Father’s Day in Bolivia

Father’s Day in Bolivia is celebrated on March 19th each year. Our church youth group and the Christian School had their programs to recognize the important role and contribution fathers and father figures make to the lives of children.

I was invited to speak to fathers at another church in Camiri and the Spirit led me to speak on the phrase the Apostle Paul uses to refer to Timothy and Titus as “my true son” and to ponder that the most important job of a father is in the spiritual sphere of their children. I ended up with the thought and challenge that while men’s fertility declines with age; there is no limit of age to continue procreating spiritual children!

It is also a good time to think that although human fathers may not always be what they should be, God is our perfect father. Tyndale New Testament commentary on Ephesians 3: 15 says, “He is also the One from whom alone all the fatherhood that there is derives its meaning and inspiration. From Him it derives its existence and its concept . .”

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

Facebook pictures of church youth group program (here) and Christian School program (here).

Trivia: In the USA more phone calls are made during Mother’s Day than during Father’s Day, but the percentage of collect calls is much higher, making it the busiest day of the year for collect calls!

Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 6:53 am  Comments (1)  

Purim Cookies


3/4 butter, softened

3/4 sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2  1/4 cups flour

Variety of fillings (I used fig jam)

Sugar, for sprinkling.

These triangular-shape pastries are called “Hamantaschen” (Haman’s ears) and are eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim, celebrated last Thursday March 8th (Gregorian calendar) which commemorates the time when the Jewish people were saved from extermination by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.

I made them because I have also been delivered from death!

“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head”

Published in: on March 15, 2012 at 5:29 am  Comments (2)  

Honey Cake

Rosh Hashanah 2011 began yesterday at sundown. It is one of the four “new year” observances. It literally means “head of the year”.  In my attempts to support the State of Israel in various ways I follow its holidays in a simple manner to remind my self and others to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”. Many of Rosh Hashanah customs are symbolic of the type of year we wish to come; apples and honey are common foods for this holiday that one should be granted a good and sweet year. I found this honey cake recipe:

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground allspice

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup honey

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup warm coffee or strong tea

½  cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup rye or whisky

Top with lots of sliced apples or ½ cup sliced almonds (optional)


Published in: on September 29, 2011 at 6:24 am  Comments (1)  

September 21st in Bolivia

It seems that there are not enough days in a year to have holidays in Bolivia. In just one day, September 21st, Bolivia celebrates four holidays. Winter has officially come to an end and flowers have begun to bloom marking the beginning of Spring. Spring is associated with youth, love and life  thus it is Student’s Day, Love’s Day (Bolivia version of Valentine’s Day) and Doctor’s Day!

Here at the Christian School : on Monday we had a special dinner for our High School Senior class, on Tuesday night there four hours of fun games and competitions, on Wednesday morning each class had a party with lots of food, cake, candy, flowers and gifts. Today might be normal with just maybe a practice of marching steps for a civic parade tomorrow (Santa Cruz Department’s Day).

See more pictures in the Escuela Cristiana Facebook Album (and press the “like” buttom)

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 6:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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VIVA MEXICO, the shout (el grito)

In the early hours of September 16, 1810, a catholic priest, Don Miguel Hidalgo, accompanied by other conspirators,  rang the bell of his little church calling everyone to fight for freedom from three centuries of Spanish rule.

Currently, the celebration starts late at night of the 15th with a gathering in the central plaza where the president, after a speech,  rings the original bell for everyone to hear the 200-year-old sound of liberty. The ceremony reaches the high point when he proudly shouts a triple “VIVA MEXICO!”

I am an expatriate with a missionary duty in a school setting therefore I am, to some extent,  in obligation to civic education. I participate and in some cases, also prepare many festivities and ceremonies for national, state and local holidays. I have to confess that after singing for 15 years  Bolivia’s National Anthem every Monday; I know the words of it (at leat two stanzas of the four) very well. I hesitate to recite the words of Mexico’s National Anthem. 

I think dual patriotism is possible. I feel at home in two countries. I love their people, food, landscape, culture, music, etc. I don’t think one is better than the other. Today it’s just Mexico’s turn;  it’s the time to say “VIVA MEXICO!”

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 7:03 am  Comments (1)  

Speed Bump

A speed bump is a raised portion of road designed to slow traffic. In a fast-food, free-running-speed  world where most prefer motion, swiftness and velocity and where anything or anybody that gets in my way to retard, delay or impede to achieve my goals and desires is an obstacle to be removed; it’s not easy to find speed bumps on the road and in life. It is called “Lomo de Burro” (donkey’s hump) in Argentina, “rompemuelle” (car-spring-breaker) in Bolivia, “tope” (meaning to the maximum or where something knocks into) in Mexico and Sleeping Policeman in other countries.

The Christian school decided to add one more bump to the city of Camiri in front of the school building and drivers are not very happy, but what can we do; it is what some would call “un mal necesario” (necessary evil, unpleasant necessity). It has been the only way to make drivers respect the speed limit in front of a school.

“Set backs are bumps in the road, they are not the end of the road” B.Greene

Published in: on August 25, 2011 at 7:12 am  Comments (1)  

Bolivia Carnet

Carnet = Bolivian Identification Card is used to verify some aspects of a person’s personal identity: name, age, nationality, occupation and status; it also includes an identification number, a portrait photo, finger print and signature. In Bolivia every citizen may have one and every resident alien must have one. It is required in many business transactions, travel, registration, etc.

My ID has expired and I cannot renew it because Bolivia is trying to implement new technology such as a chip or biometric information, but the other day I couldn’t make a bank proceeding because the clerk saw the expiration date of my ID. I said “the date is expired, but that doesn’t mean I don’t exist!”  I couldn’t believe that an expiration date could possibly determine my exitance…my beingness…my entity and continuance!

Finally the government has decided to extent 8 more months to all expired carnets. I went to the Immigration office and registered my name so I don’t get fined for not renewing it and I hope not to find any more obstacles or delays in daily affairs where a carnet ID is needed.

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 6:59 am  Comments (2)  

It is always after

In South America winter begins in June. Between the 21st and the 24th people use to gather around a bonfire and eat hot dogs since supposedly those days will have the longest and coldest nights of the season. The rest of the country will start their winter break the first week of July, except Camiri. It happens that the anniversary of this city is on July 12th and there is always a parade and festivities, so no matter how cold and low the temperature gets; we have always had winter break after the parade!

Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 6:15 am  Comments (1)  

My Stringed Instrument

Mandolin is a musical instrument that generally is round or teardropshaped about the size of a violin. It has four pairs of strings played with a plectrum (pick). It has an attention getting sound and I have used it in just about every musical style (classical and folk).

As the need and opportunities have raised in my job and ministry I have played (by ear)  piano, guitar and accordion, but the instrument I feel most comfortable playing is the mandolin and every time I played it, it brings many memories. I learned at church in Mexico when I was a teenager; Chabelita was my teacher and director of the “Estudiantina” (group of students playing music). In my early twenties I worked as a tutor for one of my nieces and my first salary ever was to purchase a mandolin.  Last year I finally bought me a nice-looking mandolin that I enjoy playing for school and church programs.

Learning to play back in the 80s


Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 6:14 am  Comments (3)  


Tramite is a hard Spanish word to literally translate into English. There can be expressions and other words to describe the meaning, but it will never “hit the nail on the head”.  Tramite is the necessary and consecutive steps to do, complete or give solution to a matter. It may refer to paperwork arrangements and its bureaucratic processing time, legal steps, routine business, stages or procedure.

Getting a new passport was a huge “tramite” requiring me to travel to the capital city of La Paz twice last year. The next step was to transfer the sticker of my permanent resident visa from the old passport to the new one. I started the process last November and it is still “in the pipeline!”  Yesterday I was in the Immigration office where I was told that my “tramite” was in observation since my passport is missing a sticker of a two-year visa before I could get the indefinite sticker. I told them that I am not the one behind the counter giving me these visas; they are given to me by this office. They did not know what to say, so I got the traditional answer “come back in three days”.

Any tramite goes along with red tape and I have decided that it is useless to think that I will not bump into any obstacles or delays. Tramites are just part of life and an inevitable one of living in another country.

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 6:17 am  Comments (8)  
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