Saludos (greetings) from Cochabamba
La Familia Forbess sends their warmest greetings and love to all those reading our post this month. March has been a spiritually uplifting time for Katie and I and we both thank God for that. We hope that all of you also have been experiencing a month of growing closer to our Heavenly Father. Below are the most recent goings on here.
Santa in February
Two weeks ago our brothers in Christ, DeWayne Neel and Steve Ham from Evergreen, Colorado came to visit and encourage us in the work. They are both members from one of our supporting congregations in Evergreen, Colorado. If you are ever in the area, please visit the Evergreen Community Church of Christ. You will most surely leave feeling the warmth of that great church body. DeWayne and Steve were able to spend one week with Katie and I accompanying us for Bible studies and other activities. They also spent time encouraging Katie and I with helpful feedback about what we are doing here in Cochabamba. They also set aside time to pray with us about specific spiritual needs which was wonderful.
Another fun event DeWayne and Steve participated in was a pancake breakfast. When Katie and I first began getting to know the Evergreen congregation we attended a Santa breakfast offering breakfast and pictures with Steve dressed as Santa Claus to all children in the community. We repeated the tradition in 2006 when we were in Evergreen during December right before we left in January for Cochabamba. It was wonderful for us to get Jubilee's picture with Santa Steve again this year even though it was in February. Thanks again DeWayne and Steve for visiting. And thanks to everyone in Evergreen for your continued love and prayers! Please take a moment to thank God for the Evergreen congregation as well as the congregations in Chillicothe, MO; Hamilton, MO; Dora, NM; Denver, CO; Highlands Ranch, CO; Brownwood, TX; Rogers, AR; Houston, TX; and Olive Branch, MS that have shown Katie and I their love through support of this work. Their are also many individuals and families from these same locals in addition to our family members who have been very generous.
Katie & Girls Off to Brazil
The day DeWayne and Steve left, Katie along with Laura, Julie and Patricia headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil. There they attended a retreat for women missionaries graciously hosted and sponsered by Continent of Great Cities. Because of flight changes, the girls arrived three days early which actually worked in their favor. They were able to relax on Brazil's beautiful beaches and by the time the conference started they were ready to dig in their heels and focus. They were all split into different groups with other ladies working in Brazil, Chile and Paraguay. Katie came back with a peace and focus that has already made a difference in both of our ministries. Thank God for this special time and also we would like to thank the ladies from Continent of Great Cities who served in such a Christ-like way. Please pray that the peace our ladies came back with will remain.
On April 8th we are planning a special celebration focused on the resurrection of Christ. Because many people come to us from faith traditions which emphasize the death of Christ on Good Friday, we felt it good to balance that observance of death with the observance of life. Sometimes life can seem very hopeless for Bolivians because of violence, corruption, and poverty. This celebration provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate in a powerful and life changing way the hope that we have in Jesus. In a climate where it is difficult to plan a week in advance let alone a year, etc... it is remarkably refreshing even for mature Christians to be reminded of the one thing we can always count on which is God's love for humanity manifested through the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah. Please pray that our celebration of our Lord's resurrection may be bring both Christians and non-Christians closer to God in a powerful life-changing way.
Instituto de Estudios Biblicos Avanzados
(Institute of Avanced Biblical Studies) The Institute is scheduled to open its doors this coming Monday evening. The Institute has been in the back of our minds ever since we began brainstorming evangelistic tools in Brownwood. It is based closely on the model used by Butch and his colleagues in Santiago and Vina del Mar, Chile. It is a 13 week course that gives students who complete the program a very good foundation to understanding the Bible and God's plan for mankind. Each Monday evening the students will meet for 2 to 2.5 hours giving students and instructor plenty of time to delve deep into the scriptures. Although it is an advanced course meaning that expectations of students is high, the course is open to all regardless of religious background or training. I am scheduled to give two of the classes because I am hoping to mostly observe Butch in action during the first offering of the course. It is our dream as a team to one day take in more students and perhaps offer the course more than once a week. For right now we so far have 25 people signed up who mainly have responded to an ad in the paper. Please pray that this course may provide an opportunity for many true seekers of God to come to know Him. Also pray that God may use Butch, Josh and I as His instruments in teaching this course.
(Coffee Groups) The Coffee Groups as we would translate it in English are our small groups. I have previously written about them, but because it is such an important part of our evangelism program I feel it is important to update frequently. They are going well although we would probably like to see more people involved in them. Currently the small group that Katie and I attend with the Sandovals and Custers in the Sandovals home is going well. We have a core group of four ladies who have demonstrated that they are truly wanting to learn more about God's Word and how it applies directly to their lives. Sonia, Talia, Gabriella and Rosario are the ladies who are attending. Gabriella also brings her son Gabriel. Rosario we met through our neighbors across the hall when we still lived in the apartment. Gabriella is the daughter of the couple that owns the apartment building. Sonia came to us by "accident" one Sunday and has been with us ever since, and Talia was Jamie's English students from the conversation classes.
Please pray that Sonia, Talia, Gabriella, and Rosario may continue to learn about God's will for their lives so they may experience the freedom of living in Christ. The Marcums and Bulls also host a small group in the Bulls home on Tuesday evenings. Please also pray for the people attending the small group hosted by the Bulls and Marcums.
There are always many more things to tell about, more than I have time or room to record for youl. Please always know that we appreciate everyone so much. Our visit with the brothers from Evergreen served to remind us how important our prayer warriors and financial supporters are. To all of you please know that we love you and miss you and are blessed to have you in our lives. Thanks for letting God work through you to touch the hearts of people in a land far away.
La Familia Forbess