Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home Stretch

So with 38 days left until I fly back home I was in need of a little project RE-prioritizing. I needed to decide what to focus on…what to get done before I go and what to tackle when I get back in January.

The result I think will be a very busy 38 days.

I am moving to a new apartment.
I am traveling to Cochabamba to attend a fundraising workshop.
I am preparing recap presentations/videos for my trip home.
I am proposing to my girlfriend.
And I have a sticky note on my desktop with a list of projects that I want to accomplish here in the next 38 days…some stuff for the RockSalt Foundation, a few things for the Anglican churches, and a few misc. projects for EL DIA and a couple of other ministries.

Not sure if it can all get done or not. But I am going to give it all I got this next month.

I realize that my to-do list in this life will never get done. And there will always be work. It’s not like one day I will be like “Great. I finished.”

I have said before that this is a life long to-do list. Please pray for me as I finish up some projects here and prepare to go home and share everything that I have seen and learned during my first year in Bolivia.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008
La Paz, Bolivia

Here is the view of my desktop...

God Bless Slingbox. Thank you Dan Cleere for hooking me up with this.
Slingbox means that I can watch cable back home. But the only things I have watched are the GA/Tenn game and today the GA/LSU game.

We had a birthday lunch for Paola's cousin today and Paola is at voice practice right now for the EL DIA event.

And I am sitting here enjoying the view of Tiger Stadium.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movin’ on up

In altitude that is.

So I currently live in the lower southern part of La Paz in an area known as Calacoto. But what I have realized during my first year here is that most of my activities happen in the higher central part of the city. About a 20 minute taxi ride from my crib. Most of my activities are in an area known as Sopocachi.

The church I attend is there. The office is there. Most of my friends are in the central part of the city. And Paola’s family is closer to Sopocachi as well.

So I recently decided that it would be a wise move all around to find an apartment in Sopocachi. That way I could walk to church, I could walk to work and I could save a good amount of cash each month in taxi fares.

The rental agreement on my current house ends on Jan. 8 and I will be returning to La Paz on Jan. 9. So it made sense for me to find a new place and get somewhat settled in during the next forty days before I head back to the states.

And I just praise God that I found a great new apartment this past weekend. Yeah it is not quite as large as the house I am in now but it has two bedrooms and an office, a great view of the city from the main bedroom, a fireplace, HOT WATER everywhere…not just in the shower, a good amount of furniture already and it is within walking distance of the office and church.

It is truly a blessing and I will be going this afternoon with a few friends to discuss the contract. But I am looking at moving a week from this Saturday on Nov. 1 and I am hoping to just sign a one year rental agreement.

Expect a whole new cribs video once I get into the new place.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Natalie Update # 2

So I have talked with my friend Chris a few times now and I wanted to let you know that Natalie's open heart surgery this past Friday was a success. Praise God. For those of you who didn't see the posts about Natalie, Natalie is the newborn baby of my friends Chris and Melissa. Natalie had a heart defect and the arteries going into her heart were transversed...meaning they were reversed. Her heart and her body were seriously struggling but the amazing docs at Egleston performed an operation to fix the placement of the arteries going into her heart.

Chris told me that she is under intense observation but that the surgery was a complete success. They are slowly removing all of her support and she should be breathing on her own again in the next day or so.

Thank you so much for praying for Natalie and for Chris and Melissa during this trying time. I believe they are in good spirits and I have no doubt that their faith in God is a little bigger now than it was before.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ministry Post #2

So back before I had all my stuff stolen I shared ministry post #1 with you showing a few photos of me delivering some gas tanks to a ministry in El Alto.

Well here's ministry post #2. The church I attend started a daycare program this year as an outreach tool to the kids and parents in the neighborhood. I am currently working on an application for them to receive funding from a foundation in the states but in the meantime they were in serious need of some new tables.

So I was able to use some of my special project funding to allow them to purchase four new tables. Praise God.

Here are a few photos of the tables and some of the kids that occupy them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Peru photos

So all the photos from my Lima trip have been uploaded.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm a MAC part two

So I have very quickly noticed that there are not too many MacBooks flying around La Paz. And I am trying not to talk too much about the coolness of the laptop in front of my friends here.

I just thank all my friends back home again for helping me get these new and improved tools. One friend here told me today that she wants to get robbed and she wants MY friends.

I think that says it all. Thanks for sharing this vision with me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm a MAC

Ok. I am sooooo in love with my new MacBook. This thing is a beast and it does everything. It is so smart. And I feel like it calls me "stupid" alot right now...you pressed THAT button??? You are so stupid...let me show you how it's done.

Am I the only former PC user who feels this? MACS are so cool...just like all those commercials branded them to be.

Anyway, I am so in love with Apple right now. They got it going on.

And I have to give a big shout out to the itunes store customer service department because I contacted them to explain that my laptop was stolen and that all my itunes music that I had purchased or downloaded from gift cards was not backed up.

Well...an angel named Angela contacted me back today to tell me that she would be happy to help me. (Although she did kindly remind me that normally you can only download your purchases once and that she strongly advises that I back up my purchases in the future.)

She worked her magic and I am currently, as I type this, in the process of downloading 250 of the songs that I previously had in my itunes library.

The blessings simply keep coming.


I am just inconsistent in my time with God right now. Period.

Sometimes I make time for Him. And sometimes I don’t. It is kinda scary how sometimes it doesn’t take very much for us to make God a lower priority in our lives. Busyness. Work. Family. Friends.

I am just a little frustrated right now because of the inconsistency in my time with God. I mean. I am a missionary. A professional Christian and if I struggle to make time for God…

This year has been a roller coaster. It is to be expected I guess in your first year as a missionary. Meeting people and building relationships. Learning which bus or taxi to take. Learning a new language. Trying to say “thank you” enough to the people back home.

I have had periods of extreme closeness to God this year. I have had some really high highs and some definite lows. But lately I just feel like God is someone that I see crossing the street everyday...someone that I just say “Hi” to. I thank him for waking me up. I thank Him for meals. And I thank Him for getting me through the day.

But that seems to be it. Sure I will have a string of days when I am spending good consistent time with Him but I am simply inconsistent.

The busyness of life gets in the way. The busyness of serving gets in the way for missionaries. Satan will do whatever He can to keep me busy. And I know that if I do not enjoy consistent alone time with God I will most certainly burn out.

I mean I am only in month 10 of this whole missionary thing. And this is a calling for life.

But the more I talk to people about this issue of time with God the more I realize that I am not the only one who struggles with this. Practically everyone I talk to nods their head in agreement and agrees that they need to spend more time with God than they are currently spending with Him. Understandable and I totally agree.

We all need more time with God. But I am not going to just say that I need more time without taking a look at the time I am currently spending with God. If I am not spending time with God and just "saying" that I need to spend more time with Him it is not good.

I just don’t want that “crossing the street” relationship with God. And I know that life will only get busier. First you get married. Then you get a dog. Then you have a kid.

Life keeps going and going. But I know that there are Christians out there who are married, have dogs and have kids and also have strong intimate consistent time with God.

How have they made this a discipline and not lost the fire in their relationship with God. The key to growing any good relationship is time. But why do I believe this is true with all of my relationships except my most important one…my relationship with God.

[A little frustrated but blessed beyond belief in La Paz.]

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Birthday weekend

So my birthday was last Thursday but since I was in Lima I was not able to be with any of my friends in La Paz on my B-day.

God has really blessed me with some amazing friends and really blessed me with the family of my girlfriend Paola. With God...giving is ultimately receiving. And I have really learned this lesson over the past year. Although I left my family, friends and job back home in Atlanta this past year...I gained some amazing new friends and family here in La Paz.

I was able to celebrate my birthday today with my friends here in La Paz. In the afternoon we went to a friend's house to hang out and eat sushi. And in the evening Paola and her family had me over for an amazing birthday dinner with some of my favorite foods. It was great. And I could not stop staring at Paola all night. It had only been five days since I had seen her but it felt like I was seeing her for the very first time.

We enjoyed a great meal and some great cake. And Paola even sang a song to me as well. Wow. What a night.

I thank God because the more I desire to serve Him the more I feel His love and presence.

Here's to a another great year.

Back Home

Hey ya'll. I am back home safe and sound in La Paz. And My brother is currently on his way back to Miami.

I had an amazing time these last few days in Lima with my bro. It was a great birthday. 30 was quite a year for me and I am excited to see what 31 holds for me.

But I must say that it's good to be back at 14,000 ft. And Paola's voice sounds so beautiful. I really missed her.

Take care everyone. I am rocking a new Macbook and a new camera so expect more videos and better videos than before.

I am open for business again. God is so good.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day Three

Fun day for day three here in Lima. The sun was finally out today and it was a little warmer. The first two days were a little overcast but today was definitely the nicest day that we have enjoyed here.

Lunch was at another place on my list...Papa John's...

After lunch we headed back to the ocean and ended up taking advantage of one of those once in a lifetime opportunities...how many can say that they have gone paragliding off the coast of Lima, Peru? Well, now we can. Enjoy the first video that I have made with iMovie on my new MacBook...

The evening was completed with a nightime bus tour of the city. This city is huge. Just about 9 million people. The whole country of Bolivia is about 8 million. Lima has some very cool buildings that look great lit up at night.

And the city has a park which holds the Guinness Book World Record for the public park with the most fountains...

One more day left. I fly back to La Paz tomorrow night.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Natalie Update

Thanks for your prayers everyone.

Natalie is stable and at Egleston. She will have open heart surgery in a few days to swap the placement of the arteries that go into her heart. They are reversed and the left artery needs to be placed on the left side of her heart and the right artery needs to be placed on the right side of the heart.

To be honest...I haven't talked to Chris so I don't know all of the technical details. I just know the info above and I know that the doctor feels very good about the procedure. They are at Egleston so there are not too many better places to be in the US for this.

Thanks again for your prayers. I will give you an update on her next week after the procedure.

Prayers for Natalie

Ok ya'll. I need to ask for your prayers again.

The amazingly beautiful little girl from a few posts back...Natalie...the baby girl of my best friend Chris & his wife Melissa is in serious health trouble.

She is currently in an ambulance racing to Egleston. She is having serious issues with her heart and she is not doing well.

Please pray right now for her. Please petition the Father for her life.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Day Two: The Birthday

Thank you everyone for wishing me well today on my birthday. I felt very loved and tremendously blessed. 30 was a great year for me. And I dare say that it might have been one of the most exciting, scary and adventurous years of my life.

But here is how my today went down...

I started the day at Dunkin' Donuts with two chocolate donuts and a cup of Joe...sweetness. I've so missed good quality donuts.

We saw some ruins in the morning (me celebrating my 31 years)...

My bro getting in on the action...

Brothers don't shake hands...brothers gotta hug...

What 31st B-day is complete without a llama sighting?

Lunch at Chili's...
...for some long-awaited chicken crispers...

After lunch we checked out a museum and then rested at the hotel. In the evening we enjoyed a very nice dinner at one of Lima's best restaurants. Thanks bro for making it a very special day. And thanks again everyone for your nice messages and notes. What can I say? I am a very blessed individual.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day One

So I arrived into Lima, Peru this morning.

It was not without a little drama though because my wallet fell on the ground outside the La Paz airport and by the time I realized it...the wallet was gone of course. I know. Not the best few weeks for me with regards to losing stuff. This time I lost the cash I had in my wallet, my Bolivian ID, my credit card for emergencies and my debit card that I use to receive my missionary funds.

It's ok. My friend Pablo gave me some cash to help me get to Lima and he told me that it is not a big deal to get my ID replaced. And I called and deactivated both cards. It is just more of an inconvenience than anything. That debit card is how I receive all my missionary funds here and I will not be able to pick up my new card until I visit home in two months. I know that God will provide though. After all I have seen this year I have no reason to think that God will not provide if He wants to.

But enough about that...I arrived to Lima and met my brother!

We spent a good amount of the day walking and getting to know the area of the city around our hotel. We also walked to see the ocean and bought a few gifts. He brought me my new Macbook laptop (which is a beast) and he also brought me a new camera and ipod. Such blessings. It is so easy for me to see that everything I have is a gift from God because everything I have is given to me in donations.

But my day one here in Lima was really highlighted by two big things for me. Two things that I have been deprived of all this year. And two things that all tasted soooooo good.


And lunch under the golden arches...

Wow. Lima is definitely more modern than La Paz and it is a much bigger city. I miss home but it has been a cool experience so far. We will see what tomorrow holds.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


So I think that I mentioned a few posts back that my backpack was stolen.

And I also think that I mentioned that there were some amazing people back home who were going to replace the items I lost. It was a sign of God´s amazing provision and I just thank all my friends back home who came through for me in the clutch.

And I know I mentioned that it was cool because my brother was coming down here for my birthday and he could bring the new goods to me.

Well...the political situation here in Bolivia, although things have been fairly quiet the last week or so, does not seem to really be improving. And American Airlines is deciding daily whether they are going to fly here or not. So my bro and I decided on an alternate plan...

Lima, Peru.

He changed his flight to Lima and I will be flying from La Paz to Lima tomorrow morning. We will get to spend four days together touring Lima and we will also get to celebrate my b-day on Thursday. I am excited because I have not seen any of my biological family in person this year. And he is also bringing me a new laptop, camera and ipod nano. Sweet.

It is a tremendous blessing.

I am sad that he will not be able to see La Paz, see where I live and meet my future wife just yet but it´s all good. There will be more opportunities I am sure.

Should be a great four days. And when I get back I can hit the ground running again with my new electronic equipment.

I promise you some pictures. I will be back on Saturday night.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pastor Juan Carlos Update # 2

Hey folks.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Juan Carlos and his family. They still have some pretty huge financial needs so if God places it on your heart to support them just give me a call or send me an email.

Come to find out the thieves pretty much stole everything. Including all of the food in the fridge. It was bad.

And yesterday at church my pastor shared some more details with the congregation and I wanted to share those details with you. These details show just how cruel this world can be and how strong God´s will is. When it is not our time to leave this earth then there is more that God needs us to do.

My pastor shared yesterday that the thieves´plan was to actually kill the entire family. But the leader of the group decided to spare their lives. They held the gun to Pastor Juan Carlos´ head and pulled the trigger but the bullet did not fire. When they aimed at his leg the bullet fired. And also when they aimed the gun at his twenty-one year old son and pulled the trigger the bullet did not fire.

God still needs them here on this earth. Plain and simple. I believe strongly that if God says that it is our time to go than it is our time to go. Obviously, God still has a purpose for this family here.

And I am told that Pastor Juan Carlos is so thankful and filled with the joy of the Lord right now. No doubt it was traumatic for them...especially for their six year old daughter who saw it all go down.

God still needs them. We don´t know when our number will be called. And I don´t want to be a person who lives in fear wondering if something bad is going to happen to me in the future. I just want to be a person that uses the time he has to serve God the best He can.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pastor Juan Carlos Update

Hey everybody. Happy Friday.

I just wanted to thank you so much for your prayers and your financial support of Pastor Juan Carlos and his family. We have been able to help them with many medical expenses so far. Juan Carlos is out of the hospital now although he and his family continue to receive medical treatment.

Because of the danger the family cannot go back to their home so they are currently staying at a friends house here in La Paz. They are looking for a new place to live and they are in need of many new appliances that they lost. And I didn´t know this before but they lost their car too.

Thank you for your continued prayers for the family during this trying time. Our prayer is that we can continue to see God´s hand through this situation. He is pouring out alot of love and support on this family right now so we know that he is working.