On Sunday, May 18, our STEP team shared several stories regarding the STEP trip to Bolivia. It was a great day of sharing the good news about our partner churches in Bolivia. Below are some of the stories in written form…plus you can click the links further below to watch video footage from this time of sharing.
Ryan Sato: We have names, faces, churches, programs…plus CBM field staff faces! There is a new wave of CBM momentum in Bolivia and we are blessed to see that some of that momentum is growing in the region that we are partnered with. As we spend time with these rural churches, it’s amazing to see the effect of the global village…we recognize that we are not that much different in terms of the challenges that face us – – we are seeking God’s will as we attempt to be the church of the 21st century and as we seek to bless the cities and towns that God has placed us in. Jeremiah 29:7 works in Bolivia as it does it Canada…do not be downcast…instead, hunker down, pray, bless and seek the peace and well-being of the city.
Ryan Murray – Encouraged by how our experience is immediately affecting his Aunt’s CABC church in New Brunswick! So great to work with the team, a great team-building experience. One for all, all for one. We have been blessed by great team dynamics – – same intention: to serve God as best we can. Our team has been a great support network. These are the great benefits of a STM! Global discipleship is a significant piece.
Lisa Johns: Skeptical as we left but struck most by God truly speaking to me. Through conversations, people, community…since I’m a community person, I learn life lessons through community. Soucy’s, Nacho’s, Guthrie’s…this affirmation, challenge to Spanish & ministry. God showed up in ordinary conversation!
Kurt Young: The rural context is interesting. I have a heart for the country!
That’s my gift…to be able to enter the space of the rural context.
Simplicity. People with big hearts. People will embrace you and love you without knowing your names.
At first, it was weird being hugged and loved…and then it was a matter of “I can’t wait for the hugs and the love!” That’s deeply beautiful.
David Nacho is a saintly spirit. He would speak few words, but when he did, he would speak words of challenge…ie: “Do you care?” Wow, what a deep question.
What a great heart David has for the Timothy project.
Leslie Henderson: Relationships. Seeing people we’ve met before…to know how their work had developed, or changed…(ie. Emigdio).
In North of Potosi…to hear firsthand of their challenges and how they are handling them. Then, look at your own Christianity and commitment in light of their stories.
Very impressed with Rodolfo in Potosi – – his philosophy is “Make a plan and then do it!”
Gordon Dinwoodie: Reflecting on past 3 visits…progression…Pastor Juan and Daniel are significant figures from our 2008 trip…this trip we pressed into the region of N. Potosi. Now there are several pastors in the area and we are hearing of their challenges and successes. We are seeing the evolution of the region! And it’s hopeful. We also see in Llallagua: a new road, new schools. We see leaders trying to wrestle with their cultural and economical contexts…we at FBC are trying to wrestle with the same thing. We see global issues that are the same! Feel quite positive about the area, and it seems like it’s on a good trajectory.
Melba Montgomery: We are not called to fix people’s problems. It’s a slow work. People in Bolivia say to me, “You are a gift of love to us”….but I realize that these people are a gift of love to me.
Jon Mitchell: We have ways to build relationships with leaders and churches (ie. andres, danny flores, elsa & angel, primo). Exciting to hear about Ivan’s idea of a young adults worship team making a trip to North Potosi.
Some extra words re: Pastor Andres
We met Andres in Cochabamba the day we journeyed to Llallagua as he was returning home there after a few days in the city. We had met his mother, Modesta on earlier trips. In 2011, she told us he was pastoring a large church in Chapare after having attending the UBB seminary in Cochabamba. He had a good salary and congregation. His wife, Yovana had a teaching job as well. However, God was calling him home to North Potosi. So he came back and took on the role of pastor of 3 rural churches. He was able to buy a modest home and a very aged 1984 Toyota Carina station wagon. His wife decided to put her teaching job on hold so she could help him with his ministry. The churches where he serves (Chayanta, Amayapampa) have not had a pastor for many years.
Life is difficult for Andres and his family, He has no set salary, he only earns what offerings are received. On our last Sunday in Llallagua he came to say his goodbyes to the team. He told us the offering that day in Chayanta had been 179 B or about $22. He is looking after 3 of his sister-in-law’s children, as their family suffered through a propane explosion at their home in Chayanta, killing Yovana’s grandmother and injuring her nephew. Modesta sells fruit outside of the hospital in Uncia to help support both families. Andres is behind on his social security and health care premiums, his car’s tires are completely bald and it is a miracle it even runs. His dedication and commitment to the congregations he serves is remarkable and inspiring to myself and the team.
David Nacho invited Andres to La Paz last weekend to attend an intensive Timothy training course and he participated in it. Andres and Yovana are two individuals who give us hope for the future of N Potosi – faithful servants of our God.
Ivan Guitierrez (Our CBM Host) shared these thoughts with our team during one of our last “reflection sessions” on May 8, 2014:
Time and time again…I learn that it’s not about the money…it’s about the people. Jesus spent time with people…and then he changed people’s lives!
Q: are we willing to change our lives, our paradigms? If not, I have no right to expect others to change their lives/paradigms. It’s scary work. Try to put this as a practice into your lives. The results will surprise you.
Taking the cross, daily…so…do not expect things to change around you unless you, too, are changing.
We have seen with our eyes…there is hope…things could change for better or for worse, but there are some encouraging signs…for UBB, for CBM…we can continue to work with the momentum. Historically, we started physically, but now we see faces, new places, see churches, exposed in an intentional way to what is authentic here. “we have seen with our eyes, and we cannot be quiet…”
Challenge: How can you take what you have seen and bring it to life in the midst of your church, your church context?
What have you learned here…what have you learned about yourself? What can be the “outpouring” of that experience?
How will you be transformed from this encounter?
Let’s do our best to keep the story of North Potosi alive.
You can check out video of our Bolivia stories from May 18th here: