Bolivia is called the "The Heart of South America" and is the poorest country in the continent. We have been looking forward to our time in this nation for a while because Tanya’s cousin whom she hadn’t seen since they were very young has been living here as a missionary for the past twelve years. She works with the poor in indigenous communities and has been keeping in touch with us waiting for our team to visit here. Our bus was supposed to leave from Paraguay at 1am so our team packed up and headed to the side of the street to wait for it. We waited and kept waiting there on the side of the street until about 4am we finally got the message that the bus had broken down and would be another few hours, so we went and slept on a church floor until about 7am and then finally our bus arrived and we made our way over bumpy dirt roads toward the border. The immigration office was just a small dusty building in this little village consisting of two or three houses belonging to the family of the immigration officers. The officials had been drinking and the border police especially had a few too much. He was hasseling certain people and making unreasonable demands. Everyone from the US needed to buy an entry visa for $135 but they only had three visas there because it was not normal for big groups to pass through that way. At first they told us that we would have to go all the way back to capital of Paraguay again and there was a lot of confusion back and forth deciding what to do with us. At last they were going to allow us to enter the country if we bought the three visas they had there and someone was supposed to meet us in the first town with another ten visas that night. So the immigration officers accompanied us on our bus. It was now after dark and the roads seemed to get smaller and rougher. Our bus went down on one side and came to a quick stop. We had gone off the side of the path and were deep in sand up to the frame of the bus. All the guys got out and attempted to push the bus out of the sand. It just went in deeper. We had two shovels and spent a lot of time digging the sand out and laying large sticks under the wheels and attempting to push it out again. Every attempt we pushed it back out of the hole a little bit more until we were ready to push it forward. It seemed to have been completely free until it went down again where we realized was the same spot it got buried in the first place and was now even worse. There was nothing we could do except for continuing to try again. Praise
We left from that village and traveled six hours through the mountains west to where Angela was living for many years before. Our team divided into four teams and accompanied local pastors out to their villages in the mountains, which is where I am typing from now. It is beautiful up here. We feel so far away from the world. The people are lovely and we have been visiting in different homes during the days, hearing people’s struggles and needs and we are able to pray with them and share with them.