Dear Family & Friends,
Greetings from wintery Taperillas! It froze last night, and we were reminded of some northern Canadian camping trips as we woke with cold noses! The house we are staying in has a woodstove but no chimney yet, so we are identifying with the Simba in their chilly homes.
Yesterday was an interesting church service in Taperillas. There is a very small congregation here which has formed since the first missionaries arrived about 6 years ago. Well, on Sunday, nearly half of them had to vacate their benches in the middle of the sermon, as a group of soldiers arrived with their captain announcing that they needed to be evangelized! They had originally come to play soccer in the afternoon ("Soccer Sunday" is the usual across Bolivia, especially in the country areas such as Taperillas), but their captain obviously felt his troop needed more than sports on Sunday! So, the Simba man who was speaking immediately changed his sermon to tailor it to the dozen soldiers who had joined us!
We've been here in Taperillas for a week now, overseeing the beginning of our house construction. The bricklayers arrived last Monday, and had the trenches dug for footers by the next day. Just in time, the truck with cement and reebar arrived on Tuesday. Then, the truck arrived with our bricks the following day, after a two-day trip over the mountain pass from Santa Cruz. We were able to get it unloaded just an hour before it began to pour, a rain that lasted nearly three days. We were so grateful that the necessary materials arrived before that rain...thank you so much for your prayers. Next week, the wood for the roof is supposed to arrive, and we will also need to arrange for another load of bricks for the interior walls that are made locally. Bill has been working on the plumbing while the bricklayers work on the foundation. It will be a different construction project from the wood home we built in Canada!
Last week and this one are the weeks of "Winter Vacation" for the schoolkids here in Bolivia. So, this has been a great time for the boys to get to know the children here in Taperillas. The big piles of sand and gravel at the house construction site are like magnets to every boy (and some girls) here, Bolivian and gringo alike! And after they've played awhile, the children love to sit down for popcorn and a Bible story, so we continually have ministry possibilities on our doorstep. We are looking forward to when we will be able to settle permanently into life and ministry here...this shouldn't be too far off, as our two-month immersion time in Monteagudo is done in about 2 weeks. We expect to move to Taperillas the weekend of July 27th--Josh is excited that we'll be here "to stay" for his birthday! However, we will need to travel to Tambo for the Annual Field Conference the first week of August, so we won't be settling into one spot for a few weeks yet. We'd appreciate your prayers for all the moving and travelling of the next few weeks, as it's never easy on the Bolivian roads.
Once again, thank you so much for the prayers, support and encouragement you send in our direction. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him..." (Romans 15:13).
Bill & Kathleen Mann,
Josh, Jonathan & Jesse