Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Changes and Setbacks...

Well, the Bull family has so many changes looming on the horizon. I say looming because if you know me well you know that I'm not a super big fan of change... and how did you end up in Bolivia you ask :) that was completely the hand of God moving me to step outside of myself and my comfort level to follow His lead. The problem I didn't anticipate is the daily battle to overcome myself, who I am and the daily doubts in a culture so different from my own, in a world that challenges all the personal values I hold (from faith to cleanliness :), and trust whole heartedly the God who led us here.

One of the changes that we have decided to make as a family is to move back downtown. When Gary, Nathan and I began our adventure here in Cochabamba we were in a downtown apartment that was a God send in so many ways, but on a very very very (did I mention very?) noisy street and that quickly became too small for us once our container arrived from the states. So we made the decision to move north a little ways... still only about a 10 minute car drive from downtown, but a little more set apart.

One of the main drawbacks to living farther away from downtown is convenience. Downtown there are little corner stores on every block, bread stores on every other block, and little produce stands along the way. Living farther north means that if we need even the smallest of things one of us has to call a cab, get ready to run out, and go to the grocery store... which can be an even more exhausting experience than a monthly trip to the Super Center (although I know that's hard to believe). We're also that much further away from the church, office, and teammates. Gary and I made a list of the things and places we go to here in the city... every single one of them (minus one) was downtown.

So with all the logical signs... and the fact that I'm about to head into newborn land again and would rather be closer to the things... and people I'll need, we made the decision to start looking again. The problem... the houses that are downtown are much older in construction than those farther out, and there are fewer that actually open up for rent. So we've (okay really Gary) been walking the streets talking to real estate agents and looking for RENT signs. The difference in house hunting in Bolivia is that there is no real estate system. Meaning that every single agency functions as its own and has no information on listings of other agencies... so to find out the houses listed in the area you are looking for you literally have to go to each agency individually. Then we've been watching the classifieds for houses for rent... but many don't say where or details about the houses. So Sunday I spent time on the phone (which talking on the phone in your second language is a daunting task) and we found a few, but nothing promising.

We had one house on the line and were pretty decided that if the owners could come down in the rent another $50 a month we would take it... but they called this morning to say they had changed their minds' all together and were passing the house onto their son... setback. It's only been a week so far so I don't feel super justified in complaining, but when you couple it with other things... it makes it seem like we've been at this for weeks. Please be praying that God will provide exactly what we need and in the time frame that we need to make it happen before furlough.

Another setback was today in and of itself... I had had about a week of really feeling good and basically have spent today in the bathroom or on the couch... thank goodness for a precious son who's been relatively good today and has allowed me to rest.

We have new changes coming as a team as well... we said good-bye to the Custer's on Saturday. It truly was a mixed experience of emotions for me... sadness in that we're losing teammates. One thing I've learned on the field is that even though you may not see eye to eye on many things, and maybe you wouldn't have been best friends in the states, but teammates are your family on the field, they are your link to the "homeland" and when one of them goes home... it leaves you feeling a little abandoned, a little left behind.

There will times of reshuffling responsibilities, adjusting to life as a team of 4 families and the loss of companionship. Jamie and I realized late in their time here just how much we did have in common as women and mommies and I will mourn the fact that our friendship didn't really have a chance to grow like I would have loved for it to. Drew and Gary have so much in common recreationally, basketball, video games, etc and so I will miss that aspect of life for my husband. We all need our outlets and Drew provided that for Gary in many ways.

Then there was the part of me that was jealous... let's call it for what it is. I haven't been home in a year... I'm craving interaction with my family and friends, along with some Taco Bell :) I know, like I have said so many times in the past that we are exactly where we need to be... but have you ever had that internal conflict between where you know you should be (but that place involves challenges, stretching and growth in sometimes hard ways) and where you want to be? (because that place is comfortable, familiar, and known?). That was where my struggle lay on Saturday.

Then there's the part of me that's thankful that the Custer's had the strength to do what was right for their family in heading home... it's definitely a myriad of feelings that you experience and one that I won't soon forget.

So to say that we've been experiencing and will continue to experience in the coming months changes and setbacks feels like a great understatement. I pray that I will trust God to provide for us and to protect us in the interim, rather than allow human doubt to creep in. It's hard for me personally in times of change and setback to not feel abandoned by God. And even as I type that I know how ludicrous it must sound... but I am a person who feels very vulnerable, very torn open during times like these and that makes me feel unprotected. But if I'm real with myself... and let the dust from culture and hormone effects clear, I know that my God is the God that has parted seas, sent food from heaven for His people, healed the sick, loved the unlovable, and has loved me and provided for me from before my conception. Maybe I should stick that on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror :) that reminder every morning to remember my faith heritage, and to remember my past with this amazing God who has, is, and will continue to provide for me and my family. Thanks for listening, for enduring the processing of a growing child of God. God bless you all!