Delayed flights, altitude changes, and the beginning symptoms of exhaustion describe the first 24 hours of our trip to Bolivia. Traveling South, we continued our journey from the capital city of La Paz to the mountain village of Tacachia. In the midst of the long drive we stopped and participated in a worship service with a small Methodist congregation. The joyous praises of God could be heard flowing from the open windows of this one room church.
These indigenous dwellers of the mountains were waiting patiently for the rainy season to begin, the season that would bring new life. They had been waiting many months. This meant these families were finding their nourishment from rationed dried goods of beans and potatoes. Somehow, someway, they were able to feed us that day, too. People who lived not by money, but by the selling and trading of their crops and produce. They willingly and joyfully brought their parcels of dried goods so we, visitors, pilgrims, and new friends, could share in a common meal.
That day they were not sowers of crops. That day they were sowers of hospitality and generosity. They did not turn us away, but they opened their church and hearts to a bunch of college kids from the United States. That time of food and fellowship created unity and fostered love that transcended language and culture. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (22:1a). These kind Bolivians know the value of a good name. -- Blair Tolbert