ARDF: Come to Ghana and see God at Work

PrayerMtg_Ghana_IMG_6293At Restoration, we love our partners, and we are so grateful for the work of ARDF.

Here in the United States unemployment is at an all-time low. Even so, job opportunities are not equally available, depending on your experience, education, and opportunities. This is not unique to the US. In the slums outside of Accra, Ghana, young adults face a lot of challenges, including unemployment. As outreach to this community, the Anglican church in Accra is building a Youth Development Center, where youth will be able to receive job training, Bible-based mentoring, counseling, and leadership development.

The government of Ghana cannot meet all the needs for job creation and other social services.  Who else but the church can offer practical help, lasting hope, and grace? Fortunately, social outreach is at the heart of the Diocese of Accra and they are experienced at offering educational opportunities to youth.

This spring, Restoration chose to give all of the Lent and Easter offerings to specifically support this project. Because of your generosity, nearly $19,000 was donated to the church in Accra.

Now, you have the unique opportunity to visit this project! October 11-21, 2018, ARDF will take a group to Ghana to see exactly what the Lord is doing there, on the ground. As part of the team, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Vocational Center and witness first-hand how your funds are being used to alleviate poverty in the slums of Accra.

Participants will also have the chance to participate in a wide range of ministry activities. You will visit prisons and schools and help a medical team with a pop up clinic in a rural area. The week ends with the annual diocesan prayer gathering.

The trip includes the option to visit the (in)famous Slave Castle of Cape Coast where captured Africans were held in the dungeons before being transported to the west as slaves. You won’t want to miss this on your visit to West Africa.

Ghana-JWestbrook_IMG_5601All the details of the trip are found here. You can also contact John Westbrook, who went on a similar trip in 2013. We would love to share with you what God is doing through your donations!

~Christine Jones, ARDF

June 3: BOWLivia Team Fund Raiser and Parish Meeting!

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Big Impact.  Yummy Food.  Parish Meeting.

Want an easy way to make a big impact?  Come eat BOWLS of yummy food and give generously to help Team Bolivia at Restoration’s Parish Meeting June 3!

When:  Right after the 11am service on Sunday, June 3 in our fellowship hall.

What:  A delicious lunch prepared by the 21 members of TeamBolivia18 as a fund raiser for our travel and ministry costs.

How much is lunch?  Be generous!  The team shares all of the donations and they are used for team travel costs, ministry work in country, and ministry donations to our partners in Bolivia.

How long will the event last?  We will start serving lunch at 12:30pm.  Then at 1:00pm, we will have our ‘end of spring, beginning of summer’ Parish Meeting.  It will include an update on our finances, a report from TeamBolivia18, and a big cheer for Incarnation as they start Evening Prayer that night!

What will TeamBolivia18 be doing?  The team has been meeting together since April.  By God’s grace and good timing, the team has already had an opportunity to meet both of our ministry partners!  Here is a wonderful note from team member, Stephanie Dickerson:

When I signed up to join the Restoration Team going to Cochabamba, Bolivia in August, I simply thought, “Fun! This sounds like an adventure that I get to do in community!”

After meeting our two ministry partners, Tammy Firestone, Rector of  La Trinidad Anglican Church, and Tyson Malo, Director of Ninos con Valor, I realize there is so much more ahead of us.

Tammy asked that the Restoration Team provide healing prayer workshops for the people of La Trinidad– to both receive prayer and to learn how to pray for others. Then together, we are going to offer prayer to the neighborhoods around La Trinidad and their church plant in a nearby town.

“Healing prayer,” Tammy said, “is the way I believe we’ll see many, many lives actually transformed by Jesus. So many in Bolivia have heard his name, but simply add Jesus onto their other practices of worshipping idols, Mother Earth, and other Andean religious practices.  Abuse, addictions, and general brokenness is so prevalent in Cochabamba– people are in desperate need of healing. Healing prayer is the key to growing the church in Bolivia.”

I am excited to see how God stretches us as a team to serve and partner with La Trinidad in seeing lives healed and people transformed by Jesus!

Tyson, Director of Ninos con Valor, shared with us about the way NCV is continually refining and improving the way they provide residential homes for vulnerable children and teens– often taking the most challenging cases from around Bolivia. He spoke of how NCV is replicating their training practices to help others provide a similar level of quality care.

I am excited about continuing and deepening our partnership with Ninos con Valor as they care for and value children who are the most vulnerable in Bolivia and have a vision to expand their reach to more children!

I am excited to have the Restoration community participate with Team Bolivia!

So…..COME!  EAT!  GIVE!

See you on June 3 at 12:30 in fellowship hall.

-David

Giving A Little Love

Restoration singing carols at Sunrise Senior Living

The first time I went to Sunrise Senior Living to sing Christmas Carols with the residents, I was a volunteer working with APEX Youth Ministry and had no idea what to expect.  By the time it was over, I was convinced that we needed to do this every year and now that I am the Director of Youth Ministry, we do.

When we think of Restoration’s mission to connect people to God, others and the needs of the world, it is easy to default to the work we do overseas or with our local partnerships with AFAC, Casa Chirilagua and Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (R.I.L.A). It’s easy to get lost in the idea that big acts of service are the ones that are the most impactful. This yearly trip to Sunrise showed me, first hand, that small acts of service can carry just as much of an effect.

As the mantra of our Kids’ ministry exclaims, everyone wants to know that they are loved, known and seen by God.  It doesn’t take much to remind them of that.  Sometimes it’s a wink, a hand on the shoulder in solidarity, or an entire congregation of your neighboring church coming over and singing exuberantly at the top of their lungs with Santa and elf hats galore.

We invite you to join us again this year after the 5pm service, to take 30 minutes to spread some Christmas cheer to residents who can be easily forgotten.  Help us to remind them again this season that they are not.

Where:  Sunrise Senior Living
2000 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207

When:  This Sunday, December 17th (6:30pm – 7:15pm) –
Immediately following the 5pm service.

Hope to see you there,

Isaiah Brooms
Director of Youth Ministry

 

 

 

Resto Goes! Cochabamba, August 2018

Cocha_cristo-790x532Restoration will be making its third official mission trip to Cochabamba in August 2018.

Our role:

We are taking a team to work with our friends at La Trinidad Anglican church, and to spend time with the children of Niños con Valor in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

dates: August 3-12, 2018

Cost: Airfare + visas + $900 (includes accommodation, food, and internal transport). Scholarships are available, and the team will also be doing some communal fundraising. Airfare is typically between $1000 and $1400. Visas also cost an additional $80 (or $120 depending on type).

If you have any further questions about these teams please feel free to contact team leader Endel Liias, endel.liias@gmail.com

Here’s the link to the application form!

Submit your application as soon as possible to Liz, liz@restorationarlington.org

RILA: snapshot of a clinic

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As we approach the end of 2017, Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (RILA) looks back with thanksgiving for Restoration’s support: 

  • You helped us achieve a matching grant of $25,000 from the Matthew 25 Initiative. 
  • You turned out in large numbers (and brought friends and coworkers) to staff monthly legal aid clinics. 
  • You provided meals and hospitality for clients and their families. 
  • You prayed and opened your heart to care for those fleeing violence and abuse in their home country. 

We continue to be amazed and surprised by a good and limitless God whose mercies never end and who calls us forth to love our neighbors.  Know that your support has enabled RILA’s more than 75 volunteers to be the hands and feet of Christ to 74 clients since RILA’s start in March 2016.  We hope the following “Snapshot of a Clinic” will bring you closer to the work that you have helped make possible.

Snapshot of a Clinic

Restoration Anglican Church, 5:30 pm:  At a time when church staff are departing and others throughout the DC area are making their way home from work, the first floor on 1815 Quincy Street in Arlington, VA begins to come to life, first with volunteers, then with clients of Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (RILA).

The Volunteers:  tables, chairs, legal expertise, food, prayer 

Two Restoration moms and their combined seven children set up tables and chairs in the fellowship hall, where a meal for clients and volunteers will be served.  More tables and chairs are carried to six colorful Sunday school rooms, where clients will meet with their volunteer legal team.  In a quieter space, RILA’s director of legal services performs a final review of the evening’s cases in which he is involved.  Two DOJ-accredited representatives join him to prepare.  Ten clients will be served this night.

Donated food begins to roll in, as do more volunteers and clients, bringing children and other family members along.  Toys and books (donated – and free for the taking) are laid out, as are welcoming placemats crafted by Restoration children.

New volunteers are welcomed, including two private attorneys, one of whom providentially learned about RILA through a first-time visitor to Restoration who happened to hear about RILA from the pulpit.  This lawyer with expertise in immigration, in turn, brings another lawyer, to assist.

In total, 26 volunteers arrive that evening, bringing an array of talents and passions.  In unity of purpose and with dependence on God, volunteers form a circle in the fellowship hall and, along with clients, pray.  Volunteers disperse to their assigned areas:  lead interviewer, interpreter, note taker, hospitality/child care, photocopier.

The Clients

Most clients are fleeing fearful situations in their home country and are seeking asylum in the US.  They have few resources with which to hire a private attorney and face uncertainty about their family’s welfare in this new country.

One client, as a soccer coach, worked to keep young people in his home country from joining gangs.  He then became a target of gangs and had his and his child’s life threatened.

Another client was a reporter for a community radio station that advocates for human rights and non-violence.  She used the platform to persuade youth not to join the infamous MS-13 gang.  She, in turn, was targeted with violence and fled with her 13-year-old son, leaving her four-year-old behind in the care of others.

Yet another client is in need of health care for a chronically ill child, as well as food support.  A RILA volunteer who is a nurse practitioner provides her with a clinic referral near her home.

The hallways and rooms of Restoration’s first floor stir with activity, as clients come and go, volunteers confer with one another, photocopiers run nonstop, and clients’ children play and laugh with children and adults from Restoration.

Restoration Anglican Church, 9:30 pm:  Furniture is put away; bulging client files have grown even thicker; a meal, prayers, and trustworthy legal advice have been shared.  Clients have departed with the assurance of RILA’s commitment to pursue cases to their conclusion and an understanding that God’s people care and, by extension, God does, too.

Fall Retreat to Singapore and Back

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Hey Restoration,

I loved being with so many of you at the fall retreat last weekend.  Our planning team did a superb job, the weather was perfect, and the content was challenging.  As you may know, a couple days after the retreat, Jeff Walton and I went to Singapore for their diocese’s triennial Mission Roundtable.  It has been such a good time to be with our friends from Cambodia (Jesse Blaine, Gregory Whitaker, Wong Tak Meng) and our friends from the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (Bill Deiss, Bill Haley) and our friends from Anglican Frontier Missions which is the sending agency for our folks in West Asia and on whose board Jeff Walton serves.

I love being around people who are passionate about the expansion of Jesus’ Kingdom and fame, who are creative about getting people interested in the Gospel, and who are courageous in getting to places that are hard to get to with this good news.  I REALLY love getting to be around those people on their turf, outside of the US.   This has been fun and encouraging.

A few highlights:

  1.  I joined the guys from ARDF to do a workshop on why relief and development is used by God to bring His Kingdom shalom.  I talked about how the local church partners with ARDF and how ARDF serves the local church to connect us to the needs of the world.   Quick reminder–  Restoration responded within days to the 2 earthquakes in Nepal back in 2015 by giving over $8ooo to ARDF.  Today, 85% of the churches that were destroyed in that earthquake have been rebuilt and the remaining 15% will be done by the end of the year.  The Anglican church in Nepal has grown by 50% since the earthquakes because of the witness of generosity, relief, and development.

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  2. The diocese of Singapore is a STRONG church.  I love their intentional, plan-filled hearts.  They have 6 mission ‘deaneries’:  Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, and Nepal.  I attended a workshop where the folks from Cambodia gave a robust update on the good work that God is doing through the church in that country.  Quick reminder–  Restoration sent Jesse, Sarah, and Clara Blaine to serve in Cambodia back in 2011.  Since that time, they have had 2 more girls, Jesse has been ordained to the priesthood and now leads a Khmer-speaking congregation, and they are leading the Alpha Course which they hope might become a church plant.

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  3. I spoke on a plenary panel about mission partnerships.  Jesse, Tak Meng, Stewart Wicker (of SAMS), Daryl Fenton (ACNA canon to SE Asia), and I talked about the relationship between Restoration (sending church), SAMS (sending missions agency), Singapore (Anglican diocese), and Jesse (mission church planter).  It was such a privilege to tell the story of our church and Cambodia–  the multiple teams we have sent; our desire to refresh the workers; the visits to Restoration from Tak Meng, Bolly Lapok, Jesse Blaine; the Holy Week financial gift we gave to CCOP for their church building project; the way we pray for the Blaines and Cambodia each month during our worship services.  Quick reminder:  I have been reminded many times of how unusual it is that we have such good, healthy, and deep global partnerships.  Most churches don’t have what we have and we have 3!!  (Cambodia, West Asia, and Bolivia).  I am so grateful to Liz Gray and her tireless work to help us stay connected and to go deep in these places.  And I am so grateful for the dozens and dozens of volunteers who have gone on trips, showed up at Resto prayer meetings, and given generously.  We have a vision to plant, to reproduce, to multiply (in Arlington and globally)–  and it was fun to tell that story this week.

Set up by the Fall Retreat…

Our topic at the fall retreat was ‘the problem of race and the power of the cross’.  Joe’s talk on Sunday morning was so educational for me.  He connected lots of dots as he spoke from Ephesians 3

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.  This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Ephesians 3: 4-6

Joe explained that when we talk about multi-ethnicity, we are not just talking about a diverse room.  Paul was describing what would happen as Jews and Gentiles followed Christ together–  there would be a multi-racial, multi-cultural church, whose members would be heirs together, ‘body together’, and sharers (partakers) together.

I have seen these 3 traits on display this week in Singapore.  It is a very diverse group:  ethnic Chinese, Tamil Indians, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Nepalese, Khmer, Americans, folks from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Thailand.  I have heard stories of national churches sharing resources so that there is a ‘shared inheritance’–  so that one church is not a ‘have’ and the other a ‘have not’.  I have watched churches ‘body together’ as they feel pain that is not their own, but treated as their own because another church is feeling it.  And I have watched churches ‘share together’- decide that ‘we are making it together.’  They are doing it across cultural and ethnic divisions, in spite of national pain, in defiance of being separated, as a declaration of unity for the sake of the Gospel.

It is beautiful.

Such is a week in my life at Restoration.  It doesn’t always involve such a swing of time zones, but every week seems to hold moments of God reconciling, empowering, emboldening, and healing.  Sometimes they are spectacular and public.  Most of the time they are quiet and hidden.

The mystery of Christ.

Grateful to be with you on the journey.

-David

hurricanes and dolphins

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Last week, my husband Simon and I went on a few days vacation. It was soooo delightful – we went to the beach and we walked, laughed, relaxed, ate good food. All those things we do when we’re away.

But it was hard not to be aware that we had unintentionally arrived in the middle of a time of high drama. Every person we met was buzzing with the latest news, weather report or statement from the Governor. Yup – we had landed up in the potential path of Hurricane Irma. We were told we would have to leave – immediately – well, tomorrow – OK, we could stay one more day… and then another, as Irma gradually shifted her trajectory and we were in the clear.

We could choose how long to stay. We knew we could get in our car, with plenty of notice and just – drive. And we’d soon be back to normalcy and safety. We could watch the news with interest, but without undue personal concern. We didn’t have to worry about small children, pets, photo albums, our home what momentos of our lives to save. We didn’t face the loss of our history and possessions.

So different for so many others – all those whose homes were about to be destroyed, who had struggled to rescue precious memories as Harvey loomed and then barreled through; who had watched the coming of Irma with dread and alarm.

It was so easy for us to delight in the beauty of the beach and the sunsets, the dolphins and the pelicans. So easy for us to arrive and then to leave. But now, I have met people, I’ve talked to them and heard their fear, and now it is Bob, Rhonda, David, Susan, Derrick not just faces but people. And so here I am scouring the news. Looking for pictures. Reading about flooding. Tornadoes. Hail. Storm surges. All just where we were 2 days ago…. 

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And so how can we respond?

We can pray for those affected – our neighbors, all those we hear of or see on TV clips. Pray for churches and leaders, for first responders, helicopter pilots and for journalists. Pray for the drivers of the endless electricity emergency vehicles we passed on the road heading down to Florida as we were driving up I95. Pray for those you know, for those you don’t. Ask for God’s mercy to extend through this traumatic time.

And we can give. As a church we have donated $6,000 through ARDF for their hurricane response. You can read more about how they are using the funds given here and here. I am so grateful to our vestry and to the Outreach Steering team who think so carefully about where we as a church community will give our money. And thankful to you for all giving so generously so that we can respond when there is need.

It can be easy just to watch. But as you do, why not pause for a moment and step into the shoes of the person on the screen – and ask God to make them a person not a face to you, then pray – whether it be a tragedy in Mexico, South Asia or just a few hundred miles away, watch and pray. 

~Liz

 

Bus 9: reflections from #RestoBolivia2

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During our time in Cochabamba, Bolivia we traveled through the city in a small bus that had a number 9 written on the front window.  It was driven by a very kindhearted man that became known as number 17, “Diecisiete”, on our team because when we would get on we would count off to make sure we were all there. Those of us who had been to Cochabamba the year before were pleased that it was the same bus and driver that we had during last year’s trip. I remembered him saying he especially enjoys times when he works with groups like us because he has more time in between our trips to spend at home with his family.

Upon arriving, bus 9 waited outside the airport to take us to where we would be staying. Since the bus looks like the other public buses (and usually is used for public transportation), it was quite common for us see locals attempt to flag down the bus and get on as we passed by. There usually was another bus like it not too far behind. Bus 9 took us to the NCV homes: Corazon del Pastor, Pedacito Del Cielo, and Sendero de Esperanza. It took us to a retreat center for the church retreat with La Trinidad (yes, there were llamas). There was luggage stacked in the aisles and on laps. Those who were feeling sick opted to sit up in the front of the bus next to the driver.  We sometimes packed children from the homes on the bus with us – quite the bonding experience. It took us to the Cristo de la Concordia for a beautiful view of the city. We took the bus to places that had delicious Bolivian food when we were hungry. The bus even took us to the largest open air market place in Bolivia, “La Cancha”.

On bus 9 we prayed, talked, laughed, cried and were quiet together. One time the bus stalled in the middle of a busy intersection and some of our team members got out to push until the engine started up again. The bus was usually on time, but everything usually started late. Our last trip on bus 9 was to the airport. Back where we began, but we were different. “Chao”, we said (goodbye that means we will see you again). God willing, we will be back on bus 9 next time.

~Andrew I.

The day after… thoughts from #RestoBolivia2

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Today is the day after the end of the Bolivia trip– the end of the most transformative summer of my life as a whole where I felt God challenging me and pushing me to use my heart in ways I had not done before. This summer I felt the presence of God work through people in unforeseen ways.

First, what did I bring on this trip and how did God take it and transform it for His good?

On this trip I brought my love for getting to know the people, culture, and traditions of Latin America, which long preceded my interest in joining Equipo (Team) Bolivia. The second thing I brought with me was my love for serving others-from serving my family, friends, community, and job- I seek to serve in everyway I have to opportunity to because I feel like I marginally bring the world to being restored from a state of need or brokenness. However, on this trip, God has given me a renewed heart and lens with which to view Latin America as well as serving.

I saw through the work we have done with La Trinidad, an Anglican sister church in Cochabamba, that sowing and reaping together rather than working on behalf of other people renders incredible results that glorify God. This has been instructive in how to serve cross-culturally in settings where historically having others come in from the outside often has negative results. In working with the La Trinidad, we were humbled to see the such an elaborate and dynamic church could arise- a church that includes the most marginalized and offers them an immediate and engaging experience alongside the of gospel of serving that the houses and tias (affectionate and formal term for the women that care for the children) live out day in and day out. This indeed informed my experience of seeing that as a church there is not a one-size fits all model, and there are cultural differences that are key to understand.

Secondly, I brought my love for serving people and thinking critically about how this service is impacting them. What God has taught me through the experience of sharing with Bolivians is that He wants us to uphold the relational aspect of His kingdom to reflect His love in this world. By living out the relational aspect of God’s kingdom, we expand the network of people we love, care for, know well, and connect with- which is exactly what I felt like the whole group did while in Bolivia.

During our debrief session before flying out of Cochabamba at the end of our trip, Tyson, the leader of the work we were doing with Niños con Valor, shared with us the healthiest and most helpful way to transition out of Bolivia is by integrating our experiences there into our present reality here. As I return back to the states, my hope is to integrate these experiences into a part of my life I have felt disconnected from for the past year as I have simultaneously been drawing closer to Restoration, which is an answer to the prayer of what my vocation should be. This is an area I have been praying to the Lord about for cohesion for in my life between my passions and my day-to-day work. I want to pivot my vocation to working with Latin Americans back in the U.S. and in Latin America directly with humility and a spirit of working alongside people in settings like Bolivia where there are obstacles and constraints as well as opportunities and abundant blessings.

Through the testimonies we all shared that followed the theme of being at the table with Jesus, we learned and lived what God continuously shows his disciples in Luke, which is that out of our little, He in turn provides abundantly.

And when it comes to service, it has been key to invite God into settings where we serve others joyfully and creatively where we can glorify Him and expand His love in His Kingdom. I will continue to pray for God to penetrate the ways I practice serving my Latin American community back here in the context of the greater Washington community. In the day after, I seek to continue to build on the experiences we all had with the children, tias, and homes into the practice of seeing how I want to live out service and my passion for Latin America in my day-to-day life. I think I will start with grabbing some mate (local tea) and staying in touch with some of the kids we connected with through letters and staying tuned to their lives in the larger context of Bolivia.

~Alexa A.

Un Equipo Increíble: Thoughts from #RestoBoliva2

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Short-term mission trips come with their share of challenges. Before the trip, I found it hard to believe that somehow in a 10 day period, a group of 16 people of different ages, backgrounds, and experiences could somehow come together, plant themselves in a foreign country, adjust to new food, language, and culture, and have a meaningful impact on the people they came to serve.

I was in awe of the way our group demonstrated flexibility, sensitivity, and openness to the daily realities that we faced in Bolivia.

Instead of expressing frustration at the church retreat that our detailed schedule was constantly being rearranged and delayed, our team expressed delight that we could embrace the Bolivian way, release our Type A grip on things, and simply open our arms wide to welcome the beautiful chaos that we know God was orchestrating. If we had been adamant about sticking to our rigid schedule, it could have caused a rift between Resto and La Trinidad. Instead, our team’s flexibility allowed for an easy integration of our groups during which we could focus on what God was teaching us.

Instead of going through the motions of giving gifts at the end of the week to our friends at Niños con Valor and offering a generic thank you to all of the Tias for their work with the children, our team decided to hand-write individual thank you notes to each of the 19 Tias.  After a long day of work, our team members willingly gathered around the table at our guesthouse until midnight, reflecting on the distinct personalities of the Tias and specific ways that they love the children of NCV. As we distributed the gifts and notes to each Tia on our final day in Cochabamba, it was brought to our attention that no group had ever thanked each of the Tia’s individually. This gesture was deeply meaningful to them, and I’d like to think that our words and actions played a role in “refreshing workers” – which was one of the main objectives of the trip.

 Instead of grumbling about the illnesses that plagued our group from some uninvited friends (amoebas and parasites to name a few), I watched our team members support one another by offering healing prayer and taking multiple trips to the pharmacies to buy various medications. In addition, those who were afflicted with various health issues maintained positive attitudes and continued to offer ways they could help the team fulfill our mission.

These are just a few of many ways that our group demonstrated that they came to Bolivia not to be served but to serve.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” – Hebrews 6:10

I praise God for each individual that he placed on this team and I know that the fruits of their labor will continue to bless our Bolivian friends.

~Kate L.

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