Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Do You Have The Time?




The Knott's May Update

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Do You Have The Time?


…continued from Felipe

"Ahorrraaaaa"... Felipe's Grandmother exclaimed softly. She had just finished telling how the monthly village meeting was being held in Sikimirani, a 6-8 hour walk over the mountains from her house. This word "Ahora," said with a particular rising and falling inflection is best translated, "Now what?!"


She was worried that on finding Felipe's parents, Guillermo and Alicia, away, I would turn and leave. "They should be back tomorrow at noon," she offered hopefully.

"I'll wait," I said. I really had no other option. My plans for the month of May were built around this trip. It was a cold, foggy Wednesday evening with a light drizzle falling. There was nothing to do but sit down on Grandma's porch and wait. 

Thursday dawned bright and clear. We were sure that, getting an early start like the country folk do, Guillermo and Alicia would show up by 2pm at the latest. That would still leave us time, traveling non-stop, to get Felipe checked in for surgery before the deadline.

Throughout the morning I noticed that we were all casting anxious glances at the pass, studying the thin thread of a trail for any sign of life. By afternoon, fog rolled into the valley cutting off our view. Supper that evening was somber. Even with the fog clearing to reveal a full moon, it was doubtful that Felipe's parents would choose to walk over the pass at night. We needed a new plan. I decided that if they didn't arrive during the night, I would hike out to the jeep Friday morning to call the doctors.

…...
Its pitch black when I awake to the sound of hurried footsteps approaching my hut. "Boof-aaaaarrrhhh," the door bellows as someone ducks through the 4 foot opening. I poke my head out from the heavy woolen blankets, squinting in the blinding glare of a flashlight. "Have they arrived?" I ask, trying to collect my wits.  Good news must be the reason for this sudden entrance.

"Noooo…." Comes the worried response from behind the flashlight. "I've been up since 3:30….ahorrraaaaa?" Apparently this should explain everything. Before I can respond Grandma is gone, doubtless to peel potatoes for breakfast.

When the dawn starts to show through the single window opening in my hut, I climb out of bed and slip my feet into wet shoes. Grabbing my pack, I swing by the kitchen hut for tea. A plate of ground wheat and brimming bowls of potato soup are waiting for me. Before I'm allowed to leave, Grandma fills my pack with several pounds of sweet oca root, "for your wife." Grandpa, thinking that seems stingy, adds another generous quantity, despite my mild protest.

The sun is just starting to gild the highest ridges as I hike back toward where I parked Samson. Climbing the far ridge past scattered thatch-roof huts, I meet other villagers shearing sheep and digging potatoes. They tell me that Alicia and Guillermo knew I was coming on Wednesday and will certainly show up today.

The news from the doctors is good too. We have until Monday to arrive in Santa Cruz. With hopes high, I hike the 3 miles back to the Grandparents house. After a brief huddle, the consensus is that I should cross the pass toward Sikimirani in an attempt to find the long overdue pair. 

...
"The answer is negative," Guillermo states calmly.  The words cut deeper than the cold wind blowing across the ridgetop. Alicia's eyes are big but she says nothing. How I wish I could read her mind right now. I don't know what has gone wrong. Finding myself staring blankly at the thatched huts far below, I look over at Guillermo; he too has a fixed expression. He picks up pebbles one by one, tossing them down the path.

On the trail down from the pass I lag behind hoping the couple will talk things over. I can't believe what is happening. After months of planning and the pre-op visit to Cochabamba, are they really saying no? No to a free surgery which they could never hope to pay for themselves?

When I join the family on the grass by their house everyone is chattering in Aymara. The sun slips lower and a heavy fog rolls over the mountainside wrapping us in its damp embrace. Hoping that Grandma's influence will have changed things, I broach the topic again. 

Guillermo explains about his 150 sheep that need pasturing, how he needs to dig potatoes and how there is an important hut raising in two weeks.

"I'll wait another day so you can dig potatoes," I offer, "and the doctors have promised to have you home in two weeks." I remind them that this trip could have a large impact on Felipe's future.

"I don't think Felipe really needs palate surgery," Guillermo counters. "He's eating well and I'm sure he'll learn to talk." After a long pause he continues, "We just don't have time to go with you…the answer is negative." 

……..

During the long trip home, I was struck with the spiritual parallels this experience could have in my own life. Am I like the guests in Jesus' Luke 14 parable? They were too occupied with everyday business to accept the Master's invitation. Am I letting the temporary, fleeting things of this world keep me from the greatest Gift this Universe has ever seen?

Like the trip we had planned for Felipe's family, but on an infinite scale, everything is paid for and ready. Will we lay claim to our eternal inheritance as children of God? Will we accept the invitation? Do I……do you, dear reader, "have" the time?

DJ, Jodi & Hadassah
Facebook: GMA Bolivia Highlands
GospelAviation.org

Super Cub
1st Phase:
Airframe Kit from Javron Aviation

$35,000 raised!
Sponsor Part of the Rescue Cub

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 Thank You!

1. Super Cub Total up to $35,000!

2. Visa Paperwork $1,850


Join our Prayer Team and see how God is answering your prayers on a weekly basis!

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This project is funded by donations.


If you'd like to be a part, you can send tax-deductible donations to our 501(c)3:

Gospel Mission Aviation, Inc.


Donate via:

     - PayPal: (donate2gma@gmail.com)

     - Check: P.O. Box 2358, Collegedale, TN 37315

Please include a note stating "Bolivia Highlands - Knott" or your project of choice.



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Felipe




The Knott's April Update

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Felipe


"Hey DJ," Sara calls from around the corner of an adobe hut, "come see this."


I pause from digging through a duffle bag of medical supplies. Our medical team is visiting a village called Vacas for the first time and the whole community has showed up for medical or dental attention.

"I think he has a cleft palate," Sara continues, pointing to a scar on the 3 year-old's upper lip.

"Can we get a picture?" I ask, pulling out my cell phone. Sara starts making open mouth faces at the little boy, trying to draw him into the game. In seconds we have a picture of his open mouth, confirming Sara's suspicions.

We leave the family wondering for a moment while we confer in English. Sara has been helping with these surgeries in Santa Cruz and knows exactly what we need to do. We immediately concoct a plan to get little Felipe to the city for surgery.

Most of us like the unknown in very, very small doses if at all. When Sara and I suggest that Felipe's parents, Guillermo and Alicia, leave everything familiar and travel with strangers from their isolated mountain home to the big city, they are fearful and hesitant. Will we leave them there? Will they need to pay the doctors? How long will it take? Will we bring them back to Vacas? Twice before I have made such invitations to the rural shepherd folk of western Bolivia without success. This time, to my surprise and with the prodding of friends and relatives, they accept. Since there is no cell signal in Vacas we set an exact date for when I will return with Sara and my visiting Mom to pick them up. Little do we know what we are asking of them.

"How are they doing?" I ask Sara as we bounce down the narrow mountain road. I'm in a hurry because we had hoped to leave at 6am. It's been a long day of decisions, delays and changing plans. Now at 5pm we still have 10 hours of mountain roads to traverse before reaching Cochabamba. "I think she is drinking something...ummm…" Sara's sentence trails off. I check my mirror to see what she means. Alicia is holding half of an old soda bottle to her mouth. A strong odor fills the jeep and I pull over on the side of the road. Only 10 km into the trip, it seems we are on the brink of failure. Alicia has never been in a car before. Her face is expressionless but her wide eyes communicate terror. After a brief rest we continue slowly with frequent stops as the stress of the unknown takes its toll.

The following day, after spending part of the night in a health post along the way, we get Guillermo, Alicia, little Felipe and baby Rita settled in to an empty apartment where they will stay with Sara. They are relieved to be out of the bouncing jeep and settle gratefully onto mattresses on the floor. After a brief rest we head downtown for Felipe's pediatrician appointment. High rise office buildings, elevators and street crossings are confusing and scary. We are all relieved when I drop them back off at the apartment for the night.

The next morning brings X-rays, blood work and more stress. I'm watching closely, being familiar with the superstitions these country folk have about blood being drawn. I explain several times the how and why. Guillermo nods but their frozen expressions leave me guessing. Later Sara tells me that back in the privacy of the apartment she had her hands full trying to calm their fears. Finally all is finished, Felipe is declared to possess "incredible stability" and he is cleared for the upcoming surgery in May.

With the nose of the Jeep pointed back into the mountains, some anti-nausea medicine and a lot more confidence, the twelve-hour return trip goes seamlessly. As evening approaches we are sharing a last meal at the end of the road before they walk the final 7 miles of trail. Without Sara, who has returned to Santa Cruz, I'm left to do the negotiating and ask the big question. Do they want me to come pick them up in May for the surgery? "It will be at least three weeks," I explain, hoping I sound casual.

They confer in their native tongue for a few minutes. Although I can't understand, I can guess what they are discussing. Who will watch Felipe's older siblings and the 150 sheep for such a long time? Is Alicia willing to travel again? I wait anxiously for the answer. After all the discomfort and fear of this trip they could very easily say no. Finally Guillermo smiles broadly, "Yes, we will go."

The sun slips behind a ridge and the thin mountain air chills noticeably as Mom and I watch them pack their things into bundles to carry home. Though nothing is said, they seem relieved and pleased about their decision, possibly as much as we are. Alicia takes Felipe by the hand, little Rita bouncing on her back as always. "Will you make it home alright?" I ask. "It will be dark in only two hours."

Guillermo grins as he swings a huge bundle of mandarin oranges, bread, donated baby clothes and other items onto his back. "Of course," he assures me as he ties the bundle around his shoulders, "this is the Campo." I smile too, knowing exactly what he means…they are already home.

To be continued…

Quick Fact: To complete this pre-op visit to the city we drove 50 hours on dirt roads, hiked 15 miles and slept out 3 nights. The Super Cub could have completed the same task (two round trips) in a mere 3 hours of flight time, landing near their house on an open hilltop.

DJ, Jodi & Hadassah
Click here to read more about Felipe by Sara Ross
Facebook: GMA Bolivia Highlands
GospelAviation.org

Super Cub
1st Phase:
Airframe Kit from Javron Aviation

$32,709 raised!
Sponsor Part of the Rescue Cub

Vehicle

Campaign

$15,000 donated!

Goal reached! We are hoping to spend around $13,000 on a larger, diesel vehicle. The extra $2000 will cover tires and fix-ups. Please pray for God to show us His will and timing. In the meanwhile some friends have sacrificially offered to loan their vehicle when necessary.

Top Project Needs:

1. Airplane - Super Cub
We have streamlined our Super Cub Campaign and prioritized the most essential pieces to get this airplane in the air!  Help us reach our first phase goal.
Be a Financial Missionary - Sponsor an Item

 Thank You!
1. Expenses for Felipe's Pre-Op visit to Cochabamba

2. Visa paperwork costs for DJ & Jodi.

3. Super Cub Total up to $32,709!


Join our Prayer Team and see how God is answering your prayers on a weekly basis!

Sign up by clicking the link below:
Join the Prayer Circle


This project is funded by donations.


If you'd like to be a part, we accept tax-deductible donations through:

Gospel Mission Aviation, Inc.


Donate via:

     - PayPal: (donate2gma@gmail.com)

     - Check: P.O. Box 2358, Collegedale, TN 37315

Please include a note stating "Bolivia Highlands - Knott" or your project of choice.



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