International Ministries

Cochabamba for Days

July 13, 2014 Journal
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On Saturday, we took another trek up to the Christo here in Cochabamba Bolivia, this time with our new leader, Matt Toupin. Fulfilling Sarah´s dream, we took the teleferico as Justin and Richard ran up the side of the mountain (yes really… over 1,500 steps folks).

As we got the front of the line after a 2 hour wait, we climbed aboard Cabin 1. Each Cabin only seats 6. There were 5 of us: Matt, Carmen, John, Sarah and myself, and we were joined by solo rider, Mary, who is a local here. Crammed in our 6-seater, we floated up the hill and as the city got further away, it seemed to expand slowly as well as did the mountain range around it. At the top, we were met by Justin and Richard, and the group attempted to climb the Christo. I decided to stay back and enjoy the view.

I was hard pressed by both the beauty that surrounded me, and the responsibilities I had/have here in Cochabamba through the Ignite program. We´ve met a lot of kids… an overwhelming amount at times, and each day we have a new experience here. Looking out over the small corner of city in front of me (the city surrounds the large hill the Christo is on) I looked at different houses, different windows… and I´m awful at estimation, but I know for a fact that I have not even begun to meet these people, experience this culture, and make a positive change that is visible from that height. There are an overwhelming amount of people here, all poor in some way (myself included) and what could I possibly have to offer them?

I´m looking at Cochabamba stretching out for days!
and I´m only in Cochabamba… for days.

How one thing can be so gigantically unattainable and yet so close and real I feel it every morning when I wake up, I don’t know.

The Christo was closed for the day, and we headed towards the stairs to avoid the line for the descending teleferico. There was an older woman, probably 70s, with a tambourine and a can, singing from the time we arrived to the time we left. I saw her on the way in and had turned over the idea of charity, quickly remembering the excellent and right advice from the book, When Helping Hurts saying that 1. Relief should only be used in the direst of circumstances and 2. If it is needed, it needs to be supplied by family, friends, and local community first, which she was surrounded by. But I couldn´t help fall in love with the idea of sitting near her and just jamming with her!!!!! What else in life is better than jamming?!?!?!?! And not only would that lift my spirits and hers, but it would also justify me putting something in that can. What an awesome idea!
But as we approached, she stopped singing for a second and said, ¨por favor… para mi pansita¨ (“please, for my bread”). God threw me a curveball, and I totally miffed it. I failed that test as I walked by, as others were saying, “vamos!”and I followed. I had a calling to enjoy someone and to build a relationship. I failed that evening.

As Cochabamba continues to stretch, and the days continue to dwindle, please pray for us to see people, and not places; to see hearts and not faces; to see God´s winners and not races.

This morning in church the first thing the worship leader said was to pray for forgiveness and began a led prayer. I prayed, and I believe that God will give me another day to do his will, and I will continue to pray that he strengthens me in ways he will benefit, and weaken me severely in ways that will benefit him as well,
and I thank God for that.