By Stan & Phyllis Carpenter, La Paz, Bolivia
If you’re an empty nester looking for opportunities to serve and support social or medical projects in other parts of the world, we would like to encourage you to take the plunge and get involved. We did, and we are enjoying helping to support the work of HOPEworldwide Bolivia in La Paz, Bolivia. You can consider serving for short periods of time or even moving abroad as we did. We sold most of our belongings, our cars, and our home in order to move to Bolivia to live.
We had wanted to be involved with overseas service projects for some time and had explored several orphan programs over a period of several years. When we had reached the point in our lives where we finally made the decision to break the cycle of working and paying bills just to support “stuff” and “things”…we started seriously looking at opportunities around the world. We created a list of criteria to help us decide where we should move. That list included a location that was safe and in close proximity to the States (so as to reduce costs of returning for family visits), a church family, a lower cost of living, and a not too difficult language barrier. (Spanish and English have many similarities). And of course we wanted to be involved in an active social/service project. After an extensive worldwide search, we narrowed our choices to South America, and then more specifically to La Paz, Bolivia. (Please see the YouTube video: “Bolivia 2013 Final”). Amazingly, after focusing in on La Paz, we discovered that Dr. Kevin Broyles and his wife Noelle were leading the HOPEworldwide Bolivia team. Phyllis had known Noelle in college and had attended Kevin and Noelle’s wedding nearly 30 years ago.
Initially, our move to La Paz was quite an adjustment for us. We gave up a very large, comfortable home, and many of our possessions for a one bedroom efficiency apartment. We sold our cars and now travel mainly by taxi and mini-buses. We are living in the downstairs apartment of a wonderful family in the church here and they have become close friends. We have reduced our living expenses dramatically. Stan is currently using his many years of business consulting experience to help with the planning and expansion of the HOPEworldwide Bolivia medical projects here, which have the ultimate goal of supporting the charitable work of Hospital Arco Iris, while also helping the HOPE team to be self-supporting. Phyllis, who has been a teacher for many years, has found a part-time job teaching English at the local University. Both of us are improving in our Spanish skills daily! We look forward to traveling throughout Bolivia, as well as visiting other countries in South America in the future.
Please see our website at: sites.google.com/site/phyllisandstantravels/
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.