Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'd Like to Introduce You to . . .

 Gerson's Father: Fermin

Gerson's dad is from a part of Bolivia called Los Yungas de La Paz. In his prime, Fermin was a professional soccer player for a team in La Paz, Bolivia called Municipal. In total, he spent 6-7 years playing soccer either professionally or semi--professionally. He's a jack of all trades, however, and also worked with heavy machinery when Gerson was a young boy. One of his bigger projects was asphalting the runway in Tarija. He also mined and worked various other jobs to help support his family throughout the years. Playing professional sports in Bolivia is not as lucrative as it is in the States. He made enough to support the family, but did not make an overabundance to continue supporting them once he was out of professional sports.
 Currently, Papa Fermin is working at the Bolivian Evangelical University (BEU) here in Santa Cruz. He is the athletic director. He views this more as a ministry than a job. In addition to organizing the BEU's sports teams for the Santa Cruz University Olympics each year, he also coaches the girls' indoor soccer team. He has also taken over the BEU soccer school that Gerson helped found in 2005 and coaches soccer to young boys from the neighborhoods around BEU.
 Gerson's Mom: Dora

Dora is from Tarija, Bolivia. Her joy in life is cooking! She loves to be in the kitchen cooking for her family. And she's a TREMENDOUS cook! From the time she gets up in the morning until it is time to serve lunch, you can find her slaving away in her kitchen. This is her way of serving her family.
 Mama Dora has diabetes. As I've mentioned in a former post, she's quite the business woman. She has no medical insurance, so she finds ways to raise money to cover her medical expenses. She sometimes cooks empanadas, or other such treats, to see at the soccer games where Papa Fermin coaches. She also has begun a jewelry business. She makes beautiful jewelry and has built up a clientele, both here and in Tarija. If any of you is interested in buying some of here jewelry, let me know! I can hook you up!
 Gerson's Brother: Aldo (in the blue shirt)

Gerson has a half-brother, Aldo. He and his family live on the other side of Santa Cruz, so they do not come over to his parents' house often. Aldo is taxi driver and that is how he supports his famiy. Judith runs a little store from inside their house, selling staple groceries to families in their little barrio (neighborhood). We're happy that so far we've seen Aldo and his family 3 times since we've been here!
 Aldo and Judith have three precious children. Hudson is the oldest. He is 8 years old and loves school! He reminds us a lot of Jayden. Jairo is 6 years old. Their little girl is Alison Jamie and she is 3 years old.  It's been a joy watching Jayden and Edson getting to know their Bolivian cousins. We hope they will get to spend even more time with them before we head home.
 Gerson's Sister: Cathy

Cathy is the family care-giver. She is a true SERVANT! She lives with Gerson's parents and takes marvelous care of her mother when she is sick. She also keeps the rooms of the house clean, does the yard work, and helps in the kitchen when Mama Dora is sick. She has just finished taking her classes at BEU to get her degree in English. She has her final exam to take, and then she can graduate! She works at a Christian school within walking distance of their home, where she teaches English to elementary children.
 Gerson was the first Christian in his family. He prayed for the others and Cathy was the next person to understand her need for Christ. Cathy and Gerson began praying together fervently for the rest of the family, and one by one, they all accepted Christ and are living for Him! Cathy is a real prayer warrior and loves the Lord. I can't wait for God to bring along a godly man who will embrace her, her gifts, and her ministries. She is a woman on fire for the Lord!
 Gerson's Youngest Sister: Silvana

Silvana is a professional basketball player here in Bolivia. We went to one of her games, but she didn't get to play because the other team didn't show up. We were disappointed and hope that she will play again before we leave. As I stated above, although she is considered a professional, the pay is nothing like you'd expect for a professional athlete in the States. However, she does make enough to support herself. She rents an apartment several blocks from her parents and lives independently --- which is NOT normal for a young female in this Latin culture.
Silvana also goes to school. She is studying something called "Physical Activity." The way I understand it, this type of degree would allow her to be a PE teacher, own and run a gym, or even coach sports. She still has two years of studies ahead of her. She is the sister who joyfully washes our clothes by hand for us. She has also helped a lot by helping me take care of the boys.

So, now you have met Gerson's family! This is them in a nutshell. :) I am blessed to have such incredible in-laws who embraced me and accepted me from the first moment Gerson introduced me to them. It's a joy to be reunited!


  1. Some of the beads on the jewelry is very pretty! Any more details on it? :)

    <3 Jewel

  2. She has rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and sets of all the above that match. The price ranges from around $5 - $30 depending on the beads and whether it's a piece of jewelry or a set. She can also make something specific if you have a request and she has the right color/beads.

  3. Have any of Gerson's family members ever been on a Bolivian Olympic team? All those sports genes makes me wonder.

    I think you should take some pictures close up of some of Gerson's mom's jewelery sets. I too would like to see them.

  4. I don't think we have any former Olympic members in our family. I don't know whether you noticed or not, but Bolivia only has 5 athletes at the Olympics this year --- and that's a lot from BOlivia! Some of those athletes train in the States and don't even live here, from what I understand. The government doesn't provide the funding for athletes like some countries do, and since it's expensive to learn a sport, it's hard to get to that level here. :(

  5. Betsy, Be sure to check your e-mail for one from me about joining the College Pick 'Em game this fall - - - I know you're in Bolivia, but it's time to get it started and I just need you to see the e-mail I sent and respond to it.