by Jackie Siles
(HOPE worldwide Bolivia volunteer and program coordinator)
Upon arriving in La Paz, Bolivia many of the volunteers of the Northview Church Mission Team were concerned about their inability to communicate fluently in Spanish. Ryan LaFrance, one of the leaders of the team, shared with them the following words: “There is a universal language: Love”. That is the language Ryan and his wife Alicia and other team members Stephen, Beda, Emily, Carly, Cory and Austin used during their time here in La Paz. They volunteered their time within some of the programs of Arco Iris and new initiatives developed by HOPE worldwide Bolivia.
The Northview team gave their hearts and talents immediately and completely to everyone they served. They served within the Sala de Juegos (gameroom) at Hospital Arco Iris, visited the children in the pediatric ward and gave constant encouragement to concerned parents. They brought gifts, supplies and joy to some of the poorest families that the Arco Iris Foundation supports while helping to clean and organize their homes. These households are led by single mothers or grandmothers with multiple children.
On another day, in a steady rain uncommon in winter here in Bolivia, the team traveled to the “Simon Bolivar Education Unit” in Viacha (almost a 2-hour drive from La Paz). They brought backpacks, school supplies and T-shirts for the 50 students and their siblings. (These were generous donations from the Northview Church). As the rain would not let them play with the kids in the schoolyard, the team invented games to play in the classroom. Everyone including the parents and town officials had great time and enjoyed a morning of games and fellowship.
Love is the language that will remain engraved on the hearts of all those touched by the encouragement, generosity and service of the Northview team.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13, NIV)