Hard to believe Tim and I have been back in La Paz for 3 weeks now as a married couple! To those of you who shared in the celebration with us on the 29th of December, we are beyond grateful for your sacrifice to be there. We have heard many times since then, “You never forget who shows up at your wedding!” and how encouraging it has been, to flip through the rolodex of faces and allow those to be fuel and support in being back in South America, very far removed from most of our dearest friends and family. It was indeed a glorious time when we sensed the Lord’s hands so fully around every moment of the weekend—His presence was there! We tasted of His goodness through each and every one of you.
Since returning, we have undergone a huge reworking of a rather old and worn down house we have been entrusted with: priming, painting, tearing down, rebuilding, destroying, remodeling, rearranging…it has definitely kept us busy! Last weekend we had many of our friends, both ex-pats and Bolivians, over to help in our endeavor to make this two-story, 3 bedroom house become our home! We were blessed as they tore down wallpaper, took sledgehammers to walls, ripped up old carpet, and gave of their time to let us know we have a group of “2 am friends” here, the kind who would be over in the middle of the night if needed.
What is different about life here in La Paz than back in the States? Many things, to be honest. When 20 Americans watch the Super Bowl huddled around the novelty of a cable TV featuring Spanish commentary, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore. When you have to travel across the city to a minimum of 3 supermercados in order to find the ingredients to make one meal, you realize you’re far away from the mega-grocery stores of suburban America. When you spend an entire Saturday going from one tienda to the next just to find silverware, trashcans, Tupperware, and basic household appliances, it dons on you that Super Target would be a true convenience never to be taken for granted. When school is cancelled due to excessive rain and flooding, you realize that “snow day” may very well be a relative term. Yet when you hike up abandoned trails in your own city and find yourself on a mountaintop overlooking La Paz in breathtaking, ant-like fashion below, you’re thankful you’re in a different world altogether. When you can truly off-road and chart your own territory into rugged terrain only to discover snow-covered mountains and ice caves, you realize this is an adventure set apart indeed, the kind that Tim and I will be reliving for years into our marriage. When you cross paths with foreigners who bless you with genuine eagerness to share their culture and unique love stories of meeting the Lord, you know you have entered a different realm, an eternal sphere where time and place have no real relevance.
Despite both daily frustrations and once in a lifetime opportunities, we are deeply thrilled with the privilege of forming the foundation of our marriage in La Paz, where the reality of what it looks like to “leave and cleave” sets in a little bit more each day. After all, the “where” really doesn’t matter so much in the grand scheme of things as does the “why.” As one of my dear students prayed sincerely in cramped English, “God, thank you for another day of life!”