By Courtney Mathos, missionary to Bolivia; Courtney moved to Bolivia at the end of March and shares about what it’s been like to set up her apartment
Cochabamba, Bolivia, has one of the largest open-air markets in Latin America called La Cancha. The word cancha usually refers to a basketball or soccer court. La Cancha covers 15-city blocks, contains over 100,000 vendors, and miles of storefronts, either on the street or in buildings. You can find almost everything you need at the cancha, from cars, food, fabrics, furniture, kitchen appliances, and even witch doctors and medical supplies.
When you first get to the cancha, it looks pretty disorganized, with loads of buses, taxis, and people in the streets and an assortment of stores as far as the eye can see. I soon learned that each section of the cancha is divided according to what is sold, so stores with the same products are usually found close together. Still, it is easy to get lost as you cross streets, go in and out of buildings, and try to find what you are looking for. To avoid pickpockets, I’ve learned that it’s best to go with someone who knows their way around, wear a small purse, and dress casually. Trying to set up my apartment and find things at the cancha, while also learning new Spanish terms has been an eye-opening experience.
Each time I’ve gone to this large open-air market, I have seen people buying incense to burn for Mother Earth (Pachamama), supplies from witch doctors, or candles for Catholic mass. The gospel need is great in Bolivia. Pray for me to learn the language and adapt to culture so I can share the truths of the gospel with many Bolivians.
A common myth in the missions world is that your family can do well or your ministry can do well, but they can’t both do well at the same time. This is simply not true, and missionary Wayne Cooke is going to be teaching the students of the OGTC how to have and maintain a Christian home, even amidst all of the pressures of the foreign mission field.
I have failed often to willingly submit to my husband’s leadership in times of crisis. Trusting his judgment is pretty easy when the questions are, “Do we want to rent the big house or the bigger house?” or “What color should we paint the walls?” But when the questions are, “Should we move to Nepal in two weeks?” or “Should we sleep in the house we were just told is unsafe to live in?” it becomes a little more difficult to submit with a smile.
Truth doesn’t change because my circumstances do.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
IN EVERY THING. In a field change? In earthquakes? In good shortages? IN. EVERY. THING.
I expect my husband to humble himself and follow the leadership of the Lord in these uncertain times, but I think it is acceptable to question his judgment? What a double standard I can have! The Lord is no less mighty in the middle of chaos, and my God-given life mate is no less worthy of respect.
At times, I have had to bite my tongue as he has made decisions for our family, thinking maybe mother’s intuition trumps all. I have been always amazed, however, to see that despite how wrong I thought he was, how right everything turned out!
Yet if it hadn’t, I would be no less required to follow him when my next opportunity came. I must only pray that the Lord will direct Him and that my man will submit himself to Christ as I do so to him. Sometimes that means grinning and bearing it, ever so sweetly saying, “Ok, honey.” To do that I must remember that the God who knew we would face this trial ordained this man to walk my family through it and, more practically, SAY NO TO THE NAG.
When everything is out of my control, this is easier said than done! For this reason, I myself must surrender my thoughts and my words to Christ, trusting Him to control what we can’t and direct my husband to lead our family on the path laid out for us, no matter how bumpy it may be.
Have you faced this challenge in submission? I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!
This post was written by AT, missionary wife in Nepal.