships have grown. Reyna prepared a traditional meal Pique Macho, which essentially consisted of a pile of french fries, sausage, beef, hard boiled eggs, onions, tomatoes, and then a generous glob of mayonnaise and ketchup…Bolivian comfort food at it’s finest! We swapped stories and jokes in broken English and Spanish, and celebrated Jesse’s birthday, along with a few others. Everyone received a blessing through the food and the quality time together. There is nothing like a great meal to bridge gaps and bring very different people together.
Pray for the team at El Centro, that God would continue to bring the right people to equip the children with the tools they need to build their faith and their future lives.
Love from Cochabamba, Kara & The Team
Greetings to you from Cochabamba!
What’s we’ve been up to lately…
Good Friday evening we had the pleasure of spending time in Reyna and Alejandro’s home. A downpour forced us all inside her kitchen so at one point there were 12 people squished inside her tiny cooking space. The memory of dodging elbows while eating my potatoes will stay with me forever.
After our meal, we listened to Reyna’s ministry stories from the last year. She built up our faith as she shared story after story of God providing at the last minute, in the perfect way as she ministered to women in the countryside. And Alejandro, breaking from the traditional roles, often stays home with their son while Reyna goes on her ministry trips. Together this mighty, yet humble, couple is bringing the love and light of Jesus into the world, and I know the Kingdom is expanding because of their obedience to Jesus.
Saturday we took an adventure to La Cancha – the largest open air market in the Western Hemisphere – and for the 4th year in a row we didn’t lose anyone, so yay us! I love watching everyone take in the sights and smells of the market, from piles of cinnamon to the mounds of cow guts…everything and more is at The
One of the things I emphasize to my team is that the quality of their experience depends very much on their ability to be flexible. So when the Bolivian government schedules a national “pedestrian day” on Easter so no cars are allowed on the road and church is cancelled, you flex and make another plan. And honestly, our back up plan was just what we needed. Saturday evening we put together our own Easter service at Katie’s house, and enjoyed a beautiful time of reflection and worship around the Easter story. It’s hard to choose a favorite element from these trips, but spending filling Katie’s home with worship is always a highlight.
Easter Sunday some folks stayed home to recuperate while others of us ventured out with the rest of Cochabamba to walk the car-less streets.
Tonight we will worship and prepare ourselves for the last two days at El Centro and with Alejandro. Can’t believe we’re already 7 days in!
that our team would love each other well, that we would practice what we are preaching to the children at El Centro about kindness 😉
That God would restore our bodies to health, as some members of the team are involuntarily on the amoeba diet.
For a great last couple days of work and ministry.
For safe travel home on Wednesday.
Thank you for praying for us!