Dan was asked to write a little bit about the Reed’s ministry in Bolivia and wrote about their ministry then and about how it continues today.
How is it that when you view a map of the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia you see a large area of neighborhoods called Bethesda? The map is filled with traditional names such as El Bajio, Villa Antofagasta, Villa Calama all located around this area called Bethesda. Bethesda isn’t a name associated with a former president or military general or significant event in the history of Bolivia, yet it’s there. How is it that there are our churches and mission schools located along a major avenue that runs through the heart of the city. Every day it’s packed with thousands of vehicles. Latest statistics show that based upon current growth and future projections, the city of Santa Cruz is now in 14th place amongst fastest growing cities in the World! It used to be a rugged cattletown, now it’s a city of 1.8 million. One of our schools is located on what is one of the most traveled intersections of the city. The school’s name is Henry Prince. Why the name Henry Prince? It’s not a name associated with a powerful family that goes back generations and generations in the history of Bolivia. Yet there it is, a name given to a private christian school that carries a strong reputation in Santa Cruz. Why is it that there is a street that runs alongside another of our mission schools that is named Arnoldo Selfors. Along the walls and metal entrance gates to the homes one can read this name inscribed on plaques. That name is not a Spanish name. It’s background is not found in the history of a particular cultural people group in Bolivia. Why would this street be associated with a simple name like this? These questions do have significant answers, answers that relate to vision, faith, choices, sacrifice and Jesus Christ. The answers to the questions relate to a church, located in Minnesota, Bethesda Church, a name also found in the Bible in John 5. The name of the school, Henry Prince was given in honor of a pastor who had a love for people across the world and felt the urgency of reaching those people with the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. The street, Arnoldo Selfors was named in honor of a special missionary family that devoted many years of ministry to the people of Bolivia. They and many other families and individuals have served the Lord through the years. These are Interesting facts tied into missions history in Santa Cruz and many other areas of Bolivia. But what about today? Does Christ’s ministry still continue after these many years?
Fifteen mile round trip from our mission home there is a church planted in an area located strategically at Kilometer 14, off the Highway. The name of the neighborhood is Balcon dos. The church building consists of 2 levels and the construction is continuing to progress. When the upstairs worship area is complete there will be room for 250. We remember several years back when this ministry then a neighborhood children’s club met in a tiny one room brick building, about the size of a two car garage. Then it was time to start meeting on Sunday mornings with this small group of children. The leaders of this ministry were actually youth who attended the La Gracia Church, lovingly called, the “mother church” They committed themselves to this ministry using their time and talents for God. Many had come from unsaved backgrounds so the commitment to serve was truly from their heart.
Gabriela was one of those children who came faithfully to that one room building with her two brothers. It’s hard to believe that she’ll be graduating this year. She’s one of the top students in her class and will probably receive a scholarship to attend one of the universities here. We remember well her interest in missions and how she loved to hear about the missions ministry of Lilibeth Ortega aboard the operation Mobilization ship, Logos hope. This past Sunday morning, it was special to see Gabriela, lovingly teaching one of the Sunday School classes of smaller children. Hermano (Brother) Modesto is now 70 years old and loves Jesus Christ more than ever. He’s teaching doctrinal truth week by week in the church. He’s a student of God’s word. His mind and heart is filled with God’s Grace. He gives credit to missionary families such as the Selfors, Matychuks and Mattias for teaching him earlier in his life. Modesto wouldn’t tell you how much he knows but when you listen to him teach or catch a glimpse of the detailed handwritten chart of “God’s Plans through the Ages” enscribed on the inside page of his Spanish Bible you understand he’s spent many hours with his God. (see attached photo) He’s teaching, entrusting others with the message of God’s grace so they will be qualified to teach others also The exciting thing is that many of the former neighborhood AWANA kids (Gabriela, Andres, Gido, Franz, Brian) are now youth who are actively serving in the church and will be leaders in the future.
Serving through Christ,
Dan, Mary Sue, and Tasha Reed
A big thank you to Dan, Mary Sue and Tasha for their continued ministry in Bolivia. Please continue to pray for this missionary family and how they continue to serve God daily on the mission field.