10 May 2010

Back from Bolivia!

Hey, Friends! How have you been? I'm back from Bolivia... it was incredible and ended way too soon! I've been back for a couple of days and have just been trying to adjust to the States and catch up on work. It's been really busy! Thank you all for your prayers, encouragement, and support for this trip. It means the world to me.

This week's posts will be dedicated to Bolivia. Today I'll tell you about the first half of the trip, which was spent in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Friday I'll explain the "war paint" thing I posted while there. :0)

Here we go... are you ready to go to Bolivia?

-Flew into Bolivia at 8am Tuesday morning . It was a full day of airports, delayed flights, hunger, turbulence, and an overnight flight--so little sleep!

-Our contact, David Salazar, picked us up, took us to breakfast, and then we drove to Monte Blanco, a conference center in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Monte Blanco, in English, means "White Mountain". Close to the center is exactly that--a white mountain. And yes, before you even ask, we did climb it--with the campers. But I'm getting ahead of myself! :0)

(An arial shot of Monte Blanco, photo by Kristen Torres-Toro)

-In order to get there, we had to drive on what used to be the World's Deadliest Road--5 hours of winding throughout the Andes, with a mountain to one side and a breathtaking view (interpretation--a sheer drop!) to the other. Now the road is paved and there are some guardrails... though crosses still line the road where people recently went over the edge, and the threat of mudslides still exists.

(First 2 pics from the window, photos by Kristen Torres-Toro. Final pic by Connie Rock when we stopped to take in the view on the way back into the city).
- We spent two days at Monte Blanco, which used to be called Tambo and was
a boarding school for MKs (missionary kids). My friend and Ambassador Program Coordinator, Connie, lived in Bolivia for 13 years and went to this school. So it was doubly awesome--to be able to hear her memories and see not only how God used Tambo/MonteBlanco then, but how He's using it now.

Monte Blanco has a camp ministry. They bring kids from the city of Santa Cruz and spend 3days pouring into them through recreational activities and the Gospel. It is so cool! And it was so neat to see the ministry in action. We were not only able to interact with the kids and the staff, but we became friends with them. At first I was intimidated because of my lack of fluency, but that didn't matter--and I began to speak in Spanish! Un poquito... a little! Some of my favorite moments from the week are from things we did with the camp and the staff--like the worship service under the stars on the pisto (runway... airstrip... oh, how I have missed the Southern Cross!) and climbing Monte Blanco. It was incredible to see the Church in action--and take part of it as well!

(The worship service under the stars. Photo by Kristen Torres-Toro)

(The view from White Mountain of Monte Blanco, photo by Kristen Torres-Toro).

(Don and Connie Rock, the Director and Program Coordinator of the Ambassador program, and me, on top of Monte Blanco).

(Photo by Connie Rock).

Monte Blanco is so beautiful. It's really high up--5000 feet?--so I had to get used to the altitude. Though weather reports threatened cold and rain, we had sunny skies almost the entire time- which made for great pictures! :0)
Here are a few more pics from Monte Blanco... Enjoy!

(Photos by Kristen Torres-Toro)

See y'all Wednesday!


  1. Looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your trip!!! Can't wait to hear more. :)

  2. Thanks for the tour. What beautiful pictures. I'm a big fan of flowers. What a blessed experience. : )

  3. WOW! So amazing. Glad you had such a good time. Welcome back :)

  4. So cool how you bring us along on these trips w/ your pics. My husband's friend from college is from Bolivia.
    ~ Wendy

  5. These are some beautiful photos! I'm glad you had such a rewarding trip and came home safely...

  6. Those pictures are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this trip with us. My hubby and I got news about a mission trip we're supposed to go on later this year while you were gone, so it made me really excited to hear about your trip and how it went.

  7. Kristen, welcome home! Your photos are amazing. And the stories you must have!

  8. Sounds like an incredible experience. What great pictures.

  9. Awesome photos, looks like you had a great time doing some good.

  10. WOW! Thanks for a quick trip! While you're coming, I'm going...maybe!!


  11. Thanks so much for sharing. What a beautiful place!

  12. Welcome home! I love the pictures and the stories and feel my feel itching something fierce. Looking forward to more.

  13. What an amazing trip! Thank you for sharing your pictures and experiences with us. How did you ever get involved with these missions? Is it related to your job? I'm very impressed with your dedication.

  14. Beautiful pictures... you look great! :O)

  15. So amazing! The trip sounds incredible, and I can't wait to hear more about it! :)

  16. Wow, K. The colors--so amazing.

  17. The pictures are great! Thanks for sharing them with us. It's fun to read about your adventures. You are a blessing:)

  18. Hi Kristen -

    Gorgeous pics! I went to Bible School with a young man from Bolivia, and my former pastor went on a Missions trip there. I don't remember what area they were in, but there was some danger in the region. I'm glad you had a safe and effective trip. :)


  19. Welcome home, Kristen! Was wondering where you'd been! Your pictures are gorgeous and it sounds like it was a very productive trip!

  20. Beautiful photos! What a great trip. Thanks for sharing and letting us visit vicariously through you!

  21. I'm thrilled for you, Kristen. You look lovely, too! I know this was a dream come true for you, dear. We prayed for you.


  22. Welcome home!!! You've been missed. So glad it all went well. You should be a photographer too! THe pictures are wonderful!!

  23. Glad you've arrived home safely! Thanks for posting the beautiful pictures and story of your Bolivian adventure! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip! God bless!

  24. Well, girl, I'm a bit jealous! God'll have to help me. I wanted to be a missionary and thought I was called to it...until I fell in love. LOL
    Absolutely beautiful pics! I can't wait to hear more. The one pic of you, is that a ginormous Aloe plant next to you? Sure looks like it...

  25. Thanks, y'all! I hope you enjoy the rest of the week!

    Cindy, that's awesome! I can't wait to hear all about it!

    Aw, Terri, thanks! I would definitely love to learn more about photography!

    Thank you so much, Jeannette!

    Thanks, Jill! Actually, my job is missions. I work with an organization called Adventures in Missions, sending teens on short trips in the summer. Before I came on staff with them, I went on trips to whatever place/ministry I felt God was calling me to. I love my life!

    Jessica... actually, it's a cactus. It was just really overcast that day so it made the color more aloe-plant-ish. :0)