Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pushing the boundaries

This week we got to do something that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time - we pushed the boundaries and went farther than we’ve ever gone! When we first established our boundaries for El Ayudante, it was a large area of what we estimated was 25 square miles - and we knew it would keep us busy for a very long time - and is has been and we’ve just began to touch it. We’ve been busy installing over 1,000 water filters, VBS’s in the schools throughout this area, and serving the churches as much as possible. The communities farther up have begun to come to our clinic more and more- and we keep hearing that they are walking 3 hours plus to get to the point that they can catch a ride on a truck to come down to the clinic - literally a total ONE WAY trip of 4.5 hours (and sick)!

So, it was time that we explored farther out - what was beyond the borders that we had set? Where are these people coming from and can we possibly help them more? Is that where the more urgent need is? The first step is at least to know what’s out there.

Tristan, Maddy, Ali and I set off in the small truck that has great four-wheel drive - after the 1 hour driving point we were in uncharted territory. We explored, drove, asked directions from the people working in their coffee fields along the road, admired the incredible view, and stopped to meet each school we passed.  Day 1 we did one big loop - 5 hours in total. Day 2 we did the next road and found 3 more communities.

-       WOW. True poverty. It was very humbling
-       The road was stressful - transportation will be a problem as we start to serve up there
-       We should spend the night when we go to have more time with people!
-       We climbed 4,400 ft in altitude from our home to the end of the road.
-       There really is an ‘end of the road’…but apparently there’s more communities past it but the only option is hiking.
-       At the 6,500 ft altitude, it’s too high for coffee to grow, so they only grow corn and beans - but again because of the altitude, instead of 2 growing seasons like the rest of our communities get, they only get 1 corn crop a year because it takes so much longer to grow. Really this community has no money income - they grow enough food for their families - so where does the $ come from for buying supplies?
-       There’s a lot of “hidden’ people in the mountain! The communities were an average of 60 houses per community! I was surprised by the # of students in each school house.
-       My kids rock. They’re asking when we can spend the night up there.
-       How in the world do sick people walk down to the clinic when it takes 3 hours to just catch transportation!?
-       They have a million dollar view  - impossible to truly catch the beauty on camera.

We are praying and exploring how to reach these communities and work alongside of them to meet their needs and show them Jesus. Please join us in prayer. Pushing beyond the borders is exciting and intimidating all at once!  

The mountain is scattered with banana
and coffee plants - even in the rocks

God sure is a great artist!

This was a surprise - a huge Catholic church 
way back into the mountain

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