Saturday, December 16, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Pastor Adid lives in Tarija. He was at our “Train the Trainer” leadership conference over Thanksgiving.
This weekend he is training Bolivian believers in Tarija how to use the EvangeCube and plant new churches.
Please take a few moments RIGHT NOW to ask the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus, to use this training to expand His kingdom in Tarija by bringing many to faith in Christ and planting new churches.
Claim this promise from the Lord Jesus for this area of Bolivia—
“. . . I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18.
Friday, December 01, 2006
So we especially appreciate your prayers for our campaign there last week. Here’s how God answered your prayers—
1. Our team of 10 worked with 66 local believers. So God used each North American to mobilize almost 7 local believers! Hallelujah!
2. We worked in 4 areas helping 3 local churches start 4 new churches. At the end of the week, one of the pastors said they may start 2 new churches, not 1 as they had originally planned, because so many people came to Christ in 2 adjacent barrios.
3. These teams saw 333 professions of faith. Hallelujah!
4. 18 pastors and leaders from all over Bolivia came to be trained to do what we do. Each morning we taught 2 sessions from our First Steps church planting manual, and then in the afternoon everyone went out to “practice.” By the end of the week each of those 18 new church planting “coaches” committed to try to train one church and 50 people each month how to do evangelism and church planting.
5. This weekend the first Bolivian trainer will be doing his first training! Pastor Hamer is traveling 8 hours to another province to train a church. God already is multiplying the ministry a week later!
6. All week Woodlyn worked with a lady who accepted Christ 2 years ago on one of our campaigns. Read about her on my blog below.
7. Our Bolivia coordinator, Pastor Enzo, would love to see you at our International Conference here in Dallas Jan 19-21. Take a look at his invitation in the video below.
Thanks for praying for Bolivia!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Toward the end of the week Woodlyn learned "the rest of the story." Two years ago Hilda's life was in a shambles. Her alcoholic husband, Daniel, was making life miserable. She had no one to turn to.
But then Larry and teammate Abigail showed up at her door. They shared with her the hope that is in Christ. Even though it happened in just a few minutes, she knew it was a huge decision to make. She decided to put her faith in Christ. God then used her changed life to bring Daniel to salvation after the campaign. Over time he was delivered from his bondage to alcohol.
Daniel helped in the campaign last week, too. In fact, he's driving the pickup in the picture below, which we took long before we knew his story. And he's now in seminary in nearby Santa Cruz!
Often people ask "what happens after you leave?" Much of the time we do not know, for we leave the work in the hands of the local host churches to do the follow-up discipleship. So this was a sweet reminder that God continues to change lives and communities through the seeds He plants through our teams.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Bolivian Church Planting Coaches
Earlier this year we challenged Pastor Enzo to recruit a team of Bolivian trainers/coaches to expand the ministry here. His first response was “30 by the year 2010.” “Great,” I responded, “but how ‘bout this year?”
“Well . . . . maybe . . . maybe 5 by the end of 2006,” he reluctantly answered.
I told him that I would pray for 10 this year. He gave me one of those “well, go ahead if you want to, but . . . “ looks.
We are tremendously blessed this week to have 18 church planting trainers from 8 cities all over Bolivia! God has used Pastor Enzo to answer our prayers exceedingly, abundantly above what we asked or thought was possible. Today each of them committed to try to train at least one church and 50 people each month. Hallelujah!
Out of the Mouth of Babes
Two years ago Abigail Willett celebrated her 13th birthday in Montero. We praised the Lord when she ended up with a 13 year old translator named Amanda, who had just returned from spending a year in the US with her family.
Amanda, now 15, again is working with Larry and Woodlyn’s team. She has been at our leader training sessions bright and early every morning. She has been one of the leaders for the kids part of the evening meeting when over 80 kids have shown up!
Yesterday she wrote this on her evaluation form at the end of the First Steps church planting training: “I want to train 12 disciples (over the next year), and have each one have their own cell group, and they then also train 2 others, and those others each train 2 others.” Pretty great vision for a 15 year old, don’t you think?
I thank God for the special team he has given us this week:
· Edna Alexander, who lost her husband this year to cancer, spending her first Thanksgiving without him here with us
· Steve Anderson, who's been a campaigner with me more than anyone else on earth!
· Newlyweds Gordon and Yvonne Wu, spending their first Thanksgiving as married couple sharing about Christ here
· Larry Strickland, enjoying his second campaign to Montero
· George O’Leary, on his first ever mission trip
· Our daughter Joanna, who took time off from her job as a teacher to share this joyful week with us
· Our son, Philip, celebrating his 16th birthday far from his friends back home
· And my wonderful wife, Woodlyn, who gave up one of her favorite events—cooking a great big traditional Thanksgiving feast for our family—to walk the dusty streets of Montero showering people with the love of God
We thank our loving Lord for changing our lives, and allowing us to see His handiwork here in Montero. And we thank each of you prayer warriors for advocating our cause before the throne of the Most High God.
Oh, yeah, your burning questions about our menu here today! No, there isn't any turkey available. They said sometimes you can find it around Christmas time. Guinea pig (called "cuy" here--pronounced "coo-eee") is the delicacy of choice for many in Bolivia, but thankfully no one has "threatened" me with that today.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Pastor Hamer is the leader in that area. He also is one of the prospective “church planting coaches” who is with us this week to learn how to train others using our methods and materials. He said one of the former witch doctors comes regularly to the church. He is the one who hobbled into the church courtyard in great pain. The team prayed for him that day, and Pastor Hamer reports that he remains healed to this day! God is showing His power here in many ways.
The other has opened his home to host a cell group.
The last witch doctor in the neighborhood never accepted Christ . . . but God answered their prayers for he moved out of the neighborhood. It is now a “witch free zone”!
But there is even more good news. Since Pastor Gary and his daughters helped Pastor Hamer plant that new church in July (No. 1), they have planted two more new churches and are working on a third!
Paster Hamer said that it was the new believers from July who planted the new churches. As they went through the discipleship lessons, some new believers led some family members to Christ in Santa Cruz. But they lived a long way from the church . . . so Pastor Hamer started new church No. 2 where they lived. 34 people now attend regularly.
Then some other new believers did the same in a village called Yapacani about 90 minutes from Santa Cruz. So they started new church No. 3 there. It is very new, and has 16 people who are involved.
And they are working on No. 4. Another new believer that Pastor Gary led to the Lord in July began to grow as he was discipled. He went back to visit his family in Beni, which is another province an 8 hour bus ride away. When he came back to Santa Cruz . . . 15 newly saved family members came with him to ask that a church be started for them. So in February Pastor Hamer and some leaders from church No. 1 plan to go to Beni to officially inagurate No. 4.
God is bringing glory to Himself as he uses the new church started in July, which now runs about 70 in attendance, to multiply itself as disciples make disciples who make disciples.
This Campaign Begins
Yesterday we started our e3 Mission Trip here in Montero, Bolivia. We are working with 3 mother churches in 4 areas where they are starting new churches or cell groups. Sunday morning our teams worshipped with the mother churches. Sunday afternoon we did the “Vision” and “Pray” sessions of our First Steps church planting training. Then our teams went out to those 4 areas to apply what they learned by prayer walking the areas. Or in one case “prayer driving” their huge area (see picture below).
We are blessed to have 16 pastors and leaders from other cities here as potential “church planting coaches.” At the end of the week we hope they will commit to train others how to do evangelism and church planting using what they learn this week.
Please continue to pray for God to use this week to expand His kingdom in Bolivia.
Today is our son, Philip’s, 16th birthday (on left receiving a Bolivian "Happy Birthday"). Please pray that God will bless him in a special way this week.
By the grace of God I get hit with a stomach bug only about once every 30 trips. Unfortuantely, this is one of those trips. Please pray for Jehovah Rapha to heal me, and for continued good health and strength for the rest of the team (both Bolivian and US).
Thanks for standing in the gap for us!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
As the situation in Bolivia deteriorates, more and more people are leaving. Churches are losing members as they head to Spain or other countries in search of work and stability. Families are torn apart as parents go abroad to look for work, leaving kids with relatives. We've met kids who have not seen their parents in years.
In the midst of this exodus, our e3 Mission Team heads to Bolivia Friday (Nov 17). During Thanksgiving week we’ll train about 30 Bolivians how to equip their countrymen to use the EvangeCube and plant new churches. Part of this Train the Trainer event will be "practicing" in several communities. As we do "lecture" and then "lab," pray that many will trust Christ and several new churches will be planted.
Please also pray the God will use this conference to provide hope to Bolivia, and to ignite a church planting movement there.
Jesus is The Answer, for He transform communities by changing hearts and then lives.
Click here for a prayer calendar to print and pray through.
Click on the link below to see a slide show that you can pray through, too.
Thanks for standing behind us in prayer.
Monday, November 06, 2006
But Plan B appears to be just what God wanted all along! Over the past few months Bolivia has continued to slide toward socialism and political chaos. So we changed the focus of the Thanksgiving trip. Now we will train Bolivian trainers to do what we do. They will train churches in evangelism and church planting. Whether or not we can take teams in the future . . . they will continue the work.
Last week we received an exciting email from Pastor Enzo Saavedra. In it is a list of 26 Bolivian leaders who want to be trained! We will challenge each of them to train one church and 50 people each month for the next year. If all of them were to be faithful in this, 1300 people could be trained each month, or over 15,000 in the next year. That would be many multiples of what we could do with US teams. Hallelujah!
God has infinite ways of accomplishing His will, and sometimes saying “no” to our prayers is how He does it. Our Plan B turned out to be His Plan A+.
Would you pray for one of these Bolivian trainers? Please email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you one of their names to pray for during the next 30 days.
You probably are wondering “What about all those eye glasses?” They will go to good use . . . on a future trip.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
What happens when God enables a church to bat 1000?
Pastor Gary Willett asked me to speak his weekend (10/21-22/06) at Potomac Heights Baptist Church in Indian Head, Maryland. Pastor Gary and many in their church have been with us to Bolivia. In fact, they are the first church to adopt Bolivia as one of their strategic missions projects.
I asked Pastor Enzo Saavedra, our Bolivia e3 leader, to check back with all the new churches PHBC members have worked with during their 3 campaigns.
What Pastor Enzo learned astonished me, and also challenged me to continue to develop the work in Bolivia. God enabled them to bat 1000! Here are the stats—
12 -- New churches planted by PHBC members
12 -- Areas still active! (although one has moved to another location)
44 -- Average attendance
150-180 -- Attendance at largest new work
10 -- Attendance at smallest new work
I’d call this a spiritual “home run.” But not a “Grand Slam.” For in addition to this great news there also is sobering news to share. One area has kept going, but experienced a split. Another area continues even though the pastor moved to Spain to find work. Many are experiencing difficult economic conditions. Several are looking for new places to meet because they have outgrown the home or other place where they meet. All need more encouragement and equipping to continue to reach out to their communities.
--Please pray for the God to strengthen the leaders and churches with whom we have worked.
On Saturday we teach their ministry leaders our First Steps church planting curriculum. While they plan to focus on planting churches in Bolivia, Pastor Gary wanted their leaders to learn the ministry multiplication principles in First Steps. Then on Sunday I’ll be sharing this glorious good news with the congregation. Please pray:
--For God to multiply ministry as He challenges His leaders at PHBC
--For God to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” through these sessions (Eph 4)
--For God to raise up more laborers, prayer warriors and financial partners for the work in Bolivia
Friday, October 06, 2006
“I feel so alone.”
This was the most consistent comment as we began our Leaders Summit. It was shared by several of the e3 country leaders. Even though ministry was going well in every country, many shared how they felt they were going it alone, trying to organize campaigns, cast vision and grow into a larger e3 ministry. But by the end of the trip what we heard was . . .
“We are together. I now know the other e3 leaders, and we are going to work together and help each other.”
By the grace of God, He took away the sense of loneliness that some of the leaders came to Lima with. They laughed together, prayed together, worshipped together, and heard testimonies of how God is at work in the e3 Latin America countries. Each also shared the struggles they have. By the end of our time together we signed a covenant of cooperation, which was an exciting end to a very productive Summit. Picture at left is of all the e3 country leaders praying for the implementation of the covenant of cooperation.
Some more highlights:
In Peru they now have 40 "mobilizers" who are leading church planting campaigns of only Peruvians (no North Americans). They now are doing almost twice as many without us as with us! That's an big answer to prayer. God has used Juvenal and Katty Bejar and Alejo and Dorothy Quijada to accomplish this major milestone.
In Venezuela Omar Piña has developed a similar network of Venezuelan e3 trainers, along with excellent training for them. Another great example of taking the ball and running with it.
Omar also offered to send one of regional coordinators to other countries to help them develop their organizational structure and ministry strategies. These "coaches" probably will be going to Bolivia, Costa Rica and Panama in the near future.
Diego Trujillo from Ecuador shared how he has been asked to be the director of evangelism for a a national association of pastors. This is propelling our evangelism and church planting tools and methods to new prominence nationwide.
In addition to our Leaders Summit, we also did a leadership conference. The primary purpose of that conference was to model how to do a nationals’ only First Steps LDC for the 40 people who now are e3 mobilizers in PE. But 340 people showed up!
All our national e3 leaders shared at the leadership conference about how God is working in their country. So the conference turned into a giant pep rally for missions outside Peru. Many people indicated an interest in going to one of the other e3 Latin American countries on short term mission trips.
Thanks for praying for this trip, Pr-Air Force. Our work in Latin America took a huge step forward last week.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Strike against Morales highlights Bolivia's deep divisions International Herald Tribune - France LA PAZ, Bolivia Opponents of President Evo Morales stayed home from work and blocked key thoroughfares in four Bolivian cities Friday to protest his party's ...
Venezuela in Negotiations with Russia for More Military Hardware Venezuelanalysis.com - Caracas , Venezuela , September 20, 2006 —Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez confirmed yesterday that the Venezuelan government was currently negotiating the ...
Iran, Venezuela start drilling joint oil well Tehran Times - Iran TEHRAN – Iranian and Venezuelan oil companies jointly started drilling of the first oil well in a field in Venezuela slated to be developed by the two ...
Cuba and Venezuela: Building an 'axis of hope’ Green Left Weekly - Chippendale, NSW, Australia... Cuba has now been joined by new left-wing governments winning respect for combatting First World domination of Latin America: Venezuela’s, headed by ...
“What in the world is going on down there?” Do you have these same thoughts as I do as you read these wild headlines?
My heart aches as I read these news alerts. I’ve walked the streets of all these places (other than Iran). I have looked into the eyes of the common folks. They are concerned with making ends meet. Keeping their family together. Wondering what to do with that wayward child or spouse or parent. Dealing with the pain in their lives. They are looking for hope.
I don’t know what the answers are to the political turmoil depicted in these headlines. But I do know who The Answer is for those folks I’ve met in the streets, talked to in their homes, stood beside on the bus or train. His name is Jesus. And He has a Body, a family, an army He wants to reach out through to the hurting, the hungry, the hiding and the hounded.
This week (Sep 27-30) we go to equip His ambassadors at a “Train the Trainer” Leadership Conference in Lima, Peru. We’ve invited people from all over Peru who are interested in becoming e3 trainers. Also coming are our e3 national leaders from Bolivia (Enzo Saavedra), Ecuador (Diego Trujillo), Panama (Moises and Talsy Vega) and Venezuela (Omar Piňa).
• Equip churches to
• Evangelize their neighborhoods and
• Establish new churches
What do we do with wild headlines? We can't just turn the page. It's time to pray.
Please pray for God to use this conference to accomplish His will, and to make His name more famous in all of Latin America. Pray that the Prince of Peace will reign in more neighborhoods as a result of this conference.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
“What is prayer? It is communication with God by which we express our dependence on Him. God knows what we need in our battle with the powers of darkness, and He is more ready to meet our needs than we are to ask. But until we express our dependence on Him in prayer, God will not act. In prayer we say, ‘You are the Lord, not I. You know what’s best; I don’t. I’m not telling You what to do; I’m asking. I declare my dependence on You.’ Our prayers open the way for God to act on our behalf.”Once again we are declaring our dependence on our Almighty God. Mon-Wed this week (9/18-20) our e3 Partners Cabinet has a planning retreat to pray and plan for 2007. The folks involved are Curtis Hail, Dan Hitzhusen, Sam Ingrassia, Nawaz Lalani, Casey See, Nathan Sheets, Jeff Sheets and me. Please pray that we will hear clearly from God, especially how He wants us to join Him in His work around the world.
Please take a moment right now to pray Colossians 1:9 for us—
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Thanks so much for praying for our Ethiopia trip. Sorry I wasn’t able to send updates as I generally do. One day I went in to the internet café and it kept disconnecting me. I went in a second day and they said their network was down. When I asked where another café was, they said “no, the network is down in this whole region.” My third try a couple days later? The electricity was off in the whole region! Ah, what we take for granted here in the US!
Internet problems aside, God showed up in a mighty way! And I’d much, much rather have His connection than an internet connection! Here are some glimpses of His glory—
370 people attended our leadership conference! Most were from our primary partner there—the Kale Heywet (Word of Life) denomination. Please pray for God to effectively use them to train the 6500+ churches of Kale Heywet how to use the EvangeCube and how to plant churches using our First Steps curriculum. Picture above is everyone saying "thanks for these First Steps manuals."
Also attending were leaders from 18 other denominations and ministries. All are interested in using our tools and training to plant new churches. Ask the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus, to give us strong partnerships with all who are focused on planting new churches. Here’s what one of those denominational leaders said: “Most of the teaching that comes in from the outside is not relevant for us. But this training is helpful for us here.”
During the week we met with the Kale Heywet top leaders. They confirmed their desire for e3 to continue to help training their 6500+ churches in evangelism and church planting. We joyfully signed a new partnership agreement at the end of our week together. Picture above is us praying over the new agreement.
Mike Congrove led a team of 12 on a church planting campaign at the same time as we were doing the leadership conference. In spite of the heavy resistance in that area, over 490 people prayed to receive Christ as Savior! And 10 new churches were planted. Click here to read the amazing stories from that campaign he’s posting on his blog. Pray for 30, 60 and 100 fold multiplying Christians to grow as the Ethiopian believers follow-up the new believers.
Rick Eisemann led a campaign to the northern part of Ethiopia the week before our leadership conference. The north has been closed to the Gospel for centuries . . . yes, centuries. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church persecutes evangelicals harshly. Three legends indicate the depths of this religious stronghold. First, they believe that the Queen of Sheba mentioned in the Old Testament had a son by Solomon after she visited Jerusalem. They believe their leaders are descendants of that “royal son.” Second, since their church was founded by the Ethiopian eunuch mentioned in Acts 8, everyone else is a heretic. Third, they say they have the actual Old Testament Ark of the Covenant in the basement of a church.
But this changed when Rick’s team arrived. They did an eye glass clinic. The provincial officials were so happy about this that they sent government vehicles to pick them up at the airport and transport them all week. They wanted to have a dinner for the team, but it conflicted with their flight schedule back to Addis Ababa. So the president of the region called the Chairman of the Board and he had Ethiopian Air send another plane for them! At that dinner Rick was able to share the gospel with those officials as he presented each with an EvangeCube. The local officials called the national TV station—so they were on the Ethiopian equivalent of CNN several times!
Bottom line: the door is wide open for more evangelism and church planting there. The local officials, who are closely tied with the Orthodox church, pleaded with them to return with more teams, and gave the OK for evangelism. God holds the hearts of kings in His hands. Pray for these doors to stay open, and for protection from the father of lies.
Thanks so much for praying, Pr-Air Force. God answered in powerful ways.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
In the Los Lotes barrio of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, people have had two types of doctor to visit. One is a medical doctor who also is a pastor—Dr. Hamer (at left). The others are witch doctors, who deal as much in spiritual matters as physical ones.
So when someone has a problem, he must decide “which doctor?” A witch doctor, or the other guy? At least until last month.
About a year ago Pastor Hamer started praying for the Los Lotes barrio. It was a spiritually dark area, for there were 12 witch doctors there.
Hamer began to prayer walk the area. One time he invited some of his pastor buddies from other areas to prayer “drive” the area late at night in a big truck. The truck’s wheels started spinning for no apparent reason (no sand or mud or water and certainly no ice!) right in front of the home of one of the witch doctors. As the truck stalled, his buddies bailed out, and most wouldn’t come back.
Six months ago Hamer decided to send the witch doctors a letter. In it he boldly proclaimed that they had three choices—
1. Trust Christ and renounce their wicked ways
2. Leave the barrio
Yes, you read that right—repent, relocate or retire (permanently).
Soon thereafter two of the witch doctors got very sick and ended up in the hospital at the same time. Surprisingly, they asked Hamer to come visit them. He faithfully shared the gospel with them. One trusted Christ. The other refused, and he died before morning.
Needless to say, this caused quite a stir in the black magic business in Los Lotes. Several witch doctors moved out. When Pastor Gary Willett and his daughters Sarah and Abi arrived at the beginning of their e3 Mission Trip, only 3 were left. At that point, however, no one on the team knew anything about this.
One day an older man came hobbling up to the church, which also is Hamer’s home (at left). He was in pain, and had come to visit Dr. Hamer, knowing that he also was a pastor. He could hardly move as he hobbled in with this cane (on ground in picture). Hamer introduced him to Gary, who shared the gospel with him. After he prayed to receive Christ, Hamer shared that he was one of the witch doctors! One down, two to go.
Later in the week Gary had the chance to lead German and his wife Sinthia to the Lord. He is 73 years old . . . and has been practicing witchcraft for over 50 years! Two down, one to go.
The last work day of our campaign Gary and Hamer met a man coming out of a building as they were walking. Hamer excitedly told Gary “that’s the last one!” They stopped and shared the love of Christ with him, but he did not make a decision. Please pray that God will bring to pass what Hamer has been saying since the team first arrived: soon there will be none.
We are hosting a leadership “train the trainer” conference in Ethiopia Aug 26 to Sept 1. The goal is to train 400 trainers from 35 denominations how to train others how to plant churches (using our First Steps curriculum) and do evangelism (with the EvangeCube). Please pray that God would use this training to greatly expand His kingdom there.
Eagle Scout Project.
Our 15 year old son, Philip, is working on his service project for his Boy Scout Eagle rank. He decided to collect eye glasses and then do an eye clinic on one of our church planting campaigns to Bolivia.
If you have old prescription glasses you want to donate, or new or used reading glasses, please let him know.
Also let us know if you’d like to go with us to Bolivia over Thanksgiving to distribute these glasses as we plant new churches. It would be a great way for your family show your thankfulness to our loving Lord by showing His love to the poor of Bolivia.
Thanks for praying for our Bolivia e3 Mission Trip. Here are more glimpses of God's glory. As you watch, please pray for God to raise up 30, 60 and 100 fold followers of Christ from the new believers. Click on the link below to see Glimpses of God's Glory in Bolivia.
Glimpses of God's Glory in Bolivia
Bolivia Prayer Warriors—
Our team arrived home last night, but Pastor Enzo has another big day today. He flew to Sucre this morning to teach about 40 Quechua leaders how to use the EvangeCube and give them an overview of our church planting training. Please pray that the Head of the Church will use this training to build His church.
Thanks so much for praying for our Bolivia campaign! Ray summed up our week very well: “God is working in a special way down here.” He did that in answer to your prayers—
· 1,612 professions of faith (1,297 in the 12 work areas and 315 in executive outreaches that Ray and Mary did in partnership with Campus Crusade)
· 9 new churches were planted
· 10 churches strengthened (3 areas in which we worked and 7 mother churches of the new areas)
· 1,026 follow-up contacts made (79% of the professions of faith in the 12 work areas)
Behind these stats are hundreds and hundreds of God stories. Here are a few of them.
School Kids. Pastor Gaylord, Scott and Ellie were back at their host home/church for lunch after a morning of visiting homes. “Some kids are outside” someone said, so 18 year old Ellie jumped up to go talk to them. Others followed after a minute or two, and were surprised at the sight they saw—Ellie surrounded by 50+ kids who had just gotten out of school. God drew dozens to Christ as Ellie shared the gospel with them. Hallelujah!
Outdoor Cathedral. Jason, Andy and Sarah were overjoyed when over 170 people came to the evening meetings in their brand new area. Since they had no building, they met in an open field. For the main service they met under a tree strung with a few light bulbs. Then they broke up into groups. Jason took the 70+ kids under a lone streetlight along a dirt road. Andy taught the 35+ youth as they sat on the soccer field illuminated by headlights from two cars. Hallelujah!
Students. We thank the Lord for the 12 students He placed on our team. It was a joy for the parents on the trip (Bob and Samantha & Greg and Bryannia, for example) to see their kids sharing their faith fearlessly, as 12 year old Samantha is doing in this picture.
Name My Baby. As Richard and Sue worked in an area, they received a request that was a first for us. One of the ladies who trusted Christ asked Richard to say a prayer of dedication for her 3 month old baby. Then she asked him to name the baby! So he named him “Fabio Enzo Plata.” “Fabio” after the national believer who helped share the gospel with this new mom, and “Enzo” after our Bolivia national director who loves and serves the Lord.
Walk to Church. Lindsay, Kara and Philip worked in an area with lots of kids. When Kara learned that many kids attend church without their parents, she voiced the question most of us think: “but how do they get to church?” Living in the US, we assume everyone drives to church. But in most countries of the world, if a person can’t walk to church, they don’t go to church. That’s one key reason why we focus on planting new churches in barrios around the world.
Special Thanks to Troy for being our team translator!
Want a Video? One of the unexpected blessings of the trip was Ky. After he signed up to go, we found out he is a videographer. Ky’s passion is to do evangelism, and then capture ordinary people being used by our Extraordinary God to accomplish eternal things. He’s making a video of our trip, so please let me know if you’d like a copy.
Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia
Thanks for praying, Prayer Warriors. Here are some glimpses of God’s glory that He has revealed in response to your prayers.
1. Saturday morning we prayed for God to introduce us to persons of peace—people who are influential in their neighborhoods who will introduce others to Christ. Many of you have been praying that for us, too. God answered this prayer in L.S., Glenda and Sammie’s area within an hour of their arrival! In one of the first visits, God opened the door to share the Gospel with Alejandro and several others in his household. He prayed to receive Christ, and then told the pastor “I own this restaurant here. You are welcome to meet in my restaurant.” This was a blessing to this new little church, for it now meets in the courtyard of the home of a member of the mother church.
2. Carlos owns a mechanics shop that fixes lots of taxis near the church with which Andrew, Mei and Tanya are working. He prayed to receive Christ yesterday, and welcomed Mei back for a follow-up visit. Could he be a person of peace who could introduce many taxi drivers to our Lord?
3. This afternoon Juanita decided to head back to the meeting place where she, Doug and Melissa have been working. She was feeling a little queasy, and hoped some rest before the evening meeting would help. As she neared her rest place, a man and his son asked what she was doing in the neighborhood. As her team started to share with him, he asked them to come to talk to his whole family. Actually, three families were gathered together for a family reunion, and all 12 trusted Christ!
4. One team was headed to a follow-up appointment, but stopped to take a picture of two parrots in a front yard. Out of the house came a scolding grandmother, saying we should have asked permission. She started in Spanish, but finished in English, for she is a tour guide. The team apologized, and asked if she had ever seen an EvangeCube. Her scold turned into salvation as she prayed in English in her own words to put her faith in Christ. As they were leaving, she shared that she had been the tour guide for a Christian children’s organization for 12 years.
5. Jason, Andy and Sarah are working in a brand new area. Tonight they had 170+ at their evening meeting, including over 40 youth! God has created a great hunger for Him in that area!
These are but a few of the glimpses of God’s glory we are seeing as God answers your prayers. Please continue to lift our team to the throne of grace. Please pray especially for—
· Ray Berryman (on right in picture), who over the next 3 days is doing 15 evangelism and discipleship meetings with Campus Crusade for Christ to business leaders, police officials, university leaders and professors, doctors and other influential groups
· Discipleship for all the new believers
· Good health—people are getting worn out
· The Head of the Church to continue to build His Church here
About a year ago Pastor Hamer had a vision for going to the jungle. He explained today that he has a burden for a very primitive tribe who don’t even wear clothes. The challenge was a way to effectively present the gospel.
One day he was accosted on the street by a drug addict wanting to sell something in a little cardboard box. It obviously was something he’d stolen somewhere. He said no, but the peddler persisted. “Look, it’s only one Boliviano,” which is about twelve cents.
Pastor Hamer again brushed him off, but the addict took the contents out and showed him the pictures on it. One was of Jesus on the cross, so he decided to go ahead and buy it. It was an EvangeCube!
Hamer took it home, but couldn’t figure out how to use it. So it sat on his shelf.
About 6 months ago Pastor Hamer got caught in a flash flood. He found himself walking through waist deep water. He had more presence of mind than I would in such a dangerous situation, for he looked down and saw a piece of paper floating by . . . and it had some of the same pictures as that Cube thing on his shelf. It was one of the tracts we use on our campaigns!
God was answering his prayers in some unusual ways!
Pastor Hamer went to work. He translated some of the tract into the language of the tribe in the jungle. But he still had not figured out how to use that Cube thing.
Then about a week ago he met Pastor Enzo, our Bolivia coordinator. When he heard we were coming, he asked for a team and found out we had enough on our team to add his new church plant to our list of areas. Then when Pastor Enzo went to train his church members at the last minute, he pulled out an EvangeCube! They finally would get to learn how to use that Cube thing.
Then the circle was completed yesterday, when Gary and his daughters Sarah and Abi showed up to work with Hamer. As they sat down with his church to plan the evangelism, Gary pulled out the same tract Hamer had noticed floating in the flood!
God is very creative as He answers prayers! Pastor Hamer now has two tools to share the Gospel here in Santa Cruz, and also in the jungle.
Please continue to pray for our team and the areas in which they are working. We are trusting God to work as creatively this week as he did with Pastor Hamer (but we can do without the floods!). Yesterday 289 people prayed to receive Christ! Join us in thanking Him for the great first day He gave our teams.
Please pray especially that God will raise up people to disciple the new believers.
Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
You are omniscient—You know everything about where we are and what we are doing. Thank You for bringing all our team safely to Bolivia. Thank You for bringing Melissa in this morning, who had missed a connection in the States on Thursday and was delayed a day. In spite of 2 cancelled flights and a very late flight, You brought all the rest of the team here on time Friday. Thank You.
Thank You for getting all the teams connected with their host churches last night and this morning. All except one team is now out with their churches, getting ready to begin evangelism this morning.
Lord, we pray for unity among the teams today. Bridge the cultural and language gaps.
Lord, we pray for You to introduce our teams to those Your Spirit is giving faith to trust Christ.
Lord, we pray that You will introduce us to persons of peace, who will introduce our teams to whole neighborhoods through their family and friendship connections.
Lord, we pray that You will bring great glory to Yourself this week as You pour Your Living Water through the US and Bolivian teams, and splash all over the people in the areas where the host churches are planting new churches.
All this we pray so that You will be more famous in Santa Cruz, in Bolivia and around the world.
Mike Jorgensen for Team Bolivia