Alpaca Bag; You Should Too

December 31st, 2008

Focus Text: Isaiah 44: 23 (NLT)

Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing.  Shout for joy, O depths of the earth!  Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! 


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Our team here in Bolivia took the day off from work to experience the sights and sounds of Cochabamba and the Andes Mountains.  It was more than just memorable . . . it was astounding!  First, we traveled to see the Cristo de la Concordia— a one-hundred-and-seven-foot tall statue of Jesus that overlooks the city.  The view was incredible and our students had a blast.  Next, we traveled into town and “raided” a few jewelry stores.  And finally, we loaded into the trucks and began a trek into the beautiful mountains.

As you may recall, our experience so far has been nothing less than a spiritual zenith for many of us on this trip. The kids at the Bolivian Hope Center.  The kids at the women’s prison.  The time spent together and the love of God that we all feel in this moment.  So, this morning when we told the group that we would not be going to work today, the response was not exactly what we expected.  Many members of our team were disappointed.  Now, you tell me where else in life you can find a group of twenty high school and college students who would rather spend a day sanding, staining, and varnishing doors and bamboo poles than sightseeing in Andes Mountains.  Yeah, that’s the kind of journey that we are experiencing.

That being said, we still made the team take a day to rest and to see the sights . . . they needed it more than they knew.  I don’t think any of us were prepared for the kind of day we had, especially our time in the mountains.  It began with a two-hour drive in the back of trucks (safely on benches, or course) over stone-paved and dirt roads. Up and up we went; and when we got very high up the mountain, we went on up some more.  We began to see little houses and huts of the indigenous people who farm, herd, and live in these mountainous regions.  For the most part, it was like stepping back in time a hundred years.

The air got thinner and thinner as we passed thirteen and fourteen thousand feet above sea level.  The combination of the altitude and the extreme jostle of the ride gave a few kids some minor motion sickness, but it was nothing serious.  We pushed on and eventually came to a spot that took our breath away.  In addition to the majestic mountains that surrounded us and the cascading waterfall that flowed next to us, our students went absolute berserk when we encountered a field replete with alpaca.  I’m honestly unaware of what exactly is the obsession some of our kids have with these mild, wooly creatures, but you would have thought that we had stumbled upon the fountain of youth . . . except instead of eternal youthfulness, we found stinky animals and field full of their poop.  Details . . . mere details.

Pastor Andrew led the charge as we unloaded into the field to chase, corral, and pose with the alpaca, of whom I would give a million dollars to read their thoughts as twenty-four grengos ran towards them squealing like little piglets.  After our quality time with the alpaca, we began to explore the mountain.  Pastor Andrew again led the expedition as some of us braved the climb.  You cannot comprehend what toll the altitude takes on the body until you struggle to catch your breath after climbing just ten or fifteen feet; but we continued and the results were well worth our huffing.

The waterfall.  The mountains.  The little huts and less-than-exotic animals.  The huge front of fog that settled in on us, giving us the feeling that we were walking among the clouds.  It was breathtaking . . . figuratively and literally.  And although we didn’t work directly with the children today, each student came down from that mountain with a fresh, supernatural impression of God’s wonder.  One of them even commented in our reflection that they were moved when they realized that the same God who created these beautiful children who have captured our hearts, has also created the mountainous masterpiece upon which we climbed.  

Simply put, God’s glory continues to illuminate our lives in ways we never expected and no specific number of amazing events or experiences can ever fully reveal the depths of who He is.  Like those mountains– like these children– the glory of it all is uncontainable.  Unending.  Incomprehensible.  

So today, I hope that just as we are chasing alpaca and preparing our hearts for the next great “mountain” experience, that you will make room some within yourself . . . in your spiritual “bag” . . . for something unexpected and breathtaking.  Oh, and you better bring a jacket.




~ by johndriver on December 31, 2008.

4 Responses to “Alpaca Bag; You Should Too”

  1. Im am so glad to hear everyone is safe and enjoying their trip i am truly envious and very upset i could not join you guys on this amazing experience you are taking i hope and pray it enriches every part of your lives and you touch and change lives in the process. All that being said brings me to comment on what u said, “God’s glory continues” ,how true and powerful that statement is. I myself right now am going through my own struggles and hardship just like the next person which i can sometimes find myself in not so great situations and circumstances but i always in some way can find Gods glory and to me thats incomprehensible, that no matter where you are may it be bolivia or good ole’ mt.juliet in some odd situation he always finds a way to let you know hes right there beside you watching, working, and fighting for you to get thought it. I thought i would put my two cents in and see if that affects any of you guys. I truly love everyone one of you and miss you very very much! please stay safe in bolivia!!!

    love tori

    p.s. this is my first daily thread commenting experience, and its very exciting haha

  2. This is awesome.

    I think that beyond the wonder of nature, it’s a wonderful feeling to think that God provided for all of you to be there to see these mountains in the first place! I know that for Rachel the journey to get to those mountains has been a long one. This trip has been a priority to her since LAST YEAR. Every month we talked about it and worked to deposit money for her to go and it was all by the Hand of God. He provided.

    It’s remarkable and wondrous the places He will take you if you just say YES, I’LL DO IT! Who can possibly say that the Christian life is a boring one? It’s an adventure, if you choose it to be. There is nothing that can compare to it.

    Oh… and by the way, it’s spelled “gringos” …. with an “i” 🙂

  3. Ahhh! I am so overwhelmed with joy for you all but like Tori said extremely jealous too. I can’t wait to hear everything, this is just one bit of it just imagine what it would be like if I had all the puzzle pieces!!! WOOT! Anyway!!!

    I love how God is working everywhere!!! Like, holy cow!!! Its just so exciting for me! Get this; I’m not even there but I feel like I’m still helping out there and all of you. Well because I am..just with a little prayer 😀
    God is victorious in every small or huge thing that He does. He uses our hands through Him to help what we as christians do on earth. He lives in us!

    Psa 90:2 – Before the mountains were created, before you made the earth and the world, you are God, without beginning or end

    I’m praying for each and everyone of you. :]

    Emily :]

  4. God is amazing! I love to see the things he has created. Every time I ride in an airplane, I’m overtaken with how cool clouds are. It is so cool whether it be in our lives or in nature, the way that God can really prove his love to us in any way. This is awesome!

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