In the most recent update from Bolivia missionaries Dan and Mary Sue Reed, they sent information specifically updating us on two of their churches in Bolivia. There are struggles in every church but there is also growth that is exciting to see and be encouraged by.
The Km 14 La Gracia Church in Santa Cruz is located outside of the city about 8 miles from the Reeds’ mission house. When they first started working with the people from the church, they were a church plant. They met in a one-room building with a simple bathroom attached to the outside. Since those early days of the church plant they have seen so much progress! They now have a two-story church building. There is still much work to be done to finish all of the construction on the new building, but nonetheless it is being used every week. At this point the floor is rough cement and the walls are brick. Most of the windows don’t have glass yet, but those are just minor details……the building is there and is being used.
As exciting as it is to see the physical progress of the building, our real excitement and joy comes from seeing the changed lives of the people inside this church building. Some of the kids who came for Oansa (Awana) in the early days of the church are now part of the worship team. They took instrument lessons from one of the church leaders each Sunday after the morning service. Now the kids are up front using these gifts that God has given them. The youth are really getting involved by reading the scripture or praying in the services. Training sessions have been going on each week to better equip those who want to teach Sunday School or be an Oansa leader. We now have a few families who have been attending the church along with a whole new group of leaders.
The church is growing! There have been Sunday’s when everyone gets together for closing songs and announcements and they run out of seating. The church is now meeting twice on Sundays, Thursday night Bible study and prayer time, Oansa on Saturday afternoon, and Youth meetings on Saturday evenings. There has been a real commitment to the Lord in the lives of many of these children and leaders. Praise the Lord for this church and how He continues to use it to minister in the surrounding neighborhood.
Tilata is 16 hours by bus from Santa Cruz. Fuente De Agua Vida (Fountain of Living Water Church) is located in the Altiplano (high plains) region outside of La Paz. In May 2012 three leaders from this church stopped by the Reeds’ house in Santa Cruz for a wonderful visit. They shared their plans for construction of a new church and expanding of their ministry. They showed them pictures of the new foundation and construction materials they had purchased. In August, Dan along with two other leaders, had the opportunity to travel up to La Paz and visit the Tilata Church. Pastor Cristobal Justo and his son showed them the progress which had taken place on the construction of their new church.They saw around 40 kids enjoying their weekly children’s club ministry on a Saturday afternoon. It was an incredible blessing for Dan to once again return to the church this past January along with Jeremy Clark (director of Grace Ministries International) and to see firsthand the continued progress in construction. The first floor brick walls were up and they were looking at what would be their future Sunday School rooms. The walls for the second story worship area were going up also.
This church is made up of people from the Aymara Indian background. Aymara is their first language with Spanish being their second language. This area of Bolivia is one of the poorest in all of South America, and many of the believers live very difficult lives. At the last monthly national committee meeting in Santa Cruz, Julian Chambi (the new president) shared a report of his recent trip to the Tilata Church which was celebrating its anniversary. He shared not only of the continued construction, but also of the growth in ministry there. It was a blessing to hear of the committee’s decision to send a gift of $2,000 towards the new church’s roof.
1. for Julian Chambi, the new president of our Bolivian mission, and the national committee members.
2. for God’s direction in Lilibeth Ortega’s future plans.
3. for our churches that are without a pastor at this time.
4. for preparations for a missions team from Michigan coming in August.
1. for the wonderful anniversary celebration at Emanuel Church last Sunday.
2. that Aimee Johnson will be joining us soon to minister to the Bolivians.
3. that our son Trevor will be able to come to Bolivia for the summer.
4. for the spiritual growth that we have seen in several of the youth in our churches.
Thanks to the Reeds for updating us on all the happenings in Bolivia!