Prayer requests from Food for the Hungry for the communities where they work in Sucre

These are the prayers request from the Food for the Hungry Staff. Each leader that represents a different district of the there city shared

That God would bless the people with access to safe water. This is the most common request we hear.

That the people of her area would have an encounter with the Lord and the begin to fear and love the Lord in way that would transform their families.

That there would be a transformation in the hearts of the teachers that are selfish and are working for themselves and for jobs that would not require the parents to travel so far.

To open hearts to Christ so they can have a bigger vision-one that doesn’t just conform or settle but a vision that is more than they can imagine on their own.

For families to be open to the gospel-for leaders to see wholistic needs and that families would understand that life is sacred.

For transformation of leadership so they would have compassion for the most vulnerable and that all of their work would be directed to the children.

That the children would know the love of God and become good parents.

For a 7 year old girl named Mary. She lost her vision in one eye and is her losing her vision in the other eye. She needs a treatment or injection.

Lastly when we asked how we could pray for the staffs individual or personal needs some one spoke up and said…we want you to pray for the people in the communities in the way we described and as for the staff just pray for the strength to keep doing the work, for encouragement when discouraged, to find meaning in what we are doing and for our families to understand the work we do.

Sunday Evening/Monday

Sunday night we attended Iglesia Emmanuel and were warmly welcomed with traditional hugs and kisses and hand shaking. With the help of Jon who did a super job leading us in worship (I’m so glad he came, thanks Rachael and girls for letting him go) we sang some favorite hymns. Carl was able to share with the church his struggle and triumphs in his walk with Christ.

Got to bed late!

Monday has been a busy day!! We started with a meeting with the FH staff, a group of dedicated workers who have divided the city and surrounding areas of Sucre to reach out with the Gospel and an organized effort to eradicate poverty and hunger. Blackhawk is helping with the largest area called Lajastambo. German (pronounced Hairmon) the leader of FH in Sucre gave us an extended explanation of these efforts. Our Sara gave a very encouraging talk on working with relationships in ministry.

We asked the staff to share with us prayer requests and we were impressed by the difficult struggles they are dealing with. Our next post will have Carl’s summary of those prayer requests.

After that meeting we had a great time with about 30 Mother Leaders. These are moms who are learning about preparing and cooking nutritious food for their families. They are sharing these skills with other mom’s in their neighborhoods. We were impressed to learn that most of those women lead groups of 20-40 women each!

In the afternoon several team members made home visits to sponsored children (see Steve B’s comment about that below) while the others hunted for project supplies in the markets of Sucre.

Please pray for physical health as some minor illnesses among our team members are occurring. Tonight we were able to meet up with a former Blackhawk Downtown attender, Megan B, who is working in Sucre with the organization called Pioneers for several months. She was very encouraged by her time with us!

It was a great and we are enjoying partnering with FH staff to be a blessing in Bolivia for Jesus sake. – Curt

This afternoon a portion of the group (Steve B, Steve R, Anne R and Sara Z) went out to make home visits with our FH sponsored children. We traveled on side roads that wound through some Bolivian Barrios. This was truly a special experience filled with huge smiles, big hugs, and prayers for each child and family. The amazing assistance of FH field staff continued with their amazing insights into each of these kid’s lives. The first visit included a visit to Steve B and family’s child who happened to have her birthday on this exact day (coincidence…probably not). She was dancing with joy as she received a birthday cake, gifts for her and also gifts from FH for her family. We all sang happy birthday in 2 languages and then we were requested by the child to sing some more. The visit continued with the child, her sister and neighbor girl singing Psalm 23, her brother showing off his acrobatic skills and a hug that brought tears to some member eyes. From there we traveled to two different homes of children sponsored by Sara Z and family. Sara shared family pictures, exchanged gifts and had heartfelt conversations with her “kids” and their families. In each case the children were attached to her as they showed off their heartfelt appreciation that their sponsor came from so far away to see them. In each case Sara Z prayed for the complex and difficult situations that each child and their families were experiencing. We ended the tour with a visit to Tom S’s sponsored child. Steve B. and Steve R. filled in for Tom and presented the child with gifts, received hugs and were offered sacrificial return gifts of bread and eggs. Steve B was even able to treat an abscessed tooth for the child’s mother. We drove home as dusk approached sorting out all the different emotions of having to leave and were greeted by an amazing Bolivian sunset. It really provides motivation to sponsor a whole bunch more of God’s children in Bolivia who have so much potential if given the right support. – Steve B.

Sunday

The morning started off cloudy and cool but it has turned out to be another beautiful day. We had breakfast at the hotel and then we were off to church. We went to church this morning at Rio Jordan church in Lajastambo. We received a very warm welcome from the pastor and the congregation. The wanted us to say hi to everyone back home at Blackhawk and to tell you that they have been praying for us and you, and they send their blessings. They have prayed that we would come back and they knew that it would happen. They had a map from the initial planning team trip hanging on the wall.

They greeted us and then we sang several songs in Spanish. After that it was our turn to sing a few songs in English for them. Jon is an excellent guitar player and he blended right in with their worship team and then lead our group. Fortunately a few of us can actually sing and it went well. They seemed to enjoy the songs in English as much as we enjoyed the ones in Spanish. Next, the children left for Sunday school and Sarah, Susan, Steve and Steve went to help out with the lesson. The rest of us stayed for the sermon. They had asked in advance for one of us to give the sermon and this is a common tradition. I gave the sermon this morning and the topic was on children and God’s instruction on how we should raise and treat our children. I am lucky that there is a lot information on that topic in the bible. When the sermon has to be translated into 2 other languages it takes a little more time. It seemed to work out well and the church pastor made us all memorize one of the verses in the sermon at the end. After that the children returned from Sunday school and sang us a song of appreciation. When the service was over, everyone in the congregation formed a line and thanked each of us for coming.

After church, we all worked on a project at the church where they are building a hydroponic garden. We worked with members of the congregation and FH staff and we did make some progress. They will work on it again next week and they are close to having it finished. They said that they would send us pictures of the plants when they are growing. The pastor noted that the church also wants to be able to teach the community skills that will be helpful in their everyday lives. They sent us off with some food and a song. We had lunch with the FH staff and are back at the hotel for a short rest and then we will be on the road again. The day is young and we have more to do. Thank you for your prayers and we will see you soon.

James

Blog for Saturday

Today was the group’s first full day in Bolivia- special memories mixed with amazing hospitality! Throughout the day we were privileged to work alongside our host, Food for the Hungry (FH), and appreciate the thoughtful and well orchestrated way that they connect with their partners (i.e. us) and their communities. Their caring nature was ever present. We also sensed the genuine way that the people of Lajastambo wanted to get to know our Blackhawk group, and share their lives and dreams. Their friendliness and joy was heartwarming. We experienced the love of brothers and sisters in Christ no matter how different our cultures might seem.

Our day began with welcomes and then the pageantry of the children, teenagers and adults demonstrating the cultural and historic dances of different regions of Bolivia. The artistry of their well chosen steps and the intricacy of their costumes could not have occurred without hours of preparation. It cannot be truly captured in pictures or video. We then somewhat spontaneously shared the quintessential Madison dance, Jump Around, thanks to the creativity of Carl and graced by the entire Madison team and the music and lyrics of Youtube. Some of our Bolivian partners and the kids even joined us with smiles shared by all. The morning progressed with opportunities for us to get to know individuals at that FH site. In the early afternoon we met at a Nutrition center and spent time with some of the kids that are mentored weekly by FH staff. This included games, crafts and a time to gift some of the many school supplies collected by our Blackhawk church family. We didn’t expect to be bedazzling empty soda bottles but it was worth it to see the smiles of those kids.
The day continued with home-made fresh fruit and yogurt cups that were an explosion of color and taste. We then were provided a delicious and nutritious lunch by FH staff- can you say "delicious flax seed derived sweet beverage"? We then gathered at a community center and participated in a half-day couples workshop led by FH staff. The attendance rivaled some of the successful conferences held at Blackhawk Church- we were also pleasantly surprised by the number of men in attendance.  Steve R. shared a message with the men, and Anne R.
 worked with the woman. Their teaching was engaging and practical, resulting in active question and answer sessions, and several impromptu couples counseling sessions. The day ended with a meeting with the community leaders from a number of the surrounding neighborhoods. They shared their needs, their vision and transformational plan for how they could improved the lives of their children, pregnant mothers and citizens. This provided us with a strategic plan that was impressive (even for those of us that are less inspired by the strategic planning process). I ended the evening by sharing some words of encouragement and comments that pertained to the critical role for good nutrition in helping children realize their highest potential through healthy body and brain development. At days end, we were tired yet content and motivated to see what tomorrow will hold. 
God bless to family, friends and others who are supporting us. Dios le bendiga.
Steve B.
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We are here!

Hello family, friends, and supporters-

First, thank you for reading these posts. It is encouraging to know that you are following along with your support and prayers. We could not be here without the many ways you are serving us, so thank you. Please consider yourself a part of our team as you read along. 😊

We left Madison at 9a yesterday, arrived in Chicago around noon, arrived in Miami around 730p, arrived in LaPaz around 5a, and arrived in Sucre around 11a. It has been a LONG two days of travel. La Paz is at 12000 elevation so some of us struggled with lightheadedness and nausea during our few hours at the airport there. However, now that we are in Sucre (9000 feet), we are all doing much better. 

We arrived at the Sucre airport and were greeted by several Food for the Hungry staff that work in our partner community, Lajastambo, as well as a 4th grade class from the school. They sang the Bolivian national anthem and passed out some beautiful bags to our team. It was a sweet moment for the team, we were so warmly welcomed! Steve and Anne immediately recognized their sponsored child and were able to spend some time with her. 

 

After that, we headed to our hostel and crashed for a few hours followed by a walk into downtown Sucre for dinner. 

We are all ready for a good nights sleep and have such anticipation, joy and excitement for the week ahead. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each other better while traveling and are really enjoying spending the week getting to know the families in Lajastambo as well as the FH staff.

A special shout out to my family: Ben, Annika and Celia. I love you three like crazy. Thank you for making space for me to be a part of this team.

Thank to each of you for following along! We covet your prayers this week.

Sara

Sara Zimmerman

Blackhawk Church Fitchburg Welcome and Operations Coordinator

Blackhawk Church – 9620 Brader Way – Middleton, WI 53562 – 608.828.4200












Blog post for James Self

 
My name is James Self and I am part of the November Bolivia team. My wife Teresa and I, and our two daughters, have been part of Blackhawk Church for many years. I am looking forward to our trip to Lajastambo, Bolivia to partner with the community and Food for the Hungry. I have been part of many previous Blackhawk medical teams to Honduras as well as a few trips with Food for the Hungry to the Dominican Republic. I am excited to work with a partner like Food for the Hungry because I believe that their approach to “missions” is a solid one based on a biblical world view that can provide lasting change with all types of poverty, both ours and theirs. We always find ourselves getting more out of these relationships than we bring to them. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for us and the community of Lajastambo.

Hello (some) November Bolivia team members!

 
My name is Steve Rodgers and, like the rest of our team, I’m busy making final preparations for our upcoming trip. It’s exciting to see this all unfold and to see what God has in store for us.
We’re looking forward to learning and building relationships in Bolivia. While our relationship with Food for the Hungry–Bolivia is relatively new, we’ve all been impressed with their concern for each of us, for the people of Lajastambo, and for their attention to detail. Their ministry philosophy and goals are such a great fit for Blackhawk.  
It’s rare that my wife Anne and I get to go on the same trip together. We’re looking forward to learning together about how we can best serve married couples in Lajastambo.
Please pray for wisdom, discernment, and teachable hearts as we go and learn how we can partner with Food for the Hungry—Bolivia and the people of Lajastambo.
Stay tuned for more updates!

Blog post for Curt Staats

Hola! 

 My name is Curt Staats, I’m married to Pat and we have 3 sons, 2 daughter-in-laws and 2 grandchildren.  I am co-leading this team with Tom Schwei as a next step in Blackhawk’s involvement with Food for the Hungry in Bolivia.  This trip we are bringing potential team leaders to get them oriented to Bolivia and the work we will be doing there under the direction of Food for the Hungry and their staff.

I previously led teams to Honduras and enjoy working with Hispanics and mission teams.  We are going with a humble attitude as we are learning that we are all in poverty whether it is physical, mental, relational or spiritual.  Only through our relationship with Jesus can we find true relief from poverty.
Thank you to all of you that have prayed for and supported us!   We will keep you posted on our plans and we are looking forward to seeing what God is doing.
Curt Staats

Preparation

 
Greetings All,
 
I’m so excited about the opportunity to go to Bolivia!  We have all been busy preparing doing the usual things… like finding our passports, getting shots, collecting items that Food for the Hungry requested we bring, reading, etc.  I think now I needed to prepare my heart and quiet my soul so the spirit can work in me and thru me.  Unfortunately this is more involved than all the others pre-travel tasks on my list.  I can’t just go to the travel clinic for this work. Please pray for the team in this regard….. A big sincere thanks to all in our community who have helped with any type of support!!
 
 
Carl Atwell