Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mountains and Valleys

Where to begin? The past week or two have been really full of both very great things and very not-so-great things. The weekend before last, we had a chance to visit Incan ruins here in Bolivia, high up in the mountains. (sorry for those of you who already saw the pics on Facebook). We stopped in a little town called Sipe Sipe first to do a "bread run," so to speak. Mike (our team partner here) had considered Sipe Sipe as a potential site for a new orphanage (it didn't pan out) but in the process he became familiar with the people there and began making trips where he brougt along bread and fruit to hand out to the people who needed it. We were driving through to get to the Incan ruins, so we picked up some food to pass out on our way. It was mostly kids who would run out to greet us, and it was a cool pitstop to participate in. It takes a long time to drive all the way to the ruins and Ted was joking I'd be dehydrated at the top...not from altitude but all the fluid I was losing out of my palms! (I'm a little afraid of heights). The terror was worth it though, because as you can see the view was spectacular. I've always loved the mountains because I feel like they put me in my place--God is huge and His creation has a way of dwarfing my "big" problems or concerns. It was so quiet up there except for the wind, away from the noise. He says, "Be still and know that I am God." So I was still. And He was God. And it was really nice. Mike brought bikes along and Ted rode down ahead of the truck:)

A group from New Hampshire came to Cochabamba for a week on a short-term mission trip to help out. It was really great having conversations in English! They were delayed on several of their flights and spent way too much time in La Paz, so they all came in a little green and with some nice fainting/vomiting stories, but recovered fast and were the biggest help ever. I posted a few pictures we stole from Mike's camera, since I seem to have forgotten mine almost every day, plus Ted was able to be with the group more than me because of Jude Hammy's naps. Here's most of us out to eat:

Below is a picture from when the group visited a carpentry place. The guy who runs it, Nate, moved to Cochabamba and started building bunk beds and cribs for orphanages, for free. He's built them for our orphanages, as well as state run ones also. The coolest part is that he employs the "glue sniffers." It's really sad--lots of young boys (like twelve to sixteen year olds) who don't have families all sit at certain corners on the street and wash car windows all day, literally sitting down and sniffing glue in between cars. So for those who want it, they can go learn a trade and make some money, and hopefully pick up some guidance for their lives along the way. His website is if you're interested. The group from New Hampshire brought tons of nice DeWalt tools to donate to him:)

Here are a few more pictures from the week, including a day where they physically plowed a field behind an orphanage so they could grow corn to sell and eat (you thought YOU had a hard day at work!), a trip to visit a family in the "campo" or country near a future orphanage site that needed encouragement and had lots of handmade items they wanted to sell, and finally the last day where they said goodbye to the kids at the orphanage:( (Note the sheep solemnly looking on as hugs were exchanged)

The last night before they left, everyone came over to our place. Mike and Bonnie have a connection to a band here, a really good band actually that has 7 CD's and tours all over South America for concerts. They set up on the roof of our apartment building and played a concert for us, which was really fun! It was a beautiful night and a great way to end their trip, with good food and friends. I looked over at Jude at one point--hours past his bedtime, on a rooftop overlooking Cochabamba, giddily clapping, Nutella smeared all over his face listening to a Bolivian boy band sensation--and decided that he can blame me for a lot of things when he gets older, but he can't accuse me of not exposing him to different things;) We bought a CD afterwards and were delighted to discover their instrumental rendition of "Hey Jude" complete with some sort of Bolivian flute-type can find little pieces of home just about anywhere:) Here's a picture of us with Mike and Bonnie on the roof.

And finally, the not-so-good news. My wonderful Grandma passed away on Sunday. Her funeral was this afternoon and I couldn't be there. If you follow the blog you know how quickly she got sick and how hard this has been on the Hensley family for the past several months. We were able to visit her in Alabama before we moved here and I feel better knowing I got to sneak in one last kiss then. I'm sure going to miss her. I know Ted and I are where we're supposed to be, but it sure makes it tough to be here at times like this. Homesickness kind of set in this week...although I am VERY lucky to have a great husband to wipe away my tears and a beautiful boy to make me smile with his silly little self:) Thanks to all of you who care about our family so much and who have already encouraged us. My dad spoke at her funeral today and we talked about the eulogy last night. He's using his favorite quote in his speech and I think its so appropriate and true...something like "when I reach the end of my days, I'll consider my life wasted unless I can recall these 3 things: a loving family, an investment in the lives of others, and an honest attempt to serve the God who made me." I agree, and I think my grandma's life was a reflection of those values. I know its only goodbye for now, and I'll always be proud to be her granddaughter.
Thanks for letting me rattle on:) I hope everyone has a good week/weekend.


Lauren said...

I know it was hard for you not to be with the family today as we celebrated Grandma's life. Dad did a great job speaking at the funeral, she had beautiful flowers, and we all headed over to the Larimore House for a big trip down memory lane from our childhoods. I wish you could have been there, but I know you are where you need to be. I tried to get some pictures, so check my blog soon ok! Grandma lived such a sweet life and today really was more of a celebration than anything, for who she was and the family she has:) I am so glad we are a part of the "Hensley" crew! Love you and miss you!

Emmalee said...

Great blog post! All you have to do to be reminded of the wonderful purpose you're serving over there is read your own blog! It's amazing, you, Ted and Hammy are amazing. I'm lucky to be your friend!

The Lingley's said...

i'M SOOOO sorry to hear of your loss!! You and your family are in our thoughts & prayers!! My grandmother just turned 90 and i cherish every last day i have with her. Hugs to you and your family and remember every day that your Grandmother is with her King, living in Heath and Happiness in the Kingdom of true Greatness!!

praisin said...

Hey Jude's Rents! (k, can u tell I have teen daughters?) We are praying 4 u, UR health & UR ministry. BTW, that group was made up of NH and NC volunteers ;^) .. know that UR welcome 2 come C us anytime in NC ... B sure 2 bring Jude (smile). Don't have UR email so if U wanna C more pics from that week go 2: