Dear Family and Friends,
We wanted to let you know how the medical/dental outreach went, so we hope you don't mind hearing from us again so soon! The outreach wasn't to the jungle (the Simba all live in the Andes foothills), but it felt like it...very hot! The river there is just two inches deep now (it's the dry season here now), so it didn't offer much refreshment either. The boys loved camping out in tents, but of course that was a little warm too! But, the outreach was good, with about 400 people coming for medical or dental help. Many teeth were pulled, several medical needs attended to, and everyone received worm treatments, hemoglobin tests and then iron pills if necessary. It's interesting...after the kids cooperated for the finger prick, they were each given a boiled egg (mainly because it's high in iron and protein), and they were absolutely thrilled with it! It gives you an idea of how well they normally eat.
One couple who came from the States just for the week brought a huge bag of kids clothes and shoes, which was a real blessing as quite a number were in barefeet and rags. The place we went to is a new Simba community, and so most still live under tarps (which were donated by some benevolent organization, or they wouldn't even have that much)....they are working at building houses, but it's a slow process as they have next to no income. If they get a job working for a local rancher, they make only about 20 bolivianos a day, which is less than $3.00.
Every evening, the people watched a Bible video (centered on Genesis this time), which we did with a generator. It was amazing...you could have heard a pin drop the entire time! Everyone, young and old, were so captivated....especially because they so rarely get to see anything visual like that (there's no power in any of the Simba communities that we know of, as all are quite remote). But the videos were in Spanish as there is nothing available in the Simba language yet, so the understanding would have been limited. However, both a NTM missionary and Simba believer from Taperillas shared in the Simba language afterwards, so it's sure that "many seeds were planted," ... we just pray God will "grow them" into eternal fruit (1 Cor. 3:6).
The last evening, the people discussed building a house there so that a missionary family could come and live and have this kind of input on a more regular basis. The Taperillas team has discussed that and feel we could take turns living there for a month at a time or so, without compromising too much what we are already doing in Taperillas. For us, once we get a basis in the Simba language, it will be good to spend time there as the community is much more monolingual (few speak or understand Spanish well, so they mainly speak Simba). Anyway, that is a prayer item. It would be much more difficult living in this community, as it's through the mountains (on the other side of the ridge from Taperillas) and back in on very rough, narrow roads. Because it was the dry season, we travelled alot of that via a dry river bed, but the sand was so deep in places, that we could only get through in four wheel drive. On the way out, we met a fairly large truck on a sharp, narrow corner, resulting in dents, scraped paint, and a torn tarp on our part. The other truck had to remove part of a back side piece to finally get by without further damage. This is all normal for Bolivia back roads, so you know how much we appreciate your prayers for us as we travel.
The boys completed their main school subjects on the outreach, but it's good to be home and back into a routine again. They had a lot of spectators watching them do school each morning!...it was a little tough to concentrate! We will be "schooling on the road" again in another week as we need to travel to renew our visas. We'd sure appreciate your prayers that this process will go smoothly.
With much appreciation for your support and prayers,
Bill and Kathleen, & boys