It's Monday night, the end of a long holiday weekend in which Santa Cruz celebrates its independence day. Each department (state) here has its own day, besides a National Independence Day. Here this holiday falls on the beginning of spring - celebrated like Valentine's Day in the States, and the opening of the largest fair in Bolivia, Santa Cruz Expo. It is huge and since it is only a couple of blocks from our house, while it is in session (about 10 days) we have a very congested highway to traverse, especially this weekend.
Sunday was my niece Marcia's 15 birthday and the family celebrated it with a huge party at a private restaurante. The invitation indicated that the event would begin at 8:00 ; most people arrived at about 9 or 10. Tio Ruben made the official presentation of his daughter at midnight. He danced the waltz with his daughter while in turn each of the Tios (uncles) cut in one by one to dance with their niece and then each of the male cousins present danced with her. It was beautiful to see and I wished my boys could have danced with their cousin. After that the general dancing and celebration began. We left early, arriving home at almost 3:00 in the morning.
Today we got up early to attend a Nazarene Retreat in which all of the churches were invited. It was a pleasure to see so many people we had met during our Work and Witness Trip 2 years ago. There were about 20 people baptized, mostly teenagers. The baptism took place in the swimming pool of the retreat/conference center the church had rented for the day. The Nazarene church is a very young church - young pastors, mostly young people. It has many needs as you can imagine in a fast growing young congregation. And we have been asked and we ourselves are asking, "How can we most effectively help?" This is a matter for prayer. There are many opportunities for service here in Bolivia and everywhere we go, there are areas in which we see needs.
Sunday morning , for example, we attended the Templo Evangelico where we used to attend twenty some years ago. There we were also asked to come and be part of the church. We need some time to reflect and pray so that we follow God's lead in what we should be doing with our time without neglecting family concerns as well.
I miss family and friends very much, and yet we are delighted at the opportunities to celebrate and spend time with Daniel's family. Please feel free to comment on this blog. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads this, excepta couple of my children who regularly post. I'd LOVE to hear from some of you!!!!!