Relationships are the Energy of Life

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David Spratte is a college student at the University of North Carolina, where he is studying to become a physician. He came to La Paz in order to conduct a study with HOPE worldwide Bolivia for two months at Hospital Arco Iris. Below, he shares about his experience:

“I believe relationships are the energy of life.  For this reason, I developed a research project to explore how the interpersonal relationship between the physician and patient can affect patient satisfaction. I thought that it could be an inexpensive means of acquiring a higher quality of care for all patients within the hospital.

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Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) was excited to host an independent study that would reveal the current level of patient satisfaction and indicate any changes that physicians could make that would increase the overall level of patient satisfaction with health care. Although HAI is one of the best hospitals in La Paz, they are constantly striving to provide the best patient care possible.

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David talked with hundreds of patients over the course of two months as he conducted his research study.

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Not only did I find my research project to be extremely fulfilling, but I also treasured my experience working with the HOPE worldwide Bolivia team.  Wow, where do I begin?

On my last day in the hospital my friends from the States came by to visit and meet the HOPE worldwide Bolivia staff. After meeting Noelle they said, “she is the nicest, most loving person that we have ever met.” But this is true of everyone who works with Hope worldwide Bolivia team. They taught me more than I could have ever asked for. Their unwavering passion and fiery desire to have a positive impact in La Paz is truly inspiring. You can see it in their eyes every single day. They are consistently passionate in their efforts to improve the lives and the health care for the poor in Bolivia.

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David with the HOPE worldwide Bolivia Team

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David with his friends from the States who came to visit him.

Overall, my time in La Paz was an amazing journey. I came to conduct a research project, but I quickly learned that this was not my only purpose. I believe that I actually came in order to learn from some of the most inspiring and selfless people that I have ever met.

Until next time, Bolivia, I love you and will miss you dearly. See you soon.”

HOPE worldwide Bolivia, along with your support and donations, is bringing hope and changing lives in La Paz through programs in health and social services.  We are working together with Hospital Arco Iris and Foundation Arco Iris to bring food, clothing, education and healthcare to over 30,000 street children and thousands of vulnerable children and families.  We need your help to continue this work.  Please consider making a donation today to help make a difference in the lives of the poor and needy in La Paz.

Thank you, as always, for your partnership in this vital work.

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David Spratte, a college student from the University of North Carolina, spent two months volunteering with HOPE worldwide Bolivia. He conducted a two-month research study at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David presented his research findings to the medical staff at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David presented his research findings to the medical staff at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David presented his research findings to the medical staff at Hospital Arco Iris.

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David with two of the doctors at Hospital Arco Iris

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David with two of the security guards at the hospital. He made friends everywhere he went!

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David with some of the hospital cafeteria staff. He made friends everywhere he went!

THIS is Living! :: Northview Teens Give Their Hearts to Bolivia

For the third year in a row, a group of volunteers from the Northview Church, located in Roswell, GA, served with the HOPE worldwide Bolivia team for nine days.  The group, comprised of eight teens and four adults, poured themselves out and gave selflessly to work with the poor.  A few of the volunteers shared about the impact of their experiences in Bolivia. Be sure to check out the photos and video below!
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Melina Cole :: “My experience in Bolivia was an eye opening one. I loved being able to go and serve the people in La Paz. The city, like any city, is in need of love, kindness, support and so much more. The desperate level of poverty for many people of La Paz is heartbreaking.  Even so, I have faith that God is taking care of the people in La Paz through the many volunteers that come to serve and help. I’m grateful that God works through us to reach the people that are in most need.”

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Nika Fendler :: “There are countless experiences I had in Bolivia that I will never forget. Between the unforgettable smiles and breathtaking views, my favorite and most impactful memory occurred on the last day. We traveled to El Alto to serve and encourage an extremely poor family living in a tiny, two-room house the size of my bathroom. I played with a little girl named Daniella. She was so sweet and just wanted to play with everything we brought for them. She didn’t smile often, but when she did, it was beautiful. I just wanted to hold her and protect her, but eventually we had to leave. It was so difficult to see her smile fade as we said goodbye. Despite growing up in extreme poverty, she has such a tender and loving heart. All I can remember thinking before collapsing into a heap of tears was that she didn’t deserve that life.
I knew as we drove away that day, I would never be the same. I realized that all of my material possessions mean nothing, and I have no excuse to complain about anything in my life ever.  Most importantly, I learned that at times certain things make no sense to me…and that I don’t understand God’s plan.  For instance, I cannot understand why I have so much while Daniella lives in the dirt.  But, I am learning to trust God and His goodness.  I realize that I possess so much and that I can make a difference in someone’s life by sharing God’s love and truth, especially with those who are hurting.  While situations can sometimes feel unfair and confusing, I will always remember something Noelle shared with me, ‘Our Father is incapable of wishing us harm.’  Daniella and all of La Paz will forever remain in my prayers.”
VEmbling_150606_2679Matilde Jade Rogers :: “I have a special place in my heart for the three year old kids in Bolivia. I spent the first three years of my life in an orphanage in China before my mom adopted me. So when I see the three year olds in orphanages or community centers, I see a bit of me in them. Like them, I was lost, broken, and in need of love.
It made me so happy when our Northview team gave 110% of their energy to the little kids in Bolivia, especially the three year olds. When the team played with the children, I felt like they were playing with me. Every time I saw a team member give a hug to one of the little kids, it felt like I was personally receiving that hug. Three year old me never experienced that kind of love in the orphanage, and it fills my heart to know they get to have that joy even if it’s only for a little bit.
Volunteering in Bolivia with HOPE worldwide helped me finally understand what Matthew 25:40 says…“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I always took this scripture at face value. It wasn’t until I looked at the little ecstatic faces around me in Bolivia that I realized on a deeper level what this scripture meant. When I saw a child’s face brighten after receiving a blue smiley face sticker, I was filled with joy and love because it felt like I received that sticker. That is how Jesus feels when we serve the poor and those in need. He becomes overjoyed when he sees us serving others, because what we do for the least of these brothers and sisters, we do for him.”

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The HOPE worldwide Bolivia team is incredibly grateful for the volunteers who serve with us.  The work we are doing to help the most vulnerable population in La Paz is made possible because of your love and support!  Please consider making a donation to help advance our work of bringing HOPE and changing lives!  CLICK HERE TO DONATE 

Partnerships in Education that Save Lives

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Recently HOPE worldwide Bolivia had the privilege of hosting a life-changing conference where Dr. Luis Martinez, an infectious disease specialist and Regional Medical Officer for the United States Foreign Service, presented “Control and Prevention of the Ebola Virus in Bolivia” to almost 100 doctors, nurses, medical students and healthcare professionals at Hospital Arco Iris.

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Dr. Martinez received a doctorate in medicine from Northeast Ohio Medical University and later completed an Internal Medicine Residency and a 3-year sub specialty in Infectious Diseases.  After the Infectious Diseases fellowship, he worked as a Principal Investigator in the division of viral diseases at Walter Reed and as an assistant professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland.

The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness, which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in both Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name. The average fatality rate is around 50%.   The recent Ebola epidemic has brought attention to the medical community revealing the need to educate healthcare providers in the prevention, awareness and treatment of this devastating disease.
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Left to right: Gwen Ellis, RN (HOPE); Joanne Braun, FSHP (US Embassy La Paz); Dr. Luis Martinez (Regional Medical Director US Embassy), Dr. Kevin Broyles (HOPE), Dr. Gabriella Ruck (HOPE) and Mercedes Paniagua, RN (US Embassy La Paz)

Lectures like this demonstrate how powerful partnerships will not only save lives now but will educate the next generation of healthcare providers to do the same.  We give a special ‘thank you’ to Dr. Martinez and to the Foreign Medical Service of the United States.

How You Can Change the World by Planting Seeds of Love

Want to change the world?  So often we don’t act because we feel like we have to do big things and have it all figured out, which is like planting ‘boulders’.  But if we will just plant small seeds, God will make them grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).  He knows how to change the world.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia
“...The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds on earth, yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:31-32

“…The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds on earth, yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:31-32

“Every action and every word plants something in every person’s life.”
So WHAT are seeds?
  • Seeds are small but powerful.  They are Small Efforts Everyday Sown.  They are Smiles, Expressions, Encouragement, Donations, Serving.  Watch the video below and be inspired:
WHO can plant them?
  • Everyone!  No matter what the age, economic or education level, sick or healthy, etc.  Everyone can sow seeds!
WHEN do we plant them?
  • Every day, as we go about our lives.  Embrace every moment we have and look for ways to give to others.
WHERE do we plant them?
  • Everywhere we go.  There are no accidents about where we are and who we are with, who we happen to be sitting next to, walking by, standing in line next to, etc.  God does not waste one moment of our lives…everything and everyone is significant. HE KNOWS who needs love, a kind word, encouragement, and HE PLACED us next to them.  Therefore be intentional with every moment and every person. It’s all in God’s plan to love people everywhere.
WHY do we plant them?
  • Because we all need love and we have been given so much, so let us sow unsparingly.
HOW do we plant them?
  • Generously!!!  With love, faith, and hope in our hearts…and WITHOUT WORRY!  We never know what type of hearts we are sowing love into (Mark 4:1-20).  We don’t know what type of pain, hurts, or heartaches are existing in the hearts and lives of others that we pass by.  Remember, someone may have come by before me sowing seeds of God’s love, and now I am watering.  And perhaps these people we pass by will begin to see, feel, or recognize God’s love and presence through these small seeds of kindness.
“With every deed you are sowing a seed, even if you don’t see the harvest.”  – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Thank you for your love and support of our programs here in Bolivia for the poor and needy.  If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with a friend and inspire others to change the world with us!

Below is a video of just some of the ways we have been scattering seeds of love during the month of January here in La Paz.

Joining hands to encourage others at Christmas time

It was a busy December for us here in La Paz, Bolivia!  HOPE worldwide Bolivia partnered with Foundation Arco Iris, the La Paz Church of Christ and other individuals in the community to collect food and clothing donations and we were able to provide a very special Christmas to 40 of the city’s neediest families.

Thank you for supporting HOPE worldwide Bolivia, together we are changing lives.  If you would like to make a donation please click here.  If you are interested in getting more information on our programs here or are interested in volunteering, please click here to send us an email request.

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The HOPE worldwide team gathered up the donations and loaded them onto the trucks (Santa’s Sleigh) to be delivered to Casa de Paso.

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Brie Broyles plays with some of the kids at Casa de Paso and helps them to put together a puzzle.

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Many volunteers came out to play games with the kids and encourage them.

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There were so many smiles and laughs shared during our time together.

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The parents and children had so much fun playing games with the volunteers.

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The families were so grateful to receive their gift baskets filled with much needed food, clothes and toys.

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Thank you to all the volunteers and everyone who donated to make this encouraging event possible!