Bolivia Diary

The following is a collection of the postings that Derek Sumey made to the church’s Facebook page during his recent trip to Bolivia with our mission team. Day 1 was spent traveling on airplanes.


Hola amigos! Day 2 of our trip was busy. We came to our hotel, a beautiful place I’ll show pictures in a later post, but we are very lucky to crash here every day. The owner is a great man who speaks fluent English and makes a great cappuccino. The group is doing very well and I wish I had a picture of all of us together but Kierstie Shellman is a good representative. Every one of them has unique and useful skills and I’m honored to be with them on this journey. Continue to pray for us and remember that not a day goes by that I am not grateful for your support!


Hola! Day 3 of our journey was busy but worthwhile! The picture below is of el christo de bolivia. It is the largest statue of christ in the world beating out its counterpart in Rio by 6 inches. I thought it was a very good image for how our day was yesterday. Yesterday we hung out with the children of Ninos con valor for the first time and they were so sweet to us and excited to see us. There was a tiny language barrier but it did not prevent us from loving on those kids. After a wonderful lunch, Tyson took us on a reality tour where we saw where kids end up if they do not qualify for ninos con valor. The first house we stopped in was an experience I will never forget. the home was meant for chldren ages 0-5 who needed to be rescued from abusive or neglectful families. These kids were so ready to be loved, as soon as we entered the building there were two year olds clawing at the door to see us. we went upstairs and saw more children who we got to hold and love on, one little boy did not want to let go of me. After, that experience we had to see another home for children who need to be rescued from the drug culture of the streets. These children were so precious and well behaved it was hard to think they would have to live in a dangerous place. The cool thing about this place was the view of the christo. This home was the best place to see the christo within the city. the experience reminded me of the song Jesus loves the little children. It was a reminder that God never forgets his children no matter the situation, in fact he might be closer to the oppressed than the fortunate. One of my favorite quotes comes from the musical Les Miserables. One of the last lines is “Remember the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God. Our Group was fortunate to see God’s face yesterday for each child we held and each picture we took of the christo. 


Hola mis amigos! Como estas? Day 4 of our trip was probably the hardest day of our trip. I have to admit, on the first day when Tyson told us what he had planned for this day, I really dreaded it. The plan was to spend part of the morning finishing the reality tour at a home for children with mental health issues and then spend whatever time we had left at the chicken coop (aka Ron Keefer’s baby.) The morning at the house broke our hearts. There were children and adults living in the home with the mental capacity of an infant (the oldest one was 41 years old.) These poor human beings were literally tied to their wheelchairs to keep them from hurting themselves. After this gut wrenching experience we had to go over to the chicken coop. I was not looking forward to this at all. I came to Bolivia to be with the kids not to build the coop but what happened then made the whole experience worth it. Everyone no matter how uncomfortable they were stepped up to make sure Ron did not have to do all the work. Within a couple of hours we had done two walls for the coop and we still had an hour before lunch. Our culture glorifies people that remain unbroken in the face of challenges. However, in the moments at the home and thhe coop we allowed God to break us, emotionally and physically. However, at the end of the day we felt closer to each other as a team, we felt closer to God and to our mission. The coop is a good analogy of what happened to us yesterday. We took materials that were already assembled, the wood and we broke them by sawing them and drilling holes in them. It seemed like it was hard but the result of our work was beautiful! But the coop, like us, is not complete yet. We still have a few more days until we are something new.



Hola amigos! First off I did not forget Father’s day today so happy fathers day Dad, so sorry I cannot celebrate with you and Mom and Brynna but I’m hoping the both of us can be here next year. Day 5 of our journey was a fun day where we each came out of our comfort zones, found new talents and enjoyed the talents of the kids in Ninos con Valor. We split into groups again, 5 of us went to the coop again and 6 of us went to be with the kids and see three of them in a taekwondo demonstration. I went to see the taekwondo demonstration and it was adorable to see the small kids do the challenges. There was one moment that broke my heart though. One of the girls we were watching had to break a board with her fist. She tried two times and she failed both times. She was so sad. In the afternoon I went to be with the kids again and they got me out of my comfort zone. They had us all jump rope with them, something I have never enjoyed doing, and playing Patty cake hand games, something I have never been good at. However these kids forced me to do these things and after being a little uncomfortable and shaky at first, I wound up enjoying myself. Later on that evening, the kids had a talent show. Many of the kids were involved and our group even got in on the fun. Shay juggled, Susanna helped the kids put on a puppet show, Ron did card tricks, Carolyn sang a song and almost the entire group put on a skit (Kierstie Shellman has a video.) What impressed me the most about the talent show was it the fact that it was not just an excuse for the kids to be cute. Although there were plenty of moments like that, many of the kids had pure raw talent in singing, dancing, art (the flower was made by one of the girls) and baking. Also, the girl who could not break the board earlier tried again and did it! It took alot of courage for everyone to do something that day but that’s what talent is! Talent means nothing if you do not have the courage to show it. God gave us all that ability. So bravo! Bravo!


Hola mis amigos! Como Estas? Day 6 was a breath of fresh air for the Bolivia team. For those of you who have been keeping up with our travels, you know about the large amount of stuff we have crammed into a relatively short trip. This constant movement lifestyle was really beginning to take its toll on the team. So it was nice to use Sunday for its intended purpose, a day of rest. We went to church with the children and then took them to a park to play after lunch. The service was all about God’s grace and why it is important to make sure God”s grace can be seen. When we went to the park and saw the kids playing, I saw God’s grace before me. I had started seeing the kids in Ninos con Valor as a mission project and I was starting to work too hard to please them. However, being with them in the park and just watching them play showed me that all they wanted was for me to engage. It truly was like I could hear God saying you have done your part now let the kids minister my love and grace to you now and refresh you. It’s amazing what a day of rest can do for your spirit.


  1. Reply
    Laura Coffman says

    Gracias, Derek, for taking me with you on your mission trip. Your words are as close as I will ever get to such an experience. Laura

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