There wasn’t much new Monday, except for the heat. It got very hot today!
Monday morning, Yoli and I went back to El Jordán to do some work. She spent much of her time translating a prayer newsletter for Corina, while I brought my laptop and did some work for the El Jordán brochures I was asked to do.
I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped because I forgot to bring my notebook with the notes I took when I talked with Corina last week. Still, I revised the text of her old brochure and then emailed photos from their office computer to my email address so I could download them later in the afternoon at the Seminary.
For lunch we ate at Corina’s apartment, which is on the second floor of El Jordán, along with Kelly (the volunteer we ate with last week) and Kitty. I’m not positive, but I believe Kitty cooks and cleans at El Jordán and for Corina. I think she is also involved in the ministry aspect, too, but I’m not clear on that. It was a somewhat awkward lunch for me personally, since I was the lone male and also since much of the conversation was in Spanish.
Boy was it hot, though. Going to El Jordán there are basically two choice if you take the bus, and both involve lots of walking. We took the option where the walking is from the seminary to the bus stop. The bus then drops you off almost right in front of El Jordán. It was hot, so we stayed on the sidewalk and tried to find shade, which is unbelievably cool. Later in the evening someone told me they thought it got up to about 95 F, which is pretty darn hot, especially when you consider there are few air conditioners.
Thankfully one of those few is in the office where I work in the afternoons, so my 4 hours of work were a little more comfortable, though I was still sweating a lot. Yoli and I worked together and actually got quite a bit done for the web page. I’ve decided to stop monkeying with the design for now and focus on content. I want to have as much ready to go by Feb. 12 as possible. If I spend too much time tweaking the design up front, I may run out of time at the end to get the important pages. So, I’ll get the content finished first, and then come back to making the site look really nice.
For dinner, we made the last of our frozen hamburgers, which, for the second time in a row, I undercooked somewhat. Yoli made some french fries, or, as she prefers to call them, “Bolivian fries,” since we’re in Bolivia not France. I cooked some broccoli. The broccoli led to a weird situation. I decided to soak the broccoli with this chemical that is supposed to make it safe to eat. It’s a purple powder that you mix with water and immerse vegetables in for 5-10 minutes.
As I was preparing to do this, Glennie Wry (the seminary’s administrator) walked by and asked what I was doing. I told him what I was doing and that I planned to cook the broccoli and he corrected me, telling me that I only needed to soak the broccoli if I planned to eat it raw. Boiling the broccoli would have the same effect as the chemical. I didn’t know that, but the way he said it embarrassed me. Yoli could tell I wasn’t too keen about it, and she thought something she said had contributed to the embarrassment. Later we cleared everything up. I wasn’t mad at her, or really mad at all. I just felt stupid. But she pointed out that I actually was doing the right thing, because I didn’t boil the broccoli. Instead, I cooked it the way I like to at home, where I use only a little water and sort of steam the broccoli for a few minutes. The broccoli doesn’t turn to mush, it retains its crispness, but it tastes cooked, not raw. Since I didn’t boil the broccoli, it’s good that I bathed it in the chemical. Well, that made me feel good after all.
Monday night was the GMU prayer meeting. This time the vice president of GMU was there. I had met him earlier in the afternoon at the seminary. During the devotional time, he used verses from the first two chapters of Nehemiah to illustrate changes the GMU leadership is planning to make to the organization. Since I’m new to all this, I didn’t understand everything, but it boiled down to this: GMU has lost 25% of its missionary force over the last decade, so something has to change. A board of directors has decided they need to re-focus on their original purpose: planting churches. He mentioned that there had been a lot of unresolved interpersonal issues among some missionaries and that there had also been personnel problems that needed resolution. While I couldn’t relate to everything he said (since I’m not part of GMU or a missionary), what he said about the interpersonal relationships was helpful. He said that he didn’t believe God would bless a ministry where there are unresolved resentments between people. And I think that’s true, too. It’s a good reminder that I need to examine myself from time to time and make sure there’s nothing between me and anyone else that could hinder my usefulness to God.
Quick note: GMU is the Gospel Missionary Union, which sends missionaries all over the world. Their headquarters is in Kansas City. They founded and sponsor the Seminary where I work, and their Bolivian HQ just happens to be within the same compound, literally right next to my guest quarters.