Meet Juan-Carlos (plus a personal update)

MEET JUAN-CARLOS

I’d like to introduce you to a resident of Quinta Totaices. Juan-Carlos is 35 and joined the Novō programme in March, making him our third longest standing member of the community. He had been living on the streets for 12 years due to family fallouts, and using drugs and alcohol to cope with life. As I was looking back through photos of residents on their day of arrival, it struck me how much Juan-Carlos has already changed during his three months on the programme – he hardly recognised himself when I showed him the first photo. His arm tattoo confirmed that it was indeed him! Check out the difference:

Juan-Carlos: 13/03/17 and 07/06/2017

It hasn’t been, and still isn’t, an easy journey for Juan-Carlos, but he is making steady progress. He has shown great motivation in learning to read and write, and is receiving help in this – I often hear him reading slowly (but loudly!) to himself in a corner. He is also serious about his Christian faith, and he desires to walk in the path God has prepared for him.

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But he struggles often, and when emotions become too uncomfortable to handle, he easily feels tempted to leave the programme and return to the life he knows. Sometimes his behaviour and way of relating pushes his peers on the programme away, leading to him feeling isolated. I was present in a recent group session where he shared some of his struggles openly, which was encouraging. Please join us in praying for him – that he would stay focused and committed to the programme; that he would learn how to relate and communicate more effectively with others; and that God would transform him from the inside out. I’d love to see him do well and be successful in his recovery from addiction.

 

PERSONAL UPDATE

I’m currently house, dog and cat sitting for the Partington family while they’re in the UK over the summer, which is quite a privilege. I’ve already made use of their lovely guest room, with a couple of missionary visitors from Cochabamba, and I’m loving my daily snuggle time with these two affectionate animals – they are genuinely such wonderful company!

June 2017 (2)

I’m keeping busy with Novō work – splitting my time between the central office and the Quinta, weekly Spanish lessons which I’ve taken up again, training for the Santa Cruz half marathon (keeping the Yeldall tradition going), and occasionally volunteering with a friend’s ministry called Remember Nhu, visiting girls on their programme who are at high risk of entering the sex trade as teenagers, and encouraging them to remain in education.

Remember Nhu girls in Ayoreo village

 

WHAT NEXT FOR ME?

I’d appreciate your prayers as I begin to consider what next, and whether to extend my time in Bolivia beyond what I initially planned. If I complete my 2 years, this would take me until February 2018. The international Novō team have expressed that there is still a vital and meaningful role for me with Novō (continuing programme development and monitoring, supporting the local staff team, and helping with set-up of potential new project elsewhere in Bolivia), and that they would appreciate me considering extending my time here. With nothing fixed to return to in the UK, and a commitment to and passion for Novō’s ministry, I am open to this, much as I miss my life and family in the UK at times.

There is the possibility of undertaking a 12 week theology and mission training programme with CMS (the mission organisation with whom I am here) early next year, which I’m exploring too. I feel this could be of benefit to me in terms of my own spiritual and personal growth, as well as a change of focus for a period of time, before potentially returning to Bolivia for another year or so. Nothing is decided, but I wanted to share these latest thoughts with you to ask you to join me in praying for God’s wisdom and guidance – and please feel free to share your thoughts with me. Thank you.

 

Finally, three Bolivian things that made me smile in the last couple of weeks…

  • The fact that when the temperature drops below about 20 degrees here (it’s now winter), Bolivian dogs all suddenly appear with coats – or, failing a specially fitted dog jacket, any old human t-shirt will suffice, as modelled here by the Quinta’s Rhodesian Ridgeback, Enzo. Poor guy!

June 2017

  • Traffic light entertainment as a way of earning a bit of money, which seems to be becoming increasingly creative – here, a man dances to music with 2 hand crafted people strapped to him with broom handles, creating the effect of 3 men dancing in perfect synchronisation. Ingenious!

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  • Employing this shoe-shiner in the city main plaza (a common trade, mostly used by Bolivian business men from what I’ve observed), who spent a good 20 minutes making my scruffy boots shine like new, all for about £1. Amazing!

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PRAISE AND PRAYER

  • Thanks for Juan-Carlos, mentioned above, and for all the other residents currently on the programme – thanks for progress so far, and prayers for continued transformation in each of their lives.
  • For wisdom and guidance for me in deciding on what next and how long to stay in Bolivia.

 

Thank you very much!

Blessings and love to all,

Rachel

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. yeldall2 says:

    Good update ☺ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ben says:

    Don’t talk about winter Rach. It is 33 degrees in Wargrave today.! It would be so nice to be as cool as Bolivia! Not often you here that….
    Sounds like the work of Novo is having a life changing consequences in your Residents lives. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to seeing Andy and family around over summer.
    ATB
    Ben

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave Partington says:

    Excellent post, Rachel…..so Important to start with a ‘story’ about someone doing the programme. You are such a vital part of all that God is doing in this seriously quality project. Trust you understand that’s objective and not relationship based.

    Blessings

    DP

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Veronica Vaca says:

    Lovely!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joy Crosher says:

    We are melting in 30 C in France . Thank you for your update . Love and prayers xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Valerie Cuffe-Adams says:

    How lovely to hear all that is happening with Juan-Carlos, also your life Rachel. Well the pets are just the best aren’t they – how contented they look! Will pray about all you have shared. I think it sounds great if you could do the 12 week CMS course. It could be so useful for some more work out in Bolivia. Think of you often. I am going to CMS next Tuesday with Kev C to observe the pioneer course next week. Much love Val xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Noelene says:

    Lovely to read your news Rachel and to see the photo of Juan-Carlos. What a transformation in him. We pray Gods peace and rest on him as he recovers and restores himself through the programme.
    It is always difficult to know what the best thing to do is hoing forward and I have read that our decision making in the brain has no vocablouary and that is why we get a sense or a feeling about something in our bellies as to what is right. We can list the pros and cons and rationalise it, but it is hard to explain it in language… I pray that God will give you wisdom, guidance and leading by His spirit as to what the right decision is for your life xxx
    Sending love and hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alison Burton says:

    Another excellent read, Rachel! I’ve also just enjoyed reading people’s comments on your blog. What an encouragement for you. Maybe find out in a bit more detail about the possible CMS course first.

    Lots of love,

    Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

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