“Is it bad that I haven’t thought about Bolivia lately?” is a question that we’ve asked ourselves lately. We have been back in the States almost six weeks now, and with such a busy travel schedule we haven’t really had much time to miss our lives in South America yet.
The three years overseas already feel like a distant memory because of how busy we’ve been since we returned. I feel so far removed from Cochabamba, our church, and our friends there – it feels like we’ve been gone for six months, not just six weeks – and I think I’m now starting to grieve the loss. We knew it was coming – it’s a part of re-entry – but I think the busyness of my sister’s wedding and a two-week road trip (spending two nights per city) has prevented it from really sinking in.
But when something triggers a memory, we really start to miss Bolivia. We remember the delicious, large mangos from Bolivia when we see the tiny, green ones in the supermarket, or are reminded of the chaotic Bolivian traffic when driving on the highway through Detroit.
We’ll get an email from a friend in Cochabamba and recall good memories with them, wishing that they weren’t just memories.
At church on Sunday, when the pastor was speaking from Acts 9, another memory came to me.
We taught the college students (jovenes) at our church how to do an inductive Bible study, and then passed off the responsibility to our friend Noelia before we left. The last study before we left was the beginning of Acts 8, and I knew that they would have started Acts 9 by now.
I found myself longing to study this passage with the group of jovenes – our group of jovenes. What observations would they have about the passage? What applications would Noelia come up with for the group? How far have they made it through Acts? How is the study going?
We studied the book of Jonah and the first part of Acts with them. We hosted them in our apartment countless times, taught them how to make pancakes, and learned how to make humintas. They loved Caleb so much. They were our family in Bolivia.
We’re excited that God has called us to work with MTU students through InterVarsity, but are still struggling with some of what we’ve had to leave behind to follow Him. Please pray for us as we grieve the loss of what we had in Bolivia, and begin to focus on students in Houghton.