I am learning about poverty and hope here this week. I am surrounded by friends, church members, pastors, neighbors, and more that have very little materialistically speaking. They tell me stories about not being able to eat some days, about not having the money to get back home after church (a minibus ticket across town costs about 20 to 40 cents). This is a poverty I have not experienced. I have always had enough money to last me at least a few weeks. I have always had the assurance that when I need something, I can get it. I live by sight. These people live by faith. They come to church, though they may only have enough money for one trip. They treat their guests well, though they may not know where tomorrow’s food is coming from. I am amazed by this, and reminded of the faith of the widow at Zarephath, from 1 Kings 17. She had enough for one meal, but she had enough faith to feed Elijah before she fed her own son. Their story of faith and corresonding actions are an amazing testimony to me.
After lunch, we again went to a different region of El Alto. Nancy and I again went out to invite people to the program. This time, when we returned to the plaza in Tilata, the music was blaring, the plaza stage area was filled with people, and they were dancing a silly dance. What a fun sight to come upon! Again, cars stopped in the street to watch, people came across the street after school, and we enjoyed meeting new people. There were three kids there, about preschool age, who just danced and danced. So cute.
After the program we went to a church, even smaller than the one from yesterday, and set up for another program. Many of the people there were not from the church, were not Christians at all. We pulled a number of people off the streets as they walked by. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen much in the States. I love the concept.
Today was also the 24th anniversary of the city of El Alto. I saw a few parades pass by on the big street nearby, but mostly watched the parades from the television in our lunch room. I have been able to see many parades since arriving in Bolivia. I like to hear the traditional Bolivian folk music and see the bright colored outfits.