It's getting close to 100 degrees out there this afternoon, so I decided to pack it in and come back to the hotel. Everyone is feeling the heat today - there is no breeze, and the humidity is very high. I am amazed at how those guys can work in this heat, and Crystal and Heather too! Lorne's shorts and shirt are so soaked he looks like he jumped in the river. One of my duties is to make sure everyone is drinking lots of water on a regular basis - hopefully they will remember to do that this afternoon.
In the evening Gustavo took us to an Eco resort which is just outside of town for supper. He told us to wear our bathing suits because we could swim in the lake if we wanted to, but upon inspecting the murky brown water with little fish jumping out of it, suddenly no one felt the urge to cool off anymore...not sure why. We sat outside and took tons of pictures of the sunset, as well as of the beautiful red, blue and green parrots that were posing for us just a few feet away. We asked Gus if these parrots had been tamed, but he said no, that the man who built the resort planted a lot of mango trees there and the parrots stay because they love them so much. It was amazing to be so close to them. We enjoyed a delicious meal (again) of fish and chicken, and fought off the bugs, who came out in droves once the sun went down. There were two little kitty cats there who were meowing forlornly at my end of the table - the rest of the team didn't know it, but I was feeding them chicken left right and center because they were so thin. Everything is thin down here, and I find it very depressing.
We went to church on Sunday morning, and Mark did a great job at speaking. The longer we sat in the service the more we felt like we were in a sauna - obviously no air conditioning in this church! The service was over around 11:00 and we walked to the main square and waited for an hour and a half while the people from the church prepared a meal for us consisting of fresh local fish baked in an outdoor oven. The fish was some of the best that I have ever tasted, and was so tender and mouthwatering. The food has been absolutely delicious here - and they serve us so much of it; we eat about six times a day here! We actually had to ask the church people to cut back on the amount of food they were bringing us at the boat because we couldn't possibly eat it all!
We then returned to the hotel to relax for the afternoon before going to a Bolivian family's house for supper, and then to the evening church service. I was feeling a bit homesick because Sunday was my birthday, and I was thinking about my family back home. My mum and I share the same birthday so that makes it even more special. I had decided not to tell anyone on the team because that's just not my thing - the less attention I have the better. I called home and my mum got after me for not telling anyone, so I told her that I would announce it at church that night when I sang.
It seems though, that someone else had let the cat out of the bag, because when I walked into the pastor's house afterwards everyone started singing Happy Birthday to me, and they presented me with a chocolate cake that the pastor's wife had baked for me that afternoon...again, in the incredible heat, and after preparing that huge meal for us. I still can't quite believe that the Lord did that for me - I felt so loved, by Him, and by these beautiful people.
I love it when that feeling of connection comes with the people, and you feel so loved and honored. It humbles me beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life, and is one of the greatest feelings in the world. I think it's part of why I take these crazy trips, and go on adventures that I could never have dreamed up on my own. The Lord can take care of us and watch over us from any place in the world, and let us know that we are special to Him in ways that are beyond our imagination. He is the love of my life.