Marsali Campbell, who is a member of Smithton Free Church in Inverness, has moved to Bolivia to help street connected children there through the missionary organisation Pioneers International.
She has spoken about her move to Bolivia and adjusting to life there, saying: “It’s wonderful to be able to greet you from Sucre, Bolivia. I have much to give thanks for and much to update you about!”
September and October have been busy months for Marsali. A commissioning service was held for Marsali on Sunday 3rd September at Smithton Church.
She said: “I was humbled, delighted, and thankful that so many people came, including my family members who travelled and those who came from other churches. It was such a blessing to welcome you into Smithton Church and I believe it was a great witness to the Lord.
“Christine Perkins from Pioneers UK and Geoff Hulks representing the Smithton Missions Committee spoke very well. I shared my thanks and some thoughts regarding mission and the time ahead in Bolivia. Alasdair Macleod our Minister and some of the elders made a lovely commissioning prayer and then afterwards we had a barbecue outside. Again, the whole occasion was such a blessing to us as a congregation as well as those visiting. So, thank you for your prayers for that occasion and it all went incredibly well.”
Following the service, Marsali made final preparations for her trip. She packed up her belongings and travelled from Inverness to Edinburgh to Frankfurt to Sao Paolo, Brazil. From there she travelled to Santa Cruz and finally onto Sucre, Bolivia.
The first couple of weeks have included getting many of the practical aspects of living in Bolivia sorted including the process for immigration and medical checks as well as acclimatising to the high altitude and warm weather there, which has been a challenge.
Marsali has been getting to grips with a new language and culture. She is living with a women called Lucia for the first month and is taking language lessons by a young man called Yelson.
“I am surrounded by Spanish here in Sucre,” said Marsali. “I am completely immersed in the language and it’s all around me in the home, the community, in the markets and in the church, I’ve been attending. The language lessons are important as I try and learn Spanish and attempt to understand something of the grammar and the pronunciation.”
Google Translate has been a vital resource for Marsali as she learns the language and builds close connections with those around her.
Marsali said: “I have recognised for some time that there are so many new aspects to this season of my life – a new organisation, new continent, new country, new people group, new team, new language, new culture, new ministry. I have a strong sense of thankfulness that I’m actually physically here now in Bolivia and a real sense that this is where I am meant to be. I know and believe that God has led and guided me here.
“It has certainly been an intense first couple of weeks that at times has been challenging and exhausting physically and mentally, for body, mind and spirit, and yet I’m very thankful for encouragements and the times that I have had for rest. I thank you so much for your prayers and value your partnership for this new season.”
- Giving thanks that my journey to Bolivia went well and all my luggage arrived with me this time
- For smooth completion of all the logistics and requirements for life and ministry in Bolivia
- For learning the language and culture and the immersion experience while staying with Lucia
- For developing relationships with the Pioneers Bolivia Team, Lucia, Yelson and other friends that I’m meeting
- That I would continue to acclimatise to the higher altitude, heat and life in Sucre
- That I would find a place to call home