Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Mariana!

Mariana turned 3 years old  on Wednesday!  We had a birthday party for her in the newly named  "3 - 4 year old class".

Mariana & Lizbet

Jabez & Dilma

Mariana finally caught on that we were having a party for her

Gift time.  Lucas gave it to Liz by mistake.  

Too many gifts to carry!

Helping blow out the candles.

Concert on the mountain

Saturday, we had our first open-air concert on the mountain.  Jennifer Cagle came and performed her first solo concert.  It was very cold on the mountain, but we had a great blessing.  We translated the songs into Spanish and projected them on the big screen.  Wonderful time!

Palabra de Vida choir

Juan preaching

Jennifer Cagle

Our mission team

Claudia, Jennifer, Jonathan

The view from the top of mountain

The folks from Poplar Springs

2,000 people in Vacas!!

On Tuesday, we went to Vacas.  2,000 people arrived!  We did Mufa Pufa again and then one-on-one evangelism again!

There were 8 different schools represented

Mufa Pufa

The majority were Quechuan


If you can't see. . . 



We found these while a group was waiting on the bathroom - sheep testicles.

Sharing the Gospel in Rodeo

We have had a mission team this week.  On Monday we went to the village of Rodeo with the Word of Life CED students.  We had Mufa Pufa and then one-on-one evangelism.  About 1,000 people showed up!  The school was trucking the children in on cattle trucks!

They just kept coming!

Mufa Pufa

Christina just jumped right in and started helping!

Jonathan & Esteban helping with Mufa Pufa


Gabby sharing with a young girl

Scott & Josue handing out tracts

Stan, Esteban & Ken witnessing

Sunday, April 14, 2013

11 steps to preparing jungle meals

My mother in all her wisdom said I should share the process of preparing jungle meals.  I didn't think it was that big of a deal until she pointed out that most people don't think they can survive without a drive-thru window - not naming names, Jeremy.

So, this is what I do before I take a trip to the jungle.  This process usually takes about 2 weeks to complete from start to finish.  To some it may sound like too much work, but when every pound and every penny counts - it is very much worth it.  I save weight for the plane trip and I save money by preparing everything myself (not to mention that most of this cannot be found in Cochabamba anyways).

Another thing I am working against is the heat - or lack of a refrigerator.  We are in the tropics and there is nothing cool about it - so all the food you take MUST be able to withstand heat.

This labor of love first started back a few years ago.  I went on a two week trip with Brenda and some others.  I was in charge of the food.  I started trying to get things together but there was just not much variety in the menu of 14 days.  We had pasta with butter, instant potatoes with butter,  rice with Parmesan cheese AND butter, etc.

I tried dehydrating some apples on a bread pan in the window of my car (I read where that works).  Well it worked, but they had a weird taste - like soap.  Despite that, I was so relieved to have some variety to the menu.  It was then that I told Brenda our meals could improve drastically if I had a dehydrator.  Six months later a team brought one down, courtesy of Brenda.  Thanks Brenda. ( Think she wanted some variety too.)

Marcy Brink, Me, Brenda Kowalske - June 2011

Enough of that, let's get started.

The idea is to prepare wholesome, good tasting meals to eat in the jungle.  These meals need to be inexpensive, light weight, withstand the heat and be something pretty much everyone on the team will eat.  Sounds simple, right?

Here it is, step by step:

1.  Prepare a menu and a shopping list.  I use these books to get recipes from - then I tweak them a bit to suit my tastes.

The top book is my favorite.
2.  Buy the supplies at the market or grocery store.
The salsa and tomato paste will shrink down to just a few cups of powder - but when reconstituted will fill back out , almost as much as before - still amazes me!

3.  Clean and disinfect fruit and veggies - we don't want Montezuma's revenge where there are no bathrooms!

4.  Peal and cut fruit and veggies- the thinner the better.

5.  Lay out produce on dehydrator trays - nothing can be overlapping.

6.  Dehydrate for 8 - 12 hours, depending on thickness.

Love this dehydrator!

7.  Continue above process until everything is prepared.  This will take the estimated 2 weeks to get everything bought, washed, cut, spread and dried.  I buy things in small batches so I can dry it when it is freshest.

Some people may not know but you can dry spaghetti sauce, salsa, apple sauce, etc.  I also cook ground beef and then dry it.

8.  Grate cheese for any recipe and then use a food sealer to store.  I have dehydrated grated cheese, which works but then I tried sealing it.  Sealing it works because it is the air that makes it go bad, so if it is in an airless package, it will keep.  The last trip I took, I tried it this way and it worked great.  I purposely left one package of cheese until the 7th day to check it  - still good.  Dehydrated is good, but a bit gummy.  Sealed is better because it is more like freshly grated cheese.  Thanks Granny and Peggy for the sealer.

9.  Check to see that all the meals have all the ingredients.  If you are missing something, make a last minute run to town.

10.  Create meal bags.  The idea is that all the ingredients for a meal are already measured out and divided.  This way, you just pull out a bag and it has everything you need for a meal.

 Here are 5 meals I created for a team of 11 men.  That is 55 meals!!  They have 9 pounds of ground beef, 4 pounds of tomatoes  pasta, rice, and lots of veggies - all dehydrated!

 I did "cheat" on one meal, the chili - I didn't have time to dehydrate the beans - so I am using canned.  Normally, with enough time, I would have cooked dried beans (cheaper) then  dehydrated them too.

11.  Pack it all away in one box!  Those same 55 meals all fit into this one tool box!

55 hearty meals in one box!
12.  In the case of this trip, I also prepared a sheet with step by step instructions on how to prepare each meal.  The instructions may seem insulting to some, but I wrote it with my dad in mind.  What would seem obvious to me for preparing a meal is not so obvious to him.  So, since this trip is made up of 11 guys - the instructions are VERY SPECIFIC.

On the menu for this men's trip:

Chili con Carne

Spinach and Rice Feast - one of my favorites - it has spinach, rice and ground beef

Chicken & cheese quesadillas with rice, chips & salsa - I have the teams bring canned chicken for this one.  Notice the bag on the left is actually salsa - I made it, cooked it, dehydrated it then ground it to flour

Mac n' Cheese - this is another favorite

Spaghetti with ground beef - the sauce and beef is dehydrated 

There you go - food preparation for a jungle trip.  Please understand, I am not complaining at all about doing this work - I actually really enjoy doing it.  The challenge of making good food and also the blessing of helping teams that have come to serve the Lord in the jungle.

If you want to try some of these meals, come on down, we'll go to the jungle together.  And I promise you, the food won't be the only thing you remember. . .

Rio Secure