Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas from La Paz, Bolivia - South America

Hello All!  I cannot believe that it has been a month since I last posted!  Well, then again, if I stop and consider everything that has gone on maybe I can!  We have had a wonderful start here in La Paz and especially at Highlands International School.  We have found the school environment to be loving, flexible, Christ-centered and the teaching is excellent.  The staff is welcoming and wonderful to work with. We have attended two different churches since we arrived; the first was a Spanish speaking church only and that proved to be to great a challenge for me as I could not understand enough to stay engaged, even though I have a Spanish and English Bible.  For the last 3 weeks we have attended the only English-speaking church in the La Paz area.  Quite a number of the H.I.S. staff attends there, also, so it has been nice to worship with them, also.  The La Paz Community Church is without a pastor at the  present time, but by the time we return from the Christmas break, the pastor and his family should have arrived.
Vaughn stays very busy with teaching four High School Bible classes every day, along with being the School Chaplain, which includes responsibilities for the High School and Middle School chapel every week, organizing the two mission trips for the year and coordinating the annual Spiritual Emphasis week.  He has had many opportunities to speak openly and honestly with a number of students who claim to not have a relationship with Christ and why.  Our school here (in  contrast  to the one in Africa at which we taught) is made up of 70% Bolivians with at least half  of them claiming to be non-believers.  What an opportunity we have right there at the school each and every day!

I have been busy with working one-on-one, two-on-one and four-on-one with ESL and Special Ed. students.  I have substituted for 3rd grade and a number of times for Middle School (6th - 8th).  When I am not otherwise engaged during the school day, I have library duty.  My favorite time-slot has got to be when the Pre-K students come in.  They first pick out their books and then I get to read a story to them (that their teacher has given me to previously).  They are the only class that calls me Miss Kathy and whenever I see them (which is a lot because their class and the playground is right next to the library) they get all excited and run up to me yelling, "Miss Kathy!  Miss Kathy!"  Boy, does that make my day!

I have mentioned to some of you about my exciting news; I have been accepted into Covington Theological Seminary and Bible College.  They have transferred enough of my other college and university credits that I am a senior!  I only have 8 more (4-hour) classes to finish before I will earn my B.R.E. Bachelors of Religious Education degree.  I am going to start my classes during our Christmas break in the states.  The classes are correspondence classes and I can work at my own pace.  I would REALLY like to be done with all of the classes before the 2012-13 school year begins because I have been given the opportunity to teach 4th grade next year!  However, if my intentions are a bit overzealous, I have plenty of time to finish all of the classes; it will just be more difficult teaching full-time at the same time as going to college. I am very excited about given a class to teach.    So, please pray for Vaughn for the next months as I will be pretty involved in my studies and he may be doing a lot of his own cooking!  I will have to take 5 more classes once I receive my B.R.E. due to A.C.S.I. standards (Association of Christian Schools International) regarding the school's accreditation status, but they can be spread out over the next couple of years.

We have had some inquiries about our support.  We are still at 38% of the monthly budget that we set up with the help of our mission representative.  Thankfully, we were able to move into this apartment while the missionaries who live here are in the states, and their rent is extremely reasonable.  We will be moving again June 1st (before our summer break).  Since our monthly budget has not yet been met, we have had to use all of the money donated towards setting up our home just to meet our current expenses.  God has been faithful, as always, and we have had everything that we have needed so far.  We are short $690 a month right now.  If 69 families/individuals started giving $10 a month, the deficit would be taken care of or if 28 gave $25 a month, the same would be true.  We are praying for those who pledged to support us to be blessed financially so that they are able to follow-through with their intentions.

We hope to see many of you while we are in the states during June and July as we intend to visit as many of our supporters as possible and are even now trying to tentatively schedule dates to present the ministry in which we are involved in here to prospective partners (Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, and California so far) in informal home settings or Sunday school classes, etc.  PLEASE give prayerful consideration to hosting one of these meetings.

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support - we could not do what we have been able to do were it not for your partnership and participation.

Blessings during this Christmas season from our house to yours!

"For God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

And Jesus came and spoke to them (His Disciples) saying, "All authority  has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  Matthew 28:18-20

Vaughn & Kathy Van Liew                              Our Mission Agency:      (N.I.C.S.)
c/o Highlands International School                  Network of International Christian Schools
PO Box 3-12468                                              3790 Goodman Rd., E.
La Paz, Bolivia                                                 Southaven, MS  38672
South America                                                 Website:


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hump day

Happy Wednesday everyone!

To be honest, it feels like it should be Friday!  Subbing can be harder than being the regular teacher (in my opinion).  First, you need to try to understand what the regular teacher means by his/her lesson plans.  Then you have to manage the students usually without even knowing them and what technique works best and there are always issues that come up that I am not sure how to handle in order to please the authorities that be.

Today was a particular trial for me.  I am not sure if it is my age, or just what, but at one point I had to walk out of the class before I really hit the ceiling.  One class, in particular, just would not be quiet.  I had them for most of the day today and WOW did it wear me out!  It didn't occur until later in the day that I could be recording the behavior of the particularly "challenging" students which could result in detention and might just curb some of the "overly enthusiastic talkers!"  I am glad that I figured it out before the end of the day, as it did help curtail some of the noise.

Anyway, unless I hear otherwise this evening (or in the morning) contrary to what I have come to believe, I will be going back to my "regular" job of assisting the ESL and SpEd teachers with "my kids" and spending the rest of the day in the library.  I would really like the break and be able to get back to my regular routine.  I know that subbing is important, especially in a small school without many who can step in at a moment's notice and teach a class when a teacher is sick or needs to be out of the classroom, and I am glad that I can help out, but it sure does wear a person out!
We have been blessed by adding a few more monthly financial supporters and also from a number of others who have generously given us one-time gifts lately.  We are at 38% of our monthly support now and VERY thankful for the increase!

Vaughn has been surprised that Geometry has been going a lot better than he had originally thought since he hadn't had the class for almost 40 years.  The regular teacher is expected back a week from Monday, I believe.  It's great how everyone here pitches in and
takes on additional classes to their already full schedules when there is a need, even when the subject might be totally out of the comfort zone of the teacher.

We continue to have new adventures; yesterday we ventured into town so that Vaughn could reserve a place for the HS boys and their fathers and the male teachers to play soccer/football a week from Friday night.  It is located in what is the only thing close to being called a mall here.  We were out of Bolivianos (the currency here), but we were able to hitch a ride with one of the teachers who lives in town.  What we didn't realize was that he dropped us off 2 kilometers from where we needed to go.  I felt like I had worked out for hours by the time we got home!  However, we got to eat at one of only two Burger Kings that we know about!  So, that was a treat and after two tries at ATMs we were able to refill our "coffer" and get a taxi ride all the way home with the groceries that we got at the grocery store at the mall.

Taking taxis into town is an interesting adventure and you do have to take certain precautions as there is some well-known thievery that is perpetrated from disreputable taxi companies.  While we do have access to the missionary's car whose apartment in which we are living are in the U.S., we are only to stay in the immediate area (to school and back and also to our church and back - which meets at the school at the present time).  It can be inconvenient and expensive to always have to take a taxi to town and back home (as the only "true" grocery stores are quite a ways from our area of town.  There are "tiendas" around the neighborhood to which we can get to pretty easily, but you can't always get what you need (for that matter you can't always get what you are looking for in town, either; I'm having a hard time finding brown sugar, tortilla chips - one of Vaughn's favorite staples!, kidney beans, corn syrup, etc.).  BUT, we can get so many more grocery items here than we were able to procure in Senegal that we could actually feel spoiled here!

Well, it is getting late here and I think I have written quite enough to satisfy everyone and probably OVER-satisfy others!

We would love to hear from all of you; that is always a special treat - to hear from friends and family who are praying and/or financially standing with us in the ministry (whether it be via email or snail mail - which is especially exciting.  When a package arrives for someone EVERYONE gets excited for them and can't wait to see what they got; it's really like Christmas or a birthday!

Blessings to all of you and please enjoy the rest of your week!

Kathy, for us both

P.S.  I LOVE seeing the
Aymara women from this
area in their brightly-colored
clothing - here is a typical
sight in La Paz