Wednesday, May 09, 2007

April / May Highlights

Hello from Cochabamba! As I write Katie is in London and little Juju is in the states with her grandparents and cousin Sophie. Katie’s sister works for American Airlines and so Katie was able to travel on a pass with her sister to England. I am sure they are having a jolly good time. Jubilee of course is going to come home more spoiled than ever, but everyone needs to be a little spoiled sometimes. So that leaves me here, but I have Gary and Laura about five minutes in one direction and Vicente who is a brother of the church about five minutes in the other direction. I also have Fiona our dog, but we kind of have a love-hate relationship going on right now as she is still a puppy and is really good at driving me crazy.

New Sister in Christ

Last week we had our second baptism of the year. Our first baptism you may remember was Camila whose mother is a Christian and who had been exposed to the gospel for quite a while. We of course rejoiced with Camila when she was baptized and continue to be encouraged by seeing her growth as a young Christian.

Talia did not have the same exposure to the gospel so it was quite a different feeling to see someone who came to us as a complete stranger become a sister in Christ. From the first time Talia came to us as a student of our conversational English classes, we could tell that she was a special and unique person. She has a great way of communicating her opinion in a funny, honest and direct way. She has already expressed interest in helping Katie at the prison since Billie is no longer here to help. Katie will be thrilled! We are hoping and praying that Talia’s decision will motivate some of the other people who we have been studying with to also make the choice to become a Christian. Please pray for Camila and Talia our young sisters in Christ that they may become more like Christ each day. Also please pray for the other contacts we have that they may also make the choice to follow Christ. Among those contacts are Sonia, Omar, Gabriella and Augustina, and Carla. It never hurts to be specific so please mention these people by name as you pray.

New Arrivals

Just last week the team formed mostly at the Quito School of Preaching arrived in Sucre. The team is composed of two couples, two single men, and one single woman. One of the couples of course is Josh’s sister and brother-in-law Eric. We also got to meet the rest of the team when they came to Cochabamba two Sundays ago. We even had the pleasure of hearing Eric and fellow-teammate Pancho speak during the bible class about their previous experiences and their plans for Sucre. Please pray for the body of Christ now in Sucre. Sucre is at the heart of big changes in Bolivian government and will surely be an interesting place to work. We pray that God may use the dramatic changes taking place to remind the people of Sucre to seek first the Kingdom.

Next month we will also be receiving a group of interns from Harding University. We are already hard at work at thinking of ways they can serve while they are here for six weeks. One thing that I am very excited about is the help I will receive for our English conversation courses using the Bible. I will have 4 or 5 additional teachers meaning that we can take more students than last time. Please pray for our conversation classes that God may send us people who not only want to learn English but who are seeking Him. Also let us pray for our interns. These young men and women are spending six weeks of their lives to contribute to the work in a great way.

On top of the Sucre team and the Harding interns, we are also happy to welcome a group of Aggies for Christ who of course hail from Texas A&M. It will be hard for us to figure out how to use all these brilliant young minds, but I am sure we will figure it out. Their arrival conveniently coincides with a gospel meeting that we are planning in July. One job they will have is to help us get the word out. We may also have a few other projects lined up for them. Please pray for this group of Aggies, that God may be able to use them to His glory and that searching hearts may be brought to hear the Word because of their efforts.

On a more personal note, Katie, Juju and I are very excited about the upcoming arrival of my parents. They are planning to come this summer to visit and I can’t wait! I have already thought of a million things I want to show them and tell them when they get here. Please pray that they get their passports and visas on time as there has been quite a wait for these two things.

Somewhere there are a lot of people petitioning God to send workers to Bolivia so keep it up. Jesus words apply so very well to Bolivia when he says the fields are ready but the workers are few. You never know, God may just convince you to come!

Community Outreach

Even when we first came to Bolivia a year and a half ago, I could sense right away that God was calling me to figure out someway that we as a church family could reach out to the people of Cochabamba. I along with the team have had trouble identifying where to begin because the needs are so numerous and so great. We strive to do something that has a true impact on people’s lives while also striving to maintain our focus of sharing the gospel as opposed to becoming simply a humanitarian operation. I mention community outreach specifically because I had hoped to begin some kind of outreach by June even if it is just a temporary trial run. So as June fast approaches I am figuratively biting my nails hoping that I make a good choice as to how to go about serving our community. The good news is that I have Katie and Trish helping me as well as many community contacts, not to mention that I am certain God will lead us in the right direction. Please pray that God continues to bless us with wisdom concerning our decisions for community outreach.

National Network

The networking ministry which is in charge of communicating with the other Bolivian churches had trouble translating networking. So we are calling it the national fellowship ministry which I kind of like better anyway. I am getting to work with Josh and Katie to create opportunities for national fellowship which is so vital to Christians in nations where congregations are so isolated from each other. One very exciting item to report regarding the national fellowship ministry is that Josh has put a lot of work into creating a national newspaper for all churches of Christ in Bolivia. The idea is to keep church members informed of different activities going on throughout Bolivia. To start the newspaper will be put out four times a year. The first edition has already been printed and sent out. Josh did a great job getting the paper together as well as his “editors” and “writers” which included Butch and Katie. Please pray that the national newspaper will be a great tool to bring Bolivian brethren closer together.