Overview of the Trip



As you know, this past week has been full and phenomenally fruitful.  We would like to share a few highlights to refresh your memory (or, for those of you who didn’t read the blog and just want the key ideas in a quick, American fashion, this is for you to get an idea of what the 2017 Cochabamba trip was like).

Thursday, March 23:

                Left Woodlands at 1:30 am

                Met up with our Compassion trip leaders, Andrew and Marty at 7:30 am in Chicago

                Flew out of O Hare around 9 am

                Arrived in Santa Cruz around ten pm


Friday, March 24:

                Left Santa Cruz around ten am

                Arrived in Cochabamba after lunch

                Got checked into the hotel

                Walked around downtown Cochabamba

                Had our first rooftop meeting


Saturday, March 25:

                Greeted by hundreds of ninos (children) at the project

                Toured the construction site of the new church building

                Ran VBS’s at two new daughter churches

                Ran VBS at the first project


Sunday, March 26:

                Attended a beautiful church service

                Ran leadership seminar led by Don and Brian

                Visited homes of those who had children from that area at that time

                Played with the staff kids at the church and making many wonderful memories


Monday, March 27:

                Visited the mother/baby center at another project

               Had a meal in the homes of local families (muchos gracias, hermanos                                               (many thanks, brothers and sisters))

                Ran VBS for the project we were at that morning

                Enjoyed a lovely program by the staff at this project


Tuesday, March 28:

                Helped with the construction of the new church building

                Visited another mother/baby center

                Had lunch at the old church building

                Did a prayer walk through a new church site

                Had an absolutely incredible time with the GAP (college age) students


Wednesday, March 29:

                Got stuck in a protest

                Ran another VBS at the first project

                Those who did not have a home visit on Sunday, went that afternoon

                Prayed for the project

                Shed many tears as we had to leave for the last time


Thursday, March 30:

               Had Fun day with sponsored children at local park (kind of a mix between Great                              America and Kash)

                Forced to say more tearful goodbyes to our kids and most of the translators


Friday, March 31:

                Enjoyed the office visit to the Compassion main office

                Went to see the Cristo (Christ) up close

                Shopped at the market

                Had to bid adios (goodbye) to the rest of our beloved translators

                Hopped on a plane and left Cochabamba *sniff*


Saturday, April 1:

Decided that we like Cochabamba too much to leave, so we hitched a ride on a passing truck and headed back to the city…. Jk… Happy April Fool’s Day, ya’ll!

Got on a plane and flew out of Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Due to arrive in Chicago around two am and in Plover around 6

Thanks so much for all your prayers!

Until we meet again,

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

from March 31

Well, here we go… the final day in Cochabamba.

First thing this morning, we had the privilege of visiting the Compassion office in Cochabamba.  We were once again treated like royalty.  The visit was very enlightening and we met so many wonderful people on Compassion staff.  After a few of our team shared about their experiences and a former Compassion sponsored child told his story, the staff gave us a wonderful “snack”.

When we got back to the hotel, we had a delicious meal of pollo y carne de vaca (Chicken and beef).

After lunch, we had the amazing opportunity to drive up to the foot of the Christ Statue.  Despite the slightly terrifying and seemingly treacherous inclining drive, we made it up safely and really enjoyed our time at the beautiful masterpiece.

When we made it back down to level ground, our guides took us to a Bolivian market.  There were many beautiful things to see and buy, and some team members found some great deals, with the help of our AMAZING translators.

However, all too soon, it was time to say adios (goodbye) to the Freeman family, who joined us earlier, as well as our translators *sniff, sniff*.  I cannot express how incredible our translators were this week. I don’t think we could have blessed or been blessed by nearly as many people if we had to go by the muy pequeno (very little) Spanish most of us knew.  Thanks again, Evelin, Ana, Jacob, Peter, and Shirley (and many others) for all your help.  You will certainly be missed.

When the time came for us to catch our evening flight out of Cochabamba, we headed to the airport and hopped on a plane, bound for Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  Although it was hard watching the city we all fell in love with fade behind us as the wheels left the ground, we knew that a little bit of our hearts had stayed below with the people and places we already missed.

We arrived in Santa Cruz around 8 pm.  Some people decided to head straight to bed, tired after a long day… week… of full and magnificent adventures.  Meanwhile, there were those who thought it might be nice to take a dip in the Sun Hotel outdoor pool.

This week has been so amazing.  I could never have hoped for more opportunities of seeing the love of God in action than I have on this trip.  Thank you all for your faithful prayer and support.  We hope to see you soon.

Chau, Chau, Hermanos!

(Bye-bye, brothers and sisters)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

from March 30

Buen dia, hermanos!

(Good day, brothers and sisters)

Today was our final full day in Cochabamba *sigh*, and the last day with our kids.

At around 9:45 am, we were paired with our translators for the day.  After that, we left for the park around ten.  When we arrived, we waited at the gate of the park for the Compassion staff to call our names.  When your name was called you would go out into a field of grass and meet your sponsor child(ren).  The rest of the day was spent playing, talking, riding rides, and eating ice cream with your kid(s) and
their family(s).

When the time came for us to leave, many hugs and kisses were exchanged and many happy-sad tears shed.

Back at the hotel, we had to say adios (goodbye) to our wonderful translators *sniff*.  After that, the team split into a couple of groups and ventured out to explore different parts of downtown Cochabamba.

After the brief walks, we joined together again and headed back to Paprika for another delicious Bolivian meal.

When dinner was done, we walked back to the hotel and met on the roof for worship, devos, debrief, thanksgiving, prayer, and more music.

The day was full and amazing.  Once again, we are astounded at the beauty of these people and we will all miss them dearly.

Dios te bendigo.

(God bless you)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

from March 29

Hola (Hello) from Cochabamba!

Today started out similar to the other days. We got ready to leave for the project to do a VBS and gathered in the lobby for a quick prayer time.  We planned to arrive around ten.  However, some protesters had built a wall of rocks in the middle of the road.  After a a long wait and several changes of plans, the blockade was eradicated and we were on our way to the project.

When we got to the church, we were fed yet another delightful meal.  After that, most of the team started prepping for VBS, while the others went on home visits to their sponsored children's homes.

But, all too soon, it was time to say adios (goodbye) to the project and all the people there.  Many tears were shed, and many, many photos taken.  It was heart-wrenching to leave these precious people.

When we got back to the hotel, we had a lovely meal of steak, rice, eggs, and potatoes, and vegetables.  After that, the wonderful Pastor Brian bought everyone ice cream from a local shop.

The evening concluded with worship (Thanks Chris for helping out tonight!), daily debrief, and an AMAZING devotional led by Emelia Johnson (You go, girl!!)

Today was emotiona and memorable.  Please keep praying for returned health for those who've lost it, and for remaining health for those who haven't.  Thanks!

Hasta luega!

(See you later)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

from March 28

Buenos noches, amigos! (or as some like to say, “buenos nachos”)

(Goodnight, friends!)

This morning was packed.  While some of our team hauled 800 bricks for the wall on the new church building, a few of us went to visit the mothers and young children at the church office.

After our morning adventures, we were once again fed a wonderful meal at the main church project.  We enjoyed a traditional Bolivian dish, called “Pico Macho” (Basically beef, fancy hotdogs, French fries, and gravy).

When we finished our prolonged farewells, we headed out to the new project the church is trying to start in the mountains.  We spent twenty minutes walking and praying in the village.  After that, we started back towards the hotel for some much needed rest.

However, that did not last long! :)

Around five thirty, the team hopped on the buses and road for about half an hour to have dinner with the GAP program students.  GAP is a branch of Compassion that focuses on youth ages 18-22 (ish).  The program teaches leadership principles as well as basic life skills the students will need in the future.

The evening was absolutely amazing! The students in the program had prepared several songs and games for us all to play together.  With our team and the students and staff combined, there were probably close to 60 people there.  When we finished eating, they presented us with more gifts.  One of the students had made some pastries and everyone on our team got a beautifully beaded bracelet.  We are so abundantly blessed by the people here who give simply for the pleasure of seeing our smiling faces.  There were a lot of laughs, hugs, and even a few tears.  The students were so beautiful and their hearts were so full of love for the Lord.  It was hard to leave, but we had a marvelous evening and made so many deep connections in such a short time.

Thank you all your prayers and support.  We can’t wait to see you, but it will be so hard to leave these beautiful people.

Hasta manana, hermanos!

(See you tomorrow, brothers and sisters!)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

from March 27

Hola, hermanos!

(Hello, brothers and sisters!)

This morning we arrived at the second project greeted with beautiful music, faces, and hearts.  The hospitable staff welcomed us with open arms and cheerful smiles.

After we were introduced to the project by the beautiful director, Sister Veronica, the sisters and brothers from the church played some wonderful music and everyone was touched by their sincerity.

When the welcoming ceremony was finished, the team had the privilege to speak with some of the mothers and play with their hijos (children).  After that, the cooks whipped up a marvelous “snack” (think three course dessert) and shared more about the project and how the children are taken care of.

As soon as we finished the “snack”, we had the immense privilege to visit three homes of families from the church who offered us a complete and filling meal.  All the families were so warm and friendly.

When we got back to the project we swung full force into another session of VBS.

After the VBS, the team gathered in the chapel, waiting for the staff to speak to them.  As we were waiting, someone had a small ball and threw it across the room at another team mate.  Instantly, everyone jumped on board the crazy train and soon a full-force catch-icebreaker-dance-party game erupted within the group.  Even our esteemed Pastor Brian participated (Man, that guy can dance!  Who knew?)

When the silliness finally got under control, the director, the pastors, and staff gave some very heartwarming and spiritually encouraging speeches about what God has done through their church.  After they finished, we were once again blessed with many, many handmade, wool gifts.  As always they were beautiful.  But nothing could match the beauty of the hearts of our hosts.

When we arrived back in downtown Cochabamba, we had a delightful steak dinner at a local restaurant before heading back to the hotel for a short time of worship, debrief, and team devotions.

Muchos gracios por tu rezos.

(Many thanks for your prayers.)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

March 25 - Que Día

Que dia!

(What a day!)

The sun rose bright and early in beautiful Cochabamba, bringing with it, another day full of bountiful blessings and unexpected adventures.

We ate breakfast at varying times, and enjoyed the lovely view from the hotel roof.

Just before the team was ready to head off to the Project, we were joined by Art, Genda, and Noah Freeman, who are missionaries in Cochabamba supported by Woodlands.

Once we arrived at the project, we were instantly greeted by a warm and welcoming Bienvenidos! (Welcome) from the many children and staff already gathered at the site.

We had originally planned to be at the main Compassion project all day, playing in the morning, and orchestrating a VBS in the afternoon.  However, that was not the case.

As our wonderful Compassion representative Andrew says repeatedly, "Flexibility is key."

After being introduced to the main Compassion location by the pastor, we had the incredible privilege to visit the property where the church is constructing a new and bigger building.  We were honored to see the location where the bathrooms that Woodlands provided are being built.

Immediately following the construction site visit, the team was split in two and sent to two different "daughter projects", where each ran a mini VBS session for the children there.

Both projects were quite amazing and and impactful.  The children and parents were overwhelmingly warm and loved to barrage our teams with hugs and kisses and mucho ama (much love).

When the split teams were reunited back at the main project, we were served an incredible lunch as if we were royalty.  It was a truly humbling and moving experience.

After the meal, the team split again into three groups (craft, Bible teaching, and games) for the afternoon VBS.  We were told that the nearly 300 children attending had a great time. The games were fun and exciting, and got everyone involved. Our stupendous craft team planned an amazing craft that showed how life without Jesus is bland and colorless.  But, when Jesus is in your heart, everything becomes alive.  The teaching team taught three stories: calma de la tormenta (the calming of the storm), alimentacion de 5,000 (feeding the 5,000), and la Resurreccion (the Resurrection).  Mucho gracias (many thanks) to our absolutely wonderful translators, Peter, Ana, Evelin, and Jacob, who kept up with our team all day and kept everyone informed.  All the children were so well behaved and loving.  The whole experience was a blur of moving emotion and life-changing love.

When we returned to our hotel, teary-eyed and awe-struck, we had a little down time before heading out for a delicioso (delicious) meal at Paprika, beautiful restaurant recommended by Raquel.

Once our delightful dinner was done, we said "Adios, amigos!" (Goodbye, friends) to the Freeman family and rushed to the roof for a quick time of praise, worship and daily debrief.

The day was beautiful and such a blessing. Everyone we came in contact with was so friendly and affectionate.  The Lord brought such amazing and encouraging experiences into our day just as we all needed.


We thank God for such an amazing day, and pray that our team would be healthy and well in the coming week.

Dios te bendiga

(God bless you)


The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith)

From March 24

Hola, Amigos y fogonadura!

(Hello, friends and partners!)

We did it!!  We have safely arrived at Hotel Diplomat, in Cochabamba. Bolivia!

The day was full, though less exhausting than yesterday.  We started the morning at a leisurely pace, ending with a morning meeting where we got to know the Bolivian culture and our AMAZING local Compassion trip coordinator, Raquel.  After that we headed to the airport for a quick flight from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba.

When the team arrived at our destination, we enjoyed a quick walk around downtown Cochabamba, where we saw many wonderful people and beautiful scenery, including parrots, a church (Madre de la Davina Previdencia), and some muy(very) friendly street vendors.

Around 6pm, we gathered for a lovely dinner at the Hotel Diplomat.  The beautiful Raquel handed out wonderfully crafted wool Compassion satchels and purses.  Muchos Gracias, Hermana! (Thank you very much, Sister)

After dinner, the team gathered on the roof of the hotel for a time of worship, prayer, praise, and self-reflection... and ice cream... thanks Raquel, Marty, and Andrew!!!  :)

And then it was time to finish prepping for Vacation Bible School at the first Compassion project we will be visiting in the morning.  While most teams were well prepared for the coming storm, others had forgotten their umbrellas altogether.  But, everything is on track now and we are all looking forward to the VBS session!

The day was wonderful, peaceful, and full of beauty.


Dios bendiga mi amigos,

(God Bless, my friends)

Buenos noches y dourma bien.

(Goodnight and sleep well)

Mucho ama,

(much love)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith).

Travel Day - March 23

Well, we made it.  The first day of travel was long and tiring, but we have safely arrived in Bolivia!  Here is a quick summary of day one of our Compassion trip:

After meeting at Woodlands around 1:30 am on Thursday, March 23, the team boarded a bus, and headed for the Windy City.  After being dropped of at  O'Hare around 6 am, (Props to our amazing bus drivers who then turned around and headed back to church!) we began the process of checking bags, going through security and finding some breakfast.

After a few long lines, and some slight misadventures, we met up with their Compassion leaders, Andrew and Marty, and attempted to shoot a group photo with everyone in it.  However, unfortunately, a few were missed.

At 9 am, we boarded our first flight to Panama City, Panama.

The flight went well (no one got sick), and around 2:30 we arrived safely in Panama City, where there was an hour layover before hopping on the plane bound for Bolivia!

The team arrived safely in Santa Cruz, Bolivia at 10 pm.  Despite the rough landing - some claim to have experienced worse, but others are still unconvinced - and a few less-than-ideally-healthy teammates, at around eleven the shuttles arrived and the team members began the interesting drive to the Sun Hotel in Santa Cruz.

After such a long day of travel, and very little sleep, most crashed into bed immediately.  Praise the Lord for safe travels and relatively healthy bodies!


Hosta la proxima vas,

(Until next time)

The Bolivia Team Bloggers (Dylan Shifflett and Elizabeth Smith).

Meet the Team

In one short week, a team from Woodlands will be traveling to Cochabamba, Bolivia to experience, minister to, and learn more about the Bolivian culture and how Compassion International is releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name in that country.  

Since you are here, would you join us in praying for this team?  

Meet some of the members below:


Jen Adams

Occupation:  Domestic engineer (a.k.a. wife and stay-at-home mom) and homeshooling "teacher" extraordinaire!    :)

Important people in my life:  Chris, my hubby of 17 years, and our children, Brie (14), Jadyn (12) and Isaac (10).  

Believes in:  Salvation by grace through faith alone.  Oh that amazing grace that saved a wretch like me!  I also believe in the importance of having a community of "faith friends" to do life with. 

In Bolivia I hope to: Be an instrument of God, used in any way He chooses according to His purposes for my life.  I hope to give all He wants me to give, receive all He wants me to receive and grow in all the ways He wants me to grow through this experience.  I hope to make great bonds and lasting friendships with my teammates.  I hope to meet my sponsored son, Benjamin, and our daughters' sponsored daughter, Jhenifer.    

Brie Adams

Occupation:  9th grade homeschooled student

Important people in my life:  parents, siblings, friends

Believes in:  the cross of Jesus Christ and the life-changing news of the Gospel

In Bolivia, I hope to:  share the good news of the Gospel, spend time with children, and learn more about Compassion International! 




Jeff Galbraith

Occupation:  Civil Engineer

Important People in my life:  My wife Ann, my daughter Hannah (25), son Caleb (21) and son Jacob (18).

Believes in:  The loving conviction, guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

In Bolivia, I hope to:  Express my deepest heartfelt appreciation to the staff who serve within the Compassion International organization and seize any and every opportunity to support and serve them.


Yvonne Pagels

Occupation:  Postal Worker

Important people in my life:  husband, David, sons Jon, Dan, Joe, and Dylan and my wonderful daughter in laws.  My daughter Elizabth. And my 7 grandchildren. Family & friends 

Believes:  Trusting God's plan for our lives and knowing His plan is perfect and has purpose even though we don't always understand. 

In Bolivia,  I hope to:  See God's amazing hands at work in the relationships we form both with each other and the kids and staff of Compassion. I also long for God to be my anchor and to quiet the storms of my life. Be still and know I am God. 

Don Smith

Occupation:  Director of Continuous Improvement/Master Black Belt at Aspirus Inc.

Important people in my life:  My wife, Debbie, my children, Donnie, Elizabeth, and Ben, extended family, coworkers, friends.

I believe in:  Redemption, grace, good and evil, quality time with family, and living on mission.

In Bolivia, I hope to:  Connect with God and my children, serve the people in Bolivia and my team, meet and connect with our family's sponsored children.

Donnie Smith

Occupation:  High School student, Program Leader at Boys and Girls Club

Important People:  Mom and Dad, my sister Elizabeth and brother Ben

I believe in:  Love, peace, grace, Jesus

In Bolivia I hope to:  experience a different part of the world, get to know Bolivian people

Elizabeth Smith

Occupation:  Student, babysitter

Important people in my life:  My family, the kids I invest in. my friends,

I believe in:  The love and redemption of Christ. compassion for others, and surrendering oneself completely to the Lord's will.

In Bolivia, I hope to:  Grow spiritually, wholeheartedly serve others, and stretch myself outside of my comfort zone.

Ross Solverud

Occupation:  office worker at Sentry Insurance.

Important people in my life:  family of course; wife Vicki & daughters Kristen & Jessica; Jessica's husband John & their baby Everett.

Believes in:  the Lord; living a quiet life.

In Bolivia, I hope to:  gain a better understanding and appreciation for Bolivian culture, and serve both the people I'm with and those I meet.

Vicki Solverud

Occupation: Homemaker, chief cook and maintenance

Important People: Ross my husband, Oldest daughter Kristen, Youngest daughter Jessica Archer, her husband John and first grand baby "Everett" !!!! Also Ross's mom = Gram.

Believes in: God loved me so much that He sent His son to die for me! God is always in control and in my weakness He is strong and receives the glory! :) We cannot out give the Lord!

In Bolivia: I hope and pray that the light of Jesus will shine through me in all I do there. I hope to learn more about Compassion and their work. I am anxious to meet Cristain, our sponsor child and his family and encourage them all to grow in Jesus with the help of the local church. I hope to hug and play with some of Gods precious children there! Lastly, I am anxious to see if Bolivia ice cream is as great as Wisconsin ice cream!

There are more bios to come.  Stay tuned.  Please be praying for this team as they embark on an amazing trip!

Copyright © 2018 - Woodlands Church
190 Hoover Ave, Plover Wi 54467 (715-341-0800)