Late on the evening of Monday 3rd November, having survived a 34 hour journey (which included a night roaming the streets of Manhattan…), I arrived in Bolivia for a week of meetings.
Here are the highlights from the trip:
- I spent a good deal of time working with some key colleagues planning the way forward for the launch of the first Novō project in Santa Cruz and the key priorities for coming months of preparation.
- We met with the members of an American mission organisation who approached us earlier in the year about the possibility of using a 2.2 acre plot of land they own (including two buildings) for the first Novō project. The meeting with the team would appear to have gone very well and I hope that we’ll soon have a clear indication of where this possible strategic partnership is going. We visited the site on Sunday afternoon and concluded that it is absolutely ideal in terms of location, facilities, and feel.
- We were introduced to some potential local staff/volunteers by the leader of the same American mission and have a sense that one of them could have a key role to play. He is an ideal fit in terms of character, attitude, education and experience.
- As a side-note I was encouraged that I was able, with only limited translation support, to share in a 90-minute meeting with these Bolivian contacts in Spanish. I don’t doubt my Spanish left a lot to be desired, but it was encouraging to be able to ‘get it done’!
- I met with Graham, an English missionary-friend, who gave me some useful perspective and advice which will benefit us as a family. One specific example: their experience demonstrates that it will not prove difficult for our kids to apply for university back in the UK (if they wish to do so) or to complete their schooling to the level necessary for entry to top-flight UK/US universities (if they have the potential to do so).
- I met up with a guy called Jony Munoz. Jony is a good friend (who was my translator in the church) who’s coming to Yeldall in January to do a year as an Intern with our Therapeutic Team. He is another guy who has incredible potential as a Novō staff member.
- We also received some real boosts which weren’t directly related to the trip. While I was away a number of people from the UK got in touch about supporting Novō. These offers included one-off gifts totalling more than £3000 and served to encourage us as we now set about fundraising to turn the Novō vision into reality!
Looking back, I’m so pleased with what was achieved in such a short space of time and I’m tremendously grateful that Mickey and the kids had a smooth-sailing week in my absence.
Next time, we all travel to Bolivia together!
If you are praying for us, please pray that the possible land/buildings will come together! It would be just incredible if we could get something firmed-up before Christmas so that we could plan with this in play.
Thanks, as always, for your interest and support!