Each summer we have a flurry of activity at the House of Hope in Cochabamba. With projects, mobile health clinics and volunteer teams, we provide two basic opportunities for volunteers to serve. Of course, one is through the teams that partner with us to do vital work in the Cochabamba area. The other comes as we try to bring college-aged students along with us so that they can explore what it means to serve God in a cross-cultural setting. This summer, we were excited to welcome Alyssa Chapman into that role. Alyssa is a Junior at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. On top of being a great student, she is on the leadership team in the Baptist Campus Ministry (insta: @mubcm) and also facilitates a small group called an “i-Team”. It was a great summer with Alyssa as our intern. She was a huge help to the ministry. Read her words below as she describes what her summer in Cochabamba was like…
“Last fall, I felt the call to intern with the Reeds for a month during the summer of 2018. After praying and talking with those closest to me, I talked to the Reeds and got things set up. After a few minor challenges (flights, visas, etc.), I arrived in Bolivia on June 1st. The first week that I was in Bolivia, I spent time in Santa Cruz experiencing the culture and the things that were near and dear to the Reeds’ hearts. It was an incredible experience just in the first week. I realized how important community is while you’re on the mission field and how much they rely on each other as they go through their daily routines.
“On June 7th, we arrived in Cochabamba with the first team from Duluth, Georgia. They were a small team of 7 people, so getting to know them was quick and easy. I had the opportunity to help with one of the dental clinics in the community that we were building the church in that week. The dental clinic was a new and incredible experience. The tools that they have to be able to provide dental care to the communities was astounding to me. I enjoyed being able to see that and also spend time getting to know the dentist and patients.
“The team worked on building a church with the new style of locally sourced of bricks. It was definitely a skill that I never thought I had, but it was super easy to learn and a lot of fun. By the end of the second team, we had built 5 sections of the wall up to the top of the window frames and 4 sections up to their base.
“I learned so many things during the month that I was there. I learned to be flexible with plans because things will always change. Being flexible is one of the most important things to remember while serving in a cross-cultural setting. I also learned how important a community is and how big of an impact they can make in someone’s life. I experienced the hardship of working alongside those who don’t speak the same language as I do. It was the most fun and the most difficult part of the whole trip. It was great learning things in Spanish while teaching them some English. It was difficult because it was tough not being able to understand everything that they were saying to me and always needing to have someone translate for me.
“The House of Hope has an incredible ministry that gives many of the local people opportunities to learn and provides the resources that they need to do their ministry. Sometimes people simply need encouragement to realize that they have the capacity to do God’s work in their communities. Being able to work with this ministry was one of the most incredible experiences I have had.”